Should You Wear A Watch To Play Paintball?

Paintball is one game where pellets fly fast and try to hit you. Bruises on the skin and damage to things are common as well. What about watches? Should you wear a watch to play paintball and risk damaging it?

You can wear a watch to play paintball. However, the watch should have a smooth, waterproof surface and straps for easy cleaning. The watch should be quartz with optional shock resistance, as violent movements and pellet hits may shock the watch. A cheap, sturdy beater watch is the best. 

wear a watch to play paintball

This article discusses further if you should or should not wear a watch to play paintball. We also discuss the characteristics of an excellent watch for paintball and recommend a few suitable watches, just in case you decide to wear a watch to play paintball.

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Why Some People Wear A Watch To Play Paintball?

Some people continue to wear watches to enter a paintball game because they believe they still need to tell time while on the field and coordinate tactics. Watches also serve as a form of wrist protection from pellet hits, and to some, they prefer having a watch on at all times. 

To Tell Time

Often when you are on the field shooting out at each other, You would not be carrying a phone with you, nor do you have a clock to tell time. This means you will need to watch to help you tell time. 

If you wear a watch to play paintball, just flick your wrist and you are good to go. This is undoubtedly easier than asking another team member the time, or worse, running back to your starting position to look for your phone just to find out the time. 

Coordinate Tactics

Some serious paintball players approach the game with the intensity of a special force. They coordinate tactics and have things such as rendezvous time set up. 

That means you will need a watch to keep track of time and harmonize your time with your team members. If you wear a watch to play paintball, this would be much easier.

Wrist Protection

When playing paintball, you usually attempt to cover up as much of your body behind protection. A wall, a tree, some shrubs, etc. 

However, you will expose your head, hands, and paintball gun to take aim and fire back when shooting back. This means your head and hands are the primary targets for your opponents to shoot at. 

If you wear a watch to play paintball, it can protect your wrist from being shot at directly by your opponent. A painful, bruised wrist may affect your performance on the field and make your paintball experience less enjoyable. 

Naked Wrist Feels Cold and Wierd

Finally, some are so used to wearing watches that not wearing one just feels ‘weird and odd.’ Some even mention situations where they feel that their wrist is ‘naked and cold’ without a watch.

Nothing wrong with that, to be honest. If you are one of these persons, feel free to strap up and wear a watch to play paintball.

wear a watch to play paintball

Why Some Do Not Wear A Watch To Play Paintball?

Some people do not wear a watch to play paintball. They dislike how their watch might be stained and suffer from shocks. They also do not want to dirty their watch and worry about it being shot at by their opponents. 

It Might Get Shot

When playing paintball, your head and hands are the most exposed area of your body. This is because you need to expose these to be able to take aim and fire back. 

This means the likelihood of catching a pellet hit is high in that area and, by extension, your watch.

Pellet hits can be hard and strong, depending on the distance it was fired from. So if it’s close enough, the force may actually be able to break through watch crystals, permanently staining your watch dial.

Since the impact is strong, the pellet hit may damage your watch’s functionality, such as the rotation bezel, pushers, and crown.

Some paintball players do not want to risk that, so they do not wear a watch to play paintball.

Difficult Cleaning

Paintball pellets contain a combination of color dye, polypropylene glycol, mineral oil, etc. They are often washable and removable from many surfaces. 

However, it might be a different story when it comes to watches, as a watch has areas where there are gaps and crevices. For example, think about bracelet links or the gap between the watch crown and case. 

If you managed to get shot close to your wrist, you might have some paintball stain on your watch. If these paints end up in these narrow gaps, the cleaning process may be complicated.

If your watch straps are not waterproof, you risk permanently staining your watch strap with the color from the paintball pellet. Leather straps especially are vulnerable to permanent staining. 


When playing paintball, you often run fast and move your hands violently and quickly. Your watch may also be shot at by your opponent. 

If you wear a watch to play paintball, these shocks may interfere with your watch’s ability to keep time well, especially with automatic movements. This is because automatic watches are finely balanced to keep time, and sudden shocks can disrupt the timing of the balance wheel.

This results in a loss of accuracy, and the watch might gain or lose time.

Sweat & Grime

Paintball is a dirty, sweaty, grimy game. You run around for your ‘life,’ fully clothed to cover yourself. You get hot, you sweat. 

You might even shoot at your opponent lying down, crawling from one position to another in your attempt to protect yourself. As a result, you pick up dirt from the ground. 

If wear a watch to play paintball, it will get dirty picking up your sweat and dirt from the ground, and eventually developing into grime. You will need to give your watch a proper clean after that. 

If you prefer to keep your watch clean and pristine, it’s a good and prudent idea to not wear it into a paintball game.

What Makes A Great Watch For Paintball?

An excellent watch for paintball would be quartz, small, and preferably with shock resistance. It should also have a smooth surface, with a waterproof case and strap for easy cleaning. It also should be cheap, so you can discard it and get a new one if it’s shot through. 


The logic for this is simple, if the watch is small, it becomes a more challenging target to be shot at. The risk of your watch breaking down in the middle of the game becomes lower. 

Plus, a small watch is also less likely to catch any ‘ricochet’ color dyes that bounce off walls or your body and land on your watch. A small watch is also less likely to interfere with your movement and shooting.

Waterproof & Smooth Case

A watch case that is waterproof and smooth helps to make cleaning easier. The waterproof case will ensure it does not absorb any of the color dyes from the paintball pellet. The smooth case shape reduces the chance of your watch case trapping color dye, dirt, or grime. 

Most watch cases are waterproof with water resistance. The key here is to wear a watch with as few folds, crevices, and gaps as possible. 

Waterproof & Smooth Strap

This also helps with cleaning the watch strap. If it is waterproof, it will not absorb any color dyes. It will also not absorb sweat and then turn smelly, as usually happens to most leather straps. 

In this case, straps made of rubbers are best – silicone, polyurethane, or PVC. Resin-based straps are also good as they are extremely tough and waterproof.


Quartz movement relies on electronic circuits to regulate timing instead of automatic watches that use springs, jewels, and gears. 

As a result, quartz movement generally handles shock much better than automatic movement because it has fewer moving parts than mechanical watches. 


Lastly, the best watch to wear to a paintball game is a beater watch, as they are sturdy, rugged, and most importantly, cheap. 

This means you can wear the watch into the game without fear of dirtying or breaking it. If it does happen, you can easily discard it and purchase another one since it is cheap.

Best Affordable Watches To Play Paintball

We checked out Amazon and found these watches; we think they fit the characteristics above, with trade-offs. We kept prices low, with all the models recommended below $100.

Casio W-217H-1AVCF

The first watch to think about when it comes to beaters. It is surprisingly great for paintball use as well. 

It is small, quartz, and has a smooth and waterproof case made of resin. The strap is also made of resin for waterproofing, with slight folds and crevices. However, it should not hamper cleaning too much. An old toothbrush should do. 

Timex Ironman Classic 30

Wear A Watch To Play Paintball

Carries the same characteristics as the Casio FW-91. Small resin case and strap, small digital display. 

The best thing about this watch is the smooth pushers that integrate with the watch case, meaning it would have fewer gaps and might make cleaning harder. It also comes with black-gray color combinations, so it doesn’t look too dull.

Casio G-Shock DW5600

Wear A Watch To Play Paintball

This watch is practically unbreakable. Entire resin case and strap for waterproofing and easy cleaning. It runs a quartz movement with shock-resistant technology, further protecting it. The digital screen is small and is surrounded by a bezel for protection. 

The only downside is the less smooth surface. Still, since the watch has a resin casing, cleaning should be straightforward – warm water with dishwater and an old toothbrush should get it done well.

Armitron Sport 40/8447

Wear A Watch To Play Paintball

This watch is also small, with an all-resin case, with a small digital display to reduce the likelihood of breaking. Quartz movement reduces the likelihood of shock, reducing timekeeping accuracy. 

The strap is silicone, which is softer than resin. If you dislike the hardness of resin straps, then silicon straps would be a better choice for you. The overall smooth surface of the watch also helps with cleaning.

Speidel Scrub Glow Watch

Wear A Watch To Play Paintball

You might wonder why we recommend a medical watch here, but please allow us to explain. 

First, we realized that some of you might prefer analog displays, which means one of those classic field watches would be nice since it has a military feel. However, analog field watches are mostly in nylon or cloth strap, which is not waterproof. 

This Speidel watch balanced those needs. It has an analog display with 24 hour time that makes it look like a field watch. The strap is silicone and smooth, meaning it is waterproof and straightforward to clean. 

The black dial and case blend better with most paintball environments, making it easier to camouflage. Quartz movement also gives it some shock resistance. 

Nigel Ignatius

Nigel is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to watches. Inspired by the dedication and effort of watchmakers now and old, Nigel has a passion for watches and looks forward to share his passion with the world.

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