BEST TACTICAL WATCHES
We’re kicking off our guide in style with the Suunto Core. This has clearly been designed with the great outdoors in mind. It’s just the right size and weight that it won’t feel too clunky or awkward. This means you’ll feel at ease wearing it in any conditions. The bezel is made from high-quality aluminum, while the glass has a durable mineral glass covering that in conjunction with the composite-made casing, provides you with waterproofing up to 30-meters.
It’s built for all kinds of conditions and activities. Along with the digital compass, the features that drew us into this model most were the barometer, altimeter and the weather data you have access to on tap with it. When you’re involved in anything with ascents and elevations, the altimeter is a great feature to have. With the Suunto Core you’re able to keep track on the ascent/descent, the elevation you’re currently at and how you’re progressing in a climb, While the barometer forecasts weather condition changes, by tracking trends in air pressure closely.
- Altimeter and barometer
- Waterproof to 30-meters
- Compatible with various straps
- Not as durable as G-Shock watches
There’s no way we could really talk about tactical watches without considering at least one Casio G-shock model. G-Shock watches are known for their big cases, but this GA 100-1A1 has the X-Large G, which provides a rather monstrous 4 x 4.6 x 4.2-inches meaning it’s very comfortable to look at in all situations. It’s an Ana-Digi model that is full of nice features.
Although there’s no altimeter, barometer or compass, it does benefit from having a chronograph, stopwatch, world time checker and a dual-time display. There’s also the 200-meters of waterproofing it offers. Obviously, the biggest draw to other G-Shock watches is the same for this and that’s the magnetic, gravitational and shock resistance it provides.
- 200-meters water resistance
- World time of 29 time zones and 48 cities
- Choice of analogue and digital movement
- Could be better in lower light
Given its military-inspired name, it’s no surprise that the Infantry Big Face military watch is durable, tough and therefore, made for various conditions and uses. For one thing, its casing is made by stainless-steel with a canvas strap. You get the choice of either an analog or digital time display and functions with the Japanese-made AL35 quartz movement, which is incredibly reliable, and the calendar features the full date including the day name, date and the month.
There’s also a tachometer around the bezel, dual-time display and chronograph and has 30-meters of water resistance. The dial is protected by minerals with anti-scratch properties. It’s not called big face for nothing, because the face is a massive 47.3mm in diameter and a good quality enough backlight.
- 12 and 24-hour military time
- Japanese-made AL35 quartz movement
- Stainless-steel buckle and watch backing
- Band/strap could be more comfortable
Timex has a reputation for designing and producing timepieces that keep good and accurate time, are functional, are highly accurate and timelessly stylish. The Expedition Field chronograph doesn’t disappoint in this regard as it takes inspiration from military watches of old with three different dials with numerals that increase to 60 in increments of 5. This gives you the timekeeping power to measure time at around 1/20th of a second.
Known for durable wristwatches, the Expedition Field will not let you down and as it’s got special mineral glass covering the face with scratch-resistance, it’ll handle significant use and abuse. The water resistance may not be quite the same as offered by other models, but you still get that property for 100-meters. Another great feature is the long-lasting battery that provides you with faithful service for up 10-years.
- Long-life battery lasts for 10-years
- Famous Timex durability
- Precise chronograph
If you want a combination of style, cool aesthetics, a low price and great functionality, you might want to consider the Armitron Pro Sport digital chronograph. Just take heed, this is a loud-looking watch and not in the least bit inconspicuous. So, if you have covert ops or you know, are a security guard that likes to keep a low-profile, look elsewhere.
The rest of you, keep reading. It is powered by quartz movement which means it keeps impeccable time and best of all, as the name suggests, it has a comprehensive (particularly when you consider the price) chronograph. You can keep military time, it has a dual-time display, measures lap times and displays date, day and seconds. As a nice bonus, it’s also water resistant up to 100-meters. Although you can’t go full-on scuba diving wearing this, you can swim and snorkel while using it. The protective glass on the top of the casing is a high-quality acrylic mineral, while the casing itself is stainless-steel.
- 100-meters water resistance
- Chronograph functionality
- The compass markings are for decoration only
It may be that you’ve never heard of the brand 5.11 before. But, trust us, they make some high-performance, high-quality tactical and survival gear. In fact, we’ve featured 5.11 in other buying guides on Men’s Gear. As is the case with many tactical and military watches, you have dual time display with this model. While the outer main dial with phosphorescent arms gives you the civilian time, the inner one gives you the military. Although it’s not quite as obvious as the above wrist watch from Armitron, the 5.11 Field still makes for quite the bold statement, especially with its 44mm casing.
Because this has been clearly designed for military activity (and just about anything else too), it features a casing made from mineral-glass crystals designed to provide chip and scratch resistance. Combine that with the standard water resistance of 100-meters, and you’ve got a lot of protection for a multitude of scenarios and weather conditions. Even style and practicality have been taken into consideration with the strapping made from NATO nylon. Durable is often bandied around too much, not when it comes to this watch though.
- Unidirectional bezel for aiding diving
- Keeps civilian and military time
Why not buy a military watch that’s proven to be as practical and useful as it’s claimed to be? From their Infantry line, this titanium automatic military watch from GPW is a popular choice. With good reason too. It’s designed by the German Special Forces and is used by many police units and military personnel, not just in German, but around the world. What makes it so special? Well it’s based on the watches used by members of the special forces team and has 24 jewels for precision automatic time-keeping. So, there’s no need for a battery – you just keep it going by moving your arm. Something any infantry, police team or extreme sports athlete is likely to do as default.
Its sandblasted titanium face has a screwed-in locked backing and crown that offers 200-meters of water resistance. Not only that though, but the casing has been designed to stop light reflections. Something you need when you’re trying to avoid drawing attention to your whereabouts. Further protection offered by this awesome watch may only affect those using it in areas of conflict, but we love the fact it is EMP resistant. It’s very expensive, but we think the features and build quality is reason enough for that.
- EMP resistant
- 200-meters water resistance
- 24-jewel automatic movement
The second Timex tactical watch in our guide is also from the Expedition line. This time it’s the Shock XL model. This feature, like all Expedition models, the chronograph that enables you to time yourself and keep track of your PBs. It also, like the model above, offers a slightly higher water resistance of up to 200-meters. Now, although this will not protect the timepiece against water and depths while scuba diving, it will provide suitable protection for when you’re participating in professional marine activity or extreme watersports on the surface.
Unless you spend a lot of your time around the water, you’ll want other features besides water resistance, and this provides it in the form of shock resistance that meets ISO standards. You also get standard functions like vibration alarms, a countdown timer and stopwatch. As well as the accuracy of its timekeeping, the biggest draw to any Timex watch is the durability, and with the Expedition Shock you get a long old life out of it. The battery alone lasts for 10-years.
- Shock resistance meets ISO standards
- Chronograph helps track personal bests
- Indiglo backlit tech
- Can’t toggle through your split/lap times
The next sexy little (we say that sarcastically, because really, it’s hardly little) is this awesome SureFire 2211 WristLight watch. As the name suggests, the watch has a generously large light incorporated into its design. Speaking about the light for the moment, it produces brightness of a whopping 300-lumens, though you can also switch it to 15 or 60-lumens as necessary. Thanks to the precision-faceted reflector it produces what the company calls a MaxVision Beam. This is wide and spreads evenly.
Besides the light output, there’s also a lot more to recommend this watch. It’s powered by a high-quality rechargeable battery, for one thing and the actual timepiece is a swiss-made Luminox watch with a dial that self-illuminates. As it’s been made using aerospace-grade aluminum and Mil-Spec hard-anodizing, it’s not only lightweight but extremely durable too. Prefect if you want a high-performance watch with a strong on-board light.
- MaxVision LED and refractive optic
- Rechargeable battery
- Lightweight and durable
- Bulky, similarly to a G-Shock
As Garmin are best known for developing and producing high-performance GPS navigational devices and systems, it’s unsurprising that the biggest selling point of this sophisticated tactical watch is the GPS elements. That doesn’t come cheap though, but if you’re looking for something that’ll keep track of where you are, where you’ve been, along with many other usual tactical and survival features, this is worth considering.
You get a 1.2-inch display that offers high-resolution and readability, even in sunlight. There’s preloaded TOPO-mapping and map navigational that’s routable. That’s not all though as it has tactical-focused features such as waypoint projection, Jumpmaster, dual-position GPS-formatting and along with the integrated GLONASS and GPS sensors, there’s also a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, altimeter and barometer. To top that all off, it’s built to be rugged with a titanium bezel coated with tough DLC, has stainless-steel buttons and will even monitor your heartrate.
- 1.2-inch high-res display
- Preprogrammed TOPO mapping
- Gyroscope, altimeter, barometer and compass
- Expensive, but what do you expect?
Now we’re really firing on all burners with the next survivalist watch in our guide. This time from BlueStraw. Who, it must be said were not a company we’d heard of really before reviewing this product? Ignore the price tag for a moment and consider what you get with this nifty little thing. It acts as a 6-in-1 tactical wrist watch. So, in addition to a reasonable quality timepiece, you also get a fire starter scraper, thermometer, whistle, compass and paracord.
In fact, you don’t just get a watch with paracord, you get a watch that’s got a bracelet that is paracord. It unravels into 3-meters of rescue cord that can be used when you get into serious emergency situations.
- Compass that stops you getting lose
- Thermometer and fire starter
- Safety paracord
Luminox are highly regarded for their expertise when it comes to watchmaking. So-called because of the shape of its case, the Luminox Leatherback Sea Turtle Giant wrist watch gets a bigger 44mm casing. The case itself is made from Carbonox, as is the case backing and bezel for a lightweight piece that doesn’t compromise its durability.
With tempered mineral crystal that prevents the casing display from getting scratched and waterproofing up to 100-meters, this has been constructed to work in various conditions.
- Quartz movement
- Large case diameter
- 100-meters water resistance
- Not as feature-full as others
Back with Suunto for the Traverse Alpha smartwatch-style tactical watch. Subtle and sexy, this has a robust stainless-steel knurled-bezel, top-grade sapphire-crystal glass and a highly durable strap made from nylon-textile. This is one tough cookie. Although that’s all very important, what you’ll be really interested in is the GPS mapping, sunrise and sunset reports and moonrise and moonset calendar. These are all useful if you’re intending on taking this on a fishing or hunting trip.
Suunto are known for their feature-filled timepieces and this is no exception, because it’s also got the ability to receive mobile notifications a built-in digital compass. You’re never going to feel disorientated again while wearing it. Thanks to the GLONASS and GPS, you essentially have a breadcrumb trail to retrace your steps.
- Topographic mapping
- GLONASS and GPS built-in
- Sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset alerts
- Unreliable barometer/temperature sensors
Although it does not feature a compass or many of the other capabilities of others in our guide, don’t let that put you off the Citizen Eco-Drive watch. For one thing, check out that price tag. It’s more affordable than a lot of the others. You just must decide really if it’ll provide you with enough of the features you really need. If you’re not in law enforcement or the military, this could be a good tactical watch that gives you a little more than the average timepiece for your wrist.
It’s got a very mid-century almost aviator-style, so if you like vintage pieces, you’ll probably love this. The casing is made from durable stainless-steel and the watch face has easy-to-read luminous numerals. Notably it provides you with 100-meters of water resistance, so is ideal for showering, swimming and even snorkeling, though don’t try to scuba dive with it
- 100-meters water resistance
- Stainless-streel casing
- Large luminous hands
- No compass or other tactical features
Another G-Shock from Casio. This is not as tricked out as the other model, but any watch with the G-Shock moniker deserves some attention if you’re interested in a durable and robust piece designed to last. First and foremost, the winning feature here is the shock resistance. G-Shocks have a sterling rep for being made to survive a whole barrage of wear, tear, use, abuse and assault. Besides that, it also has 200-meters of water resistance, which is a little better than the average watch in our guide.
As well as a digital 12/24-hour clock, it’s also got an auto calendar and date display, and comes with a 1/100th stopwatch and countdown timer. Simplistic, but tough as nails and looks smart to boot!
- Tough and durable
- Shock and water resistance
- Stopwatch and countdown features
- Hard to read in bright light
Another of the more affordable tactical and survival watches in our guide is this attractive little number from a company called Lad Weather. Although it doesn’t really look like much it includes a plethora of useful features and functions. There’s the dual time mode for a start, and option to set up two different alarms. It features a date and day calendar and can be switched easily between 12 and 24-hour clock. You’re not really fussed about all that though, are you? That’s what you’d expect.
The features you’ll be more interested in are the digital compass, the altimeter and the barometer/weather meter. These are essential when you’re out in the great outdoors. Although it may not be the best for military use, it’s certainly got great capabilities to help turn any camping, hiking or other adventure into a much safer experience.
- Altimeter for tracking ascents and descents
- Digital compass
- Barometer for tracking weather trends
- Acrylic crystal casing not scratchproof
Back with Timex yet again for this inexpensive, but nonetheless durable and lightweight tactical watch from the timepiece manufacturing giants. This is ideal if you’re looking for a budget model that’s a bit more tricked-out than the average wristwatch, but still not like one of the more expensive pieces we’ve already featured. It provides the time for two different time zones, has water resistance for 50-meters and benefits from the inclusion of the company’s own Indiglo backlight tech.
The saving grace of any Timex watch is the stylish good looks and the durability, and the Mako DGTL has that all in spades.
- 24-hour Chronograph
- Two time zones option
- Water resistance of 50-meters
- No digital or analogue compass
From the ridiculously inexpensive and simplistic watch featured above to this tricked-out and expensive masterpiece from Zodiac. This is a sporty tactical watch that has 3 chronograph dials, a 50mm stainless-steel casing and swiss quartz movement. All reasons to get gooey-eyed about this watch.
Furthermore though, it benefits from 100-meters of water resistance, an LED backlight and secured screw down crow. Zodiac are known for their high-quality designs and this is no exception. It doesn’t just that it looks especially dazzling and sophisticated. While it could benefit from a compass and more water resistance, in certain situations and scenarios this would be a great option.
- Rugged stainless-steel bezel and casing
- 3-dial chronograph
- Large 50mm diameter casing
Considering Ben Sherman are better known for their attractive array of sweaters and shirts, that doesn’t mean you should be quick to pass on this stylish military-style watch. It’s competitively priced and while it lacks some of the features found in other models, if you’re not looking to spend too much or only need a watch for the standard functions, this will do fine.
Quartz movement ensures it keeps accurate time, while the 41mm diameter casing will never feel too big or clunky on your wrist. it also benefits from the inclusion of a 3-dial chronograph so that you can monitor time and track things more precisely. While it may not be as much as others, if you’re not in situations where you must deal with rain a lot, then the 30-meters water resistance will suffice.
- Stylish and low profile
- Chronograph features 3 dials
- Precise timekeeping with quartz movement
- Less water resistant than others
It may be expensive, but boy doesn’t this bad boy from BlackHawk! look rather nifty? The casing has been made with the incredibly durable and resistant to oxidation 316L stainless-steel and the display window is made from sapphire-crystal that protects it against scratches and has anti-glare capabilities. As far as keeping time goes, it uses Miyota OS20 quartz movements, so it’s always extremely accurate.
Additional features that are worth talking about from a tactical point of view are the chronograph 3 dials and the tachymeter around the outside which tracks from 60 to 400. It also is protected against water of up to 100-meters.
- Miyota OS20 quartz movement
- Anti-glare and scratchproof sapphire-crystal
- Tachymeter and chronograph
Rugged, rough and ready for any situation, any scenario, the Khaki Field Mechanical watch from Hamilton is a nod to the bold design of the original forebear in 1940 and remains true to the company’s heritage and connection with the military. The hand-winding mechanical components provide accurate time and even if you’re not wearing it for up to 42-hours, it’ll keep you right.
The fact that it’s made from high-quality stainless-steel and has the benefit of an authentic NATO strap, makes this one hard customer ready for action. The dark dial with the watch face featuring minute and hour indices and luminescent numerals, makes it easier to read in lowlighting conditions. A must for fans of style, class and functionality.
- 42 power reserve
- Superluminal hands
- Comfortable and durable NATO strap
If you’re looking for a stylish watch without all the fancy features that’s in some of the others in our guide, then you might prefer this Hong Kong 1550003 watch. IT only provides 50-meters of waterproofing. Which may be a downside to some, but if you’re not planning on taking on any hard missions behind enemy lines and just want a more durable upgrade to your tired old wristwatch, this is a solid option.
The timekeeping side of things is handled by quartz movement, so you know it’ll be precise and accurate and the mineral-crystal covering for the watch face prevents scratches. All of that combined with its stainless-steel construction and attractive sportswear style, with calendar displaying the date, makes this an affordable and durable watch.
- Water resistance of 100-meters
- 100% stainless-steel construction
- Textile strapping
- Could benefit from more features
We’re looking at another great tactical watch from 5.11 now, with the Tactical Sentinel watch. This is for anyone looking for a timepiece that’s built to last and endure through all manner of situations, scenarios and environments. But those who want a stylish and accurate accessory as well. Whether it’s to use in a more corporate setting or out in the wilds of Africa, this watch won’t let you down. The exceptionally durable casing is combined with the extremely-reliable 3-hand movement and Swiss Quartz. The glass covering for the watch is made from minerals that are resistant to all manner of scratches, chips and offers a highly desirable anti-reflective coating too.
It’s water resistant for 100-meters and has a unidirectional diving bezel that will help with snorkeling. You’ll even find that it’s inbuilt compass into the strap that will ensure you’re never lost or can’t find your bearings easily.
- Chip, scratch and glare-resistant crystal case cover
- Screwed down crown and case backing
- Compass built into strap
- Would benefit from more water resistance
Casio G-Shock, you know the drill. These are built to put up with a heck of a lot. And the GA-700UC-5ACR analog-digital tactical watch is good mid-priced effort from the company. There’s the Super Illuminator LED and Afterglow that helps you to see the time and other information, no matter what the level of light is. When it comes to time, you don’t just have the time for the country you’re currently in, but 48 cities across 31 time zones. Perfect for the intrepid traveler.
As with all G-Shocks, it’s very easy on the eyes and seems to pop even more with the khaki-grey coloring. The resin used in the casing construction ensures you have a robust timepiece that has a water resistance slightly higher than the standard of up to 200-meters. It’s been kitted out with many of the features you’d expect such as the option for 12 or 24-hour clock, 60-minute countdown, stopwatch and timer with the modes for tracking split time, elapsed time and 1st and 2nd place times.
- World time for 31 time zones
- Shock resistant
- 200-meter resistance
- Could benefit with a compass
We’ve already featured on great military watch from Infantry. Another from their Big Face line, this one deserves a mention because for the same price it has a slightly brighter and bigger casing. It’s another multifunctional watch that you can not only use to tell the time (what kinda watch would it be if you couldn’t even do that?), you get an alarm, a stopwatch, rotating bezel which is useful as a timer and a calendar with the day, date and month.
It makes use of both the AL35 Japanese-made quartz movement and digital movement to provide an ultimately highly accurate and precise watch. As is the case with most military-style watches, you can switch between 24-hour and 12-hour timing. With an anti-scratch window for the watch face and flexible and soft rubber band for strap, this is a joy to wear, you’ll look great and it’ll be a complement to your other gear.
- Dual-precision quartz and digital movement
- Handy tachymeter
- Stainless-steel casing with anti-scratch window
The next tactical watch in our guide comes from Israel Defense Store, who provide military-grade watches for various end-users including air force and naval personnel, as well as different SWAT and ground forces. So, you know, with this more than many others in our guide, that it’s been designed and built with professional use in mind. Both reliable and comfortable, this is an analog watch that not let you down. Powered by highly precise and accurate quartz movement and featuring glow in the dark numbers/scales and dials, you’ll always be able to see the time, no matter what the lighting is like.
In addition to these great aspects of the design, there’s also an alarm, timer and stopwatch. Furthermore, the top ring that runs outside the casing’s edge provides tachymeter functionality, which is ideal for even more accurate timing and useful for diving too. The casing has a display window that is made from mineral glass and the whole item has water resistance for as much as 200-meters, while the back and rest are all stainless-steel. Considering its price, this is one serious contender that you should think long and hard about before passing on.
- Professional-grade tactical watch
- Used by naval, air force and SWAT/ground teams
- Stainless-steel construction
- Would benefit from barometer and altimeter
The next Casio G-Shock we’re looking at in our guide is also the last we’re looking at from the masters of hard and tough timepieces. The G-Shock Rangeman is no different to any other watches in terms of its shock resistance and water resistance (200-meters puts it above the average tactical and military watches out there) are both highly desirable features. Particularly if you’re intending to do more than just head to the office and back. It’s also designed to have resistance to 14-degrees Fahrenheit and mud resistance. With the casing and buttons sealed to protect against mud, dust and dirt ruining the watch.
However, beyond its durability and robustness, there’s even more reason to invest in a Rangeman. For one, it runs on solar power, so you never have to worry about replacing the batteries or charging them (in the traditional sense). Secondly the watch provides time through multi-band adjustable atomic timekeeping. Therefore, the time will always be accurate. If you think we’re done there, you’re dead wrong as there’s also an altimeter, barometer, digital compass, thermometer and world time. You automatically can have the right time across 48 cities in 31q different time zones. As well as these great extras, there’s also alarms, stopwatches and countdowns that are near standards.
- Atomic timekeeping for accuracy
- Solar power, no worries about batteries
- Shock, mud, temperature and water resistance
- Altimeter can be temperamental
Vostok are a company who originally began in 1942. Once the war happened, only defense equipment was made. After though, Vostok turned its attention to designing and building mechanical wrist watches and that is what the company has been producing ever since. Then in 1965 it was officially appointed as the watch supplier for the Defense Department of the Soviet Union. Fast forward to modern day and the Amphibian is yet another amazing timepiece made by Vostok for professional use where tactical watches and military watches are preferred. The casing is made from hardy stainless-steel that can protect it from water up to 200-meters.
It’s not just water resistance that this watch offers though, as it has incredibly accurate mechanical movements and a power reserve of 31-hours. So, even when your watch is off, if you don’t leave it longer than that time, it’ll keep time for you. Vostok obviously consider comfort to be an important factor as it features a nylon strap. For when the lighting could be better, the hands and numerals are luminous. When you factor in all the above features and that astounding price, is there any reason not to buy this?
- 31-hour power reserve
- Comfortable nylon strap
- No digital or analogue compass
Hold onto your boxer briefs, buddies, because the next in our guide is not exactly a low-price or budget tactical watch. In fact, it’s the most expensive in our guide. But before that completely puts you off, consider what you get for the money. It’s made by the renowned watchmaker Breitling. It offers above the standard rate of water resistance with 300-meters worth. While it also has a unidirectional bezel that can be helpful when you’re timing yourself or if you want to snorkel. The stainless-steel casing with a polished finish that’s screwed down at both ends, helps to ensure it is completely waterproof.
As well as that, there’s glare and scratchproof sapphire crystal used in the window. So, we’ve established that it’s durable and suitable for a variety of weather conditions and situations. What else? Well, it’s powered by self-winding automatic movement and 3 separate chronograph dials, giving you the most accurate and precise timing, you can. For comfort, Breitling have included the Black Ocean Race Rubber strapping, with nice breathable holes in its design.
- 300-meters water resistance
- Glare and scratchproof sapphire crystal
- Comfy rubber strap
- No getting past it -it’s expensive
For the penultimate tactical watch, we will be looking at we’re back with Timex and this time it’s the turn of their Ironman Essential 30 watch. One of the great things about this model is the fact that it’s very affordable, compared to some others in our guide and some from Timex specifically. For the lower price, you’ll expect to make some compromises, but, they’re not too big. You still, for example, get 100-meters of water resistance, making it suitable for snorkeling, swimming and showering and the casing is made from durable stainless-steel with an acrylic dial window that protects against most scratches, nicks and chips.
As well as being very rugged and robust, it’s also lightweight only weighing around 1.76-ounces. Timex have been making watches and even tactical watches and military watches for some time now. So, you do get standards like a full calendar display of day, date, month and the choice of 24 or 12-hour display. Although there’s no dials, the digital clock also provides you with a chronograph capable of tracking for 100-hours and 30 laps, a countdown from 24-hours and 3 alarms, with the choice of making them either daily during the week or daily at the weekend. Most crucially though, it may not have the vintage appeal of other Timex pieces, but it still looks rather awesome.
- Dual time display and dual time zones
- 100-hour chronograph
- Stylish and cool
- No digital compass, barometer or altimeter
So, we’ve finally reached the final military-style watch in our guide and we’ve certainly not left the least to least. Fossil are known for producing precision-made and durable accessories, not just timepieces, as you’re probably aware but wallets and other items. First things first, we’ll start with the strap for this one, and boy have Fossil chosen a manly looking leather band with a buckle closure. This in conjunction with the three-hand clock display and the additional chronograph dials, make it a thoroughly precise and sexy man’s man of a watch.
Beyond all that, there’s the mechanical movement that stays in good time thanks to your own movement. So, unless you plan on acting like Sleeping Beauty, it’ll continue to keep you in good time. It’s true, it does not offer the same level of water resistance as most in our guide, at just 50-meters. But, compared to the average watch that comes without any at all, it’s a bit of a step up really. It really depends on what you need the watch for, but if water resistance is not that high on your list of must-have features, then you should seriously think about investing in this model.
- Lightweight and rugged
- 3-dial chronograph
- Stylish and masculine looking
- No barometer, altimeter or compass
What Types of Military, Tactical Watches are out there?
As you’ve undoubtedly seen from our reviews in this guide, the terms military watches and tactical watches can be applied to a whole variety of different watches that aren’t necessarily the exact same. To help you understand then, what the basic different types of military and tactical watches are, we’ve outlined them below –
- General Purpose/Field
- Digital Tactical
General Purpose/Field Watches
General purpose, often called field watches, are military watches designed with military and other similar personnel to use in the field. They’re normally typified by their simplistic design, and are durable, robust and built to withstand a multitude of different environments and weather conditions. Many are water resistant to a certain level and shock resistance. You’ll often find that the standard tactical watches feature chronographs, barometers, compasses. But some don’t even feature those. It really depends on your available budget.
Pilot watches were first introduced to personnel in aircraft, pilots especially, in the Second World War, to give them the ability to check the time quickly. As pilot watches were obviously designed to be worn over airmen and women’s jackets and uniforms, they tend to have a larger case diameter of 50mm or more. You’ll often find that the design is very uncluttered, neat and minimalist.
Modern pilot watches still follow this principle. Though they’ve been upgraded somewhat in the style department, while maintaining sharp, angled watch hands, slide rule and easy-to-read dials.
It’ll come as no surprise that dive watches are made to be resistant to water, which is why this is the main feature you’ll find in these kinds of watches. Although the majority you’ll find right now feature 200 to 300-meters of water resistance, if you want to Scuba dive to deeper levels, you might need to consider one of the rarer pieces that allow you to dive even deeper. Of course, if you’re only ever going to be skimming the surface or just below it, then you may be able to get away with just having a watch with 100-meterrs or less water resistance.
Digital Tactical Watches
Digital tactical watches tend to be military-style watches that are suitable not just for military personnel and special ops, but also extreme sports enthusiasts and survivalists. These are usually the most tricked-out watches and feature a multitude of amazing meters and tech, such as altimeters, GPS systems, temperature gauges and weather meters. As is the case with most above, they normally also are water resistant and scratch resistant.
What to Look for when Buying a Tactical Watch?
Although we obviously hope the reviews in our guide help you find the best military watch or tactical watch for you, we wanted to help make your job even easier. Below is a quick and easy to follow guide to the kind of features and capabilities you should be looking for in these kinds of watches.
Weight and Size – You’ll have no doubt noticed that tactical watches are often bulky. Therefore, you need to think about the weight and size of the prospective watches you’re interested in. Particularly as you’ll be wearing it for many hours at a time. You’ll want a watch that will aid you, rather than hinder you.
Digital or Analog – As there’s a healthy supply of both digital and analog tactical watches, you’ll need to decide which suits you best. There’s generally no difference between the two and it’s more about personal taste and preference than anything else. If you can read the watch face, either will provide the support you need. If you can’t decide, don’t worry as there’s some that display both analogue and digital readings of the time.
Water Resistance – It goes without saying, that if you’re working outside constantly in the rain and all-weather conditions that you need a military watch that’s waterproof to some degree. It doesn’t matter if you’re surfing, base jumping, mountain climbing or biking, a police officer, first responder, construction worker or in the military. Besides a few rarities, most watches in our list have some level of waterproofing from as little as 10-meters to as much as 300-meters.
Durability – This is perhaps the most obvious thing you need to be looking for from a tactical watch. You need a watch that’s durable and made to put up with serious use and abuse, intense movements, shocks and impacts. Whether you’re in the armed forces, a security guard or a weekend hiker, you need to consider watches that feature materials like titanium, carbon polycarbonate and aircraft-grade aluminum. Also specifically look for watches that have impact, scratch and shock resistant and use sapphire crystals in the casing window.
What Type of Outdoor Activities can Military, Tactical Watches be used for?
This is a self-explanatory question, but one that’s important to ask. It really depends from manufacturer to manufacturer and timepiece to timepiece, because not all military and tactical watches are designed equally. While some are suitable for use in combat, others are only designed to be used by patrolmen and security guards, while there’s even others that are more designed for outdoor extreme pursuits like hiking and survivalist activities.
Make a Tactical Decision – Buy a Military Watch
There we go, guys, our guide to the best military watches in 2021. We hope you’ve found it as fascinating a read as we did to cobble this guide together for you. You’ll notice that rather than sticking to one specific brand, model, type or even price range, we’ve presented you with a wide variety to choose from. That’s because the people that will get the most use out of military and tactical watches are as varied as the types, models and prices of watches are.
One highly expensive watch may not be suitable for you or have features and functions that you have no need for, whereas a cheaper one may not have enough features. That’s why below this section, we’ve included a buying guide, to help you decide what you’re really looking for from these kinds of watches.
It was also to give you the widest choice possible. That’s why you’ll find watches at most price points to suit various budgets, with some more tricked-out with features than others. Our job, as always, was to make your search a lot easier and hassle-free and we think we’ve really achieved that.