As a firefighter, punctuality is paramount, but having a great watch goes well beyond its ability to keep you on schedule.
With technology steadily advancing in recent years, the features included in watches make them more useful than ever. As a firefighter, a watch is more than just an accessory and is often considered a necessary tool for the job.
The best watches for firefighters are watches that are reliable, functional, and comfortable while being able to withstand the wear and tear of a physical job like firefighting.
If you’re looking for the perfect watch to wear while on duty, you might notice get overwhelmed with the number of watches available on the market.
To help you navigate your search, we’ll examine the qualities of a good firefighter watch and then reveal some of the best firefighter watches available today.
To go right to my favorite firefighter watch on Amazon, click here.
Table of Contents
- What Makes a Good Watch?
- Does This Really Matter?
- My Top Picks
What Makes a Good Watch?
Not all firefighter watches are designed the same, and there are many key features included in what’s considered a “good” firefighter watch.
The first thing you should do before purchasing a watch is to determine the ideal characteristics of the watch you want. Once you’ve figured that out, it will allow you to direct your focus to the watches that meet your needs rather than those that don’t.
Generally speaking, a good firefighter watch has a variety of technological features, impressive durability, extended battery life, and the ability to use the watch in wet environments. Below, we will discuss why these qualities are important and the specifics behind them.
While all watches should include the obvious feature of being able to tell the current time, you might also want a watch that can do more for you.
A large majority of military-grade watches display time separated into hours, minutes, and seconds for optimal time precision. Additional time-related features may include a world-clock function, timers and intervals, and 12 and 24-hour formats.
Other features you may be interested in are an LED backlight, a tachymeter to measure speed over a set distance, and water-resistance.
Note: As a firefighter, you don’t have to buy a watch with all of these features, but they can be quite useful.
The physical composition of the watch itself is not as important as the watch’s ability to withstand the stressors of your job. For example, a bulky watch may appear more durable, but an easily-shattered glass would defeat the durability of the watch.
To be completely durable, the design of the watch must take into account bumps, shock, vibration, and even heavy-impact scenarios. Most durable watches achieve this feat by constructing the watch with heavy-duty material and using a reinforced glass to prevent shattering and other damage.
Though not a major concern upon your initial purchase of the watch, the watch’s battery life plays a more significant role long-term.
Many watches on the market have advertised battery lives of over three years, with a few boasting over ten years of battery life. With extended battery life, you’ll have to worry less about your watch and its ability to function and more on your job and the emergencies you’re called to.
Some watches are also solar-powered, which essentially means they may have an unlimited battery life as long as they are frequently exposed to the sun.
Solar-powered watches are remarkably useful if you’re outdoors a lot, but may fail to meet your needs if you’re often indoors or in the dark. If you’re a frequent outdoorsman (as many firefighters are), a solar-powered watch might be a nice addition.
However, if you do opt for a solar-powered watch, you should make sure it has a conventional battery too. The last thing you want is for your watch to die because you haven’t been in the sun recently.
Though you may be wondering why you would need a waterproof watch if you’re on the job, remember how often you come in contact with water in a single day.
Aside from obvious instances like washing your hands and showering, you’ll also encounter water when washing the fire truck or engine, cleaning hose after a fire, or even during training.
With a waterproof watch, you’ll be able to go about your day and your job without having to worry about shielding your watch from the water.
Many waterproof watches enable you to submerge the watch in water well over 50 meters without negatively affecting the watch’s functionality. This may or may not be necessary for you, but it never hurts. So whether you’re washing your hands after a call or even performing an ocean rescue, your watch will be able to handle it.
As you’ll see in our list below, there are a few brands that are widely known for producing high-quality functional watches.
Though this isn’t to say that you can’t find a cheaper watch from a lesser-known brand that’s capable of doing everything you need it to do, it does speak for the brand’s quality.
The rankings included below are based on user reviews and features included in the watches. It’s important to remember that, just because a well-known watch distributor produces a watch does not mean it’s a quality product.
Each model of watch is completely different from the next and may be made of different materials or offer different functions.
With that said, you should use the brand name to determine whether a quality product is possible and then begin looking for quality watches produced by the brand.
Does This Really Matter?
No matter what situation you find yourself in, the perfect firefighter watch won’t have to be removed and will offer useful features that help you perform your job even better.
Here are some reasons why having a watch can help you while you’re a firefighter:
- You can keep track of time accurately (hours, minutes, and seconds) so you are never late.
- You can set alarms for reminders like raising and lowering the flag, waking up before your crew, and radio tests.
- You can use the second hand to take vital signs on a patient such as a pulse and breathing rate.
My Top Picks
As mentioned above, as a firefighter, there are many features you may be looking for in a watch.
Among the qualities of a good watch are added features, durability, battery life, and waterproof capabilities. However, just because a watch has all of these qualities does not mean it will meet your standards. You may find that a watch with too many features is overwhelming or lacks in quality for those features.
Below, I have chosen eight of the best watches for firefighters that you can purchase online today. In ranking the watches, we considered the qualities of the watch, pricing, and consistent consumer feedback, as well as some personal experience.
With that said, here are my top eight selections.
This is my top pick for a firefighter watch. It has more useful features and better durability than some of the cheaper models, while still not costing $500 or more.
The Casio G-Shock Series of watches is great for anyone that needs a tough watch. However, the Mudmaster watches in the G-Shock Series are specifically designed with stainless steel and resin combo to handle tough, dirty situations.
Most of the Mudmaster series watches are $500+! They even have one that sells for over $1000. But the Mudmaster Twin Sensor is a much more reasonably priced version, while still having all the durability of the other more expensive watches in the series.
The Mudmaster watches are built to be used in water and mud. They are constructed with multiple gaskets to prevent dirt and grime from getting into all the crevices and ruining the watch.
The Mudmaster Twin Sensor is water-resistant up to 200 meters, mud-resistant, and shock-resistant. It includes a Super Illuminator LED backlight, compass, thermometer, world clock, stopwatch accurate 10 1/100th of a second, 5 daily alarms, low battery alarm, analog and digital timekeeping with a second hand, 12 or 24-time format, and a fully automatic calendar.
Here is another look at the Mudmaster watch:
This watch is obviously in a whole different category as far as functionality. The Apple Watch Series 5 is a smartwatch that is capable of so much more than a standard watch.
If you are the type to embrace technology in finding ways to make your job and life more efficient then this is the watch you want!
The Apple Watch can obviously tell time, with hundreds of customizable watch faces on the always-on Retina display, but it offers so much more than that.
You can download tons of apps to do things like monitor your heart rate and heart rhythm, keep track of fitness metrics like steps, elevation gain, mileage, and more, measure sound exposure and alert you when the noise gets above a decibel threshold, can help monitor and motivate you with fitness goals, play music, make purchases without your wallet using Apple Pay and lots more.
It can still do all the things other watches do like: world time, alarms, stopwatch, compass, and 12 or 24-hour time format.
Note: The Apple Watch 5 needs to be paired with an Apple iPhone 6s or later and iOS 13 or later to work.
Can Firefighters Wear Apple Watches?
Yes, firefighters can wear apple watches and other smartwatches. Though Apple recommends not exposing the watches to temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit, I have spoken with multiple firefighters that have been using them for years (even while fighting fires (watch under their turnout coat)) and they have not had any issues.
Firefighters should ideally remove the watch before going into a fire, or at the minimum, make sure it is protected under your safety gear. However, in real-life experiences, I have not heard of anyone having problems due to heat exposure from firefighting.
Read about some firefighter apple watch experiences here.
The Apple Watch wasn’t originally designed for the durability needs of a firefighter, so unlike some of the other watches in this article, it is more susceptible to damage. However, this can easily be taken care of with a protective case. This will make the Apple Watch able to handle the normal wear and tear of work as a firefighter without any problems.
My Recommendation for Apple Watch Protective Case: SupCase (Unicorn Beetle Pro) Rugged Protective Case for Apple Watch Series 4/5
This case provides military-grade shock resistance with Polycarbonate and thermoplastic polyurethane construction. It allows access to all Apple Watch features while protecting it from damage.
This case is quick and easy to install and allows you to not worry about your watch getting scratched or broken.
Note: This case is designed to fit the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 watches. Make sure you are getting the correct case to fit your watch.
Watch this for more detailed information and a review of the Apple Watch 5:
The Casio G-Shock X-Large Display Stealth Watch is another example of G-Shock’s ability to engineer high-quality watch products capable of withstanding nearly anything.
Durability is one of the major talking points for this watch, with a shock-resistant design that protects against mechanical shock and vibrations.
Regardless of your preference between analog and digital watches, this watch has both modes visible on its face. The time-related features of this watch include a stopwatch, countdown timer, and full automatic calendar that tracks the month, date, and day of the week.
If you’re known to travel or are simply interested in a worldly view, this watch has 48 city-related times and the ability to switch between your home city and world time when it’s of interest to you.
The most significant feature of this watch is its “Triple 10” feature. In short, this feature guarantees that the watch can survive a 10-foot fall, provide 10-bar water resistance, and last ten years on a single battery (which is incredible).
To promote greater durability, this watch has a resin band and metal buckle closure for the ability to take bumps and blows easier without falling off the wrist.
Like most military-grade watches, this model allows up to 200 meters of submersion without affecting its functioning. If you find yourself needing to check the time at night or while in a dark room, you can trigger the EL backlight to illuminate the screen when necessary.
The Casio G-Shock 6900 Military Watch is a great watch for firefighters for many reasons.
The major impressive component of this watch is its durability-inspired features. Not only is this watch water resistant up to 200 meters, but it is also shock-resistant and able to handle any impact you take on the job.
In terms of timekeeping abilities, the watch runs on quartz movement, meaning the watch ticks with each passing second rather than a consistent motion with the progression of time.
The stopwatch capabilities are accurate down to 1/100 when recording up to 60 minutes at a time and 1 second when the time extends past 60 minutes.
Timekeeping functions include the ability to track elapsed time, split-time when tracking time spent on activities or laps, and 1st and 2nd place times. You can choose between a 12 and 24-hour time format, depending on your personal preferences.
When setting alarms, this watch is capable of using flash alerts and buzzers to notify you of a sounding alarm. A buzzer can be helpful for alerting you without disturbing those around you. It also gives you the option of using countdown or count-up timer alarms.
Unlike many watches, this watch has a reverse LCD screen, which displays a lighter time on a darker background as well as a red EL backlight to illuminate the watch’s face in the dark.
Though the two-year battery life is not an ideal characteristic, the remaining qualities of the watch make up for this deficit.
The Casio XL Series G-Shock Quartz Watch is an American-made watch featuring all of G-Shock’s most favorable characteristics.
Regardless of what physical environments you find yourself in on the job, the shock-resistant feature will provide adequate protection to guarantee your device can withstand anything.
With quartz movement, you can count on this watch to be accurate at all times while being able to track the movement of time by the second. Accuracy is also prevalent with a 1/100 second stopwatch that allows you to monitor time as accurately as possible.
One of the more unique features of this watch is the world time feature that allows you to switch between time zones. It also has a maximum of five daily alarms, and a fully automatic calendar to remind you of the date.
The water-resistant feature of this watch is remarkable and can survive submersion up to 200 meters deep. If you work as a firefighter near the ocean or other bodies of water, you may be required to perform water rescues. But with this watch, you don’t need to remove your watch to do so.
And whether you’re in the dark or a lit area, the EL backlight will allow you to check the time at your leisure.
Though the durability and features of this watch are difficult to rival, the major pitfall of the watch would be its two-year maximum battery life. However, with consistent monitoring of the device, you should be able to recognize when the battery is on its last leg and needs to be replaced.
The Casio G-Shock GA-800 is a highly fashionable watch that’s also capable of performing a variety of tasks.
One of the greatest features of this watch is the fact that it is both a two-hand analog clock as well as a digital clock. The analog second hand can be very helpful for taking vital signs (pulse and respiration rate) as a firefighter. Available for view on the watch’s face is the exact time down to the second and the month, date, and day of the week.
The shock-resistant and water-resistant design will allow you to perform any duty at the station or on a call without fear of damage to your watch.
This watch is capable of reaching 200 meters within the water, which is great for duty and water-related leisure activities. In regards to durability, the watch’s band is highly flexible and includes a buckle closure for greater security on the wrist during movement.
This watch boasts a 1/100 second stopwatch capable of measuring up to 24 hours with elapsed time, split time, and 1st and 2nd-time features.
Additionally, you can set a countdown timer up to 60 minutes to time how long it takes to complete a station task. The LED light will illuminate the watch’s face for either 1.5 or 3 seconds at a time to allow time viewing in any environment.
Some of the convenience-based features of this watch are the ability to set five daily alarms, an automatic calendar that provides the month, date, and day, and a daylight savings mode. You also have the option to choose between a 12 and 24-hour format, depending on your needs.
The battery is expected to last three years, which is about average.
Yet another G-shock model on the list. It has the same durability characteristics as the other G-shock watches in an all-black design.
This watch is water-resistant to 200 meters, shock-resistant, and has ISO 764 Class magnetic resistance. It has 12 or 24-hour time format, 4 daily alarms, hourly alarm, stopwatch accurate to 1/1000th of a second, world clock with 29 time zones, 24 hour countdown timer, and an automatic calendar.
Its resin construction has both analog and digital time, though there is no analog second hand.
The one con for this watch is the advertised battery life is below average at 2 years, but it’s easy enough to get it replaced.
This watch continually gets great reviews and for a good reason. This is an excellent choice for a durable firefighter watch.
The Timex Full-Size Ironman Rugged 30 Watch is the first Timex watch on our list, but that does not mean it lacks in quality or durability.
This watch is the best option under the $50 price point.
One of the most visually obvious qualities of this watch is its large face, which displays the time and date in a relatively large font. If you prefer a watch with a dark background and lighter text, this watch provides exactly that.
The timing capabilities of this watch are superior to those of other watches, particularly in the number of features it offers. In addition to a 24-hour countdown timer and two time-modes (12 hours and 24 hours), this watch is capable of maintaining 30-lap memory and setting three current alarms. If you consider yourself athletic and practice interval training, this watch can record nine interval timers per session.
Though not suitable for activities like diving, this watch can withstand up to 100 meters in depth. The 20mm resin strap not only fits up to an 8-inch wrist but also provides greater durability to the physical composition of the device.
Though you may have your own preferences when it comes to a watch and its functionality related to your job as a firefighter, it’s relatively easy to differentiate between a good watch and a great watch.
Among the qualities of a great watch are reliable durability, lengthy battery life, useful features, and a waterproof design. The durability and waterproofing are the most important features for a firefighter-specific watch, but excellent battery life and a bevy of useful features are always welcome.
Our top picks for firefighter watches encapsulate all of these major qualities while also being noted for their dependability and reliability by consumers who have purchased the watch.