Are you about to do refereeing in the near future for a soccer game and looking for the best referee watch or smartwatch that can help you in your endeavor?
It may seem easy but I know refereeing a football game can be a lot difficult. And I also know the most difficult thing about refereeing is keeping the time. A mistake of just 30 seconds can shift the game in favor of any of the playing teams and nobody wants to be the center of the rage of the soccer fans.
In this article, I will help you choose the right referee watch or the referee smartwatch. I have compiled the referee watches from brands like Timex, Casio, Ultrak, Nixon, and Leap. And if you like to own a referee smartwatch, which everybody owns these days, then I have also included smartwatches from the brands like Apple, Samsung, Tag Heuer, Garmin, etc. that can help you in your refereeing endeavor.
- Why Do Referees Wear Two Watches?
- What To Look For When Buying A Referee Watch?
- Best Watches For Referees Quick Comparison
- Best Soccer Referee Watches
- Best Smartwatches For Football Referees
- Should You Buy A Referee Watch Or Should You Buy A Referee Smartwatch?
Why Do Referees Wear Two Watches?
If you are a professional referee or already know this then you can skip this part. But if you like to watch the football game and have ever seen and wondered why some referees wear two watches then continue reading. All the referees used to wear two watches in the past and even today some referees still wear two watches. Let us look at the reasons why they do so.
1) Keeping Track Of The Stoppage Time
The main reason behind this is to keep track of the stoppage time so that extra time can be calculated and added to the game time at the end of each half.
Now the second question that arises in the mind is how it is done with two watches, right?
It may seem complicated but actually is very simple. One watch is used to measure the official match time by running continuously and the other watch is paused and resumed multiple times to measure the stoppage time of the game which can be due to medical stoppage, substitution, assessment, and removal of injured players, goal celebrations, etc. Once the stoppage time is measured, the referee can decide the extra time that needs to be added at the end of each half.
2) Backup Watch
These days a referee watch can have multiple timers to help the referee measure the stoppage, break, and actual match time. But still, you can see some referees wear two watches that is because the second watch is supposed to be the backup watch of the first watch. This seems reasonable as the watches are man-made and while the chances are very less but they can stop working during the match. So if it’s a very important game then wearing a backup watch may seem very practical and reasonable.
No matter what are all the functionalities that you are getting in a referee watch, there are some referees that still prefer measuring the time with two watches. And as long as the work gets done you can’t really argue with a man’s old school choice, right?
What To Look For When Buying A Referee Watch?
Before we dive into the list of best referee smartwatches and watches, let us first look at the things that I will consider while buying a referee watch. These things will be kind of a deal-breaker for me and you can also look for these things if you want to buy a new soccer referee watch.
1) Multiple Timers
If like me, you also do not want to use two watches then you should select a watch that has multiple timers. It should have a stopwatch to keep track of elapsed time, there should be a timer to measure stoppage or break time and there should be a count-down timer to show the remaining match time.
The second most important thing that I will look at, and you should also look at too, is the durability of the watch. It goes without saying that anything can happen on the field, some fielder might bump hard into you or your watch could get hit by the football itself or you can fall hard on the field, etc. So the watch should be durable enough to survive all these and should still keep running.
3) Water-Resistant Rating
The watch should have a good water-resistant rating so that it does not get damaged by the water on the field or if it starts raining in the middle of the match.
Most of the time we get lost in the game and forget to keep track of the time, so you need an alarm that can remind you if the timer is paused or if the time is about to get over, etc. So you should also look for watches that come with an alarm feature so that you do not do any mistakes even by mistake. The alarm also should not only consist of sound but should also have a hard vibration. Because believe me you will not hear a thing when the fans start cheering for their teams and you’ll miss a watch with a vibrating alarm.
5) Dual Time Zone
This factor becomes important if you use only one watch on and off the field. A football match can be and will be in a different time zone and keeping track of the current local time and time in your home time zone can become a task.
Best Watches For Referees Quick Comparison
VIEW ON AMAZON
Best Soccer Referee Watch
Nixon Regulus A1180
Best Smartwatch For Football Referees
Apple Watch Series 7
Timex Referee Watch
Timex Ironman Classic 100
Tag Heuer Referee Smartwatch
Tag Heuer Connected
Garmin Referee Watch
Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire
Best Soccer Referee Watches
Let us first look at the best watches available for all the soccer referees out there and then we will look at the best referee smartwatches.
1) Leap Professional Digital
Leap Professional Digital is the cheapest referee watch on this list. It is meant for people that are running short on budget or for people who do refereeing once in a while.
This is a pretty basic watch and gets the job done for its price, there is a countdown timer that measures the elapsed time of the match. There is also a count-up timer that can be used to measure the stoppage time. The watch also has an alarm but its sound is very low and it is nearly impossible to hear it when you are on the field.
Since this is the cheapest watch so you will have to compromise on some things like this watch does not come with any water protection therefore you will have to protect the watch even from water droplets. And there are some functional flaws as well like while setting the timer for the game there is only one option to go up or forwards and there is no option to go backward.
So if you want to set the timer for a time lesser than the time it is already set for, then you will have to go up till it restarts. And if by any chance you miss the mark you wanted to set then you will have to repeat the same step again, it really becomes irritating. To make you understand how irritating it could get, let me give you an example.
I wanted to set the timer for 20 minutes but it was already set for 30 minutes. So I had to keep clicking the button till it reached 99 and then again I clicked it for some 19-20 odd times to get it to 20. But bad luck, I mistakenly clicked it for one more time and then I again had to go all the way to 99 and then to 20. Now imagine if you forgot to set it beforehand and had to do it just before the game starts.
The watch time is easy to read in the daylight but you cannot really read the time in night time as the watch does not come with a backlight. And some people also report condensation being formed inside the watch in the winter season.
2) Nixon Regulus A1180
Nixon Regulus A1180 is the best watch for referees on this list. It comes with everything that you can ask for in a referee watch and is very easy to use too.
There are two chronographs in the watch which are shown on a single screen and can be controlled by separate single buttons. To start and stop the upper chronograph you will have to press the upper left button and to reset it you will have to press and hold the same button. Similarly, to control the lower chronograph you will have to use the lower-left button.
One good thing about these chronographs is that you can keep them running in the background and do other things with the watch as well. It also displays both the chronographs running in the middle of the screen on every mode. These chronographs can be used to measure the stoppage time.
The watch also has a count-down timer that you can set either for a pre-defined time like 2, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 minutes up till 60 minutes or you can also set a custom time. This timer can be used to measure the remaining time of each half.
This watch features a negative LCD display and has an LED backlight as a result I was able to read the time easily under the sun and at the night. You can also control the intensity of the backlight and the time for which it remains on.
To help you keep track of your current and home time zone, this watch features a dual time zone feature. Its shock-blocking shell, 100M water-resistant rating, and battery life of 5 years make the watch durable and dependable.
However, this watch is not perfect and there are some drawbacks of having it. Firstly, like the chronographs, you cannot see the timer running in the background, so if you are on the main screen then you will not be able to tell how much time is left in the timer. Secondly, the watch does not remind you if the timer is about to finish or for any other thing. Therefore you will have to keep looking at it so as to know when to stop the play. You can set three alarms however but they are like normal alarms and are not related to a timer or the chronographs.
3) Timex Ironman Classic 100
Timex Ironman Classic is the best affordable Timex referee watch. It comes with a 100-hour chronograph and a 24-hour countdown timer. Using this watch can be quite confusing in the beginning as unlike some watches on this list, this watch’s chronograph and timer are not controlled by a single button. And there is a total of 5 buttons in the watch, so it takes some time to get a hang of it. But once you do get the hang of it, it becomes as easy as it can be.
The countdown timer can be set for the desired duration to measure the official match time. It can be paused and resumed again, as you may need, but with different buttons. For example, you can set the timer for 45 minutes for halftime and start it as soon as the match starts and pause it in between if someone gets injured or there is a substitution to replace the on-field fielder, etc. The good thing about this watch is that you can set the timers for half time, break, and full time in advance as it comes with interval timers. When the timer gets over the watch also notifies you by a beeping sound, which is loud enough to listen even in a stadium packed with fans.
Its 100-hour chronograph can be used to measure the stoppage time, if you have to stop the match then simply pause the timer and start the chronograph and it will start measuring the stoppage time. Once you have to resume the match again then you can pause the chronograph and start the timer again.
This watch also has a dual time zone feature which you can use if you had to go refereeing a match outside of your home time zone. There is a backlight as well so you can read the time clearly even on the matches that happen at night. The watch has a 100M water-resistant rating and comes with a durable resin strap therefore you can rest assured that the watch will be on your wrist working in case you have a hard fall on the field filled with water. You will be able to use it for many years without worrying about its battery as the watch comes with 10 years of battery life.
However, the watch has some shortcomings as well and some people have complained about the watch’s backlight not working after a year or so. The watch glass also gets scratchy after regular usage and hampers the visibility of the time.
4) Ultrak Soccer And Referee Watch
Ultrak Soccer and Referee watch come with a soccer timer to measure the official match time and a stoppage timer which is basically a chronograph to measure the stoppage time. A good thing about this watch is both the timers are displayed on a single screen therefore you can keep an eye on both at the same time.
The timer can be set for up to 99 minutes but setting it, like the Leap Professional Digital watch, becomes very irritating. If you want to set the timer for a lower value than what it is already set for then you will have to keep pressing the button until it goes all the way to 99 and starts over again. And once you are about to reach the desired value then I will highly recommend you to slow down. Because once you are past your desired value then you will have to go again up till 99, so be extra careful if you do not want to repeat the unnecessary steps over and over again.
One thing that I like about its timer is that it notifies you 30 seconds before the timer is about to get over. It beeps constantly for 30 seconds and to be very frank sometimes it can get irritating as well. However, it only beeps and does not vibrate to notify you. The watch also comes with a backlight which is not that great and should have been more bright.
5) Casio Multifunction Sport Watch
Casio Multifunction Sport Watch is the best affordable Casio referee watch. There is a chronograph and a 24-hour timer to help you in your referee endeavor.
You can set the chronograph to measure the stoppage time and you can set the timer to measure the game time. However, unlike the Ultrak Soccer and Referee watch, the chronograph and timer are not shown on the same screen so you cannot keep an eye on both simultaneously.
Like the Ultrak Referee watch, this watch also notifies you of the timer getting over by continuously beeping for 10 seconds. However, three things to note here are, firstly it only beeps and does not vibrate, secondly, it notifies you once the timer gets over and not before, and thirdly, the notification sound is low and you will face difficulty hearing it on the field.
This watch also features an auto-repeat timer so you can set the watch beforehand and once the half time gets over, the second half timer will start automatically. Another good thing about the timer is that it can be paused and resumed again from a single button which makes it very easy to use.
The chronograph feature of the watch also has a target time option, which when set notifies you at that particular time by beeping for 10 seconds. It can be very helpful because as we know that a fixed extra time is allocated for every stoppage, so with this feature you can keep track if the stoppage time is taking longer than what is allocated.
This timepiece also features an auto backlight and gets on if you tilt your wrist to see the time. However, it does not work every time and in our usage, it only worked 8 out of 10 times. Which is pretty decent considering the watch’s price and the amount of battery it saves. The watch comes with a water-resistant rating of 50M therefore you do not have to keep it protected from the water and can also be used to do recreational swimming.
Best Smartwatches For Football Referees
If you want to own a watch that can not only help you track time but can also help you track the health of your body then you should go for a football referee smartwatch. Let us look at the best options available in the market today.
But before we dive into the list of the smartwatches let me tell you that these watches do not come with a built-in referee feature or app. But these smartwatches support third-party apps and you can download REFSIX, which is one of the best apps for football or soccer referees. Therefore the working of all the smartwatches will be exactly the same when it comes to using them for refereeing a game while they can differ in terms of other functionalities.
REFSIX Referees App
Let us look in brief at the REFSIX referees app first and then we will go onto the list of some of the best smartwatches that support this app.
REFSIX app is one the best and smartest referees apps available in the market today. It is very easy to use and lets you do much more than a conventional referee watch. You can basically record and administer everything about the game on it while on the field.
If you know your fixtures in advance then you can add each one of them in advance, it lets you add the competition name, team names, all the player names and even the name of substitutes, the color of the teams, venue, time, duration of the game, and much more. One thing to note here is that you cannot add a fixture through your watch but you will need a smartphone to do this. Once you have added the fixture and started it, then you will not need your smartphone anymore.
The app will open in your smartwatch where it shows the score of the two teams and a timer. To start the game timer you will first choose which side is kicking off, once you click on the done button it will start the game timer. To pause and resume the timer you just have to tap on the screen of the smartwatch. Once the timer is paused the stoppage timer will start automatically and once the timer is resumed the stoppage timer will get paused. You can also record the goal for a team and the goal time. The watch also lets you record the time and player name in case you give someone a yellow or red card. You can also record the substituted and substitute player name and the time of substitution and much more.
Best Football Referee Smartwatches
Let us now look at the list of best smartwatches that support the REFSIX app.
6) Tag Heuer Connected
Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch runs on Google’s Wear OS, which is one of the most popular smartwatch operating systems, therefore you can download the REFSIX app from the Play Store easily. This is the same watch that was worn by all the Premier League referees in the 2016-17 session. Tag Heuer has also developed its in-house-built referee app with close collaboration with Premier League Officials so you can also use it in case you do not like the REFSIX app.
It comes with a titanium case and is one of the fewest smartwatches that come with a sapphire crystal. Hence you do not have to worry about its ruggedness and durability and you can take it anywhere off the field.
Other than that, the watch features WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth, a heart rate monitor, activity tracker, inbuilt GPS and compass, and a 50M water-resistant rating.
This watch however misses out on a number of features too, like it does not have basic features like SpO2 and sleep monitoring. This is very disappointing from Tag Heuer as these features are even available on basic fitness bands nowadays.
The weakest point of this smartwatch is its battery, it comes with a battery life of just 20 hours, so you will have to charge it before going to the game. Normally with a 1-hour workout session, the watch lasts for a whole day.
7) Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7 is the latest and smartest Apple watch till now. REFSIX app is available in the Apple App Store so you can download it and use it.
Apple says that it features the most crack-resistant display among all the Apple watches till now so you can count on it to withstand the hardest of the falls you may have on the field. It also comes with an IP6X rating which protects it from dust and water.
Moreover, the smartwatch comes with almost all the features that you can ask from a smartwatch. Heart rate, sleep, stress, ECG monitor, activity tracker, fall detection, GPS, always-on display, WiFi and cellular connectivity, you name it and this watch has it.
However, the biggest drawback of having this watch is that it is not compatible with Android smartphones, so if you have an Android device then you should skip this one. Another major drawback of the watch is its battery life (18 hours), it does not even last a whole day on a full charge. This watch however supports fast charging but does not come with a charger. Therefore you will have to buy a type-C charger additionally to charge it and will also have to double-check before taking it to the field.
8) Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the latest smartwatch from Samsung and rather than running on the in-house-built Tizen operating system, it runs on Google’s Wear OS. Therefore you can download the REFSIX app from the Play Store easily.
Other than this, it could be a perfect watch for all the Android smartphone users out there. You will find every feature that you could ask from a smartwatch including wireless connectivity, body health trackers, dual voice assistants, and whatnot.
But like the Tag Heuer Connected and Apple Watch Series 7, it also does not have great battery life and lasts just over a whole day on a single charge.
9) Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire
Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire is one the best Garmin smartwatches till now. It runs on Garmin OS but the REFSIX app is available on the Garmin Connect IQ app store, so it can be easily downloaded to the watch.
Like the Tag Heuer Connected, this is also one of the few smartwatches that come with a sapphire crystal. The watch has a tough and rugged build quality so you will not have to worry about breaking the watch even if Ronaldo shoots the football directly to it.
The watch comes with an exhaustive list of features, like other smartwatches on this list, and even comes with some special features for the hidden hiker and trekker in you.
Unlike the other watches on this list, this watch comes with a battery life of 14-days which can be extended to 48-days via a battery saver mode. In the real world, its battery lasts easily for a week and a half. So, like me, if you do not like to charge gadgets quite often then this is the smartwatch for you, it will easily last for multiple games.
Should You Buy A Referee Watch Or Should You Buy A Referee Smartwatch?
If you are refereeing for just a day or two then you can get an affordable referee watch but if you are a professional referee or want to be one then you should consider buying a good referee watch.
And since the world is getting smarter and the concern for health tracking is rising hence I will highly recommend you to get a smartwatch for your refereeing endeavor. It will keep track of your body health on and off the field. Other than this, a good soccer referee app will enable you to do much more than just keep track of the time. You will be able to note the goal time, substitution time, injury time, and whatnot. And if you do not like a particular app then you can keep trying new ones until you find the best one for yourself without spending an extra penny. However, if you buy a conventional watch then you will have to compromise for what you get and in case you want to change then you will have to buy a new one.
Keeping all this in mind, I think investing in a good referee smartwatch will be a wiser choice.
What Does A Referee Watch Do In Football?
Referee watches are used by referees to measure the official game time as well as the stoppage time so that they can allocate extra time accordingly at the end of game halves.
Why Do Football Referees Wear Two Watches?
Football referees wear two watches because one is used to measure the official game time and the other one is used to measure the stoppage time.
What Is The Best Watch For A Soccer Referee?
Some of the best referee watches are Leap Professional Digital, Nixon Regulus A1180, Timex Ironman Classic 100, Ultrak Soccer and Referee, Casio Multifunction Sport Watch, Tag Heuer Connected, Apple Watch Series 7, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, and Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire.
What Watch Do Soccer Referees Use?
Soccer referees use the watches that come with a dual timer or a dual chronograph features.