Preparation and punctuality are pivotal in executing any mission successfully. Whether you’re in the military, an outdoorsman, or a weekend pioneer who believes in precision, a quality timepiece is an essential piece of gear. When you need more than a standard timekeeper for your activities, turning to military and tactical watches is the right plan of attack.
Timing is everything when you’re set on victory, whether you’re carrying out a well-oiled stratagem or conquering a hike in the great outdoors. However, when it comes to tactical timepieces, you can get lost easily in the wave of choices available. This is why we’ve taken the time to do extensive research and compose a list of the best military and tactical watches on the market. The lineup we’ve assembled covers wristwatches that are tough and well-made to overkill options that have every feature you could ever need on the field. These watches are built to be trusted companions that assist you without fail.
Features To Look For
Before you peruse the list of timepieces, we’ll go over what exactly makes a well-made tactical watch. There are several aspects a quality military timepiece should posses to help you prevail in tough scenarios and survive harsh elements. You also want to consider what you’ll be using this tactical wristwatch for, so you can look for particular features you need. The last thing you want to do is spend your hard-earned cash on a complex watch with all the bells and whistles when all you needed were a few key features. Here are the necessary characteristics and components you should seek out in a military or tactical wristwatch:
Precise: Make sure the watch you choose displays accurate time. Watches with chronometers will have anti-magnetic properties to ensure precise readings; however, this feature only comes with digital options. For analog watches, features like Atomic Timekeeping will keep your watch on point.
Durable: A tactical watch should be tough-as-nails, so it can perform under conditions that are far from ideal. This means the watch should be shock-resistant, scratch-resistance, and water-resistant to a certain degree at the very least. Scope out a watch with a sapphire lens and other resilient materials.
Lightweight: Yes, you want your watch to be tough, but you don’t want one that will drag you down. If your tactical watch is too heavy, it will be burdensome on the field, especially if you’re already carrying tons of other gear. The ideal military watch should be lightweight and comfortable.
Illumination: This is an overlooked feature, but very important to have. Nighttime missions are common, so you’ll need a watch with the ability to display information in the dark. Look for a backlight or luminescent hands to read the time when the lights are out.
Compass/ GPS: Watches with a built-in compass or GPS technology are life-savers. Whether you’re sailing the ocean, embarking on an expedition in the wild, or going on a rescue mission, knowing your location is quintessential to success.
Nixon Regulus Watch
Built with the help fo agents from the Special Operations corps of the USA, the Nixon Regulus Watch is ready for any obstacle you put in front of it. The tactical watch has a 100-meter water-resistance case and pushers, shock-absorbent materials, and a whopping five-year battery life. It has an articulated freezing strap with a proprietary locking looper strap for comfort and security, as well as dual chronograph functionality. And if you’re looking to stay quiet in the field, the military timepiece has a Silent Mode along with an adjustable backlight to ensure success in covert operations.
Timex Allied Tide-Temp-Compass
You can always trust Timex to deliver simple and stylish wristwatches, but they also specialize in tactical timepieces. The Allied watch has a Tide Tracker that counts down to high or low tide, a digital thermometer with analog display, which measures the temperature of air and water, and a precise digital compass. To stay precise, it has an adjustable declination angle for superb accuracy and a distinct fourth indicator hand, so you can read the time easily. For leading missions in the dark, it features INDIGLO Night-Light with Night-Mode. And it has a 100-meter water-resistance, in case you run into wet scenarios.
G-SHOCK Master Of G Rangeman GW9400-1
G-SHOCK’s Rangeman watch is the newest addition to their Master of G series, which consists of tough-as-nails timepieces that are built for the most grueling conditions imaginable. The Rangeman has everything you need to carry out the mission successfully, including a shock-resistant triple sensor, allowing it to measure barometric pressure, altitude, temperature, and direction. Also, the solar-powered watch has a mud-resistant case and buttons, 200-meter water-resistance, a black resin band, and main sensor button with a metal cover for lateral impact protection. According to Casio, the Rangeman is prefect for rescue crews and rangers.
MWC G10SL MKVI Military Watch
Combining the best of modern and traditional technology, the MWC MKVI Military Watch boasts a heavy-duty 316L stainless steel case, sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating, and a 10-year battery life. It has state-of-the-art self-luminous GTLS tritium vials, making it very easy to read during nighttime missions, and a Ronda 715li movement with a date window. Not to mention, it’s rated for 300 meters of water-resistance. And it comes with two NATO issue 20mm straps for style and comfort. According to MWC, it is the highest specification G10 military watch available on the market.
MWC Kampfschwimmer Military Dive Watch
MWC’s dive watch is built specifically for police and military personnel who work in cold and extreme environments. The name Kampfschwimmer translates to “Combat Swimmer,” and it lives up to the title that it’s given. This watch has 300 meters of water-resistance and takes inspiration from the same dive watch worn by the German special-purpose commando force from the ‘50s. It has a beefy 416L steel case and screw-down crown for additional protection, as well as a hardened scratch-resistant mineral crystal. The impressive watch also has a 24-jewel automatic movement with a hacking feature, 12 and 24-hour dial markings, and 24mm NATO nylon webbed strap for comfort. The mil-spec watch is everything you’re looking for and more.
Suunto Traverse Alpha
If you’re looking for an outdoor companion with tactical toughness, look no further than the Suunto Traverse Alpha watch. The Traverse Alpha tactical watch has a variety of modes to choose from, including hunting, fishing, and hiking. For navigation in the wild, it has reliable and highly-accurate GPS/GLONASS navigation, so you can stay confident in your backcountry journey. The 100-meter watch also has automatic shot detection, a red backlight, POI navigation, and moon phases and moonrise set times. And it will track your trips and calories burned to assist you in getting and staying in the best shape possible.
Luminox Navy SEAL – 3601
The Luminox Navy SEAL watch is as rugged and reliable as they come. The accurate Swiss Quartz movement is protected by a durable CARBONOX case with a 316L stainless steel screw-in case back. It has a sapphire crystal glass with anti-reflective coating, a double security gasket crown, and a genuine rubber strap for comfort and stability. The 200-meter water-resistant watch also has the capability of a constant glow for up to 25 years, making it visible in typically hard-to-read scenarios. For a high-quality military watch that’s straightforward and trustworthy, this Luminox option is your best bet.
Garmin Tactix Charlie
Whether you’re gearing up for a reconnaissance mission or you’re going out for your daily run, the Garmin Tactix Charlie is the ideal tactical watch to sport on your wrist. The device features pre-loaded full-color TOPO mapping with at-a-glance navigation and location tracking, and GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite network reception. Complementing the directional tech are a plethora of tactical features, including waypoint projection, dual-position GPS formatting, a Data Page that displays MGRS, and jumpmaster activity. And with its lightweight titanium bezel with a DLC coated surface, stainless steel buttons, and scratch-resistant domed sapphire lens, this timepiece is built for hellish conditions.
Marathon Search & Rescue Diver’s Watch
The Marathon Search & Rescue Diver’s Watch is built to ISO 6425 standards and is designed for use by Search and Rescue divers and issued to the United States Marine Corps. It has a water-resistance of 300 meters, a surgical grade 316L stainless steel construction, and a scratch-resistant sapphire glass crystal, so you can read the watch under direct sunlight. Within the watch is a 25-jewel ETA 2824-2 automatic movement made in La Chaux de Fonds Switzerland for unrivaled accuracy. And it has self-contained Tritium gas tubes to provide you with consistent visibility in low-light scenarios.
MTM Special Ops Radiation Detection RAD Watch
For those who have to work in areas more dangerous than most, the Special Ops Radiation Detection RAD Watch is here to be of assistance. It features a Gieger-Muller tube that detects and displays harmful ionizing radiation levels. The highly advanced radiation detector in the military watch can measure and track doses equivalent to Gamma Radiation. You can preset the maximum radiation limit up to 9,999 mSv, so the watch can alert you with a distinct alarm when the level is met. Additionally, it has a quartz movement, backlit digital display, 330-feet of water-resistance, and tritium gas-filled hands that will stay illuminated for 25 years.
Casio ProTrek PRW Tactical Watch
Being one of the most famous watchmakers on the planet, Casio has a timepiece for any occasion, including military and outdoor missions where every second counts. The ProTrek PRW Tactical Watch utilizes Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping for the United States, UK, Japan, China, and Germany. It receives time calibration radio signals for accuracy you can count on. The solar-powered watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters and has a low temperature-resistance of -10C/14F. And it’s easy-to-read thanks to an STN LCD, allowing you to time things perfectly under any condition.
Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Watch
Blending military prowess with the classic field watch style, the Bell & Ross BR V2-92 Military Watch is a sophisticated offering. It has a caliber BR-CAL.302 automatic movement, 41 mm satin-polished steel case, bi-directional rotating steel bezel, screw-down crown, well-crafted date window and a 60-minute scale. The tactical watch also has Super-LumiNova-filled hour and minute hands, an ultra-curved sapphire with anti-reflective coating, and a water-resistance rating of 100 meters. Keep it classy while you’re on a mission in the city with this timepiece.
Breitling Chronospace Military Watch
The Chronospace Military Watch has a SuperQuartz movement with an EOL indicator protected by your choice of a powerful titanium or steel case for harsh conditions. It has everything you need for the field, including a digital calendar, a day and date programmed for four years, backlighting that’s NVG compatible, and an analog and 12/24 hr LCD digital display. The bi-directional rotating bezel provides you with a secure grip, and the large square numerals along with the beefy luminescent hands and hour markers guarantee you can read the watch from sunrise to sundown. And the SuperQuartz caliber is chronometer-certified by the COSC for extreme precision.
IWC Pilot Watch Top Gun Edition
If the highway to the danger zone is your idea of paradise, the IWC Pilot Watch Top Gun Edition is made for you. This Mojave Desert-colored watch has a 69380 IWC-manufactured movement self-winding movement, 46-hour power reserve, 33 jewels, and a frequency of 4.0 Hz. The watch has a soft-iron inner case for resistance to magnetic fields, a glass that can resist a drop in air pressure, anti-reflective sapphire glass, and a trusty date and day display. Limited to 500 examples, this Top Gun Edition tactical watch is built for mavericks that can get any job done.
Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech Watch
Panerai’s Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech Watch is one of the most unique tactical watches in the world. Utilizing a P.9010 caliber movement that’s protected by a heavy-duty Carbotech case and a black-coated titanium case back, this timepiece’s accuracy is razor-sharp. The 300-meter water-resistant wristwatch also has luminous hour markers and dots for adventures in the dark. And if you get your hands on this timepiece, you’ll be treated to an exclusive training day with the Elite Italian Navy. The Carbotech timepiece is limited to 33 examples, so act fast if you want to employ one for your next operation.
The Ultimate Guide To Mil-Spec Outdoor Gear
There’s actually a pretty big difference between actual mil-spec gear and gear that’s just inspired by the military. Learn the difference and a bit of background on the matter here on our ultimate guide to mil-spec outdoor gear.