How to Choose a Survival Watch

A survival watch, unlike an ordinary timepiece, boasts an array of vital functionalities that align with survival tools. Beyond providing precision timekeeping, these watches offer features such as a rechargeable battery, a digital display, a fashionable look, and everyday alarms. They are also water and shock-resistant, making them a perfect fit for those who love daring outdoor activities.

Buying Guide

All of the watches in this guide are capable of providing ultimate survival in the most extreme conditions, but keep in mind that each situation, as each watch, is unique. Generally, start by deciding what you want the watch to do and how long you want it to last, and then go searching for a suitable model.

When choosing a survival watch, we should look for the following features.

#1 Types Of Watches

The most frequent survival watch designs. Because no two survival scenarios are the same, it’s no wonder that the gear required varies as well. To get the most bang for your buck, select the most important characteristics to you when selecting a survival watch for your emergency kit or everyday carry.

Analog Watches

The classic analog watch face never goes out of style. Due to its simplicity and enduring appeal, it may also be found on most survival watches on the market. There are designs on this list to suit any personal style, and there is an excellent range. Options with a higher price tag combine analog hands with digital displays to give the best of both worlds.

In most ways, analog watches can compete with digital watches, although they have some inherent restrictions due to physical hands. That is not a terrible thing; it is simply something to think about.

Smart Watches

All survivalists use weight and space conservation as one of their methods. You’ll almost certainly have to carry everything and move on foot in a survival situation, so whatever you bring must be helpful. A smartwatch is one approach to packing a lot of functionality into a small space. Because they integrate timekeeping with GPS tracking, monitoring systems, and weather sensors, these modern timepieces are one of the best assets.

Keep in mind that, in comparison to a typical watch, this much processing power necessitates a lot of electricity; therefore, battery life is limited. Although solar charging might improve battery life, you should still watch the charge meter.

Digital Watches

Certain functionalities of digital timepieces are unavailable in analog watches. It uses 24-hour time, has stopwatches, lap timers, multiple alarm clocks, and the ability to flick through info to get whatever you need, when you need it, without clogging up the little clock face.

Because all of this digital power requires a charge to operate, it’s a good idea to keep a spare battery in hand in emergencies like natural disasters. Personal preference plays a role in watch choosing, and some people have strong feelings about the digital vs. analog debate. Both are viable choices; choose the one that feels most natural to you.

#2 Battery life

Depending on various circumstances, the battery life of different models of watches might vary dramatically. Solar energy is used to charge the G-Shock watch we recommended earlier. If you’re constantly out in the daylight, you’ll almost never have to fear the battery expiring when you need it the most.

Watches like the Casio Twin Sensor Watch have a three-year battery capacity.

On the other hand, the Garmin Fenix 5X will need to be changed frequently due to its screen and GPS functions, so you won’t be able to depend on it above 20 hours. However, battery life of closer to 15 hours is a safer alternative.

 When you’re out exploring a new place, the last thing you want is for your GPS to stop working abruptly.

Each of these options is more than adequate for the tasks at hand, but an essential factor to consider that’s what you’ll be using it for and how long you’ll need to depend on it between battery replacement period or charging procedures.

#3 Case Material

A few microbrands have created timepieces with meteorite dials, proving that modern watches can be made out of nearly anything. However, the material used in a watch is less significant than how well it can withstand the conditions in which it will be used.

Although most watches use a range of materials for both practical and aesthetic goals, the stainless steel of the Casio G-Shock Rangeman series was chosen to handle just about everything. Steel, rubber, resin, and plastic are all robust, sturdy materials found in most prepper-friendly timepieces. Titanium is a common field watch material since it is light but robust.

When it comes to timepieces that have to resist a lot of wear and tear, the material isn’t everything. Even if two watches are constructed of the same material, the screw-down crown will be far more water-resistant than the one with the push-down crown.

#4 Watch Face

The crystal protects the display from water, dust, and other impurities by covering the watch face. The entire system’s integrity could be jeopardized if the crystal cracks or is somehow damaged.

Without a doubt, sapphire is the most incredible crystal for a survivalist watch. It’s the scratchiest and most likely to withstand the harshest treatment without cracking.

Mineral crystal is used by both the Casio SGW1000 and the Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400. Mineral crystal is a popular choice for low-cost or mid-range watches since it is relatively robust. Still, it is also an area where many businesses strive to save money during the manufacturing process.

#5 Strap Material

Straps can be manufactured from several materials, but function should always take precedence over form. Although the worn leather strap may look great on your watch, it’s not ideal for a timepiece that can be worn out in the water or other eroding conditions.

Resin or rubber straps are the most basic options, as they work well in many conditions, are resistant to water, suit a wide range of wrist sizes, and can be rapidly stretched if you need to lend your watch to a friend or borrow their watch. Some G-shock series have multi-bands with multi-band atomic timekeeping.

#6 Price

Here’s a price range for a good survival watch that comes with a ton of additional features.

  • Under $100: A solid survival watch from a reputable manufacturer can be purchased for under $100. You’ll almost certainly go for an analog watch at this reasonable price.
  • $100-$350: This is the sweet spot for many purchasers. These are premium watches under the budget.
  • Over $350: Surviving watches begin to take a dramatic high-end turn after $350. Premium brands have cutting-edge features and build quality that operates just as well as a regular watch in everyday situations.

#7 Durability

To endure the elements, you’ll need a survival watch. Make sure that your survival mechanical watch is water-resistant. You don’t want your land navigation aid destroyed by a storm.

Deep water depth features can differentiate between a ticking and a lifeless watch if you fall from a boat.

#8 Energy Source

The optimal power source depends on what you’ll do with the wristwatch and how long you’ll be apart from the source of energy. Many automatic watches are now fueled by the movement made while the watch is being worn, but this reserve begins to deplete the instant the watch is removed.

Only a few models have a complication that displays the remaining power. In most cases, this isn’t a big concern, but it implies that if you take the watch off for more than a day or two, you’ll need to use external timekeeping devices to precisely set the time.

Some now include an integrated solar panel with a fashionable appearance that allows you to charge your mechanical watch with solar power. Though not all of them provide these extra capabilities, you can choose a non-solar model.

#9 Navigation tools

Various navigation tools are controlled by satellite data from satellites like GLONASS, GPS, and Galileo. The United States operates GPS, Russia operates GLONASS, and the European Union operates Galileo.

It’s OK to have access to one of the three, but having access to all three and a digital compass is preferable. Because, especially in more rough terrain or at higher latitudes, you’ll have a better chance of contacting GNSS satellites and using a digital compass.

Remember that linking your watch to a satellite uses a lot of power. Bring additional batteries or a battery pack just in case.

#10 ABC Sensors

An altimeter/barometer and compass are included in an ABC watch.

The altimeter frequently keeps track of your height by combining the pressure data from the barometer with the starting information.

If you have access to a topographical map, an ABC watch can be used to navigate on land.

Some watches would have more detectors, including an accelerometer that records the watch’s mechanical movements.

Of course, before being forced to utilize these detectors in a survival situation, you need to be well versed with them.

Why Should One Buy A Survival Watch When Other Options Are Available In The Market?

The benefits of owning a survival watch are numerous. In a survival situation, your brain would be your greatest important commodity and your most pricey liability. 

When one is fatigued, their brain signals them to stop. Due to this, you can feel like you have been walking for hours even if you haven’t walked that far.

Several questions may start popping up in your mind like- How far are you from the cliff? How long will it take you to reach your camp? How long has the food been simmering over the fire pit? These are all questions that a watch can answer, but you shouldn’t put your trust in just any watch off the shelf.

Survival watches are highly dependable. They are waterproof, have a great battery life, and keep ticking even when you’re willing to give up. We looked for high-quality products from trustworthy producers to compile this gear guide. Each watch has its unique set of qualities and skills, and I’d trust any of them in an emergency.

  • Use timers and daily alarms to stay on top of survival activities
  • Use navigational devices to design a course for safety

#1 Best Survival Watch– Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical

The Garmin Instinct Solar Tactical is equally at home in the woods in the city.

It’s a MIL-STD-810G-certified GPS-enabled smartwatch that can endure shock, vibration, and immersion in water up to 330 feet.

You get all the standard smartwatch bells and whistles, including a heart rate monitor. The Instinct Tactical also offers a “TracBack” function that uses your motions and GPS to retrace your movements even though they’ve been wiped away.

If you need to stay concealed from someone who is tracking electronics, a stealth mode is also available.

If it weren’t for the solar batteries that keep the battery charged, these power-hungry functions would be an issue. If you want a 14-day battery capacity, you can save money by buying the non-photo voltaic Garmin Instinct Tactical.

Best Survival Watch Worth Your Money- Timex Expedition Gallatin Solar-Powered Watch

There are many survival watches available for 50 bucks in the market that you can add to your survival kit. However, they might not be a match for Timex Expedition Gallatin Solar-Powered Watch, which is built to last.

Though it is inexpensive, the Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Solar is not one of those cheap watches.

The Gallatin features a photovoltaic analog display with bright luminous hands and hands-free backlight mode. A leather strap is included, but replacements are available. To keep your location hidden, everything is blacked out or painted in a non-reflective hue.

So, for the price, what do you give up?

Functionality ABC. There are no external sensors on the Gallatin, only date and time.

Best Budget-Friendly Survival Watch- Casio Pathfinder PAG-240

Casio’s Pathfinder PAG-240 watch is a great outdoor sports watch at a fraction of the coat of many others.

You won’t think twice about the battery expiring because it has a photovoltaic backlit digital display with a battery power indicator.

The Pathfinder contains an altimeter/barometer, a thermometer, and a digital compass to aid navigation in the wilderness. The detectors, on the other side, must be calibrated regularly.

This watch is also relatively lightweight for its size so it won’t overpower your ensemble. Upgrade Pick — Rangeman GW-9400 Casio G-Shock

  • The Casio G-Shock watch range has enough variations to suit any survivalist’s demands! So, this is the perfect G-Shock series for people buying for the first time.
  • If you’re looking for a challenging, feature-packed survival watch that doesn’t break the bank, the G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is a terrific option. 
  • It’s a thermometer-equipped ABC watch. The atomic clock is used to keep track of time. Up to five alerts and 40 atmospheric condition recordings are possible. Based on your location, it’ll also inform you when the sun will rise or set.
  • Ruggedness is what distinguishes the G-Shock Rangeman from the Pathfinder. It has an impressive feat and can withstand 660 feet of water, and is designed to keep debris, dust, and mud out.

Best Affordable G-Shock Compass Survival Watch- G-Shock G9300-1 Mudman

The Casio G9300 Mudman is the cheapest G-Shock compass on the market. It’s an older premium model with built-in twin sensors (compass and temperature). The watch is often priced between $110 and $150, making it the most affordable Master of G timepiece. Moreover, it looks great in formal settings.

 Along with the compass and thermometer, the Mudman has some extra features that include solar cell power, powerful hands-free backlight, World Time, tidal and moon charts, and extra-rugged mud- and soot-proof construction. However, the mud-resistant coating has a minor drawback of requiring more effort to press the buttons than other better-looking G-Shocks.

Best Tactical Watch– Garmin tactix Delta

 The Garmin tactix Delta is a strategic smartwatch, but not in the small ninja sense.

This watch was made for military use. What other timepiece offers a HALO Jumpmaster Mode?

Waypoints, multiple GPS networks, a stealth option that disables GPS, and even a death function that removes all information from the watch are all included in the tactix Delta.

There’s also a night vision mode for using night vision goggles. You may also use the Garmin Express app to customize the tactix Delta further.

Best Oversized Case Survival Watch- G-Shock GA-700-1BCR

The G-Shock GA700 is another large watch with a 55mm casing and a nice touch. The appearance differs significantly from the GA110, but the basic features are comparable.

The GA700 is among the few G-Shocks with an EL illumination button on the front and a dual-time display. This model also includes a hand-shift mode that helps move the watch’s hands away from the digital screens for a few moments to read them.

Best Small-sized Survival Watch- G-Shock DW5600E-1V

The DW-5600 is the smallest and most affordable G-Shock currently available. Since the late 1980s, this basic square model has been a best-seller. It’s a simple watch with all necessities: a clock, stopwatch, 12/24 time, alarm, snooze alarm settings, hourly time beep, and calendar.

This tiny wonder is the most valuable item ever, and it will almost certainly pass through any survival scenario. It can be abused, neglected, or left on at a neighbor’s pool party, but it will always be there to remind you that lunchtime is approaching in 10 minutes cheerfully.

Best Military Survival Watch- G-Shock GA100 Military Series

For its minimalist, industrial design, large case, multi-band six radio time sync, and affordable price, the G-Shock GA-100 is one of the most popular analog G-Shock models. An airplane’s instrument panel inspires the model with its high-contrast hands and anti-magnetic case.

Casio’s military watches include the GA100. The watch case is 51mm in diameter. The watch is small and light, but it will be noticeable on your wrist. It’s big, but not as big as some Master of G watches.

Best Survival Watch with Flashlight – SureFire 2211 Wristlight

All survival watches contain at least luminous hands to check the time at night. However, most only have a backlight button, which you can’t use to light your campground.

SureFire and Luminox teamed up to create a premium survival watch with a SureFire-designed light, assuring that you’ll never be without light!

The SureFire 2211’s LED flashlight can make 15, 60, or 300 lumens. It has a built-in lithium-ion battery that charges through USB and aligns precisely with a pistol grip.

Best Low Price G-Shock Survival Watch- G-Shock DW9052-1V

Unlike the G-Shocks that came before, the DW-9052 goes back to basics. It’s the most popular standard-issue G-Shock model, which means it just has the most basic G-Shock functions and costs less than $50.

The design hasn’t altered much since the 1990s, as you can see in the image. The blue line in the middle of the display acts as a visual second counter, trying to give the watch a military look. The tactical display of the DW-9052 is frequently seen on military personnel worldwide; thus, that may be why.


All the survival watches accommodate a wide range of advanced features. Some are known for their tactical features, while others for shear resistance. However, choosing the best watch depends ultimately on the buyer and their needs.

We hope you got some fruitful information from this guide for your reference. Don’t forget to check the other blogs and articles available on our website if you like our guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a self-winding feature in Rolex?

A Rolex is a self-winding watch that uses the wearer’s natural movements to wind itself. If the watch is not on a watch winder for several days, it will eventually stop working. You can start winding the Rolex after the crown is unscrewed.

Which timepiece does the military wear?

MIL-W-46374, the third issued timepiece, is today’s official military watch standard despite being changed five times. There are numerous specific requirements, but the most important was that watches could survive in severe environments, from extreme deserts to desolate tundras.

What timepiece does the US Navy wear?

Luminox Navy Seal Timepieces are the most reliable watches for night missions for their self-powered illumination capabilities. Each wristwatch has been independently tested and shown to be 200 meters waterproof.

Are quartz watches EMP-resistant?

In general, your wristwatch will be ruined. The quartz crystal itself will not be affected by an EMP, but the circuitry that handles all of the circuitry would.