A paramedic’s or EMT’s job is extremely demanding and hectic. It’s a highly-skilled job that requires some essential pieces of equipment. While a stethoscope, penlight, or trauma shears are obvious pieces of gear for an EMT, a good watch is often overlooked.
A good watch can also be a key tool for first responders when responding to emergencies. Apart from luminous and easy-to-read dials, we’ve also featured watches with practical features that medics can use – including pulse and respiratory measurements.
In past articles, we’ve looked at why rugged tactical watches are often the top choice for firefighters and police officers.
These watches share many of the same features, but we looked for a few unique features when choosing watches for paramedics and the specific challenges of the job.
This article will focus on some of the best watches for paramedics and EMTs, we’ve included everything from budget options to high-end watches and both digital and analog models.
Best Watches for Paramedics
Casio G-Shock Rangeman (GW9400)
Durability is one of the most important things to consider for a paramedic-friendly watch, and a brand synonymous with this is the Casio G-Shock. A leading brand that produces some of today’s digital and analog watches, Casio is one of your best bets for watches that can take a beating.
The Casio Men’s G-Shock GW9400 Rangeman Solar Atomic Watch is a model that boasts of the “Shock Resistant Triple Sensor” for altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and direction readings.
This one’s excellent for paramedics—it’s actually mentioned on Casio’s website that it’s the perfect choice for rescue crews.
We also voted this one of the top watches to survive a Zombie Apocalypse! Hopefully, that’s another indication of how rugged this watch is…
This has a sensor button that, when pressed, will take you to a sensor screen. What’s special about this is the unique tones for each sensor, which allows you to know which mode you are using without looking at the screen. Other features include time recording and time measurement, sunrise and sunset data, and mud-resistant buttons.
This is a negative display watch meaning the colors are inverted. The numbers are light, and the background is dark, if you’ve never used a watch like this, it can take some getting used to.
If you want a similar G-Shock model that’s a bit more affordable but is just as durable, check out the Casio G-Rescue Solar Atomic watch. This one’s lighter than the Rangeman and has similar features such as a negative LCD, solar power, shock resistance, and 200m water resistance.
Armitron Sport Digital Watch: Budget Pick
Armitron has been around for more than five decades, producing digital sports watches that are affordable but durable.
The Armitron Sport Digital Watch is a chronograph with a clear LCD and a backlight that illuminates with a simple touch of a button.
Other features include an alarm, military time functions, and a water resistance of 100m. This one’s well-ventilated too because of the perforated band, so wearing it for extended periods of time will not be a problem.
Several users express one downside: the plastic front window is prone to scratches. Many owners of the Armitron watch have written in reviews that they would buy the same watch again after years of usage. If you’re looking for a simple and very affordable everyday watch that holds up perfectly even in water, we highly recommend this one.
Casio Solar Sport Combination Watch
Casio is one of the most reliable watch brands that consistently produces affordable and efficient models.
The Casio Solar Sport Combination watch is designed for active lifestyles, perfect for paramedics. This one has an analog and digital display, a combination of stick and number hour markers, and a three-hand analog movement.
Other features are a dual countdown timer, an LED light with Afterglow, and a full auto-calendar. This model is battery-powered and can be recharged by a solar panel built on the watch.
The recharging times vary, but the approximate battery life is about ten months on a full charge. It’s also very easy to wash—a simple rinse would make the watch as good as new.
Citizen Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Field Watch
If you want a watch that’s straight to the point check out this Citizen Chandler model.
This is a classic and affordable field watch. Originally designed for soldiers on the battlefield, it’s easy to read and straightforward to use.
While it doesn’t have extra features like countdown timer and time zones), this watch would suit a paramedic who needs an analog watch with a seconds hand to take a pulse and the highly visible seconds hand makes it practical.
This one’s a simple, military-style watch that is functional as it is stylish. The army green Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch has a great design that has the essentials: clear three luminous hands and easy-to-read numbers, a round black dial, and a date/day/time window.
One possible disadvantage to this watch is the canvas strap which is likely to pick up a lot of dirt, but it’s easy to swap it out for a washable silicone strap.
Luminox Quartz Original Navy Seal 3001
This is a classic, one of Luminox’s bestselling watches.
The Original Luminox Navy SEAL watch came out in the 1990s. The Luminox Men’s 3000 Series started when the company worked with the SEALs to develop a watch that suits their job—meaning it needs to perform well during night missions and be extremely durable. Click here to read more about the watches that Navy SEALs wear.
This waterproof watch will be great for paramedics who work at night. The Swiss-made 3001 has Night Vision Tubes illumination. This watch has the famous Luminox Light Technology, which provides the user with a constant bright glow that lasts for up to 25 years, with no need for buttons or recharging using a light source.
Priced to give you the essentials but won’t break the bank. Click here to learn more about Luminox watches.
BOLDR Field Medic II Watch
BOLDR designed the Venture Medic Field Watch to pay tribute to healthcare workers during the worldwide pandemic. The watch is practical to use with features specifically designed for medical professionals and is built to withstand the rigors of the job.
The most noticeable feature is the unique dial design with two highly legible pulsometer and respiratory graduated scales for counting off heart and respiratory rates. The outer ring is graduated for pulsations and uses a 30 seconds count to give a more accurate reading, and the inner ring is graduated for respirations. These two features and the chronograph make it a very practical tool for medical professionals who need to take vital signs.
The build quality is tough – designed for the professional and the courageous people that would wear this watch. A flat sapphire crystal lens protects the dial with an anti-reflective coating, making it very legible and the impressive Superlume on the hands and indices make it readable in low light or total darkness. The titanium case, screw-down crown and caseback, and 200m water resistance and a nato strap make it waterproof and practical to wear on the job.
The unique and utilitarian dial of this watch that was specifically made for medics and the rugged build quality makes it a perfect gift for anyone working in the medical field, especially those that need pulse-tracking functionalities.
Seiko Men’s Excelsior
Check out the Seiko Men’s Excelsior watch for something more stylish that you can wear on and off duty.
This chronograph with three subdials, a date window, and luminous hands for easy readability is solar-powered by any type of light, so you don’t need to worry about charging the batteries.
This one is for those who are looking for a unique-looking timepiece. If you’re looking for a simple and low-key style, this may not be for you, as the thick, snake-type silver bracelet. However, if you’d like a powerful-looking model, this will be an excellent choice.
This one is made of stainless steel and is submersible so that you can wash it repeatedly—a simple rinse would do the job. The crystal is also made of Hardlex, a scratch-resistant material. However, note that the stopwatch can only measure 60 minutes before it stops counting.
If you’re looking for a bold, handsome men’s watch that you can take to work and out on weekends, this is a great model. The mid-range price tag is reasonable, considering all the features packed into it.
Marathon Swiss-Made Military Issue Milspec Watch (GSAR)
Marathon Swiss-Made Military Issue Milspec Watch (GSAR) is the most expensive watch on this list, but the features make the price tag worth considering.
This is a high-end model, and we’re putting it on the list as an option for anyone looking for something to invest in. While this is not the most practical price point as an everyday carry for an EMT, it would make a great present—like a retirement gift after years of service or for a special commendation.
This is a popular diver’s watch, designed with Search and Rescue (SAR) divers in mind, ergo the GSAR (Government Search and Rescue) label. Designed for Search and Rescue missions, this Swiss-made watch is also manufactured to US Government specifications and is issued by the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Hand-made in La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland, this watch with 25 jewel ETA 2824-2 automatic movement boasts extremely accurate timekeeping.
Marathon makes some of the best tritium watches on the market. This model is no exception with self-illuminating tritium tubes that will not run out of brightness and do not need to be recharged using other light sources and last for up to 25 years. This watch uses a combination of tritium and Marthon’s own MaraGlo photo-luminescent lume technology. Luminosity is one of the most important features to consider since it’s essential for paramedics who work at night or in low light conditions. The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters (1000 feet)
Smith & Wesson Men’s EMT Watch: Avoid
You might come across this watch during your search, but we highly advise that you skip this one. This is actually being marketed as an EMT watch (and offers similar features as other watches on the list), but it has received many negative reviews from buyers.
Many complaints include a fogged-up display, loose velcro, and dead battery (even before usage). Some have pointed out the heaviness and bulkiness, and some said the watch stopped working after only a few days or weeks of use.
We recommend buying from brands that specialize in watches (such as the ones we’ve reviewed in this article) rather than a one-off watch from a brand that is not known for quality watches. They are well-respected for weapons and tactical gear, but the reviews alone show that this is not a watch worth investing in.
Buyers Guide: Finding a watch that does the job
Here are some of the most important things we considered when purchasing this type of watch:
Silicone or Metal Strap
Look for a watch strap that is durable, washable, and hygienic that won’t pick up odors. One of the biggest complaints is that leather watch straps start to smell pretty funky on this job. The best options are silicone, stainless steel or titanium that can be washed or wiped down daily with a CaviWipe without damaging the strap.
It is also best that you opt for non-bulky models because paramedics move fast on the jobs, and there are many things the watch can get caught on, ending up with a broken watch strap.
Easy To Clean
Things are expected to be messy when you’re a paramedic, and most need to wash and sanitize their watches constantly. Paramedics are always in contact with different types of fluids, and things can get quite nasty, so it needs to be easily rinsed and washed. Things can get to the point where some paramedics actually wash them in the dishwasher (not something we recommend- but many of the picks on this list are waterproof to 100M or more, so they can definitely be scrubbed and submerged).
An easy-to-read display is a must. Look for a watch with a clean design with a clearly visible second hand or digit. It’s critical to be able to read the second hand for taking an accurate pulse. Look for a durable watch face, best if the material is scratch-proof that will remain crystal clear even after wear and tear.
Simplicity is key. The watch should be easy to use. When paramedics are on the job, they don’t have time to use many different buttons to find the features they want to use. They need to be able to access features like a stopwatch function quickly.
Good luck with your search!
A test run is always a good idea. While it’s easy to order online, it’s always best that you try them on to evaluate how they feel on your wrists.
There are simply so many paramedics/EMT-friendly watches to choose from. Hopefully, this list can get you pointed in the right direction.