Just like all professions that require putting the interest of others before their own, firefighters could and should be considered the unsung heroes of our times.
Heroes without capes would in fact be the perfect description of what they are put through on daily basis.
Some of the most frequent tasks awaiting a firefighter include fire extinguishment, rescuing victims from fire-related disasters or even handling potentially dangerous materials. Without a doubt, these require incredible courage.
Without proper equipment, courage wouldn’t mean a thing, though. Equipped with gear such as fire helmets, turnout pants, jackets, gloves, boots, breathing apparatus and position-monitoring PASS devices, firefighters are always ready for a potentially life-saving mission.
There’s little to no doubt that punctuality is of the utmost importance when it comes to the profession. Although not as necessary as any of the equipment mentioned above, an accurate and tough-to-beat watch can go a long way in helping to get through a demanding day in the fire engine.
So, what is the best watch for firefighters?
To make the task of picking the right timepiece easier and less time-consuming, I have prepared a list covering the 4 best models for 2023.
Each watch was chosen for different reasons and provides different options. Nevertheless, all models listed below are suitable both for urban and wildland firefighters.
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Best Watches for Firefighters (Top 5 Overview)
Best Watch for Firefighters (Top 5 Reviewed)
Casio G-Shock GG1000-1A5
A firefighter watch and durability go together like peanut butter and jelly. Well, at least they should. And that’s why we kick off the list with a Casio G-Shock.
G-Shocks are some of the most rugged tactical watches out there and the GG1000-1A5 model, belonging to the Mudmaster series, perfectly proves it.
The name of this particular Casio collection indicates clearly: there’s no mud getting inside that watch! The Mud-Resist technology, with which all the models in the collection are equipped, ensures no dirt or sludge can get under the watch face even during the most demanding missions. It goes a long way to eliminating the risk of damage to the movement, at the same time improving the longevity of the timepiece.
Furthermore, the watch uses a Twin Sensor. The tool allows you to promptly check direction or temperature information in case of extremely tough conditions.
Like any other G-Shock model, the watch is equipped with a shock-resistance. Crucially for any firefighter, it’s also water-resistant up to 200m.
On top of its amazing durability, the Mudmaster comes with a plethora of additional functions, such as the World Time Feature (allowing you to track time in two different cities/time zones).
A full-auto calendar, 12/24-hour format, countdown timer and 5 daily alarms are also deserving of a mention. Last but not least, the model offers a hands-free (auto) backlight ensuring the easiest possible reading in the dark.
As far as the exterior is concerned, G-Shock GG1000 comes with a characteristically oversized case, measuring 56mm in diameter. Both the case and the band are made from highly durable resin. Protecting the dial from scratches and cracks is mineral crystal glass.
- Mud-Resist technology
- Water-resistant up to 200m
- Twin Sensor
- Mineral crystal
- Hands-free (auto) backlight
- At the price quoted, hard to find any
Casio G-Shock DW5600E-1V
Shopping on a budget? Not to worry – the durable timekeepers from Casio come to the rescue again. Even though this model won’t set you back more than $50, it is still likely to offer enough sturdiness in the typically tough conditions a firefighter has to face every day.
Sure, the classic-looking DW5600E-1V model might not be equipped with the premium features of the Mudmaster but, considering it’s about five times cheaper, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
Nevertheless, it has pretty much everything you could ask for from a durable, budget watch for a firefighter.
To begin with, it’s both shock and water-resistant. In fact, the water-resistance rating is on par with that of the Mudmaster (200m).
It’s also equally accurate. Like all Casio watches, this one is too powered by a reliable Japanese quartz movement, providing precision of +/- 15 seconds per month.
Basic G-Shock functions such as alarms, a stopwatch, countdown timers, an auto calendar and 12/24-hour formats are also provided.
It’s clear to see that this particular model doesn’t boast a typical, modern G-Shock look.
Actually, it was designed in a way to pay homage to the first G-Shock ever released, DW-5000C. Hence, it comes with a slightly smaller (45mm), square case. Similar to the Mudmaster model above, both the case and the strap are made from resin whereas the dial window is mineral crystal.
This model is a fully digital timepiece. The screen is equipped with a backlight with an Afterglow effect that can be switched on with a side button.
- Lowest price on the list
- Water-resistant (200m)
- Japanese quartz movement
- Lacks any premium features
Apple Watch 6
At a first glance, you might be surprised to see a smartwatch on the list of the best watches for firefighters. After all, the ruggedness is of paramount importance here and smartwatches aren’t really known for it.
- See also: Top 3 Smartwatches for Firefighters
All of the above is true but Apple Watch is a truly unique series. And, with so many customization options, it can be a great fit even for demanding professions like firefighters, EMTs or even the military.
So, how does a seemingly fragile device handle the tough daily tasks of a firefighter?
Well, it’s now pretty easy (and cheap!) to turn your Apple Watch into an unshakable smartwatch ready to take some serious beating. A special case called SupCase is available for peanuts and provides excellent protection against damage, on par with that of regular wristwatches like G-Shocks. It’s by far the best Apple Watch case for firefighters currently on the market.
The latest SupCase model, Unicorn Beetle Pro, provides the following:
- Easy access to all the watch features and buttons
- Bumper creating rugged shock absorption
- Raised bezel to protect the screen from damage
- Scratch-resistant case
- Fully adjustable built-in watch band
Consider getting the Apple Watch 6 for your work only if you are willing to wear it with the case. Otherwise, stick to any of the other options on the list!
More About Apple Watch 6
Apple Watch is a true powerhouse of a device when it comes to all the features it offers. If you are a firefighter that loves all the newest technology perks, you are unlikely to be disappointed with Apple’s latest smartwatch release.
Apple Watch 6 is predominantly known for its long list of health-related apps, some of which include:
- Heart rate monitor – as a firefighter it will give you a great insight into the types of situations that stress you out the most at your job
- Sleep quality tracker – with the importance of proper rest still downplayed, this app will help you learn more about your sleeping patterns
- ECG app – the series is one of the very few on the market to come with an FDA-approved heart rhythm monitoring app. It has helped many users discover existing heart conditions, such as Atrial Fibrillation
If you are a person who loves physical activity, you will embrace the fact that the Apple Watch 6 offers a GPS-supported pedometer and other applications for different types of workouts.
Furthermore, the availability of the cellular version of the Apple Watch means it can function as a standalone device. To put it simply, you can put a sim card inside and leave your smartphone in the fire engine or at home! Texting and calling from your wrist is pretty damn convenient.
As already mentioned, Apple Watches are super customizable. You can select from tens of different band and case variations. As well as that, the device offers a plethora of free faces. Picking the best Apple Watch face for firefighters might be quite a task.
Probably the biggest downfall of the series is that it isn’t compatible with anything but iPhones. If you are not an iPhone user, you might want to skip this one – or get both the watch and the smartphone.
- Most feature-rich smartwatch on the market
- Long list of health-related apps
- Functions as stand-alone device
- Customizable design
- Not compatible with Android devices
If you appreciate an elegant feel about a wristwatch, it’s definitely worth considering getting this stylish yet durable timepiece from Citizen.
Even though the watch belongs to Citizen’s Promaster collection, designed especially with scuba divers in mind, it has all the qualities required to serve you well as a firefighter.
First of all, it comes with a 200m water resistance, ensuring solid enough protection while in the field.
Because of the elegant, all-stainless steel design, it won’t look out of place on your wrist even away from work. The model can be a great addition to everyday apparel or even more official outfits. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
The case measures 45mm in diameter, making it suitable for all wrist sizes. It includes a unidirectional bezel that can be used to measure elapsed time during a mission.
The dial features three luminous hands and hour markers, making the task of reading in dark a walk in the park. At three o’clock, there’s also a date window. Protecting the watch face from cracks and scratches is mineral crystal glass.
On top of the elegant look, what also makes the watch stand out from other picks on the list is the type of movement.
The model, just like the vast majority of Citizen timepieces, is powered by the proprietary Eco-Drive movement. In other words, it’s fuelled by the light – meaning you will never have to invest in a new battery. The precision of this one is on par with both Casio G-Shocks discussed above.
New to Citizen? Get familiar with the name by reading the Citizen brand review.
- Eco-Drive (solar) movement
- Water-resistant up to 200m
- Unidirectional bezel
- Mineral crystal glass
- No shock-resistance
Picking the Best Watch for Firefighters: Buying Guide
I’d like to think that the above list has delivered at least one watch model you’re now considering getting. At the same time, I’m aware that there’s no accounting for taste and, just because I’m a fan of all products on the list, doesn’t mean you have to share the enthusiasm.
And this is the reason why I have prepared a quick and newbie-friendly Buying Guide that will go a long way in helping you find the best watch for firefighters on your own.
Below you will find the all-important features you need to look out for in the proper watch for a firefighter, as well as some bonus functions that will further help you tackle the everyday hardships at work.
There’s no getting away from the fact that a typical day in the fire engine is hardly a cakewalk. Although looks and features are important, we should prioritize the watch’s ruggedness if we want the timepiece to survive years in a demanding environment.
When working as a firefighter, you are likely to encounter a lot of dirt, mud, and water on a daily basis. Yes, I’m aware fire belongs to that list as well…
But as of yet, a fireproof watch hasn’t been discovered.
Instead, make sure the watch you are about to buy is:
- Water-resistant: at the very least, the WR rating should be 50m (5 BAR). In practice, that means the watch is splashproof. An example of such a watch is the Apple Watch Series 6. To maximize the protection against water and other fluids, it’s worth considering watches that are water-resistant up to 100m, or even 200m – like the G-Shocks or the Citizen model above.
- Shock-resistant: shocks to the watch, ie. caused by a drop to the surface, are not only likely to cause exterior defects but can also lead to damage to the movement. Shock-resistant watches or those for which you can purchase an extra layer of protection like in the case of the Apple Watch, for sure add more protection and often increase the lifespan.
- High temperature-resistant: although no watch is fireproof (yet!), most modern releases – like those included in the article – are resistant to high temperatures. That’s crucial in your job!
- Doesn’t use a plastic lens: damage to the dial window increases the chances of harming the watch movement as well. Repairs in both cases might be costly. High-risk jobs, like that of a firefighter, increase the possibility of cracks and scratches. Avoid at all costs plastic lenses! Consider durable glass materials, such as those included in watches on the list, ie. mineral crystal glass or Gorilla. The safest bet, and oftentimes the most expensive, is sapphire crystal glass.
- Doesn’t use a leather band: genuine leather straps might have all the looks in the world but they are so fragile. Not only are they prone to defects but are also likely to produce an unpleasant odor after just a few months of use in tough conditions. Save the watches with leather straps for your elegant outfits! When entering the fire engine, make sure your watch has a resin, silicone or stainless steel band.
Useful Functions in a Firefighter Watch
When it comes to watches for firefighters, the durability aspect is so important. But so can some of the functions.
Try to make sure the watch comes with:
- Luminescence: firefighters are no strangers to working in the dark. Ensure that the watch you’re looking to buy is equipped with some form of luminescence, like a backlight or luminescent hands and hour markers. A hands-free (auto) backlight, like the one in the first watch on the list, would be perfect.
- Accuracy: high-standard precision should be the bread and butter of any timepiece, even more so when it comes to watches for firefighters or other professions demanding punctuality. Although mechanical watches oftentimes require a more elaborate level of craftsmanship, there’s no getting away from the fact they are nowhere near as precise as quartz (battery-powered) models. Target watches with Japanese or Swiss quartz movements. Smartwatches are also fine – as long as you provide them with some extra layer of protection.
- Stopwatch: helps you measure the amount of time that elapses between its activation and deactivation. For sure, can be helpful not only during your shift but also away from it, ie. while working out.
- Countdown timer: as above.
- Alarm: as above.