Best Watches for EMT Workers and Paramedics in 2023
Daniel Louwrens9 September 2023 | 14 min read
EMT workers and Paramedics are the unsung heroes in our world, saving lives and looking good while doing so!
Medical professionals have a rich history tied with wristwatches, with certain models being specifically designed for EMT workers, doctors, or other individuals in the medical field. So, what are you supposed to buy as an EMT worker in 2023?
With the onslaught of smartwatches, is there even a reason to buy an automatic watch?
Perhaps, perhaps not, so we’ll cover everyone!
What I’m going to do is go through the various roles of the EMT and medical services and cover three options, namely a logical option, a modern mechanical option, and a discontinued/vintage watch as well.
Set your countdown timer for ETA 10 – 15 minutes or the amount of free time you have in a day.
As a paramedic, your needs and requirements are vast and not necessarily specified. You need to be able to track heart rate, be somewhat water resistant, and a few unique features wouldn’t go amiss. So, there is a good reason to invest in a watch that supports your lifestyle. I’ve compiled the following three options.
The Apple Watch Series has become one of the most famous watches in the 21st century, and most people think it’s a good idea to invest in one – regardless of what purists might think.
Good luck trying to convince a manually wind geek that a smartwatch is the next best thing…
Apple watches do offer you a lot of value for the money, and all these features make it one of the best EMT watches you can get!
With a lightweight design and the ability to track your movement, comms, and just about everything else, it makes an EMT’s job a lot easier.
Perhaps the only drawback is that the battery life isn’t as good as many advertisements might have you believe. What’s more, it’s not that robust.
You could do with more of a utilitarian case design or some kind of cover, just in case one of your evenings out there goes south very quickly. Otherwise, it’s the perfect watch for a paramedic on the job.
Orient Bambino Small Seconds
If you want to go off the beaten path and get a ton of value for your money, perhaps the Orient Bambino Small Seconds is one to consider.
The addition of a small seconds function makes it a lot easier to measure the heart rate of your patient, hence why old doctors only wore watches with this feature.
The modern Bambino has become a cult classic, offering not only a classic design but also an exceptional price. Coming in hot at just below $250, you get a white or black dial option featuring a caliber F6222 movement within, a hand-wound offering boasting a reliable 40-hour power reserve.
Keeping things classy is a domed mineral crystal, which will provide most of the thickness of this offering. A 40.5mm case diameter means it’ll appeal to most, and exceptional finishing on the hands and applied indices can only be seen as a good thing. Great design, great price, great watch.
1960s Omega Constellation
The pie pan Constellation hardly needs and introduction, and boy, is it one of the great designs from the 1960s. Unfortunately, they never made a small seconds option, but this still has an easy-to-read display. The top picks of this offering will run you north of $2,000, so, don’t expect a cheap offering here.
The watch face is certainly the most appealing part, with the sides of the dial angling away from the wearer, creating the signature ‘pie pan’ dial.
Can this be classified as one of those useful features we mentioned earlier? Absolutely not, but the date function is certainly a welcome addition. Despite the watch being a classy timepiece, it retains its legibility making it perfect for a paramedic (that’s also quite rich).
There’s honestly only one word to describe firefighters – badass. In the worst kind of emergency situation, you call these guys to come and help you – as far as tough jobs go, they’ve got their work cut out for them. We’ve already done a whole article around people like these, but a quick revision wouldn’t hurt!
Casio G-Shock Move DW-H5600 Series
G-Shock is an excellent choice regardless of what kind of person you are. This particular offering is a smaller option but doesn’t sacrifice any of the reliability or utilitarianism the brand has become known for.
Casio packs just about every feature they possibly can into this wee little thing, including movement trackers, GMT complications, a ‘Super Illuminator’, heart rate monitor, and a fast charging mode too!
The extra features make this the perfect watch for those who go into the fiery pits of hell to help you. You could also go for one of the new metal options, however, these are slightly more expensive and the metal could get super hot and burn you…
Marathon has a rich history of making watches for working individuals, especially military watches. In recent years, their no-nonsense approach to watchmaking has caught the eyes (and wrists) of purists who love this style and design – including me.
The GSAR is perhaps their most robust of offerings, coming in swinging with a 41mm case but that’s only telling half the story. They make use of tritium gas tubes on the hands, thus, making this one of the thicker offerings on the list coming in at 14mm thick.
You can opt for a quartz or ETA Swiss movement, ensuring you get just the correct option for you. Also, you can choose between a metal bracelet and a nylon strap, both fitting the aesthetic of this watch perfectly.
In case you are not a big fan of the Crown’s Sub’, perhaps Tudor’s offering would be a more attractive watch. First introduced in 1954, the Tudor Submariner is known for being robust, reliable, utilitarian, and surprisingly cool. Oh, it also comes in a far smaller size than other divers you’ll come across in the current market.
Plus, with the additional patina, you get more of a story as well. Various different models have been introduced over the years, some retaining the moderate size this Tudor has grown famous for. Whichever option you do end up choosing, you’ll rest easy knowing you chose one of the more interesting options on the market.
Emergency Room Technician
These are the folks that are in the hospital that are ready for the next patient, and the next, and the next, and you get the idea. Unlike paramedics who spend time in the ambulance, an ERT would wait at the hospital and be the ‘first line of defence’ – so, what would be on their wrists?
Let’s not overthink this one – it just makes sense. You get the insane reliability of a Casio combined with the extreme functionality of, well, a Casio! The F91W-1 has become insanely popular in recent years, and for good reason.
Casio doesn’t make any promises it cannot keep, no empty promises, no broken records. You get an alarm, a 24-hour display, a stopwatch, a day-date function, and a sleek design. It’ll never get in your way, and it’ll never let you down. Plus, it’ll cost you almost nothing so, more money to spend on overpriced hospital food.
JLC is known for creating some of the most beautiful and stunning creations in the horology world. Durable watches might not be what they’re known for, but once you’ve spoken to a few of their wearers, you realize that their watches are actually quite tough.
This particular type of watch, the Memovox, is known more commonly as an ‘alarm watch’, meaning the watch will ‘buzz’ once the time hits.
The current option runs you just north of $14,000. However, there are more cost-effective options online in the second-hand section. This might not be the best watch to measure your patient’s vitals. However, that Memovox function massively increases the utility of the watch, enabling you to use this watch for multiple functions.
With a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 12.39mm, this is truly the one watch to complete your collection, as it can be worn on the job or while on a date.
Rolex Cellini Prince
Since its discontinuation in early 2023, the Cellini… has not risen in popularity. This comes as a surprise since most discontinued watches usually rise in popularity faster than you can think! But not with the Cellini. Perhaps it’s because most people do not see Rolex as a dress watch company.
Whatever the case, the older Cellini Prince came in a square shape rather than the regular watch case shape and incorporated the all-important small-second function we discussed moments earlier. This makes it a lot easier to time someone’s heart rate if your heart rate monitor decides to act out.
Most of the Prince’s came with a guilloche pattern dial within a rose, yellow, or white gold square case. The looks are somewhat polarizing, but you still get a rare Rolex, a chronometer-certified movement, and a watch you could actually use on the job!
Nurses are probably the first thing you think about when you think of a hospital, and for good reason! Whether you are there for a checkup or checking up on the prices of a kidney transport, nurses carry you in their hands and ensure you are taken care of 24/7. One thing I want to consider here is affordable prices, seeing as nurses don’t exactly make a ton of money…
Timex Standard Chronograph 41mm TW2V43800
Cheap? Oh, you bet ya’! This Timex comes in south of $120, meaning you get a respected brand coupled with a stopwatch and date function for not a lot of money.
One of the most important things to remember as a nurse is that you’ll be moving, shifting, and changing directions all the time. Thus, I wanted to give the wearer the ability to track a different even without really thinking about it – hence the use of a quartz movement chronograph. What’s more, this option is rather stylish!
A 41mm polished case matched with a leather strap and pump pushers really harkens back to vintage offerings, and still makes for a reliable watch!
You can also get a few good deals on Timex offerings if you spend some time on their website. Water resistance could be slightly better, rated only at 50m, but I’ll forgive it thanks to that cream dial matches with hands similar to those seen on a broadarrow Speedmaster.
Seiko SSC817 Prospex
Seiko is another brand that can get you a ton of watch for not a lot of money! This means that you can get a good watch with a variety of features and excellent finishing for about the same as you would an entry-level Swiss counterpart. So, with that in mind, allow me to introduce the SSC817 Prospex, rocking a solar movement within.
Unlike any of the other watches on this list, the Seiko make use of a quartz movement that is not exactly powered by a battery, but rather charged by the sun – thus, enabling you to have carefree power for months to come! This particular reference makes use of a striking gold dial featuring contrasting black subdials and a white date aperture.
The brushed case creates a vintage look, which suits the subtle hue of gold on the dial perfectly to create an alternative to a ‘vintage-themed’ chrono if the Timex doesn’t fit your fancy. At $700, it is slightly more expensive, but you get about 3 times more of a watch, so, it is well worth the extra cost!
Tissot V560 Chronograph
Sticking with the chronograph theme, we have the Tissot V560, a vintage offering dating back to the 90s and boasting a host of staggering visual factors to make you go ‘Wow’. First, a steel case with a textured bezel similar to that you’d see on uber-luxurious counterparts. From there your attention is drawn to the hand-finished dial, displaying different textures along different parts of the dial creating dimension like no other!
This particular offering is finished with a blue dial and elongated Roman numerals, creating a classic look that works perfectly with the Cathedral hands. Within you have a reliable Valjoux 7750 movement, and you can expect to pay north of $1,000 for this offering.
Compared to the PRX chrono you might get less when looking at performance, but this beats the PRX on looks every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
The humble lifeguard! Many might not consider the lifeguard as an EMT worker, and this is hotly contested online on forums by the looks of things. However, they are some of the most important responders you can get! I’ve been helped by a couple of them, and I’ve also worked alongside them.
While they might not hold a candle to some NAVY Seals, they are still massively appreciated for what they do and the sacrifices they make.
Casio G-Shock DW5600CC23-4
Another Casio on the list – but there’s a very good reason for this one! This particular G-Shock is newly introduced and combines the humble watch company with Coca-Cola, and this includes the distinctive red scheme as well.
Red watch, red lifeguard suit – see what I mean?
Despite the aesthetics, this Casio still retains its utility as a G-Shock with its impressive 200m water resistance and shock resistance as well. You get a red rubber band to complete the look, and with features like a stopwatch, an alarm, a timer, and a day-date function, it gives you everything you need.
Granted, you’ll probably be using a walkie-talkie for comms, so there is no need for a smartwatch. Thus, double down on toughness and incorporate a pop of colour while you’re at it! Also, it’s like $160, which is a bargain!
Citizen Promaster Dive “Ecozilla”
Like Seiko, Citizen is known for offering some of the best value options on the market, especially when it comes to divers. Without beating around the bush, they just know how to make a good diver! The Ecozilla is another perfect example of this heritage, granting the wearer a 300m water resistance rating coupled with a style like not other.
The Ecozilla is not small by any means, with a 48mm diameter and a 17mm thickness, you can understand the ‘zilla’ part of the name… That said, these dimensions do mean you can do just about anything in with the Ecozilla and survive!
The Ecozilla was made for divers, real divers, all people who will be using the watch where it was designed to be used – like a lifeguard. Within you have the famous eco-drive movement, powering itself with sunlight and ensuring you never have to worry about running out of battery life.
What’s more, the watch is a simple date and three-hander, meaning it’s not complicated, meaning it’ll last you a lifetime if you take care of it.
1970s Doxa Sub 300T Professional
This is the one example when I will mention that the modern counterpart is just as good. Of course, I am talking about the Doxa Sub 300T, a non-nonsense diver that introduces a new style and color scheme as well. You start off with a stainless steel case matched with a beads of rice bracelet – another unique attribute of this range.
Behind the bright orange dial, you find an automatic movement, which puts you higher than your Ecozilla counterpart – romantically, at least. The Doxa also has a rich history as one of the most trusted and influential divers of yesteryear, so, you’ll be wearing history on your wrist.
The only small problem is the price. Vintage offerings will run you north of $3,000, so, the modern (and cheaper) counterpart might actually be an option to consider.
The last one on the list is known as an offshore medic, indicating that you’ll be working at a specific offshore site – typically an oil rig. You’ll be cut from the mainland, meaning there is even more pressure on you! So, you better make sure your watch of choice will survive anything and everything.
Garmin Instinct II
Garmin is another brand known for combining the smartwatch functionality with the toughness of a … tough watch.
The Instinct II is known as their most rugged offering, granting the wearer a multitude of functions like a MULTI-GNSS support feature, ABC sensors, route tracker, and a host of other smartwatch features. Battery life is rated at a staggering 28 days, which is certainly more than you’ll ever need.
The watch does have a lot of fitness features that you probably won’t use, but it’s nice to have.
Breitling Endurance Pro
Breitling. Power. Precision. Robust. The Land Cruiser of the watch world. Breitling watches of yesteryear solidified the brand as one of the toughest and most reliable offerings you can get your hands on. The Endurance Pro is perhaps not the best-looking watch in the world, but will certainly survive your offshore expedition.
You get a 44mm diameter that only weighs 54 grams, all thanks to the use of Breitlight®, a “robust material 3.3 times lighter than titanium and 5.8 times lighter than stainless steel,” according to Breilting.
Within this lightweight case, you have a quartz movement, ensuring you never have to worry about your power reserve running dry or your time being inaccurate. Overall, this is a brilliant option and something a bit more elevated than the old Breitlings that have a digital display.
Rolex Sea-Dweller 4000
There is no escaping the fact that Rolex does make some of the most influential watches – especially when it comes to sports and diver options. This raises the question – which option would you actually go for?
Well, a Submariner or Yachtmaster might not actually fit the bill if we’re considering there is even a more utilitarian option – the Sea-Dweller. And when considering this particular option, we might as well go back to one of the most popular options ever created, the Sea-Dweller 4000.
Known for being one of the more collectable options in Rolex’s catalogue, the reference 116600 was only produced for three short years before being replaced by the 126600. 40mm of pure diver, no cyclops, the 3135 calibre within, and water resistant to 4000m. What exactly is there to complain about?!
For some, the Sea-Dweller is a bit too utilitarian, and for those, the Sub’ is perfectly fine. That said, if you are the type of person who might be spending 10 of the 12 months of the year offshore, this bad boy is perfect.
How do I make my choice?
Feeling overwhelmed? Well, I can imagine I would be as well. That said, there are a couple of things you might ask yourself to improve your decision-making endeavours. Price will always be a determining factor, no matter how you look at the watch. Sure, with one or two of these options, your money might be safe; however, you still need to invest the money upfront.
Secondly, how it looks and fits will also play a huge role. This is why it’s better to actually try the watches on before making a choice. Sure, some of these older options might be hard to find, but if you can, it’s worthwhile doing.
This will also allow you to see how the watch actually fits when considering size – something extremely valuable.
Lastly, you might want to consider how the watch will improve your EMT life. I can understand that some watches will make your life easier and others will only get in your way. Consider the complications that your watch offers you before making a choice, as these complications might make or break the wearing experience.
This is where the smartwatches come into their own, seeing as they are jam-packed with different complications and features that no mechanical watch will be able to match. This loses you that romantic idea, but that’s a conversation you need to have with yourself… Personally, the romantic option is the better one.
Overall, you need to consider quite a few things before unloading your dollars. That said, I know exactly which ones I would go for – but I’m not an EMT.
I did ask my doctor friend which she would prefer, and she just straight up said an Apple watch. It’s the most practical, it’s the ‘best looking’ (WTH are you even saying, Cath?), and it’s the one she currently wears because she can use it daily as well.
This all makes sense, but since when has your watch been about what makes sense? It’s about what makes you feel good, isn’t it?