Should firefighters even wear watches? If so, why? Can they wear smartwatches, or they have to stick to the conventional watch picks? These and many more are the questions that we answer in this guide to the best watches for firefighters.
If you are in a hurry, we recommend that you pick the Apple Watch Series 5 (if you use an iOS unit) or either of the Galaxy Watch 3/ Fossil Gen 3 (for Android devices). They are the best smartwatches for firefighters on this list – and we get into the whys of that if you read the rest of the post.
Otherwise, you will find good support from either the Casio G-Shock GG-1000 Mudmaster and Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Watch.
That said, let’s get into the meat of the post.
Can Firefighters Wear Watches?
Whether on the job or not, firefighters can and should wear wristwatches. A quality timepiece is essential for checking the time and their vitals so that they can always stay in shape for the kind of work they do.
When off the job, firefighters become like everyone else. Thus, these heroes need watches that they can wear on hiking trips, go hunting or fishing, or spend some time outdoors. There might also be occasions where they need a dress watch or two to complete their collection.
On the job, the wristwatch helps to track time – like when a report came in and when they got to the site. With picks like smartwatches, these heroes can even stay more active while staying connected better throughout the day.
Can Firefighters Wear Apple Watches?
Apple watches are built to last these days so much that firefighters can wear them too. With a combination of quality (swappable) straps and stronger glass on the surface, they can also hold their own against abuse.
However, Apple watches are not explicitly made to withstand abuse. While they are strong in their own right, they cannot be used as a dedicated, rugged watch. If that is what you are looking for, you might want to consider any of the Casio or Victorinox picks on this list instead.
Pro Tip: To better protect your Apple watches, take them off before heading into a fire. You can also hide them beneath your protective gear before going into fires too.
What Kinds of Watches Do Firefighters Wear?
Firefighters can wear any watch. Their choice of wristwatch will be dependent on the purpose at the moment – whether for the job or off the job.
Thus, they can wear just about any watch also. However, when on the job, we prefer that they wear wristwatches better suited to the job at hand. That way, it doesn’t interfere with the work that they are doing.
Likewise, there is less possibility of suffering damage to the watch.
What Are the Features of a Good Watch for Firefighters?
We limit this list to the kinds of watches that firefighters will want to wear on the job. You should not have any challenges choosing what you would like to pair with your outfits when off the job, anyway. If you need any help with that, you can dive into our categories for men and women watches.
Here are some of the features to look for on a firefighter’s wristwatch.
This is an excellent place to start.
The rigors of the job mean that your wristwatches will be subjected to some harsh conditions.
You won’t have the time to prevent the watch from hitting the sides of the fire truck, for example. You might have to get close to the fire sometimes, so the watch has to be resistant to high levels of heat also. That, and you are working under some of the harshest conditions. If the watch can withstand all of that, then it is a good pick for you.
#2 Water Resistance
Firefighting requires a good deal of water. It is thus a no-brainer that the watch you would get be waterproof also.
Of course, you are not turning the water hose on yourself. However, you might have to work in the rain, waddle through water bodies to save lives, etc. In those instances, you would be glad that your watch can hold its own well against water elements too.
#3 Legibility & Readability
In the heat of the moment – no pun intended – you don’t want to be spending too much time trying to tell the time itself when you could have a watch with excellent readability from a distance.
To compensate for this, we have chosen wristwatches with fairly significant hour markers and hands. We also added some picks with luminous hands for better viewing in a low light situation.
Left to us, we would have gone with digital wristwatches all through. A single glance at them, and you know what the time is already. Though we also got some fantastic options that bring these features on board for those that love analog watches.
Lest we forget, a good LED backlight is also a fine addition to a firefighter’s watch.
#4 Band Material
Steel and metal bands are classy, we know. We also think about how they can quickly get heated when around fires, and we don’t want that for our firefighters.
That is why we prefer you to wear something with a rubber/ silicone or leather band while on the job.
#5 Choice of Brand
We always tend towards the brands that have proven themselves in the market, time, and again.
That is not because the other brands are not doing well too. However, we would instead choose something tried and tested than let you be a guinea pig. We don’t think we want to take that kind of chance for something as sensitive as a timepiece. And you shouldn’t too.
#6 Personal Style
After all said, it also comes down to your style and preferences.
We can assure you that all the wristwatches on this list are excellent – but they might not all fit into your style. We have done a fine job of curating different watch styles so that you’ll always find something that resonates with your style in there.
Our Picks of the Best Watches for Firefighters
Would you prefer smartwatches, a Casio watch, or one of the affordable units that Timex puts on the shelves? No matter what your style and needs, here are the best wristwatches to get as a firefighter.
Smartwatches for Firefighters
Apple Watch Series 5
- Size – 40mm & 44mm
- Materials – Ceramic, Stainless Steel and Aluminium
- Useful compass feature
- Health and activity tracking
- Notifications tracking
Yes, we know that the Apple Watch Series 6 is out already, but we don’t think you need all of that power on a watch right now.
The Apple Watch Series 5 allows you to stay on top of your notifications, health, and schedules without having to whip your phone out all the time. The only downside that we see to this watch is the limited functionality with non-iOS devices. Besides that, you are good to go.
You can pick the watch up in stainless steel, aluminum, and even ceramic builds. None is less useful than the other, and it will come down to your personal preferences.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Sizes – 41mm and 44mm
- Materials – Stainless Steel, Titanium
- ECG Sensor
- Optical Heart Rate Sensor
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 pairs fine with iOS devices alongside Android units.
It would take a Samsung device to unlock this watch’s full compatibility, but it does play well with others. That, and we like the fact that Samsung always goes for traditional watch designs. In other words, this can pass as an everyday watch when you are not on the job.
Even though this is the latest watch in the series, we would have picked the Galaxy Watch Active 2 if only it had a bezel. Here, the bezel provides an extra layer of protection to the watch face – even though that is not why it is here.
Overall, we love the design of this watch too, and Samsung is doing a lot to improve its functionalities range.
Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch – Best Value Smartwatch
- Sizes – 44mm
- Material – Stainless Steel
- Trackers – activity, heart rate, calorie intake
Don’t go to the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch looking for an Apple watch level of features. The best thing about this watch, though, is that it gets the ‘smartwatch’ work done without all the bells and whistles. That gives it the rating as the best value smartwatch on this list.
Battery life has been dicey with the Fossil smartwatches, but we believe an update should fix that to make it better soon.
Besides that, we love the smartwatch design – evidently developed by an actual watchmaker. The watch is also available in different designs and styles that you cannot leave the page without finding one you love.
Casio Watches for Firefighters
Casio G-Shock GG-1000 Mudmaster
- Shock and mud resistance
- Durable – a mineral glass watch face
- 200m water resistance rating
- Sensors – temperature and compass
- Useful complications – date, day, compass.
- LED backlight
Casio is known for its durable watches, so we will leave that out here.
This watch carries a style and design that makes it suitable for everyday use. Even when you are not on the job, that is.
We like the watch’s water resistance, putting it up there with some of the best diving watches that we have reviewed also. There are many sensors under the hood that we don’t think you’ll use every time but will come in handy when you do need them.
Casio G-Shock GM-5600-1JF
- Stainless steel on resin band
- Digital readout
- Shock and water-resistant (200m)
If the first thing that concerns you here is the choice of stainless-steel material, you are not alone.
Stainless steel is better at withstanding heat and higher temperatures than most metals. Since it is only on the watch face with a resin strap handling the rest of the design, you don’t have anything to worry about here.
That said, we appreciate the simplistic design of this watch. As always, we know that this watch will hold well against abuse. At this price range, though, we would have loved to see more features slapped on the wristwatch.
Don’t get us wrong – it’s a great watch. If you are conscious of the money, we prefer that you choose the Mudmaster directly above this line. Otherwise, this is a nice Casio watch to add to your collection.
Casio Men’s GA710 – Best Value Casio Watch
- Stylish design
- Resin exterior for case and strap
- Shock and water resistance (200m)
- Five years of battery life promise
- LED backlight feature
- Diverse design and color options
This is the best value Casio that fit all our requirements.
The design is a little bit on the flashy side, so you might want to pick this if that is more your thing. Overdone or not, Casio didn’t lose track of protection by pairing a resin watch case with a band of the same material. It would take some abuse for that to fall apart.
The watch face is complicated with a digital calendar display, stopwatch, and timer features. The promise of world time means that you never have to worry about gaining or losing time unnecessarily.
If you have not owned a Casio watch before, this would be a great place to start before moving up the list.
Timex Watches for Firefighters – Overall Best Value Wristwatches
Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin
- Size – 44mm
- Strap material options – Leather or fabric
- 50 meters of water resistance
Timex did what they are best known for: bringing excellent watches to the market at impressive price ranges.
Starting with this 44mm watch, we get different designs and color options to match your style. You can even choose between having a genuine leather strap or slip-through fabric instead.
No matter what strap or color you choose, you get the same legible watch face complicated only by the calendar at 3-o-clock. At 50m water resistance, you won’t be going diving with this watch anytime soon. However, it is not going to fall victim to water damage from spraying and splashing either.
Did we mention the solar power support already? It’s even more impressive that the watch can hold a charge for more than a month.
Timex Expedition T498639J
- Most stylish Timex watch on the list.
- Bezel provides additional protection.
- Indiglo night-light
- Rugged styling – Resin case on a canvas strap
Don’t let the images fool you. This is one big watch.
Not too big for comfort, but you should not pair this watch with a small wrist.
Now that we are on the same page, we can appreciate the ruggedness of this watch better. It doesn’t get better than a resin watch case on a canvas strap to get the best durability standards.
As always, Timex went simple on the watch face, choosing only to add a calendar complication. We don’t mind that one bit anyway.
Finally, the company slaps on its signature Indiglo technology for better visibility in low light. That will come in handy when you are making night runs – whether on or off the job.
Timex Ironman Essential 30 Watch
- Highly minimalistic
- Legible digital readouts
- Adjustable straps
- Chronograph with 30-lap memory
- 100m water resistance rating
The ‘Essential’ name tag could not have been more apt.
This watch brings you all you need on a timepiece, at a fair price point, and without cutting corners either.
Timex sells the watch in different color stylings and design, helping you choose something best suited to your person.
Featuring a bold and modern design is just one of the best things on this watch. Offering this level of readability and visibility is the most significant flex for us. Add in the Indiglo backlight, and that feature gets better.
Named Ironman for its strength, Timex outdid itself on this one.
Pro Tip: You might want to get new straps with this watch. The included straps are designed with ridges on the inside, which could cause some mild discomfort.
Victorinox watches for Firefighters
Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Watch
- Multiple colors and designs
- Size – 43mm
- Durable leather
- Swiss-made watch
- 200m water resistance
Victorinox is no stranger to making wristwatches that can withstand the elements, so their entry to this list is no surprise.
With 200 meters of water resistance, you are covered against water damage already. You might not know this, but the watch leather strap is made from the same material as firefighter boots. Besides fire, the strap can also hold up well against salt, water, and acid attacks.
On the watch’s face is a triple-coated sapphire glass crystal, specially treated against scratches and breakage. As long as you don’t go out of your way to abuse the watch, you should not have any problems with it.
The good news is that this watch also looks great. That makes it not only one of the best watches for firefighters to take on the job but a nice outdoor watch even.
Taking Care of Your Wristwatch
Firefighters that go into the field frequently will expose their watches to the element more often too. Getting the best out of your wristwatches requires constant care: cleaning, servicing, and repair.
We have put together a comprehensive guide on watch cleaning and repair for you. In summary, you should:
- Clean your watches with a soft, damp cloth
- Rinse your watches in freshwater if you have been in saltwater
- Take your wristwatches for servicing once every two years.
- Get additional protection (such as screen guards and protectors) for your smartwatches.
- Replace the watch battery when it goes out
- Store your watches away safely when not in use.
That should get you started on making sure your wristwatch lasts for longer.