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Best Military Watch: Tactical Advantage with the Press of a Button

best military watch featured
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

As a survival specialist, hunter, or a marine, would you consider wearing a top grade watch on your wrist allowing you to get all the information about your whereabouts and surroundings?

You will agree with us that a regular watch cannot give you such vital information and survive in tough conditions. If you want to stay keep track of everything in a survival situation then you need the best military watch.

Such a device will give you a heads up on your location, coordinates and time zone. A typical watch cannot let you know anything about the weather or the air pressure. All sorts of GPS and tracking functions will definitely make your outing easier and might get you out of a tough survival situation.

It can be quite challenging to select the right military watch and this is why we created this guide. We hope that our reviews of the best models on today’s market will help you decide on the most suitable tactical device. We also have a section where we go through all the key functions that a military watch should have.

Product NameKey FeatureWeightBand MaterialPrice
Casio G-Shock GW-9400CMJ-3 Digital ResinAtomic Timekeeping9 ozCarbon fiberCheck price on Amazon
Garmin Tactix BravoNight vision mode3.2 ozNylonCheck price on Amazon
Luminox EVO Navy SEAL ColormarkGlowing hands12 ozPolyurethaneCheck price on Amazon
Casio Pro Trek Black Analog-DigitalPressure change alarm10 ozCarbon fiberCheck price on Amazon
Suunto Traverse AlphaShot detection technology3 ozNylonCheck price on Amazon
Timex Expedition Shock DigitalHydration mode6.4 ozResinCheck price on Amazon
Suunto Core All Black MilitaryWeather memory2.3 ozPolyurethaneCheck price on Amazon
Casio G-SHOCK The GA 100 Military SeriesAutomatic time zone detection2.08 ozResinCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Even though a watch is a fairly small item, nowadays these things are like small computers. They can be pretty smart depending on the technology built in them and you need to become familiar with some of the properties of the best military watches prior to purchasing one.

We will not focus only on the software and mechanism of military watches but will also give you a heads up on the various physical attributes of these devices.

Purpose

Before you swipe your credit card and spend good money on a military watch you better get something straight with yourself. Why do you need such a watch and where will you use it? This question will have a great impact on the possible buying options you will have.

Some military watches are more advanced than others and they are great if your job is related to doing missions or military preparation and training. Professional covert ops individuals need to have state of the art military watches as they need all sorts of information about their location and duration of a mission.

military watch

Such watches are packed with functions that a regular recreational user will never get to use in a typical backyard environment.

Speaking of domestic activities, people fond of bushcraft or survival will also benefit from having a military watch on their wrist. If you are one of them, then you simply do not need to go for the most expensive model.

Hunters can find many uses of a military watch and certain modes are actually designed especially for this hobby. Such a watch will prove to be great to fishermen and hunters as it has modes related especially to these activities.

Durability

This property is directly linked to the purpose of the watch. Needless to say, SWAT team watches are built tough so that they can withstand the worst environment possible. Some devices are waterproof while others will be simply water resistant to a certain depth.

swat with military watch

Watch for the type of window that they have as it will also determine the lengths at which you can go abusing your military watch. Sapphire displays are typically the sturdiest but if you are just going to use your watch while camping then you definitely do not need to go for the best glass technology.

Timekeeping Mechanism

The mechanism pretty much determines what sorts of functions your watch will have. The cheaper and more bare-boned military watches feature a simple analog quartz mechanism. They have clock hands and just a bunch of useful perks to let you know what time it is.

Digital watches might also have smart functions but this is not entirely necessary. Their display is what matters as you get no typical clock hands but digits on a screen. The digital mechanism can also be a quartz one.

digital military watch

The atomic timekeeping mechanism is the most accurate one. Explaining it properly will require a whole separate article to be written but let’s only say that it utilizes the electron transition frequency in order to keep track of time. Such a watch is great for pros.

Straps

First of all, the band needs to feel convenient and simply nice on your wrist. Only then you can start taking into account its material. It goes two ways – comfort and durability. Like we said, if you do not feel comfortable wearing it, then what does it matter that it is very sturdy?

Nylon bands are great in case you want to have something lightweight on your wrist that will also repel water. Nylon bands can tear up pretty easily but they are easy to change and to so expensive to buy.

Plastic bands are great when you are going to visit some tough environment. Unfortunately, in time they tend to get really dry and start cracking. Top class polyurethane bands will be virtually indestructible, though.

leather band military watch

Carbon fiber bands are the best ones and they are typically featured in the most expensive military watches. They are lightweight, versatile and durable. Get your hands on such a watch if you can.

Batteries and Recharging

Nothing is more important than the life of your watch. If it dies on you then it doesn’t matter how expensive it is, how durable and how many functions it has. Some military watches have typical batteries while others requite Li-ion ones to run.

If you fall in any of the above categories then buying rechargeable batteries sound like a good option. This way you do not need to run to the store constantly to buy a new pack. However, you will need to monitor the life of the battery and recharge it preemptively as there is no indication of when it will die.

different sizes watch batteries

Solar powered military watches are charged with direct sunlight. This is simply outstanding as you get to use your watch while it is being recharged. There are also little watch chargers which will simulate direct sunlight and will charge your watch up in no time.

Functions

This category is extensively covered in the reviews section below and we also simply cannot list all the possible features a man can pack into a military watch. It is even pointless to list modes such as a compass, altimeter, barometer, stopwatch, auto time setting etc. because without these you do not have a military watch but a regular one for $5.

Some of the cooler models, however, might feature some smart technology allowing them to provide you with great help in various situations. You might encounter a special mode for hunting where the watch keeps track of the location and time of your shots.

Other watches will give you a night vision mode letting you look at them even when the display is lit at night and you are wearing your NV goggles. Additional functions may prompt you to drink water at certain intervals or will memorize the weather for you.

military watch and a phone

All of these come down not only to preference but requirements as well. It is key to never overpay for something that you won’t ever use.

Best Products on Today’s Market

Go ahead and check out our detailed reviews on each of the 8 military watches we have selected for you. While this list is no way conclusive or extensive, it will surely help you sort out many things and will give you answers to a number of questions.

Casio G-Shock GW-9400CMJ-3 Digital Resin Quartz WatchCasio G-Shock GW-9400CMJ-3 Digital Resin

Price: Approx. $450

Weight: 9 oz.

Dimensions: 2.3 x 2.5 x 0.3 in.

Specific features: Imported, shockproof, compass, world time mode, barometer, altimeter, atomic timekeeping, solar powered, waterproof to 600 feet.

Best use: Combat, self-defense

Description: The first item in our guide today is definitely going to give you a typical military feel straight from the box. The Casio G-Shock GW-9400CMJ-3 Digital Resin Quartz Watch comes with a metal box decorated in some camo colors and you know right away what you expect to see inside.

Not only that its color pattern is dark green i.e camouflage but it is also built to look tough. The watch is rather bulky and this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. An essential component is the carbon fiber strap. It really adds to the quality of the item.

It is obvious that Casio attempted to make a truly masculine, hardcore watch as its functions and properties are all aimed at making your life easier out there. No, it won’t shoot at targets for you but it will definitely keep you posted regarding your location and whereabouts.

This G-Shock watch won’t die on you because it is solar powered and is shockproof and waterproof to about 600 feet. This sturdy accessory will surely work even in the messiest situation. You will always know exactly where you are thanks to the built-in compass, barometer, and altimeter.

In case you need to keep close track of the time, you have at your disposal an alarm, a stopwatch, and even sunrise/sunset mode. The Multi-Band 6 Atomic timekeeping will always get the time-zone right and you will be up to date with the current time.

The buttons on the side are textured making it easy for you to operate your device no matter the condition of your fingertips. The Casio G-Shock Digital Quartz Watch is in the higher price range but it might be for a good reason – this thing is a true military watch.

PROS:

  • Tough
  • Carbon fiber strap
  • Many orientation functions
  • Many time functions

CONS:

  • Bulky
  • On the high end in terms of pricing

Related: If you find changing watch batteries annoying then you definitely need to consider getting the Timechant CoolFire Solar Watch Fast Charger. It will allow you to have your military watch up and running at all times without worrying that you might be let down by it. The device has a 30 000 LUX power output which will completely replace sunlight. Charge your solar powered watch easily and without overheating.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Tactix Bravo WatchGarmin Tactix Bravo Watch

Price: Approx. $600

Weight: 3.2 oz.

Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 0.6 in.

Specific features: Night vision mode, silicon or nylon bands, Sapphire display, water resistant to 300 feet, Jumpmaster, tactical mode, 7 days of battery life, smart functions

Best use: Special Ops, military units

Description: It’s only our second review of the list and we are already at the most expensive military watch we got. The Garmin Tactix Bravo is so impressive that it perhaps requires a separate review piece of its own. This thing combines your military watch with a smartwatch and it’s only fair to say that the guys from Garmin have done a fine job.

First of all, it looks stylish and an everyday wear is definitely an option for it. However, it also has great tactical elements. You can buy it with silicone bands or nylon straps. Either way, they are interchangeable.

The Sapphire display is exceptionally resistant to damage so you will struggle to scratch it. The Garmin Tactix Bravo is water resistant to up to 300 feet and the battery will last for 7 to 10 days.

The device has superior navigation systems as you get both GPS and GLONASS. And now let’s list some of the truly cool features the Garmin Tactix Bravo has to offer.

If you are in the military, SWAT or special ops teams you will definitely like the night vision mode. It reduces the backlight of the display so that it won’t blind you during covert ops.

Tactical mode is something which is just packed with info. It will give you a heads up on the time of day, pace, elevation and many others without the need to swipe the screen. It is simply awesome for any mission you are undertaking.

And here’s the kicker: Garmin has incorporated Jumpmaster software in the Garmin Tactix Bravo. If you do skydiving it will help you navigate your fall. You can input wind speed, humidity, and some coordinates. Your military watch will help you pick a landing spot – how cool is that?

This thing is not your typical bushcraft watch but an advanced survival device which will provide you with vital information no matter the difficulty of the situation.

PROS:

  • Stylish
  • Sapphire display
  • Packed with proprietary technology

CONS:

  • Really expensive
  • Not worth using in the backyard

Related: Protect the glass of your watch display by opting for the Garmin Tactix Bravo Screen Protector. This exclusive product will ensure you get no scratches on the window of your watch as it provides a unique plastic adhesive layer. It has dry installation and will definitely cause no mess as you try to put it on your watch. The pack contains 3 pieces.

Check the price on Amazon

Luminox EVO Navy SEAL Colormark WatchLuminox EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch

Price: Approx. $180

Weight: 12 oz.

Dimensions: 2 x 1.9 x 0.5 in.

Specific features: Quartz mechanism, polymer frame, lightweight, hands glow in the dark, water resistant to 600 feet, mineral dial window, polyurethane bands, box

Best use: Domestic projects, bushcraft, camping

Description: And now it is time to get back on Earth with a way simpler military watch. The Luminox EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch will present you with a viable budget option as the device is mainly about durability and so much about functions.

While it does come in a very stylish box, you unlikely to ever use it unless you want to store sunglasses there (yes, that’s the shape of the box). You get just a usual quartz mechanism. The frame of the watch is not metal but is actually made out of polymer. It is relatively durable and definitely lightweight.

The bands are also not nylon or silicone but are polyurethane ones. A nice feature of the Luminox watch is that the hands glow in the dark. Not only them but there are little lines corresponding to the digits that also glow in blue.

The device is water resistant to about 600 feet and is shockproof. The mineral dial window won’t scratch easily but it is definitely not better than a sapphire glass. However, this property lowers the price of the watch even more.

In case you are looking for an understated watch which will just get the job done, then the colormark qatch is a good choice. It doesn’t have many functions and can be considered a bear-boned military watch but it won’t break down on you.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Clean design
  • Glows in the dark

CONS:

  • Nothing exclusively militarily
  • Very few functions
  • Not very informative
  • Everything’s plastic

Related: If you are looking to replace the polyurethane bands of your Luminox 3051 EVO watch then get some lightweight nylon ones. They are called Luminox Nato Black Strap and as you can see they come from the same manufacturer. This band will give you a more natural feel and will wick away moisture. Also features a steel loop and a steel buckle.

Check the price on Amazon

Casio Pro Trek Black Analog-Digital Sport WatchCasio Pro Trek Black Analog-Digital

Price: Approx. $360

Weight: 10 oz.

Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.5 in.

Specific features: Compass, altimeter, calibration signals, barometer, sudden pressure change alarm, solar technology, carbon fiber strap, analog and digital quartz movement

Best use: Survival

Description: Many fellas are ready to spend some money but aren’t ready to go overboard with their military watch. Here’s something for you: the Casio PRW-6000Y-1ACR Pro Trek Black Analog-Digital Sport Watch. This device combines an analog and digital quartz movement to bring you a nicely built outdoor watch at a moderate price.

One of the coolest external features of this watch is its band. It is a Black resin-coated carbon fiber strap. That’s the absolute highest quality of a strap you will see on a military watch. It is highly versatile, durable and lightweight. Simply a marvelous addition to every outdoor watch.

The watch has a rather subtle black design enhanced by the green undertones. Some of the functions include a thermometer, altimeter, and barometer which has a sudden pressure change alarm. There are also radio controlled time calibration signals.

One of the cooler features is the compass. As you enter this mode the second hand becomes a needle that points north. This can be pretty useful in case you need to find the right direction in the wilderness. This analog-digital Watch is powered by solar technology.

At the end, we will mention one very exceptional function and it is related to the watch’s luminescence system. It actually has 2 levels. There is illumination on the hands and markers but you also have the option turn on a LED backlight for maximum convenience.

PROS:

  • Outstanding band
  • Cool compass function
  • Subtle design
  • Analog + digital quartz movement

CONS:

  • Questions about durability
  • Not a lot digital functions
  • No smart functions for that price

Related: Don’t go for just typical batteries when it comes to your Casio PRW-6000Y-1ACR watch. Get the Casio ML2016 Solar Rechargeable Capacitor Battery. The name pretty much says it all. You can recharge your battery repeatedly without the need to look for new ones. It is perfectly compatible with solar rechargeable watches and its shelf life is about 10 years.

Check the price on Amazon

Suunto Traverse Alpha WatchSuunto Traverse Alpha Watch

Price: Approx. $450

Weight: 3 oz.

Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 0.6 in.

Specific features: Nylon bands, stainless steel body, digital timer, GPS tracking, shot detection technology, moon calendar

Best use: Hunting, fishing, survival

Description: With this next military watch, you are sure to have a fantastic companion when you are out in the woods hunting or simply trail running.

The Suunto Traverse Alpha is as military grade sports watch meaning it is something in between. You do not have an abundance of tactical features but you sure do have some very useful functions.

Let’s get the typical properties out of the way. A compass, an altimeter, a barometer – they are all there. The body is made out of stainless steel and bands are nylon meaning that they will be very light but will also repel water.

A feature which hunters will love is the automatic shot detection technology of the Suunto Traverse Alpha. What this means is that your military watch will detect the coordinates of the spots in which you have taken shots. At the end of your outing, you can see a map of all your shots and this is simply too cool to pass.

But wait, there’s more to the GPS perks in the Suunto Traverse Alpha. It will also track your path allowing you to always find your way back in case you get lost in the forest. There’s also a moon phase calendar which is exceptionally vital to selecting the right time to go hunting or fishing.

The watch is imported from Finland and military testing. While it is not entirely perfect for a combat situation, it is simply marvelous for recreational activities in the woods.

PROS:

  • Top quality
  • Packed with great GPS functions
  • Moon calendar

CONS:

  • Pretty pricey
  • Display is black and white

Related: It is always great when you can pair items from the same manufacturer and this goes for your Suunto military watch as well. Get the Suunto Traverse Alpha Screen Protector which is, in fact, an award-winning item. It has the Anti-Glare technology meaning that you will never be blinded when looking at your device. It will not only protect the window of your military watch but will also reduce the UV rays caused by reflected light by 90%.

Check the price on Amazon

Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass WatchTimex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch

Price: Approx. $70

Weight: 6.4 oz.

Dimensions: 1.9 x 1.9 x 0.6 in.

Specific features: Hydration mode, dimple in band, buttons in the bezel, chronograph, digital compass, light-up dial

Best use: Camping, trail running

Description: Here comes the cheapest military watch on our list today but don’t be quick to dismiss it. The Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch does have its merits and is definitely worth considering if you are looking to spend less than $100 on a tactical watch.

One big drawback is that the display is fairly small in comparison to the overall frame and the bezel of the watch. You might have to squint in order to see clearly what’s on it. Speaking of the bezel, the buttons on the side are set in it and that’s a nice touch. Basically, parts of the frame are pressed inwards and a certain function is turned on.

Functions can also be turned off, though. This will definitely save some battery life and will allow you to go through the watch easily. This is a necessity as the Timex watch is simply too hard to go through. The watch isn’t easy to navigate and you might have to be patient when searching for a certain command.

An interesting feature is a chronograph and also the hydration mode. The latter will remind you to drink something after a certain period of time has passed. The default duration is 15 minutes. At the end of the band, you will see a little dimple which will prevent the actual band from flapping around.

This is definitely not the most advanced tactical watch. But as mentioned above, you can save some money with it and still enjoy all the basic survival functions that a military watch should have.

PROS:

  • Digital compass
  • Hydration mode
  • Bezeled buttons

CONS:

  • Not many functions
  • Black and white display
  • Display is too small

Related: Who doesn’t want a universal screen protector? Get the Diamond Shield Liquid Glass Screen Protector and never worry about the integrity of the glass of your military watch. With the exclusive technology of the protector, the layer is absolutely invisible. This items ensures brilliant clarity and no more frustrating air bubbles during application. Can be applied to all sorts of screens, displays or glasses.

Check the price on Amazon

Suunto Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports WatchSuunto Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor

Price: Approx. $200

Weight: 2.3 oz

Dimensions: 1.9 x 1.9 x 0.6 in.

Specific features: Altimeter, barometer, weather memory, rotating bezel, dual time, logbook function, compass, water resistance, sea level pressure

Best use: Military, SWAT, special ops, marines

Description: A well-informed assistant is always something we would like to have by our side and now you can have it right on your wrist. The Suunto Core All Black Military Outdoor Sports Watch will flood you with information and you will have your head spinning because of all the tools that it has.

The watch is operated not only through buttons but also by the rotating bezel. This is how you can easily cycle through all the modes and regimes. It will give you information on declination, cardinal directions, sunrise/sunset, depth, temperature, direction, altitude, air pressure and others.

We simply cannot list all the live information that you can get with this Suunto but you if you want it, it has it. This makes the watch absolutely perfect for any marine or special ops member. Missions are easily tracked thanks to all the timers and alarms.

There are a few knocks against that device that we need to mention. They might not be awful but may cause problems in a certain situation. You can only swim in shallow waters with it as the Suunto Military Outdoor Sports Watch is water resistant to only 100 feet. Additionally, the brightness is not adjustable.

A big downside is the fact that as you move your wrist you can accidentally press one of the buttons and change the function or the mode. This is a very much unwanted effect and the only way to deal with it is to watch your wrist movement or activate the button lock. Either way, none of these options is very convenient.

PROS:

  • Excellent for special missions
  • Very informative
  • High quality
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Water-resistant to just 100 feet
  • Wrist may push buttons and change modes unwillingly
  • Brightness is not adjustable

Related: Having replacement batteries for your military watch is always a must and the Energizer CR2032 Batteries are an excellent choice. The 3-volt lithium batteries feature the Low Drain technology meaning that you will get plenty of life out of them. They are lighter than the typical alkaline battery and have a low-temperature performance. The batteries come in a pack of 5.

Check the price on Amazon

Casio G-SHOCK The GA 100 Military Series WatchCasio G-SHOCK The GA 100 Military Series

Price: Approx. $75

Weight: 2.08 oz.

Dimensions: 2.1 x 2.1 x 0.4 in.

Specific features: Plastic buttons, resin band, matte body, 4 negative displays, automatic LED backlight, automatic time zone detection, stainless steel buckle

Best use: Recreation, camping

Description: The last item on our review list today is a pretty basic one. It will definitely allow you to keep track of the time but it doesn’t have a lot else to offer. The Casio G-SHOCK The GA 100 Military Series Watch has 4 negative displays and this really gives it a pretty look, no doubt.

One of the displays will let you see the date and another one is for the day and the seconds. The whole device is matte black with green accents and the front having some green tint. You get 2 plastic buttons on each side in order to set your watch. The wristbands of the are made out of resin.

The buckle at the end is made out of stainless steel so you do not need to worry about the locking mechanism malfunctioning. The watch is also shock resistant and will withstand some water to about 600 feet. It will give you a definite sporty feel but the functions are definitely not countless.

This G-shock has a stopwatch, a countdown timer, world time and 4 daily alarms along with 1 snooze alarm. Unfortunately, this is pretty much all you get with this military watch. It will still adjust the time automatically once you enter the name of the city closest to you which can be at least of some convenience.

There is a LED light in the watch and you get to choose its duration. It also has an “auto on” feature just to add a sprinkle of versatility to this device.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Matte body
  • Good design
  • 4 negative displays
  • Stainless steel buckle

CONS:

  • Bands are not changeable
  • Very few functions
  • Not smart

Related: Don’t make any compromises when it comes to keeping your trusted military watch in shape. Buy the Watch Cleaning Kit BW0502274 and enjoy a polished device no matter where you go. The back contains not only a flacon of the cleaning solution but also features 2 types of cloth. One is the cotton flannel cloth and the other one is made out microfiber. The crystal-clear look for a military watch has never been easier to achieve.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrapping Up

Well, there you go, you have just gone through our guide for buying the best military watch. We really hope you have selected the one that suits your needs and that you are looking forward to buying it. Congratulations, it is definitely not easy to select from such a variety and so many purposes and functions.

If you liked what you read or in case you want to add something, feel free to comment or leave us a message. As always we encourage you to share the guide in an attempt to help someone else locate the best tactical equipment out there. Thanks for reading and stay put!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dennis Owens
Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.

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