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How To Use A Spy Watch Camera (Like a Pro)
Published by HireAPrivateEye in Spy Equipment · Wednesday 10 Nov 2021

How To Use a Spy Watch Camera

Knowing how to skillfully use a spy watch camera will help with its practical application in the field and lessen compromise of its use. This post is for private investigators, surveillance operators, lawyers, even members of the public, who have purchased a spy watch and want a better understanding of how to use it for surveillance, or to discreetly record a subject of interest. We will go over some useful data and tips for using a spy watch so you can get the most out of it.


  1. Spy Watch Camera Package Contents
  2. Testing Your Spy Watch's Capabilities
  3. Methods of Using a Spy Watch Camera
    1. Point-and-Record Technique
    2. Using Props
    3. Static Placement
    4. Following on Foot
  4. Legalities of Using a Hidden Spy Watch Camera

Spy Camera Watch Package Contents

Whatever spy watch you buy, it will always come with instructions on how to use it: an explanation of the various operational buttons. Some instructions will be easier to understand than others. If your watch is made in a non-English speaking country, often the instructions will be poorly written. They do however use diagrams which are usually self-explanatory.

A spy watch camera package will generally have the following:

  • Instructions
  • Spy Watch
  • USB Cable (for charging and connecting to computer)
  • Mains Adapter
  • Software (not always)
  • SD Card (not always)

We can't give data here on specific button actions as every spy watch, although similar, will be different. You should refer to the watch's instructional leaflet for using your spy watch.

Testing Your Spy Watch Camera's Capabilities

When buying any kind of spy gear always test its capabilities before you put it into operational use. The reason being, you want to know its capabilities and its limitations so you don't get caught out with a low battery, bad imagery, or poor sound, etc. Don't rely on the manufacturer's technical specifications of the product, but do your own evaluations.

Here are some things you can do to test your spy watch camera's capabilities and limitations:

  • Fully charge your watch's battery and press record to see exactly how much time it will give you for a complete charge. You can then determine how much time you have for recording when using it for live surveillance.

  • Once you have tested the amount of time of battery power it has, check how much video / audio recording you get for that time. If your watch has options to record video with or without audio, you will want to test both options so you know the limitations of each.

  • Check your spy watch's video and audio quality by taking it out on a test run. See what field of view (full picture from left to right) the camera has. See how shaky the recorded video is so you know how steady you need to be.

  • Test the video and audio ranges by placing the watch in a room and standing and talking at various distances from it. This will give you a good understanding of how well your spy watch will record conversations as well as video.

  • Test the spy watch's video quality in low light situations by recording in dimly lit rooms or outside in the dark. By doing this you will know whether to use it in a setting that doesn't have good artificial light.

To understand the true capabilities and limitations of your watch, you'll need to become very familiar with the various functions of it.

Methods of Using a Spy Watch Camera

As touched upon, the best thing you can do is to become very familiar with your watch. You'll want to instinctively know what button does what, how long you must push a button for it to begin recording, what modes it has and how to easily change between those modes.

Going out and testing it - playing with the buttons and getting used to it - is crucial in becoming skilled at using it in the field. Once you feel completely comfortable using it, you can further your practical techniques in using your spy watch.

Here are some methods to help you use your spy camera watch for surveillance:

Point-and-record technique

Unlike an ordinary camera, a spy watch camera doesn't have a viewfinder (something to look though when taking pictures) so you'll need to become very practiced at the point-and-record technique.

This technique is simply pointing a camera (your spy watch) at someone without aiming it with your eye, but instead, using your judgment - a little like shooting a gun from the hip. Practice using your spy watch from the hip to film covert recordings of things around you, so you can accurately judge the camera view's sight alignment to a target.

Using props

As a spy watch is worn on the wrist, you will need excuses to point the watch camera at your target. You can try various methods such as holding a newspaper to keep the watch at the correct angle. You can also use a backpack by holding the strap to naturally keep your wrist and spy watch in the correct position. If you are sitting at a table, you can easily rest your arm on the table, pointing the watch's secret camera at your target.

Static placement

If you are watching someone in a restaurant for example, you can remove your watch and place it on the table, pointing at them. This method can be used at home or in an office. You can also fold your arms, keeping the camera parallel to the floor and pointing at your subject of interest.

Following on foot

If you are following someone on foot, it's best to keep your spy watch turned off until you need to record an important aspect of your surveillance.

Once you turn the spy watch camera on, you will need to be mindful of camera shake if walking and recording at the same time. If this is the case, try and keep the arm that your spy watch is on away from and not touching your body, as this will reduce camera shake from the larger body movements of your torso.

You will want to keep your arm free-floating but not in an obvious unnatural way. Carrying a backpack and holding onto the backpack strap is a good way of employing this technique.

Legalities of Using a Hidden Spy Watch Camera

It would be remiss of us not to disclose some legal ramifications to you when using your hidden spy watch. Every US state or country has their own laws relating to the use of such covert equipment: not just spy watches. You will need to follow your local state and country's laws. Reference: Covert Surveillance Laws - Cornell Law School.

Here are a couple of things to consider when using your camera watch for surveillance:

  1. Expectation of Privacy: Generally, where there is an expectation of privacy such as in a bathroom, bedroom, changing room or hotel room, using your spy watch could be considered a breach of privacy laws.
  2. Consent Laws: Consent laws cover the legalities as to whether it’s legal or illegal to record someone on video or audio without their permission. This is the one and two-party consent law in the US.


We hope you have gained some knowledge and confidence about using a spy watch camera and how useful they can be in undercover surveillance operations. If you are interested and want to buy a quality spy watch then check out our best spy watch review here.

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