The partnership between nurses and their watches sparks a lot of debate. Should they be digital? Perhaps the band ought to be elastic? Or maybe no watch at all?
Today, we’re going to cover nurse-grade watches with military time.
Whether you’re filling out paperwork, getting a call at 0200 hours, or timing respirations, it’s always better to have military time on your watch and not need it than to not have it and need it. That’s why if you’re going to be buying a nurse’s watch, let’s make sure it has both 12 and 24-hour time formats.
Top Picks (overview)
Casio Sports Analog
Speidel Original Scrub Watch
Glycine Combat Sub
Best Nurse Watches with Military Time Reviews & Recommendations 2020
For the best overall watch for nurses, you need look no further than the Speidel Original Scrub Watch. Not only does it have a legible dial, but it also prominently displays the military time.
With a clean and uncluttered dial, this watch is a favorite of both nurses and nursing students who need a watch that’s easy to read. It has a red seconds hand that contrasts against the white dial. This makes it easy to take a patient’s pulses and respirations.
At 32mm, this watch is the perfect size for a woman’s wrist (but on the small side for a male nurse). It comes on a silicone strap that is easy to clean, so you can wash it all day along with your hands. It can be easily swapped for a nylon strap, or for a different color band.
The Speidel Scrub Watch has a 24-hour display on the inside of the 12-hour markers. This makes it easy to read the time in military format on the go, so you don’t have to bother with error-prone time conversions.
Although it has all the features that a practicing nurse might want, this watch has a few drawbacks. Some customers report quality control issues, but the company is quick to send working replacements. Most of the time, you’ll get a reliable and functional watch.
Overall, the Speidel Original Scrub is the top choice for nurses and nursing students. With a 30m water resistance, a silicone band, and a very cute aesthetic, this watch has everything a heroine of the hospital ward will need. It’s simple and feels right.
- Great customer service
- Highly legible
- Easy to clean
- Simple to switch bands
- Quality control issues
- Could use a backlight
If you’re looking for a watch that will never fail you, look no further than this Casio Sports Analog watch. It comes from a reputable Japanese watchmaker known for highly-durable and reliable timepieces.
Not only does it display the 24-hour military time, but it has a high-contrast dial for superior legibility. Furthermore, it comes equipped with a rotating bezel so you can actually time things in minutes or hours. For under $20, this may be the best budget watch for nurses with military time.
The watch and band are made of an easy-to-clean resin. With a solid 100m of water resistance, you never have to worry about this Casio failing during hand-washing. It’s surprisingly durable and will hold up for many years.
At 32mm, this watch is the ideal size for women.
For a larger size alternative, check out the 43mm version with a red bezel triangle. It has all the same features and benefits as the smaller one, but the numbers and dial features will be less closely packed together. You can also check out this Amazon search link for more color options like white, pink, etc. for the same price.
- 100m water resistance
- Super affordable
- 24-hour military time
- Rotating bezel
- No backlight or any real glow
For a top-of-the-line watch that will withstand all the rigors of a professional nurse’s career, you should go with a Swiss Made military dive watch. The Glycine Combat Sub is one of the few 200m professional dive watches to feature a 24-hour military time indicator (in addition to Arabic 12-hour numerals).
While the Glycine will cost a bit more, you’re going to be getting your money’s worth here. For starters, how about a watch that won’t break, and also won’t run out of batteries. The Combat Sub is powered by the ETA 2824-2 Swiss automatic movement. This means it’s powered by the movement of your wrist (no batteries needed), built on a proven and reliable Swiss workhorse engine.
As a professional dive watch on a metal band, you can submerge it in water up to 200m (600 feet). While you won’t be doing that on the job, generally the higher the water resistance, the more resilient the watch will be to any water exposure. This includes resistance to shocks. Furthermore, it has super bright lume for visibility in dark areas.
At 42mm, this watch is large on paper, but wears very small. It’s perfect for a man’s or a woman’s wrist alike. While the Combat Sub may be a bit over budget, it will be supremely reliable and it looks great. Actually, this is considered to be on the affordable side of a Swiss Automatic dive watch.
Glycine has been making reliable watches since 1914, so you can count on them for a great Swiss timepiece.
- 200m water-resistant dive watch
- Rotating bezel
- 24-hour time display
- Excellent lume
- Swiss Made
- Bezel action could be better
- Pricier option
If you’re looking for a nurse’s watch with an expandable bracelet, the Timex T2061 is the watch for you. Featuring a classic appearance, this Timex is simple and uncomplicated. It tells the time (in both 12-hour and military time), the day and date, and has an expansion bracelet.
This type of bracelet is favored by some nurses who prefer to slide the watch up to their elbows when hand-washing. Some may frown upon this practice, but it depends on the environment you’re using it in.
At 35mm, it’s the perfect size for both men and women, while retaining a highly-legible dial. The military time display is great for nurses because it’s red numerals contrast nicely against the white background. The large dial makes it easy to read.
- Expansion bracelet
- Military time in red
- American Company (Timex)
- Only 30m of water resistance
- Setting the date is tedious
I know what you’re thinking: another Swiss Automatic watch? I know, I know, it’s not your typical “cheap nurse watch,” but I’m not going to recommend you any of those garbage watches that “look like they’re for nurses” but break when you need them most. I want you to have a quality watch that you can consistently rely on.
So maybe you’re like me, and you want the best-looking watch that fits the bill. In this case, the Hamilton Khaki Field is a classic American field watch that has both regular and 24-hour military time displays.
It sports a gorgeous black dial with white Arabic indicators. This arrangement allows you to read the time in 12-hour format and in military time with just a quick glance. The watch is also great for timing procedures because the seconds hand extends all the way to the seconds indices and is tipped with a vibrant red arrow.
The stainless steel case is waterproof and therefore easy to clean. You won’t have to worry about damaging it from washing your hands frequently—it can survive in depths of up to 330 feet. Along with its sophisticated appearance, the Hamilton Khaki is tough as nails. It’s built to be an Army field officer’s watch, so it can take a beating.
The Swiss automatic movement means that the watch doesn’t need batteries to run, only the movement of your wrist. That, and the impeccable build quality, make this the watch to get if you need something that’s attractive, practical, and reliable. Be careful with this watch because it comes in both 38mm and 42mm variants; I’ve tried both, and would highly recommend you only consider the smaller 38mm no matter what your wrist size.
- Stylish stainless steel case
- Highly readable dial
- No batteries needed
- Military time display
- Pricier option
- Not as water resistant as a dive watch
If you need a watch that’s very easy to read, the VAVC Military Time Nurse’s Watch is for you. The VAVC features a very legible dial which has large numbers, military time in red, and a long, red second hand. You will also love it for its slim profile, which makes it very comfortable to wear.
The large dial is a huge perk for nurses as it makes it easy to quickly mark the time in both AM/PM format and military time. Both the military time and second markers are in red, so it’s easy to keep track of time.
The leather band is comfortable and can be cleaned with a wet cloth. The case itself is waterproof, so this watch can withstand frequent hand-washing. It is available in eighteen color variations including purple, white, black, and teagreen straps. Seriously, if you need a watch that’s not only legible but also cute, I highly recommend this one.
- Prominent military time display
- Comfortable leather bands
- Easy to clean
- Cute color options
- Great customer service
- Quality issues
- Larger siz
Some nurses prefer to forego a wristwatch, and stick to something that can be pinned to the lapel. In professions where jewelry and bracelets are discouraged, this clip-on watch is your best option if you’re looking for a watch that displays military time.
The clip-on design is rather straightforward and it allows you to carry the watch around your lapel. Its dial is easy to read as it has large numbers, broad minute and hour hands, and a red needle-like second hand.
Apart from being a convenient military clip-on watch, it doubles as an LED micro-light. Some wearers don’t like that it lacks a backlight, but you can use the LED micro-light to illuminate the dial in the dark.
Overall, it’s a charming little clip-on watch with a generous display and a stylish finish. Personally, I get the impression that it won’t last long or keep good time, but it’s here for your consideration.
- Really easy to read
- Comes with an LED light
- Solid steel construction
- Pretty finish
- Color peels off after some time
- The crystal easily picks up scratches
Buying Guide and FAQ for Watches with Military Time for Nurses
Your search for a reliable nurse’s watch may have brought you this far, but you still need a bit of knowledge to pick the right one, and more importantly, to use it appropriately.
That being said, the following is a buying guide for military-time watches that are designed for nurses. Contained herein are questions you may need to ask yourself before making a purchase.
What IS military time? (24-hour time)
Military time, also known as 24-hour time, is a timekeeping format that doesn’t rely on AM/PM extensions. Instead, it ticks off the time hour by hour from the first hour (0000) to the last hour and minute of the day (2359).
As the name suggests, military time is the standard time format used by military personnel. However, it is also a common preference in many other professions, including medical care.
It is preferred for its simplicity. The 12-hour format is riddled with repeated values that are only differentiated by the AM/PM suffix. In the medical profession, accurate timekeeping is essential, not just for punctuality, but also for patient safety. This is why all the best watches for nurses must display military time.
Why Does a Nurses’ Watch Need Military Time?
Even though it may seem alien at first, military time is the better time format for nurses because it is non-ambiguous and therefore minimizes confusion. You never have to wonder if a coworker forgot to include “AM” or “PM” on a chart.
Nurse’s watches need military time for the sake of patients. Simple and accurate timekeeping takes on a whole new level of importance when the lives of patients are at stake.
How To Read 24-hour Military time on an Analog Watch
Reading military time is easy once you get the hang of it. Unlike the 12-hour format, which divides time into AM/PM cycles, military time is linear, so you’re only going to see a specific time (for instance, 1300) once a day.
On an analog watch, the military time markers are often placed underneath the 12-hour markers. Some manufacturers like to make these values red so that they’re easier to see.
To read military time on an analog watch, simply note where the hour hand is resting to get your hour value, then combine it with the value given by the minute hand.
Converting 12-hour Time to 24-hour Military Time
One thing that boggles most people is how to convert 12-hour time to military time. Luckily, it’s a fairly simple process.
Take the 12-hour time you wish to convert and add 12 to the hour value. If the current time is 6 o’clock, 6 + 12 gives you 18. Therefore, instead of 6:30PM, the time becomes 1830 hrs. in military time. It’s that simple.
Another way – my preferred way, is to simply subtract 2 from the current time and add a leading numeral. So if it’s 9pm, you can subtract 2 and get 7. Add a leading numeral to get 1700 hours. To go from 1700, add 2 and drop the leading numeral.
Over time this process becomes second-nature, like many aspects of your job.
Is Midnight 24:00 or 00:00
Using the same principle to convert the first hour of the day (12AM) can make things a little complex. Since 12 + 12 is 24, should midnight be 2400 hrs? No.
Military time dictates that the first hour of the day is marked by 0000, signaling the beginning of a 24-hour cycle. It makes sense if you think about it. Military time simply counts down the hours in a day, so when you complete a 24-hour cycle, it’s not surprising that the countdown resets to 0000.
Do you use a colon?
When denoting military time, it’s important to get the punctuation right. In military time notation, you should not include a colon separating the numerals.
Besides learning some rules of thumb, it is good to practice and learn through recognizing the patterns. Learn the proper methodology in high-stakes situations, and you’ll develop your own rules of thumb.
For a typical nurse, I would recommend the most popular choice that everyone seems to think is the best choice: the Speidel Original Scrub Watch. It looks like what should belong on a nurse’s wrist.
But I’d bet good money that this watch will break within a year. I know a cheap quartz watch when I see one. If you want something just as affordable, but that will last you ten years and have real water resistance, go with anything by Casio. A watch like the Casio Analog Sport Watch will last you a decade.
My name is Tom Leto, and I’m a watch enthusiast at heart. I’m here to steer you in the right direction when looking for your next watch, and to help you avoid common newbie mistakes. Right now my favorite brands are Orient Star, Longines, and Nomos.