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In the early days of nursing, fob watches were like a badge of honor especially in the UK and non-US countries. When a nurse graduates, they get an elegant and high-quality fob watch in much the same way a law student gets a high quality pen when they graduate from law school.
Because of guidelines wherein medical practitioners have to be bare below the elbow or else have to wash hands repeatedly, the use of fob watches became customary. The fob watch is a watch that is pinned to one’s lapel. The clock face is hanging from the pin and when you look down at it, you can read the time as it is facing you. Because the watch is attached to one’s uniform rather than being worn around the wrist, there is less chance of bacteria transferring to the patient.
In the past, fob watches or watches in general used to be very expensive. Nowadays, you can get a good fob watch for a couple of dollars online. They’re still not popular in the US but the nurses who use them really love how they’re “hands-free” and very convenient for simple tasks like:
- providing scheduled medication
- writing down the time for charts and records
- keeping track of much-needed breaks
Here are the best fob watches you can get online:
BUDGET FOB WATCHES
Best Silicon Fob Watch: GetLucky Nurse Watch
You know you’re making a budget purchase when you get 3 watches after paying just over ten bucks. Happily, these watches work well.
Looks-wise, they come in a variety of fun colors like purple, blue, and red. They are made of plastic and silicon so they are lightweight. If you are going for a fun and casual look, you can try out these budget watches.
- Low price; you get 3 for a pack
- Works as expected despite low price
- Luminous face so you can read time even in a dark room
- Numbers on the clock face are big so they’re easy to read
- Clips on to your pocket and has a retractable string
- Has an inspirational message on the front (for some of the design options)
- Battery can be replaced (SR 626sw)
- Retractable; string is 14 inches long
- Fun and colorful
- The clip isn’t the strongest
Most Elegant Budget Fob Watch: WIOR Nurse Lapel Pin Watch
If you want a budget fob watch that still looks elegant, check out this WIOR nurse lapel pin watch. It has a metallic look and you can choose from 3 colors: gold, silver, and rose gold. Because of how (surprisingly) nice it looks, it can be mistaken for an expensive watch.
This watch is water-resistant. This means it can resist water to a degree, but it is NOT waterproof. This means you cannot use this for swimming or bathing.
- Very affordable price
- Water resistant
- Quartz timepiece; second hand movement is very good and can be used for vitals measurement
- Can be pinned onto clothing or on a badge loop
- Elegant design
- Very easy to read the time
- There are instructions on how to change the battery
- Comes in a nice box
- Advertised as a clip-on but it’s actually a pin
- Heavier than plastic or silicon fob watches
Best Cartoony: AVANER Nurse Fob Watches
If you like fob watches and need a fun gift for your fellow nurses for Christmas or Nurse Week, check out these cartoony watches. You get 5 watches for one purchase.
The watch and strap are both metallic so they look classy enough but the cartoony designs give them a sense of playfulness and fun which makes them perfect as office gifts.
The nurse figure is made of plastic so if you’re not careful, it may break or sustain damage. One nurse glued on her Lego iron man to replace the plastic nurse piece.
- Get 5 for an affordable price
- Five cartoon designs to choose from
- The numbers on the watch face are easy to read
- Good timekeeping despite the low price
- Stainless steel cover case
- No design for male nurses
- The cartoon figures may look more faded when seen in actual
Best Nurse Appreciation Gift: Apreciar Nurse Watch
Here’s another budget fob watch with a fun vibe. They are made for both teachers and nurses. The Apreciar nurse watch says BEST NURSE EVER so they make for great inexpensive gifts. The nurse watch comes in a pretty teal color and the BEST NURSE EVER writing is surrounded by watercolor roses.
- Cheap price; get two for one purchase
- Big watch face design so easy to read time
- Glow in the dark dial
- Clip on design
- Lightweight because it’s made of plastic and silicon
- Pretty color and design
- Red color makes it easy to see the second hand.
- No instruction manual
Best Stocking Stuffer: Weicam Square Silicone Pin-on Brooch
If you’re looking for REALLY affordable fob watches to give out as stocking stuffers or gifts to your floormates for Nurse Week, we found these Weicam square fob watches. For one purchase, you get a set of 8!
They’re made of silicon but the buckles are made of stainless steel. They come in really crazy and vibrant designs so they are really perfect as budget gifts for special occasions.
- Really cheap when you calculate the cost of each watch
- Crazy fun designs from floral to leopard print
- Perfect as stocking stuffers or novelty item gifts
- A good alternative from the usual candy and pen gifts
- Clip on design
- You may receive a defective watch; no QA
PREMIUM FOB WATCHES
Best in Timekeeping: Lorus Professional Unisex Lumibrite Nurses Fob Watch
You know we’ve crossed outside of budget watch territory because we’re starting to see brands and quality materials.
This Lorus watch is a far cry from the plastic and silicon fob watches that we’ve featured so far. It looks classy and would look great on a nurse’s uniform. In the tradition of giving a good fob watch to a graduating nurse, I think this is the timepiece to give.
Please note that this watch ships from the UK so shipping may take longer.
- Keeps time very accurately
- Made of stainless steel
- Lumibrite dial is bright; easy to read in the dark
- Has a pulse counter
- Comes with a manual that teaches how to use the pulse counter (the numbers around the watch)
- Red second hand is very easy to see for pulse-taking
- Pin-on design
- Unisex size and design
- Water resistant up to 30M
- Quartz movement
- The box that it comes with looks tacky
Best Minimalist: Speidel Nurse Fob Scrub Watch
Here is another metallic fob watch option — Speidel’s fob scrub watch. While it is metallic-looking like the WIOR watch, this looks more on the active side. It has a minimalist look where the watch face really stands out.
Another important point is that the Speidel fob watch has a sweeping second hand. A sweeping second hand watch is a watch that glides 5 to 8 times in a second.
- Good price; you get two for one purchase (you get both white and black)
- Easy to read white and black dial with 12 and 24 hour markers
- The second hand is red so it is highly visible
- 40 mm stainless steel
- Can be engraved
- Clip on design
- Retractable with 22-inch string
- Water resistant up to 10 meters
- Sweeping second hand watch
- A handful of buyers have had their watches stop working shortly after purchase.
Best Clip Watch: Dakota Watch Company Leather
This fob watch is made by Dakota and boasts of an oil tanned genuine leather fob. It comes with a stainless steel case, a military dial, luminous hands, a calendar display, and Japan quartz movement.
Unlike other fob watches that are either clipped onto a pocket or pinned onto a lapel, this fob watch has a carabiner. This means it would need to be attached to a lanyard or a belt loop.
The leather fob is the highlight of this product. A couple of people have changed out the watch itself and used a different timepiece for the leather fob.
- Good brand
- High quality materials and performance
- Excellent leather fob
- Looks even better than in pictures
- Some buyers had issues with the battery as the watch stops working after a while and you void the warranty if you try to replace it yourself
- Made in China just like the budget fob watches
How To Choose The Best Fob Watch For You
There are several considerations when you shop for a nursing fob watch.
Budget will dictate a lot when you shop. As with anything, if you want a quality piece that you can consider as a form of investment, you will have to set aside a big chunk of money. Believe it or not, it’s harder nowadays to buy a quality piece especially if you’re buying online as the market is dominated by budget choices.
If you want a really good fob watch, you should look at UK brands and shops.
However, if you don’t want to spend much on a fob watch, then a lot of our above choices are perfect for you. Just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean they won’t last a long time. Most of them do and you can have fun with the designs and colors, too.
Every material ultimately has its pros and cons. For example, silicon and plastic watches are cheap, lightweight, and easy to clean, but the quality might not be on par with their metal counterparts. Metal watches are strong and look professional, but they weigh more and cost more.
Pin or Clip-on
It’s a hard choice between a pin or a clip-on. A pin-on is secure but the point of the pin goes through the lapel of your uniform each time possibly damaging the material. A clip-on is less damaging to your scrub suit but it is easier to dislodge.
Choose a second hand that you can see very well. A lot of second hands are in a bright red color so that it is easier to count down the seconds.
You might also want luminous hour and minute hands too in case you need to check time in the dark.
A lot of nurse watches feature big numbers on their clock faces. This helps you tell time more easily.
Another feature to watch out for in medical watches is a pulse counter or a heart rate monitor. To use, start counting once the second hand is at 12:00. Count 15 heartbeats, then see where the second hand is, and read the counter.
If you are giving the watch as a gift, it’s a bonus if the seller has an engraving service. Customizing any gift makes the giftee feel more special.