Everyone knows who 007 is. We all wanted to have our own Q to give us James Bond gadgets when we were younger, and most of us secretly still do. There’s something thrilling about having a secret. Yet these spy camera watches are useful for more than a juvenile thrill.
Unfortunately, adult life isn’t always as much fun as a good spy film, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have the cool ‘toys.’ If you have a cheating sweetie, you might need one of these great gadgets to get the proof you need. It’s a lot harder to get the moral high ground when your partner has footage of you doing them wrong.
Where Do Spy Watches Come From
Hidden and miniature technology has been around longer than you might expect. People have always enjoyed secrets, though obviously, some are more harmful than others. So, what mad genius decided a watch needed to double as a spy camera? Inevitably some Cold War alphabet soup agency tech must have created them for real-life secret agents, right?
Surprisingly, no. The first camera watch was a Victorian Lancaster Pocket Watch from the 1800s. It surfaced fairly recently at a Bonhams auction in 2007. The watch was patented in October 1886 and created in 1890. Unfortunately, there were only four of these original ladies pocket spy watches ever made.
Sadly, it had a number of design flaws. Hence, the model sold poorly. Among these flaws were the four separate clasps needed just to open the device, and several small parts that needed to be inserted once your camera was fully opened. Another model came out the same year from a competitor and sold far better due to its relatively easy use.
The first acknowledged wrist camera was created in 1939 by a Japanese inventor named Jujiro Ichiki. On closer inspection, the camera doesn’t look much like a watch. Nevertheless, the inventor made it into the newspaper for his incredible subminiature technology breakthrough.
Wrist cameras came in many forms, from the more delicate and covert to the blatant and camera shaped. It wasn’t until the 1960s that another company, Tessina Cameras, would produce a camera watch that looks like a watch. Moreover, it used a regular 35mm film.
Many of the early models were bulky and didn’t look much like a watch at all. Especially the pocket watch cameras, which tended to be at least twice as thick as any regular watch. Additionally, the camera holes were overlarge and somewhat noticeable.
Every time some movie version of a covert government agent uses one of these incredible gadgets, you can thank a Victorian cabinet maker and Jujiro Ichiki.
The Smallest Spy Camera Ever Made
The tiniest camera ever created was barely larger than a grain or two of sugar. At a mere one millimeter cubed, the camera would fit in the center of the hashtag symbol on a standard keyboard. Naturally, it doesn’t have the same features as a larger spy camera. While the size is impressive, it does require a wire attached to transmit the images. Unfortunately, those images are only 250×250 pixels.
The researchers who invented this tiny wonder at Berlin’s Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration say it’s so cheap to produce that they consider them disposable. If the wire weren’t such a dead giveaway, they’d probably make excellent spy watch components assuming the resolution could be improved.
What Makes a Great Spy Watch
Not all gadgets are the same. Likewise, not all consumers have the same tastes and needs. Before you buy, stop and take the time to consider what you want your watch to do. You’ll find different battery lives and recording times for one thing. Every watch on our top five list has its own best features. In short, if you need a particular look, there are plenty of styles to choose from. Here are some things to consider before you buy:
There are so many bells and whistles on different devices; it can seem pointless to read every stat. You don’t need to read a thousand product descriptions to find what you need. Try asking some basic yet essential questions about each spy watch before you buy. This will help you avoid disappointment or problems down the line.
Most Important Parts
How big a memory card can you use? Equally important, does it loop record over the old footage? Naturally, you’ll need to consider power saving features as well. Some spy cameras turn on automatically when they sense motion. A watch moves quite a lot on your arm.
Does your watch save to memory, stream to a smartphone, or even upload to a computer? Decide how much storage space you need.
Does the Watch Work
Is it all for show? If you wear a dead watch all the time, you’d better have a great reason why you haven’t taken it off. Alternately, you don’t want so many features and gizmos that you’re tempted to show off. The more you draw attention to your watch, the greater the chance someone will discover your secret.
Can you get a regular photo? Alternately, does the film have sound with it? The latter could mean the difference between winning in divorce court and going to jail for wiretapping.
How long will you be able to record without stopping to recharge? Also, if the information is available, you may want to find out how long it takes to recharge and whether the watch will continue recording while it charges. This doesn’t apply to those with replaceable batteries.
Gadgets, such as these watches, come at different price points. Never sacrifice quality if you can avoid it, but also balance your need to move quickly to catch a cheater in the act.
Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of any accessory purchase is materials. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to various metals, or even rubber. Always make sure you can wear the watch you choose.
While most watches are adjustable in a normal range, you still need to double check where possible to assure your spy watch will fit properly. As silly as this seems, plenty of companies make children’s spy watches, and not all of them are cheap or cheesy looking. You wouldn’t want to accidentally order something suited to an eight-year-old even if it does have a nice camera inside.
If you sit at a desk all day and go home to watch TV, it might look a bit funny if you show up in a sports watch. Similarly, when you wear all blue most days, a red or yellow watch is going to stand out more. Usually, that’s just fine. Watches are accessories after all, but a spy watch should blend seamlessly into your look.
Top 5 Best Spy Camera Watches
Keep in mind; all these watches will take a good video for you. Fortunately, technology has come far enough that you don’t need to worry about missing your shot as long as you know how to aim a camera. In the end, it’s about personal choice and taste. Always pick your watch based on what you’ll wear and use. Here are our favorites to get you started.
1. Attitude Professional HD Camera Watch
The Attitude Professional is a great ‘all in’ watch. The lithium ion battery is built into the watch. Also, the 16 GB memory card and the microphone are included. Essentially, you can use this item right out of the box. It’s AVI files are compatible with Windows Media Player.
The large 53 mm face and 13 mm thickness is correct for a modern accessory. Sport watches have been getting larger for a while. Similarly, the 8.38-inch watch band will fit most wrists comfortably. Plus, the simple grey and black color scheme should match with any outfit and look nice, but not stand out too much.
Being able to take video is fantastic. However, it also consumes a lot of power. With a second photo-only camera, you can get the images you need without concern. The cameras on the Attitude Professional are outstanding with 1080 P video and 4032*3024 photos. The engineers thought of everything. Subsequently, the infrared camera switches over automatically at 10 *lux or less.
- Web Camera- You can use this spy cam as a regular web camera. All you need to do is couple it with your computer, and you can skip the typical setup. Naturally, any device that can multitask is a bonus.
- HD Video- You can store more than five hours of video at a time on the built-in memory card. Moreover, you can record for ninety minutes at a time. That’s a fairly impressive recording time for such a small camera without external power.
- Size- The Attitude Professional has a face that is about the right size for a modern watch. Resultantly it should fit right in with other watches on the market now.
- Change is Difficult- If you need to adjust the band, unfortunately, you will need to go to a watch store. Unless you happen to own the tools and have horological skills to use them, this is not an easily adaptable watch.
- See Clearly- Though most cheating spouses are nowhere near paranoid enough to be scanning for mini cameras, this one is potentially noticeable. With a lens located at six ‘o clock, it can be seen with the naked eye. Of course, the viewer does have to know what to look for.
- Weather- This watch is not weather resistant. Unfortunately, it will only withstand average temperatures and humidity. Do not take it out in extremes or get your watch wet.
Get your ‘Attitude’ here.
*A lux is equal to one lumen per square meter. Lumens are a light measurement unit that describes brightness. Check out the CatchCheatersFast article on The Best Flashlight to Blind Your Attacker for more information on light measurement.
2. TEEPAO FoxWear Smart Watch With Mini Camera
A handsomely rendered Foxwear Sport Watch is the sort of accessory you might expect any sporty, yet fashionable, individual to have around for timekeeping. With a black and yellow color scheme and large numerals, you’ll have no trouble telling the time. The camera looks like an exposed gemstone more than a sneaky piece of secret technology. Rather than trying to make it invisible, TEEPAO has found a way to disguise it in plain sight.
For those who might use their FoxWear for non-covert recording, they’ve included a light feature that allows you to draw the eye to the camera lens at will. Presumably, there will be life after your cheating spouse is gone. As a result, this company has made a durable product with features for both hidden and blatant filming. Your relationship might not last, but at least your spy watch will stick with you.
Your FoxWear is equipped for more. It comes with remote point to point Wifi capabilities. Ten Lumen LED lights can be used in an emergency, and the IPX7 waterproof case allows you to take this wearable camera wherever you need to go. So, while you may be trading some ‘smart functions’ for better camera functions, it’s an overall win, especially as a spy watch.
- Good Battery- The 350 mA high capacity battery gives you a long recording time. Alternately, you could take a thousand photos before you need to recharge. That’s a good run for one little watch battery doing spy duty.
- Video Plus- With your 720PHD HD video quality plus the H.264 compression format encoding you can get the footage you need and send it on its way securely. Most watch cameras don’t have any form of video encryption built in. Happily, you can get an added layer of security with this model.
- Pixel Insanity- Photos on this device are five megapixels. That’s a great picture, in case you were wondering. Hopefully, you’ll never need an image that perfect, but there are literally five million pixels per image. It means you’ll have more than enough to see every tawdry detail.
- Dumb Name- The app to connect this camera watch is called “Eyescam.” This unfortunate choice means there’s nothing covert about the program. If you saw that on a phone, wouldn’t you be curious about what it does? Put a skin on it.
- Good Looking- Sadly, being attractive is a minor no-no in the spy business. This watch is fun to look at and has bright colors on the details. For spy gear, it’s more noticeable than you might like, but not too bad.
- Semi Well Known- FoxWear isn’t as famous as Rolex or even Casio, but they are a reasonably accessible brand. This means there’s a slightly higher chance that your cheating spouse or their adulterous lover might know the brand. However, it’s not likely.
Find this Foxy Wearable camera here.
3. Schal & Deribrarid Hidden Camera Watch
You won’t see the camera on this watch, and indeed you might not believe it was there if you didn’t know better. The all black bezel and black with dark grey face won’t reflect much light to ruin your shot. The darkly modern appeal is also less bulky than some of the sports watch models, for a lighter feeling on the wrist.
Buttons and Toggles
One of the five dials on this brilliant watch is your microphone. Resultantly, there’s less distortion and less chance you’ll accidentally cover the input. The other dials all function as well. The first dial hides the USB connection while the second adjusts the mode. Likewise, the microphone side has two more dial-buttons that toggle the camera off or on and adjusts the analog time.
- Comfortable- The silicone wristband gives you a comfortable fit. More importantly, it also has some flexibility where a rigid band is sometimes less durable where impacts are concerned.
- Low Key Looker- While this watch is attractive and pleasing to look at, the face doesn’t overtly draw attention with bright details. Neither simple nor overly complicated, this watch will blend in nicely without making you look cheap or dull.
- Surprisingly Wide View- The perspective from some spy watches can be slightly narrow. Happily, with this spy camera, it’s not a concern. Broad camera perspectives capture plenty of action. The high-quality imagery will make you happy even if your cheating spouse can’t.
- Inexpensive but Not Cheap- You can opt to spend hundreds of dollars on micro-technology, but you don’t have to just for a good product. You’ll be shocked at the cost for value ratio. Why is this a ‘con?’ Well, honestly, the lower price means this exceptional watch gets passed over too often.
- Recording Time- Seventy minutes of video isn’t bad. It’s also not totally unbelievable. We don’t have much to say about this watch that’s negative, but some mediocre parts could improve slightly.
- Not Sporty- This watch does look slightly more high-end than a typical sports watch. It could stand out a little more because it’s not as common as a sports watch. As you can see, there’s not much downside here. It was a stretch to come up with three negatives, which is a ‘pro’ in its own way
Take a look at this watch here.
4. Sport Sensations KEQI Smart Watch Camera
When you need more versatility than most spy watches, the Sport Sensations by KEQI is the top choice. Customizable features and simple software helped to get this tremendous all-purpose spy watch on the list. The audio-only recording function is particularly impressive. You won’t find that option with other recording watches.
When All is Said & Done
After the dust settles, and your footage won the day, you’ll still have a spy watch on your hands. You could apply for that special law enforcement job you always wanted, or you could find other uses for your spy gear. Here are just a few suggestions for how to put this excellent product to use.
We’ll assume you have permission and suggest that this is a great way to get a recording of your favorite live performance in HD quality without the worry that you’ll use up your phone battery. The wide view lens and astonishingly high definition digital film quality will assure you of a keepsake you can jam out to for years to come.
Less Bulky Vacation Camera
Packing for a trip is always one of the problematic parts. If you overpack, then there’s too much stuff to sort through. Conversely, when you under-pack, you can find you don’t have enough socks. Whatever you do, you’ll need the cargo space for those socks, but you can cut out one concern if you wear your spy watch. A vacation camera requires batteries and a case. You have to remember to take it everywhere and make sure it’s not lost or stolen. If it’s a manual camera, then you need t fiddle with film and developing. Instead of all those things, wear your favorite watch.
Lots of students record their lecture notes. Of course, plenty of them also lose their cameras or drop their iPads down the stairs. Just as you can use a spy camera for a handy substitute vacation camera, you can take it to class instead of taking physical notes by hand, typing them out or muddling through with bulky and more easily damaged equipment.
A good roundtable discussion of a vital concept can help you solidify your understanding. Naturally, it does you little to no good if you can’t recall the details later. Bring this beauty with you to make sure you never lose a good idea, even if it’s not yours.
Work Seminars and Training Sessions
When you’re bucking for that promotion, you need every advantage. Impress your boss with the ability to repeat every significant fact they’ve ever asked you to learn.
Use The Audio Only
Whether you plan to write the next great American novel, or you simply need to remember something quickly, with the touch of a button, you can tell yourself what you need to know. You’ll never lose another phone number, or forget to put TP on the grocery list with such a handy watch.
- Timestamping- The ability to toggle date and time stamps on and off is unique to this model. Most watches either automatically include the timestamp or don’t have it at all. Customizable options are always worth a second look.
- Optional Modes- In addition to toggling your timestamps, you can choose your recording mode. Opt for continuous recording when you want an unbroken video. Otherwise, you can save power by choosing motion detector recording mode. You won’t miss any action, but the camera stops between ‘takes,’ and only records again when it detects that something is going on.
- Easy Software- Along with all the other simple functions, the software on this spy watch lets you adjust the date and time in just a few seconds. Moreover, it also enables you to toggle between resolution settings to get the best image for your needs.
- No Loop Recording- This is both a boon and a flaw. The ability to keep recording over old footage is useful if you use it correctly. While losing footage is never good, you do have to make a choice about what to do in a pinch. Unfortunately, there’s just no way to have both options since they’re mutually exclusive.
- Battery Life- While you’ll get a solid hour out of a charge, that’s it. An hour of recording time is nothing to sneeze at, but we’d like a little bit more from the next model they put out. Luckily, technology is always improving.
- Loop Recording?- KEQI says that this device loop records. KEQI says there’s no loop recording function. Sadly, we’re not sure which is the correct answer. While acknowledging that this is probably just a typo, it’s still a problem if you need a precise answer before you buy. If loop recording is one of the functions that matter most to you, ask. They have excellent customer service.
You can have it all and take it with you here.
5. LKcare Hidden Cam Fitness Watch
Get in shape and cut the fat out of your life. Cheating spouses are the worst, but you have to make sure you take care of yourself as well. If you go for morning jogs or have any worries about a lousy spouse acting out when they get caught, you can keep this outstanding watch on and get it all on ‘tape’ as it happens. Plus the pedometer and calorie tracker both work.
Links to Your Smartphone
Not only will this spy watch make it easier to get the video you need, but it can do everything you’d expect a typical smart device like a Fitbit might do as well. Get in shape, stay safe with the tracker function, and display your text messages and incoming call numbers right on your wrist.
- Lifetime of Service- This company offers lifetime assistance and replacement service with their devices. If something goes wrong, get in contact, they will help.
- Named Right- LKcare puts out some seriously thoughtful and well-made products. If you want to be sure you’re buying from a company that is thinking about its customers, support these guys. They do good work.
- Extras- When you pick this watch they include duplicates for the most used parts. You get two card readers and two data cables.
- Not for Everyone- If you aren’t an ‘exercise person,’ this is going to look a little out of place on your wrist.
- Lots of Functions- Seeking a simple solution? You may want to skip this spy watch if you need something minimalist.
- Commitment- Your spouse may not be serious about commitment, but you must be in order to use this watch. It’s not as complicated as learning a new smartphone, but it’s going to take more than a few minutes. Consequently, if you don’t put in the time, you won’t be able to understand or use this watch.
Improve your life here.
For the Kids- Spy Net: Video Watch 2.0, with Night Vision
This fun ‘kids’ version of the spy watch comes with a ton of fun features and pre-loaded apps. Our favorite is the ability to download ‘missions’ from the website at SpyNetHQ.com. It may be silly. Nevertheless, it does take up to twenty minutes of video or two-thousand pictures.
Unlike any other watch on this list, you can playback your images on the built-in screen. Or, if you prefer, you can upload to a computer. Conveniently, Spy Net watches are compatible with PC and MAC, which makes it simple to save your spy work. Just make sure you copy it all to a self-destructing disk before you put it in the dead drop for your contact to retrieve.
Equip your inner spy kid here.
Classic Appeal- Eyeclub Hidden Camera Loop Video Recorder Analog Watch
For those who want to feel like a Cold War-era secret agent, the Eyeclub hidden camera watch is a stylish choice. It has a beautiful faux alligator band with an analog watch face and gold colored metal. Thus, this watch looks more like you might see it on an early Bond-film than the more modern styles ever can.
The tiny camera, located at six o’clock records with ease. Just two buttons mean that you don’t have any complicated settings to confuse. A built-in 8 GB memory card will keep your videos secure.
Get a more traditional spy watch here.
Whether you always wanted to be a spy, or you need a way to get evidence of something your crazy spouse does on the down low, these watches are all excellent at getting that sneaky footage. Plus, with all the available styles, you should be able to find one that fits into your wardrobe without standing out. Ordinarily, any watch owner has an excuse to leave theirs out on the nightstand ‘accidentally.’
A word of caution: Always be careful when filming with audio. In this case, it may surprise you to know that there’s a big difference legally between recording an image and taking soundbites. Primarily, always check your local and national wiretapping laws before you take your new watch out for a spin. Additionally, if you plan to record somewhere audio is illegal, choose a watch that has no sound recording, or one that can be toggled off. Sadly, all the evidence in the world does you no good if it’s inadmissible. Plus, no rotten spouse is ever worth risking a prison sentence. Spy safely.