There is a common saying in the military regarding time, “If you’re 5 minutes early your 10 minutes late”. While being late as a civilian is problematic, being late could have dire consequences. Without proper timekeeping, the entire thing falls apart. In past wars every army had an official timepiece or tactical watch. Today our armed forces are rarely given timepieces as part of the standard uniform and equipment. You’re expected to purchase one on your own time with your own dime. The problem with this is most people know very little about watches. Should you go analog or digital? Which brands make good products? Am I overpaying for this? These are some of the questions you will likely ask yourself. I’m here to help you pick up the best military watches.
With thousands of products, hundreds of models, and dozens of brands it becomes very difficult to sift through it all. As a man who has been in the service and a connoisseur I’m here to lend a hand. I have experience with most popular models and know what’s expected of you while in the service. I understand the environments they will be subjected to. The mud, sweat, cold, and heat. Furthermore they will be bounced off the ground and hit walls and need to survive all of that. I know it sounds like a lot but I’ve got your six covered.
1. Casio Men’s GWG1000-1A3 G-Shock
The Casio GWG1000 G-Shock offers numerous tactical features for you to use. It is also extremely durable and built to last through even the most hazardous of areas. If you are truly looking for the best military watches, then look no further, this is it. The case is made of durable composite shock resistance materials. There is a gel used within which reduces the damage that vibrations cause. The buttons use a cylinder guard with gaskets for the sifts and cylinders to prevent things such as dust or mud from getting inside. On top of everything else it is also solar powered in a pinch. Even if the rechargeable battery hasn’t been serviced and is running low, sunlight will power it back up.
If you’re in any of the following 5 countries you will receive automatic time calibration radio signals. These work in many countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and China. This ensures even while on the move you will always have completely accurate time. To top it all off this model has an altimeter(for tracking your altitude), a barometer(to track pressure), a thermometer(to track temperature), and a compass. All this combined greats one heck of versatile and powerful model. Furthermore it has all the expected features such as analog and digital timekeeping, illumination features, and alarms to keep you on track of time.
2. Suunto Traverse Alpha
The Suunto Traverse Alpha is our personal favorite and ranks at the top of our list. It takes a very different approach to what we expect when we see a tactical watch. Don’t let the simplistic and minimalist design fool you however. It’s chock full of features. The durability is outstanding. The case is carefully crafted from composite shock and abrasion resistant materials. The bezel is finely crafted of stainless steel making it nearly unbreakable and very absorbent. The premium sapphire glass is the hardest and strongest glass type used. The strap is water repellent to help keep your wrist dry in those wet situations. You could run this thing over with a tank and it would come out the other side still usable(don’t actually try this). This Suunto Traverse Alpha meets the strictest standards with GPS.
Not only will you have the coordinates of your current location, you get accurate sunrise and sunset time information. On top of all that is also features an altimeter, barometer, and compass to give you complete information on what to expect in the field. The storm alarm gives you a head up on any up and coming weather problems that may be headed your way. This is the complete package folks, you need not look any further.
Yes, it is expensive but it’s a lifetime investment. With a little maintenance this model will outlast us.
3. Garmin Tactix Bravo
The Garmin Tactic Bravo sports a 1.2 inch high resolution screen. The screen has a night vision mode for extra versatility. In true Garmin fashion it has an excellent GPS/GLONASS satellite system and reception. Capable of tracking your movements in even the most challenging and treacherous of environments. The stainless steel bezel has a diamond like carbon coating that gives it increases abrasion resistance. The buttons and screws are also stainless steel and build to stop dust and mud from finding its way inside.
The build-in added features that really set it apart are the barometer, thermometer, and altimeter. You will always know exactly where you are at all times. Furthermore the GPS has a track log which creates a trail as you move. This makes backtracking extremely easy. Another feature is the packed in fitness metrics. By tracking your heart rate along with the barometer and altimeter the best tactical watch can estimate your VO2 max.
Overall this is a great and nifty product that anyone would be lucky to own.
4. Luminox Evo Navy Seal Blackout
Back in 1994 the Evo Navy Seal put Luminox on the map. The officer in charge of procurement for the Navy SEALs worked in close conjunction with Luminox to develop a product designed for use in demanding conditions. Their military watches are the result. Over the past 20 years Luminox has refined and redefined many of the features used in military watches all across the globe. Today they are trusted by elite military personnel and law enforcement units. The Evo is carbon reinforced with a double-security gasket. Nothing gets in or falls off this product, ever. The glass is crafted from hardened minerals, not quite as strong as sapphire but less expensive and more easily produced. The strap is made of a rubber and silicone hybrid that gives it extra durability and water resistance.
This is a cheap military watch but don’t let the price fool you. It still offers many of the same features as the others. The only real issue with this model is that it isn’t made to last a lifetime. Expect it to last through 2-3 years of use. Also if you are spending time in very dangerous environments I suggest you go with something more robust.
For a more in-depth review of this model and the Luminox brand, please check here.
5. G-Shock Rangeman Master Of G Series
This is a more affordable military watch than the others above. Designed to be a rugged and robust yet affordable addition to the G-Shock line of military watches for sale. Similar to the others it has decent shock and abrasion resistance. The triple sensor is capable of keeping altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and directional readings. Furthermore it has the same atomic timekeeping you can expect with any G-Shock. It calibrates via radio signals for the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and China. The case and buttons are completely sealed to prevent anything from finding its way into your G-Shock Rangeman.
You can expect this to have a bit of trouble at higher altitudes and I wouldn’t trust it if you were doing any serious hiking.
Overall this is a pretty good product and slides into the 5th spot for our top picks. It also comes it many different colors if you don’t prefer the green.
Here is a short list of a few of the runner up brands and models
What To Look For In The Best Military Watch
There are certain features that are absolute must haves on a military watch.
Being in the the service is a 24/7 job. You may work overnight or be called in on a moments notice. Furthermore if you’re working outside light sources can be scarce or dangerous to use. You need a combat watch which will have a feature to glow when its dark. This is a necessity and definitely something to look for when thinking about making a purchase.
A thermometer is not strictly necessary but it is nice to have. Sometimes when you’re out in the field you won’t know how hot or cold it really is until you stop moving. By actually seeing the temperature you can help prepare for the day or night ahead properly. Improper clothing or supplies usually has disastrous results.
Whether you will be swimming or not you need some level of water resistance. Ultimately you will likely end up in a body of water and you will need your timepiece to continue working. With digital models it is even more important as they use electronics over cogs. All these watches are safe for water wear.
You can expect your wristwatch to come up against all sorts of coarse surfaces. Without proper glass it will scratch quickly or even worse break. Proper scratch resistance is very important when choosing a good military watch.
As I mentioned earlier you will be banging your arm and watch into all sorts of things. This goes doubly so when you’re part of the armed forces. Many lower quality timepieces will simply stop working or break after heavy usage. When you need it most it won’t be working. Furthermore you’ll end up having to purchase another model to replace it in the future.
A compass is must have. You wont always have your phone on you and if you get turned around it could cost you everything. A built-in compass could mean the difference between a successful mission and a failed one. This simple feature may be the most important.
Most modern digital watches have built-in alarms. While it may seem like a redundancy when you have a phone or other electronics, you won’t always have them on you.
Nothing is worse than overpaying for a product. Companies should not be able to get away with putting a premium price tag on an uncertain watch. Our Reviews cut through the BS and get give you the facts. Rest assured that these watches are worth your hard earned money.
Digital Military Watches
Many people prefer the classic look and feel of an analog watch. However if you plan on using the watch primarily in the military, you have to go digital. Digital mean it has an electronic display and features. Where analog it may take you a few seconds to realize the time, digital is instant. Besides that they will have a better glow in the dark feature. Furthermore there are many additional features found in digital such as alarms, extra time settings, and a compass.
Military Watch Brands
While there are plenty of expert watch craftsman, there are few who make a watch robust enough to suit your needs. Here are some of the most popular and reliable brands.
Proper maintenance should be official facility tested every two years unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer. This is very important especially when it comes to tactical watches. If they were ever to break down while on the job you may be SOL. Unfortunetly proper mainteance is rarely remember so we suggest setting up a calendar reminder on your phone or computer.
Whichever model you choose is going to endure one hell of a beating. Routinely being submerged in water, mud, and grime. Also being knocked against various hard objects while on a mission or even on base. A few things to pay special attention to regarding your watch:
- Chemicals – If chemicals ever get on the watch get it serviced right away. It could have damaged the structure without there being any noticeable marks.
- Strong Magnets – If you’ve ever seen a powerful magnet placed against a TV you know what I mean. They will likely destroy the inner electronic system within the watch.
- Hard Surfaces – Ideally should be able to endure multiple strong blows. However, you should consider getting it serviced after very strong hits.
Remember this is very important. The last thing you need is for your timekeeper and compass failing on you when you need them most.
Best Military Watch Comparison Chart
|Product||Price||Reviews||Compass||Water Resistance Rating|
|Casio Men's GWG1000-1A3 G-Shock||$$$||4.7/5||Yes||200m|
|Casio Men's GW-9400BJ-1JF G-Shock Master of G Rangeman||$$$||4.3/5||Yes||200m|
|G-Shock GG-1000-1A5CR Mudmaster||$$||4.4/5||Yes||200m|
|Seiko SSC293P2 Prospex Men's Solar Military||$$||4.3/5||Yes||100m|
|Timex Expedition Shock Digital||$||4.0/5||Yes||200m|
|Luminox Men's 8802 Carbon-Reinforced||$$||4.2/5||No||200m|
Hopefully our military watch reviews have helped you with your decision. We have no just concentrated on the best selling models but have given you the best value models. These are all highly effective and worthwhile products.
We hope that you have found our reviews helpful and informative in helping you find the best military watch. If you have any questions at all please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. Often times people confuse these with field watches, you can find out more about those by clicking the link.