Only time will tell how well prepared you are for a SHTF situation. Although, a hectic situation does not just have to be the collapse of civilization but maybe when awaiting for help after an avalanche. Telling time is important, especially when it comes to gauging survival chances. A survival watch can help you stayed focused, even when there is commotion all around you.


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Casio Men’s G-Shock Rescue Watch

Citizen Men’s Nighthawk Stainless Steel Watch

Casio Men’s Pathfinder Triple Sensor Sport Watch

Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch

Suunto Core Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch

Reasons to Have a Watch

Sometimes you need a watch to simply tell the time. Then, there are those scenarios that demand much more than just what the hour is. Survival watches vary in shape, size, and function. Price scales accordingly with what the watch is capable of, as well as in how it is designed. Although all the following features can be useful, they are not all always found on the watch you may be considering.


Yes, it is a given that your watch can accurately tell time. However, you may be one of those people who is now entirely dependent on their smartphone to give them information. But what happens when that phone’s battery dies or does not have a signal? In certain situations, a watch with alarm, timer, and world clock functions will serve you better than a considerably fragile smartphone.

Another facet of time that some survival watches come equipped with is sunrise and sunrise. Out in the wilderness, knowing how many hours you have until dark is essential for shelter construction and building a fire.


Though the diehard survivalist will always have a spare standard issue compass on hand, a watch can be a used as a secondary means of navigation. Many survival watches have either a digital or rotating compass to point you in the right direction.


Exclusive to watches that have digital display. Emitting a GPS signal means that you are never really lost, because a satellite will be tracking your coordinates consistently.


Extreme weather conditions, especially ones that you are not prepared for, truly dampen your ability to survive. Knowing the temperature is pivotal in understanding the x-amount of time you have or how your body will react in certain conditions. For example, falling into a river and needing to know what the air temperature is so you do not get hypothermia.

Altimeter & Barometer

Some watches have just an altimeter for altitude. Others comes with a barometer, which gauges atmospheric pressure as well as altitude. Mountain climbers and hikers will benefit from a barometer strapped to their wrist for one reason: when atmospheric pressure suddenly drops, the weather could be changing. This means that they may have to abandon the trail to hunker down somewhere safe.

Also, if you have been without water for some time, being able to note when the pressure drops can signal you to set up a water collector.

Now that you know some standard features, let us have a look at some of the top models out there.

The Top 5 Best Survival Watches

1. Casio Men’s G-Shock Rescue Watch


  • Four-point design protection
  • Large buttons
  • Shock resistant to I.S.O. standards (see above)
  • A large tide and moon-phase data
  • 50mm resin case is highly durable
  • Digital display
  • Resin band with buckle closure
  • Water resistant for up to 200m (660ft); suitable for professional marine activity and water surface sports
  • Lightweight
  • 5 alarms and countdown timer


  • Lacks a barometer

A “best of” list would be incomplete without Casio. The sleek and modern G-shock watch is a favorite amongst weekend warriors and hardcore explorers alike—especially those who love fishing. Built to last, Casio watches are super easy to use, highly functional, and even have a built-in solar battery with atomic timekeeping (no need to reset for daylight savings time). The large, round face is also great for those who have trouble reading smaller numbers.

2. Citizen Men’s Nighthawk Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Watch


  • Stylish stainless steel
  • Date window
  • Dual time display
  • Japanese quartz movement with analog display
  • Scratch-resistant and non-reflective mineral crystal face
  • Low charge warning when left out of light for too long – Citizen Eco-Drive runs continuously on natural and artificial light, so it does not have a battery
  • Luminous hands and markers for low-light visibility
  • Features a pilot’s inner rotating slide rule bezel – this calculates fuel consumption, average speed and estimated time of arrival to your destination and so on
  • Metallic tone band with fold over push-button clasp
  • Water resistant up to 200m (660ft)Lightweight


  • Analog face is not the easiest to read

Do not let the price tag frighten you. The Citizen watch has many functions that make it a great watch for whatever life throws at you—all while keeping planet Earth save with its eco-friendly features. On first glance, you would never assume that the watch is made for outdoor purposes. Rather, the stainless steel construction and metal links make it a very sophisticated choice. If you are the type of person who goes from business meeting to rock climbing all in one day, the Nighthawk can hold up to the challenge.

3. Casio Men’s Pathfinder Triple Sensor Sport Watch


  • Digital compass
  • Altimeter and barometer
  • Thermometer
  • Low temperature resistance – will continue working at -10 degrees C (14 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Sunrise/Sunset times
  • EL backlight
  • World time clock (31 time zones, 48 cities) and city code display
  • Five daily alarms1/100-second stopwatch and countdown timer
  • Auto-calendar pre-programmed to 2099
  • Power-saving function
  • Mineral dial window with a 51mm stainless steel case
  • Lightweight


  • Water resistant up to 100m (330 ft); suitable for a dive or snorkeling. Not recommended for extended submersion
  • A bit difficult to set up
  • Compass dial can get dirt stuck under it and results in difficult turning; compass also requires exact calibration

Similar to the Casio G-Shock, the Pathfinder brings the power of a fulfilling hike through city or nature right to your wrist. Though the face looks mildly confusing, once you get the hang of the plethora of features, the Pathfinder is an indispensable resource. The Pathfinder also runs on the same solar battery technology as most Casio watches, but has an additional longevity of being able to last 6 months in pure darkness. Ideal for spelunkers, hikers, climbers, and bush crafters.

4. Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch


  • Designed for outdoor use
  • Shock resistant to I.S.O. standards – this means the watch can withstand falling from a height of 1 meter and the impact of a 3kg hammer moving at 4.43m/s against the face and perpendicular to the face
  • Durable resin encasing
  • Strap with buckle closure
  • Indiglo Light-up watch dial
  • Water resistant for up to 200m (660ft); suitable for professional marine activity and water surface sports
  • Readable digital numbers
  • Long-lasting battery


  • Nylon strap is known to wear quickly
  • Nylon strap may also irritate the skin
  • Not suitable for scuba diving

Timex watches have a long history of being rugged and dependable without costing you a fortune to purchase. Professionals who are out doing physical activity throughout the day generally rely on Timex to keep them on time for duties, but a survivalist will love Timex for the breadth of useful features.

5. Suunto Core Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch


  • Dual time and date display – can be set in 12 or 24 hour format
  • Alarm
  • Sunrise and sunset timer
  • Depth meter that provides accurate water depth readings up to 9m (30ft)
  • Digital compass with guided calibration and bearing tracking
  • Weather and sun tracking – the Trend graph comes with a storm alarm to let you know what is coming for over 400 pre-programmed locations
  • Altimeter and barometer
  • Digital thermometer
  • Pre-programmed languages: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Backlight


  • Water resistant up to 100m (330ft)
  • Only 1 alarm
  • Band material is known to crack
  • Battery life may get sapped quickly if certain features are left on for extended periods

The “G” in the M3G name stands for “Global.” Being that this is a global compass that works anywhere in the world, it is perfect for adventurers, soldiers, and world travelers who undertake serious wilderness challenges.

Choosing the Best Watch for You

Upon seeing the line-up, you obviously have your favorites. But which watch is the right one for you? Depending on your budget and your needs, the cheaper version may be right. In terms of quality, a digital watch is going to last longer against a mechanical watch, because digital lacks the physical components. For people who do a lot of physical work or vigorous activity, a shock resistant watch is going to be better for you than one that is less durable.

A quartz watch will beat a digital watch in terms of longevity, because they do not need anything but solar energy to operate. If you never want to have to worry about changing batteries or running into the unfortunate situation where you are in the middle of nowhere with a dead watch, choose a solar or quartz powered watch.

Lastly, choose based on your hobbies. Some of these choices were more weather-oriented, which may be desirable to mountaineers or kayakers, while others are more ideal for general hiking and camping.​

Final Thoughts

You may be thinking, “Is it not redundant to have a watch that does the same thing as many of my other survival gadgets?” Yes, but there is nothing wrong with having a backup plan. A watch that has multiple functions and can withstand various weather extremes and shocks may become the ultimate tool to your survival. So do not hesitate to strap one of these 5 survival watches your wrist the next time you take to the hills.

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