I’m not a wristwatch expert, but after over 13 years of service, I do know what a police officer needs in a watch.
Aside from accurately displaying the time and date, the watch must be able to withstand years of severe wear and tear. Other features like a stopwatch, backlights, and timer will come in handy as well.
This article discusses what’s the best watch for police officers, especially those working in a patrol unit. So, if you’re looking for a quality watch with the necessary features, continue reading.
By the end of this article, you’ll know the following:
- What features to look for in a watch.
- How price and quality are tied together.
- What watches are the best for police officers.
The Top 3 Best watches for Police Officers
NOTE: I have used the G-shock for over 15 years and base my review on personal experience. I have tried other watches but those reviews are based mainly on the experience of my colleagues.
#1 Product Recommendation – The Casio G-Shock
I recommend the Casio G-Shock models because they’ve proven resilient over years of extreme wear and tear. I bought mine in 2006 and it has been through two years of army service and over ten years of police service. The watch has become stuck countless times when I’m getting in and out of tactical gear but the strap and strap-attaching portion have yet to give in. Also, I’ve never had to change the battery.
There are tons of features built into this watch, like a timer, vibration, and backlight. Some models even include a compass, which I’ve used many times at work.
On the downside, a G-Shock is big and bulky (maybe that’s why it gets stuck in my tactical gear). Fortunately, there are less bulky models available. Also, the G-Shock watches are a bit pricey. However, I’ve saved hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on not having to buy a replacement every six months because the quality is exceptional.
- Good quality and tough
- Alle the features you need
- Long battery life
- Many models are bulky (less bulky models are available)
- Battery replacement might be difficult on some models
A G-Shock would do great as a Christmas present for a police officer.
Casio G-Shock model suggestions for a police officer:
With integrated compass (high price):
Less bulky (medium price):
Value for money (low price)
#2 Product Recommendation – Timex Ironman Classic 100
The Timex Ironman Classic 100 is a lightweight, durable watch with excellent battery life. Originally a sports watch, its overall quality makes it a good watch for a police officer.
It has the same features as the Casio G-Shocks, except for a compass and vibration.
A big plus is the price – the watch is very affordable, thus making it our second recommendation. A colleague has had one for six years and it hasn’t failed him yet.
- Low price
- Fair quality for that price
- Battery life
- Build quality. Some people experience condensation after swimming.
#3 Product Recommendation – Smith & Wesson
Lo and behold – Smith & Wesson are making watches!
Aside from the basic features of showing date and time, they are super tough and will handle a beating. So, if you’re looking for nothing fancy or expensive but a watch that matches your Smith & Wesson handcuffs, this is a great choice.
I would go for the Smith & Wesson Soldier Tritium model because it fits my kind of service. And I like that design best.
They have many other models as well. Check them all out here.
- Good quality
- Fair price
- Few features
Disclaimer: I don’t have any personal experience with Smith & Wesson watches but I know about them through friends and colleagues. I am, however, going to buy a Smith & Wesson watch and will update this article later.
Alternative Watches that are Great for Law Enforcement Officers
Here are a few other wristwatch options suitable for police officers. I haven’t tried any of these but they are popular and of good quality.
5.11 produces tactical gear (in my opinion, one of the best breaching kits on the market). They also have a few watches. The 5.11 Field Watch 2.0 is a basic watch that’s both durable and comfortable.
Unfortunately, it’s not scratch resistant. However, I know three people on active duty that own or have owned this model and they were all very pleased with it. It’s for sale on Amazon.com.
Garmin Tactix 7 Pro
This smartwatch has many essential features you would enjoy as a police officer. And even more features you don’t need! The build quality is exceptional, and the price is enough to break the bank.
Luminox has a massive selection of models that are both tough and stylish. They’re also a bit pricey. But with high quality comes a high price.
Essential Features for a Law Enforcement Watch
I’ve had many watches in my life. I bought my first watch for ten dollars when I entered the army (I don’t remember the brand). It lasted about three months until the strap broke. I simply bought another one because it was so cheap. It lasted less than two months..
I repeated this many times until finally, after purchasing a dozen or so cheap watches, I realized I should buy a more expensive and durable brand. I bought a Casio G-Shock and I’ve had it ever since. I think I bought it in 2006 and I still have it today (2022).
With nearly two decades of experience, I’ve compiled a list of essential features that a police officer should consider when purchasing a new watch:
- countdown timer
- long battery life
- day of the week
- water resistant
If you find a watch with all of these features that’s also tough and resilient, then you’ve found a watch suitable for an officer’s (or soldier’s) wrist.
My Casio G-Shock GD-350 has almost all of the above features except a compass. I’ve never changed the battery and it’s still ticking.
But Why All These Features?
- Backlight is necessary to be able to read your watch at all hours and in the dark.
- A stopwatch is an essential tool needed for gauging the amount of time used for a certain activity or action, such as running. Or how much time you, or a suspect, take moving from A to B.
- Countdown timer if you need to synchronize a bust or another activity.
- Sturdiness because your watch will live a tough life on your wrist, believe me.
- Long battery life is not necessarily as important as it is convenient. When the battery dies, you can just change it but given Murphy’s Law, batteries will always die at the most inconvenient of times.
- Day of the week is important because you’re working night shifts and weekends. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what day it is.
- An alarm is helpful if you need to be somewhere or do something at a specific time. Remember to set the alarm to go off so you have enough time to get there.
- Vibration so the alarm can go off silently.
- Water resistant because you will be working in wet conditions.
- Compass is useful when you’re at an address and need to inform other units or dispatch whether you’re at the east side of a building or the west side. Believe me, this is very important.
Alternative to a compass integrated with the watch
I can’t count how many times I’ve been in situations where it’s helpful to know the different cardinal directions.
Since I don’t have a compass integrated with my watch, I’ve used a micro wrist compass attached to my watch band. It works great! Here’s one on Amazon.com.
Casio models with compass
Some models, such as the Casio Protrek PRW2500R-1, have integrated compasses. Click here to find it on Amazon.
A less expensive model with a compass is the Casio G9300-1 Mudman. Check it at Amazon here.
A Casio G-Shock (any model) is a winner when you want a durable, high-quality watch with all the features a police officer would need. That’s an undeniable fact, in my opinion.