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Picking the Perfect Police Watch

Choosing the Best Watch for Law Enforcement Officers

Smith & Bradley was started by a long time Chicago Policeman. So, we know a lot about building a watch that works for law enforcement officers. And here’s our guide to selecting the best watch for a cop on the beat.

Five Requirements for a Policeman’s Watch

When selecting a watch for a law enforcement officer, look for these traits:

  1. Toughness. This is a job where you can’t worry about your Rolex. A cop needs a watch that can stand up to intense physical activity and look the same on the other side. Make sure you’re choosing a watch that was designed to be tough. This means the watch crystal (glass) is protected on the edges. The construction is stainless steel. And the design is made to keep direct hits off the glass.
  2. Luminesce. Policemen and policewomen work night and day. They need a watch that gives them the time no matter how bright or dark it is outside. So the hands and probably the markers should glow lightly in the dark. However, you don’t want too bright of a watch. It could give you away in a tactical situation with another person. You want just enough so that you can see the time with a glance, but no one else can. Be careful to select a watch that fits in this narrow band.
  3. Sapphire Crystal, not Mineral Glass. For tactical situations where the watch absolutely will get hit, choose a Sapphire Crystal face, not mineral glass. Mineral glass is clearer than Sapphire (just a little), but it scratches and breaks more easily. It’s less likely to stand up to a cops beat. We recommend only considering a watch with a sapphire crystal face.
  4. Waterproof. Again, a law enforcement officer can’t choose to pause and remove a watch before getting wet. And they are likely to sweat. So pick a watch that can handle both without any issues. We always recommend NATO watch straps for tactical situations (police, fire, military). But the back of your watch also should be tough. At least 10ATM/100 meters of water resistance to be safe.
  5. Affordable and Unassuming. A flashy watch doesn’t become an officer of the law. When we surveyed over 1,000 law enforcement officers in 2020, the overwhelming sentiment was that a watch shouldn’t draw attention and should be affordable. It is a tool for policemen and policewomen, not a fashion statement. And cops need something affordable that works. Great value for the money.

Our recommended watches for law enforcement officers

At Smith & Bradley, we take our obligation to law enforcement officers seriously. And we’ve built several watches specifically to meet the needs of cops. Our favorites meet all of the criteria above. And we typically recommend an all black watch for police. It blends in with the uniform and keeps it clear that you are serious about your role.

However, some LEO’s prefer quartz, some prefer automatic, and some prefer digital. We’ve designed watches in each style. Here are our favorites:

Our SANS-13 tactical sport watch was the original quartz watch built for law enforcement and tactical men. It is a classic police watch with a Swiss movement, rotating bezel to mark time and a NATO strap.




Atlantis Blackfish Tactical Dive WatchBut some men want an automatic watch. Our Atlantis Blackfish Automatic Tactical Dive watch combines a tactical watch with the essential requirements for diving. Designed for tactical situations, it will never let you down and features a Swiss movement, rotating bezel and can dive to 300 meters.

Lockdown Tactical Digital Watch If you prefer digital, our Black Lockdown Digital Watch is a solid choice. It features a poly carbon case and a rubber strap.





But this article would not be complete without mentioning the watch we designed to honor our men and women of law enforcement. The Thin Blue Line edition of our Springfield GMT watch is perfect for police. It is a GMT watch, which allows you to track military time or another time zone in addition to the main watch movement.  Hard to find a better watch for a cop.



Great watches, designed to last at a great price

Smith & Bradley was founded by a Chicago law enforcement officer to create tough, long-lasting watches for the brave men and women who keep us safe. Thank you for your service.