5 Best Survival Watches Built To Rescue Yourself

By SS Contributor | Last Updated: April 21, 2018

Best Survival WatchA survival watch is the only gear I wear every day – no matter what.

It goes where I go.

You can’t say the same thing for other survival gear.

You can’t take a survival knife on a plane.

Nor the fancy survival lighter you just bought.

However, a badass survival watch? It can go anywhere.

That’s why you should invest in a great one.

You need one you can trust. One that’s insanely tough and reliable.

A survival watch that will go through hell and back with you.

So today, let’s find you the perfect survival watch. Here are the specific topics we’ll be covering:

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What Is A Survival Watch Anyway?

Survival watches fall into one of two categories :

1. Paracord Survival Watch

A paracord survival watch acts as a mini survival tin on your wrist. All these survival watches have similar features.

They tell time and often include a fire starter, whistle, and compass. Then the wristband is made out of paracord.

2. Technical Survival Watch

These types of survival watch act as a mini survival computer on your wrist.

These watches include key features such as a compass, GPS, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, and sunrise/sunset times.

In this article, I will focus on survival watches that act as a computer on your wrist. So whenever I refer to “survival watches,” I mean ones that are mini-computer unless stated otherwise.

I’m not going to cover paracord survival watches because I’ve never seen a good one. 

At least never one I’d be willing to wear. Instead, I keep my survival watch and my paracord bracelet separate.

I’ve tested a few, and they’re just not good enough.

It’s sort of like buying one of those pre-made survival tins for $10. They’re a great concept, but they regularly lack quality.

The fire starters on these “survival watches” are minuscule, which makes them easy to break and hard to use. They also tend to have cheap, unreliable 2-cent compasses.

I can’t put my life in the hands of a product like that.

And as far as paracord goes, I carry it with me in other ways.

So instead, I suggest you make or buy a survival paracord bracelet and add it to one wrist. Then invest in a high-quality survival watch and put it on the other wrist – as I do.

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How A Survival Watch Can Save Your Life

Perhaps you’re out hunting, wound a deer, and begin the process of tracking its blood trail. Tracking further and further into the remote wilderness until you realize it’s almost dark out.

Or maybe you’re out picking berries and hear other humans approaching. You can tell they’re not friendly (maybe the mob), and you also can’t tell how many of them there are. Or if they’re armed.

So you panic and high-tail it out of there in an unfamiliar direction.

Or what if you’re enjoying the great outdoors via an off-trail hike, but the weather is changing for the worst fast? You’re forced to take cover before the storm hits.

What does each of these situations have in common?

You’re stranded and lost in the wilderness. This is when your survival watch can become a real lifesaver.

This is when you need the critical information on your wrist only a quality survival watch can provide.

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Best Survival Watch Features

Of course, a survival watch must first and foremost accurately tell the time and date.

It also must have excellent battery life (or, even better, be solar-powered). It should also be waterproof and be as tough as hell.

But once you go beyond these basic watch features, the survival features start to kick in.


A barometer can sense atmospheric pressure. Often times changes in atmospheric pressure predict significant weather changes.

Two of the most dangerous threats in survival situations are extreme exposure and lack of clean water. But, if you have a barometer on your survival watch, you’ll be more aware of bad weather approaching.

You’ll know way ahead of time if the weather is making a surprising change. You can either turn back sooner and avoid getting stuck out there or hunker down well before it arrives.

In most cases, by the time you see the rain coming, it’s too late. And if you get wet in cold weather, you’re in danger of hypothermia and in a world of hurt.

Instead, you can utilize the barometer on your survival watch to better predict oncoming rain. This helps you prepare yourself for a risky situation.

Another way a barometer can help you survive is to prompt you to set up catchments collect oncoming rainwater.

If you happen to get stuck out in the wilderness and know rain is on its way, get some fresh rainwater to quench your thirst.


If you live in a mountainous region and don’t know your exact location, an altimeter can help.

An altimeter on your survival watch tells you your exact altitude. So if you have a topographical map it helps to narrow down where you’re on the map.

And when you know where you’re at, you can find your way back to camp or civilization.

This is a must-have feature if you live or enjoy traveling to regions with significant elevation changes.


The compass is one of the most valuable survival tools around.

Sure, several bushcraft methods exist to find your direction without a compass. But for accuracy and speed, nothing beats having a high-quality compass.

Natural navigation includes an understanding that thicker branches on trees often reach for the sun, which indicates a southern direction.

Doable but not easy. Even experts can struggle to get natural navigation right every time.

But for survival, it’s best to learn how to navigate without a compass but then always HAVE a compass and a map! Why not put that compass on your wrist where you’ll never forget it?

Sunrise & Sunset Times

If you’re far away from your vehicle or campsite, you’ll want to ensure you get back to safety before sunset. It’s never a good idea to navigate in the dark because it’s dangerous and difficult.

So it’s a big advantage to know exactly when sunset is. That way, you don’t have to use your extended arm and 4 fingers to estimate how many hours until sunset.

Instead, if you have a survival watch with sunset/sunrise times, you’ll know exactly how many MINUTES you have until darkness sets in.


I always like to know the temperature, so I admit it, and I’m a temperature geek.

It probably stems from my growing up in a rural farming area. But it’s essential to keep track of temperatures when you’re:

But it’s easy to lose track of your own body temperature.

When you’re working hard and sweating, you won’t realize just how cold it is out. You feel hot, so it’s easy to think, “it’s not that cold; I’ll be fine.”

The problem comes when you stop working and you’re still sweating.

Maybe it’s cooler than you realized. Perhaps you would make your fire after your activities but run into issues getting one started. When conditions are wrong, hypothermia can happen fast.

So if you can keep an eye on the temperature, you’ll know if you’re sweating too much. And if it’s too cold and can’t dry off, you’ll have issues. Instead, avoid working up a sweat and take plenty of breaks.

In the words of Les Stroud, “if you sweat, you die.”

The same principle applies if it’s hot. If it’s hot and you’re sweating but think to yourself, “I just need to get this task done,” you risk a heat stroke.

It’s easy to focus so intensely on your activity that you don’t listen to your body.

Instead, use your survival watch to check the temperature often. And if it’s really hot, take lots of breaks and drink lots of fluids to prevent a serious heatstroke.

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Best Survival Watches On The Market Today

There are so many great survival watches on the market today.

They are all tough, many are powered by solar, and they include important sensors and data you need to help you survive.

So the best way to help you narrow your search for the best survival watch for you is to highlight our favorite series of watches for survival.

From there, you’ll be able to find the exact watch within a series that best meets your needs (color, price point, etc.)

1. G-Shock Master Of G Series

Master of G Series Of Survival Watches

The Casio Master of G-Series Watches is one of the toughest, most durable survival watch series you can find. These watches are engineered to survive the most grueling situations you can think of.

They’re adapted and evolved to respond successfully to conditions in the sky, on the land, and out at sea.

There are three main watch categories within this series:


The GRAVITYMASTER is a watch series with pilots and air travel in mind.


The MUDMASTER is built to withstand cross-trek adventures or in trenches.


The GULFMASTER is the ideal watch for those who spend time on or in the water.

These watches all include Shock Resistant Technology, and most have Triple Sensors, which include the following sensors:

  • Altitude
  • Barometric Pressure
  • Temperature

Plus, they include a compass as well.

And lastly, you might want to make sure you find one that uses tough solar to keep your timepiece’s battery topped off with the sun’s free power.

5. Casio Pro Trek Watch Series

Casio’s PRO TREK watches are perfect for all serious outdoor enthusiasts.

These watches are powered by Android Wear 2.0 and feature important technology such as GPS, Location Memory, Moment Setter, and more.

These survival watches also come with Casio’s Triple Sensor technology (altimeter, barometer, temperature). In addition, they have a dual-layer LCD and are water-resistant.

Casio’s PRO TREK line of watches is rugged, stylish, and versatile.

Military Watch Exchange

Ok, this option is not a specific watch or even a category of survival watches; this is a site where you can find great deals on military watches.

But what’s the difference between a military watch, a survival watch, an outdoor watch, or even a tactical watch?

To me, nothing. I think all these watch terms mean a badass watch that’s rugged enough to survive harsh conditions and with all the essential components you need to survive.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Should You Rely On Watch Technology?

A survival watch worth investing in will be high-tech. They do so much more than tell time.

So before we discuss these features, I wanted to clarify my thoughts on technology.

I strongly believe you should never completely rely on technology in a survival situation. Technology can and does fail, pure and simple.

I have nothing against technology, but I do have a love/hate relationship with it.

Technology is there because it makes our lives easier. But easier is not a survival skill. It’s a survival curse.

If you want to be self-reliant, you need the right survival skills, knowledge, and tools. Ones that don’t rely on technology.

At the same time, would you rather cut down a tree with a chainsaw or an axe? Obviously, the answer is a chainsaw, but I also own a sharp survival axe on hand, just in case.

I even enjoy using an axe. It’s fun; it’s good exercise, but when you want to get the job done fast, you use a chainsaw.

It’s the same idea as my survival watch (or tactical watch, if you prefer).

I use it always, but I always carry a map and compass with me. I know how to get my bearing using nature.

It’s important to practice navigational skills, but when you want to get things done as easily as possible, use technology. And that’s why I choose to wear a high-tech survival watch.

Final Thoughts

I love redundancy. I’ve got an engineering background, so redundancy is everything to me. That’s why I believe owning a survival watch is imperative.

It’s still important to learn navigation skills. And nothing beats basic survival skills, using a compass and a map, but a survival watch is easy to use, and technology can make life easier. That’s the whole point of technology.

If it makes survival easier, it leads to fewer mistakes.

P.s. Are you ready for the tough times ahead?

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