With all the advancements in technology, watches have evolved from being uncomplicated tools that simply tell you the time of the day to advanced devices that help monitor your health and your environment, as is the case with the best military watches in the market today.
Military watches have changed considerably over time. Initially, military men started wearing these specialized watches that were designed for war. They recognized the importance of having synchronized movements without revealing plans to the enemy. Because of the convenience and the versatility that they offer, military watches have only grown more popular with the mass over the years. They now take up a huge chunk of the watch market, where even average Joes prefer them over casual and fashion watches.
People who love the outdoors especially find having a military or tactical watch handy. They provide assistance when you’re hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, or venturing in unfamiliar environments in the wilderness. The ABCs (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass) present in most military watches are essential tools that help navigate every adventurer’s journey.
These tactical watches not only provide you with features that you didn’t know you needed, but they also double as great fashion pieces that will surely wow your friends and colleagues. They come in different forms and sizes. In this article, we look at the best military watches from a range of pricepoints. And while we are deep into the digital age, we will also review some of the best military smartwatches.
Casio Pro Trek PAG-240 Series Version 3 Pathfinder Triple Sensor Stainless Steel Watch
First on this list is a watch from the beloved Japanese brand, Casio. The perfect gear for outdoor adventurers, military personnel, and average Joes who prefer a tough and fashionable watch, the PAG240T pathfinder features triple sensors that include an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer, and a digital compass. You can check the time even when you’re tinkering with its different modes.
Casio markets this watch as a ‘watch that never breaks.’ Its materials feel premium. The titanium watch band feels very durable and lightweight. As such, it can work as your daily driver, too. It complements both casual or formal wear owing to the flexibility of its style. If you’re looking for the best military watches under 200, this is a great find as the Pathfinder can resist centrifugal and impact force as well as high water pressure, unlike other conventional watch models.
The Casio Pro Trek PAG-240 Series Version 3 Pathfinder has an integrated solar power panel inside the watch which is great since it never needs a battery. It uses sunlight and UV light to recharge the watch, ensuring it will last longer and not put you in a compromising situation. During low light situations or nighttime, the watch has a full auto LED backlight that provides illumination for easy viewing. When the auto illumination is active, turning your wrist will automatically activate the backlight so that you can view the display. The watch also has water resistance for up to 100 meters that ensures it won’t break under pressure for avid swimmers and divers.
For active-duty personnel, this makes for the best military watch option because it accommodates 31 time zones with world time. It shows you the city code and daylight savings time as well.
There are just a few things to look out for. For one, the alarm sounds way too quiet. It also doesn’t have a vibration in its alarm settings too, which might be a drawback if you want your watch to act as your main alarm. The timer cannot be set in seconds and can only do so in integer minutes. This might not be the best watch for fitness enthusiasts as well. Nonetheless, the Casio pathfinder watch gets our pick as one of the best tactical watches. With its multiple features, it is perfect for assessing the outdoors and is great for rigorous physical activities.
Seiko SNE329 Sport Solar Powered Stainless Steel Watch
Seiko has been making great watches for more than a century and their brand has become synonymous with quality and longevity. This is all for good reason.
The Seiko SNE329 doesn’t hold back in visual appeal. One of the first things that you’d notice in this watch is the oversized stenciled fonts that show the time in the dial. It has a gleaming sunray that features a pretty coin-edged bezel. You would think that the watch would be heavier because of the size but it’s deceptively light despite its appearance. Inside, the dial shows a nifty date and day status at the 3 o’clock mark. The sides are very well polished and look and feel elegant due to their classy color scheme. They are scratch-resistant and less prone to shattering upon impact. The nylon band looks black from afar but shows its metallic blue finish when inspected up close. The edges are welded nicely but the stainless steel buckle looks incompatible with the strap. It is wider by 1 mm against the 22 mm width of the strap which makes it slide a bit. You can just get a replacement buckle from your preferred shop if this is a deal-breaker for you.
If you’re looking for the best military watch under 100, this watch fits the bill as it has an ideal watch size and feels right on the wrist. It can survive depths of up to 100 meters and works great when swimming and snorkeling. This solar-powered watch has an operational temperature range between -5 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius.
Setting the date and time is pretty simple. The watch utilizes the vibration of a quartz crystal to power the gear train. The battery is rechargeable when exposed to natural or artificial light. The photovoltaic cells underneath the dial act as mini solar panels which ensure the watch runs for approximately 10 months when the battery is fully charged. The fact that the SNE329 is solar-powered is a nice bonus for individuals who are looking for a worry-free watch for their everyday wear. Lastly, getting a Seiko watch always comes with a 1-year worldwide warranty. You get another second and third year of it if you’re residing in the US.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active Smart Watch
You might be surprised to find that the next watch comes from a brand rather known for its phones and gadgets.
The Samsung Galaxy Active Smart Watch passed military-grade specifications making this our top choice as one of the best military smartwatches currently out in the market. It can handle drops from up to 4.9 feet and sudden temperature changes. It has water resistance for up to 50 meters which is ideal for avid divers and swimmers. It is thin, light, durable. It has a swim-ready design that comes in a variety of colors with interchangeable bands to fit your personality. Additionally, you won’t have any problem telling the time as the screen is very bright. If you wish to tinker around with it, this can be modified in its brightness settings.
The Samsung Galaxy Active Smart Watch has neat features for a smartwatch, which include the ability to read it at low pressure and high altitude and resistance to shock, vibration, dust, and scratches. The Galaxy Watch Active tracks and automatically detects up to 6 exercises and 39 other physical activities right from your wrist. As if those aren’t enough, the watch can also track your heart rate. It automatically detects and notifies you of a low or high heart rate so you can be more conscious about your health.
When worn, the smartwatch also analyzes your sleep patterns. This encourages you to relax so you can maximize your energy during the day. It has a great battery life that works for up to 90 hours. It fully charges in 15-20 minutes to help you stay connected for longer. The step counters are accurate and sync with the app flawlessly, an issue that has been known with other competing smartwatches.
If you have a Samsung smartphone or other compatible devices, the watch works wonders for incredible productivity. It removes the hassle of always bringing your phone in your pocket. You can connect Bluetooth-compatible headphones to the Galaxy smartwatch to enjoy hundreds of songs when you’re running or working out. It syncs with your mobile phone and allows you to stream your playlist, get notifications, receive messages, and more, right on your wrist. The watch has a 1-year warranty for parts, labor, and battery while the accessories have 6 months of warranty.
The many apps that come pre-installed with the watch may be inconvenient to some. In fact, many people view them as bloatware and end up not really using them at all. You can’t also uninstall them which can be quite annoying. Nevertheless, for all its impressive tech features, the Samsung Galaxy Active Smart Watch is a great smartwatch if you want something that lasts long and has convenient sync features for your smartphone.
Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS
Garmin is a well-known brand known for its reliable and feature-packed watches that boast rugged durability. For people who like hunting, backpacking, hiking, or venturing in the great outdoors, the Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Watch is one of the highest-rated Garmin military watch models that you should consider for your journeys.
The Instinct rugged outdoor watch is made with tough materials built to work even in the harshest of environments. It was constructed to US military standards that can withstand thermal, shock, and water resistance. It has a comfortable and lightweight design with very responsive menus. The strap is made of silicone that includes two independent and removable keeper loops ensuring your watch will have a secure fit. This also protects you from getting caught on things during movement.
The screen visibility is perfect in both daytime and nighttime. The watch supports multiple global navigation systems that help you track more challenging environments that a standard GPS cannot do. The trackback feature works well with the device’s navigation system. It helps you navigate back to your point of origin without a problem. As a bonus, you can visit the Garmin website or the Garmin app to plan your trips. The built-in 3-axis compass helps identify location and is especially helpful when you are adventuring in unfamiliar territories.
Unlike other smartwatches, Garmin sticks to the basics. This watch doesn’t have unnecessary features and a bloated interface. It looks and pays homage to older tech watches. The interface makes a lot of sense if you’re already familiar with older watches. The intuitive dial monitors your estimated heart rate, activity, and stress levels. If you’re working out or doing high-intensity interval training, it has preloaded activity profiles that you can train for.
The Garmin Instinct watch also fits the bill of being one of the best tactical watch models to consider because it has an incredible 14 days of battery life when in smartwatch mode. It can stay with you for 16 straight hours when you’re in GPS mode and up to a whopping 40 hours in Ultratac battery save mode. This is why it’s one of the highly recommended military watches on Amazon. The Instinct is simple, rugged, and does its set of tasks well. Because of this, it uses the battery more efficiently making it last for a long time when outdoors.
Suunto CORE All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch
The Suunto CORE outdoor sports watch is designed to be your reliable companion wherever you go. It has all the necessary tools to bring out the explorer in you and has all the important features necessary to provide professionals with all the help they need. The built-in altimeter helps you determine your current elevation when hiking and keeps track of your ascent and descent. There is a start-from-zero function so that you can skip doing a reference altitude. The included barometer provides you with a predictive forecast because it can record and measure air pressures as you go. These sudden alterations in the weather are made known to you and let you know if the skies will be bright and sunny or turn into heavy thunderstorms.
Even when you’re indoors, the Suunto Core’s barometer can work beyond walls to help you plan for your future incursions. As with all other best military watch brands, no outdoor watch is worth its salt without a reliable compass. The digital compass that comes with this watch is a great tool for keeping track of your direction when you’re skiing, hiking, or exploring foreign cities. You can set the point at the top of the watch towards your destination to lock it in place or follow a bearing with a traditional rotating bezel.
The Core sports watch also has information for sunrise and sunset times from over 400 locations worldwide to help make your journey safe and successful. It helps you maximize available daylight so that you can enjoy your day. It has additional features such as a digital thermometer and the ability to function in several languages from English, German, French, and Spanish. There are a lot of colors to choose from aside from its signature all-black color scheme, like aluminum black, light black, black orange, aluminum brown, light green, black yellow, and steel. It has glowing reviews on Amazon as people prefer the Suunto military watch against other models due to its durability. The watch can withstand incredible situations like high-temperature changes from firemen who charge into burning houses, shallow dives in the ocean by professional swimmers, and hikes on mountains by mountaineers. You can put the Suunto Core sports watch to the test in extreme situations and the manufacturers still carry a two-year warranty for parts and services.
Amazfit T-Rex Smartwatch
The Amazfit T-Rex is a military-grade smartwatch that meets military-grade certifications ensuring its durability and resistance when put to the test in harsh environments. It can withstand up to 70 degrees of heat and -40 degrees of cold temperatures. It has a 240h tested humidity resistance and 96h of tested salt spray ensuring its robustness in difficult situations. It has a rugged body and utilizes a 1.3” AMOLED color screen display that has shatter and impact resistance. The neat design of the watch allows you to see important information by simply raising your wrist. It monitors your heart-rate with the latest Huami self-developed bio-tracker in real time 24 hours a day. This can make you more observant and conscious of your overall health and well-being. The tough appearance and solid craftsmanship of the body make it durable from the inside out. With an advanced low power chip and intelligent power management, the watch has a very long battery life. It can stay with you for longer during adventures in the wild, lasting up to 20 days when fully charged.
This best tactical watch uses a high-end Sony GPS chip to power its high-precision positioning system. It doesn’t matter if you’re traversing the city or the wilderness. The efficiency of the T-Rex allows you to search faster and accurately due to its highly precise dual-satellite signals. The T-Rex is also waterproofed to at least 50 meters. You can wear it without problem when swimming in pools and open waters or if you’re an avid diver or swimmer. It also has 14 built-in exercise modes for running, walking, cycling, mountain climbing, swimming, skiing, triathlons, and more. The watch is compatible with most smartphones through Bluetooth pairing and features automatic software updates when necessary. The operating system is very smooth with virtually non-existent lags. The interface is intuitive and doesn’t confuse you with unnecessary information. It’s not as heavy as the other best military watch models on our list. The strap feels soft and is incredibly comfortable on the wrist, too. Needless to say, it is one of the best military watches under 200 because it is affordable and comes with a multitude of features to help you when you’re on the road or at work. It comes in 5 colorways to match your preference. They are Gun Gray, Army Green, Rock Black, Khaki, or Gamo Green.
Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch
Known for their watches that balance practicality, style, and durability, Citizen has an impressive line-up of watches to surprise the casual watch enthusiast. One of these watches is the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch.
As the name implies, the Promaster diver watch by Citizen allows you to dive into the greatest depths of the ocean because of its advanced functions. It has one of the deepest water resistances at 1000 feet making it one of the best tactical watch models if you frequent bodies of water for work or recreation. This diver’s watch has an easy-to-read dial and rotating bezel. It has large luminous hands and hour markers so that you can see the information when you’re deep diving or when you’re in low-light situations. Not only is this watch great for divers, but it also works as everyday wear for military men and individuals who prefer a durable and functional watch. It utilizes Eco-Drive technology to power your watch. This watch doesn’t need any batteries and converts any artificial or natural light as its source of energy. It stores captured energy into its permanently rechargeable lithium-ion cell inside the watch for continuous use. The surplus energy it has is stored to keep it powered for longer. This recharge function makes the Promaster run for months without the need for a battery replacement. It can run forever even in darkness and you never have to worry about it stopping.
The watch is protected by a 48 mm stainless steel case and 6 mm anti-reflective curved crystal. The watch can withstand impact due to its great shock absorption. It utilizes Japanese quartz movement in its analog display. The hands of the dial are luminous for clear readings and it has an accuracy of 99.9% ensuring the time display is as accurate as it needs to be. You can see the date at 3 o’clock as it has an indicator placed there. The strap is made from rubber and reinforced urethane while buckle closure keeps it firm on your wrist. When you purchase the Eco-Drive Diver’s watch, it is recommended to expose the watch to light once opened to make sure it gets sufficiently charged. It uses clean energy that doesn’t produce any toxic substances, making it safe as an everyday carry for professional and casual wear.
Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Watch
Another Garmin watch on this list is the Garmin Tactix Delta, which is a watch designed to execute your every objective. It’s the perfect companion for carrying out your mission, training, and everyday tasks. It has a powerful solar charging lens that utilizes the rays of the sun to extend its battery life. It has a built-in power manager mode to achieve even longer battery life for weeks when and if necessary.
The Tactix Delta has a rugged 1.4” always-on display that is coated with a black DLC bezel. It looks and feels incredibly sophisticated compared to other military watches you can find in the market at such a high price point. Compared to the other best tactical watch models in this list, this is one of the more expensive ones and with good reason. You can easily switch between daytime view and nighttime view because of its night vision capability. It has a dedicated screen that can be read with a night vision goggle for military personnel when on active duty or during night raids. It also has a ‘stealth mode’ that keeps it operational but halts the storing and sharing of your GPS position. The stealth mode also disables your wireless connectivity and communication to ensure your safety and advantage during intense situations.
If your security becomes an issue, it has a ‘kill switch’ mechanism that wipes the device of all user memory. Another neat feature it has is the jumpmaster mode for paratroopers or thrill-seekers. It calculates high altitude release points according to set military guidelines and it will assist you in navigating to your destination once you’ve jumped. You can easily sync your location with colleagues by using the universal Traverse Mercator (UTM) and military grid reference system (MGRS) on the same screen. Planning is easy because you can set and save geo positions with projected waypoints. They can be used for later navigation.
Lastly, it has the important ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer, and compass) to gauge your elevation data, check and monitor the weather, and have an accurate assessment of where you are anywhere. You can pair the Garmin Tactix Delta to any compatible smartphones for more great features like enhanced heart rate estimates and improved performance monitoring. If the budget permits it, this device is definitely one of the best tactical watch models you can have.
Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Maverick Chronograph Watch
As a brand, nothing screams military more than Victorinox. Although they are more known for their tactical knives and other peripherals, you will be pleased to know that they also carry impressive watches. One of its offerings, the Maverick chronograph watch, has silver and gold tones on its stainless steel bracelet that gives it a classic look. It has the perfect blend of elegance and function for the fashionable yet practical you. The steel case is triple-coated and has anti-reflective sapphire crystals that make it incredibly tough and durable. It has Swiss-made quartz movement ensuring its impeccable accuracy. The sophisticated look is great for everyday wear and works well as your best tactical watch when outdoors.
This Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s Maverick Chronograph Watch features a unidirectional rotating bezel and a count-up scale for ease of use. This design is reminiscent of the luxury watches that add to its appeal. It also has tachymeter and chronograph functions to help you plan during the day. The case is scratch and impact resistant against accidental bumps so that you can take it with you even during physical activities. You can change the look with leather straps or stainless steel bracelets.
The watch has a size of 43 mm and has a screw-in case back. The dial feels very durable and can handle everyday activities. It’s a great addition to your watch collection and can be safely worn day and night. It is as polished as the best military watches and can even go with you in the shower, pool, or ocean. Swimmers and divers alike can wear the Maverick on their wrist because it has water resistance for up to 100 meters. Getting the Maverick is a great value in itself. Every Maverick watch is eligible for a 3-year limited warranty from authorized retailers across the world. Given its pretty high price point, the Maverick chronograph watch provides buyers with a worry-free experience.
Big Face Military Tactical Watch
Last on our list for the best military watch models is the Big Face military tactical watch. For starters, the watch has dual precision Japanese analog and digital movement that tells time accurately. You can also read it easily because of its analog and digital availability. This best tactical watch has multiple functions that you can use on an everyday basis when you’re outdoors. It has an alarm and a stopwatch to record your training or movements. It has a backlight that you can use during low light scenarios and an hourly chime to let you know when your next mission will start. It has settings between 12/24 hour formats and a day-date-month calendar to keep track of your schedule. The size of this watch is 46mm which is bigger than other conventional military watch models. It has an anti-scratch mineral dial window and stainless steel case that adds incredible toughness and durability to the watch.
The Big Face watch is 3ATM water-resistant. It can withstand splash, hand washing, and rain. It’s perfect for land outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, or mountain climbing. However, as the watch is relatively inexpensive compared to other high-end watches, this is not suitable for bathing, swimming, or diving. The watch requires 2 lithium metal batteries to power it up which might be a deal-breaker for individuals looking for a worry-free watch. As most watches are rechargeable and some are even solar-powered, the Big Face tactical watch is suited more for individuals who wish to jumpstart their adventures in the outdoors.
Having a watch with long battery life cannot be overstated. This is a priority for military men because when you’re out in the field, you never know when you’re going to have a long journey ahead of you. A long battery life ensures you are free of anxiety and can work to the best of your abilities when out in the field or when adventuring in unknown territories. As an alternate option, consider getting a solar-powered watch. They have even longer effective battery life than their counterparts and are the most efficient when it comes to being everyday wear.
A military watch should have all the necessary features to assist you when you’re out in the field. Having a bunch of applications on your watch or smartwatch that don’t provide you with critical and important information regarding your physical health or your immediate surroundings is impractical and may even shorten the battery life of your watch during use. A great military watch should feature functions like having a compass to track your location without a GPS, an altimeter to judge your elevation level, a barometer to assess air pressure and weather conditions, and a thermometer for an accurate reading of temperature changes.
Dark and non-reflective surfaces help conceal your position while out in the field. They help minimize the risk of any form of light glinting off your watch and revealing your location. For other people, the bulky look of military watches add to their appeal.
The best military watches are easy to read even in the dark. Since you don’t need a spare hand to activate a light in low-light conditions, luminescent glow on the hands and numerals provide the most efficient form of illumination. Other tactical watches take this a notch further by complementing large markers with tritium tubes which glow on their own without needing to be charged by another light source. These tubes usually last for several years without needing extra maintenance.
Military watches are made with the toughest materials available in today’s market. They are either made from carbon fiber or titanium. Most are scratch and dust resistant and have strong shatter resistance on accidental impacts. They should be able to withstand pressure during swimming and diving as outdoor activities usually involve bodies of water.
There is a wide range of price points for different military watches. Expensive models feature a host of capabilities. You should always research the materials of the watch and their compatibility to the environment you will most likely subject yourself to. As with other products, the best military watch with impressive durability results in a higher price point. We have listed different military watches under 200 and 100 in this list for you to better gauge what type of military watch is for you. But one thing is for sure; military watches are almost always durable and provide an accurate time regardless of their affordability.
What makes a watch military?
A lot of watch manufacturers don’t specifically cater their watches to military personnel. They are readily available in retail shops and online e-commerce sites that even regular people can get them. These watch models are considered military watches because they have multiple features and functions that fit serving military men’s criteria. They are robust and have features like GPS, altimeter, barometer, and compass that are extremely valuable when you are in unfamiliar environments. Longer battery life or a solar-powered battery is also an added plus for the best tactical watch models.
Why does my water-resistant watch get mist inside the dial?
If you’re taking a hot shower or a sauna, it is recommended to remove your watch even when they have high water resistance. Most military watches have a water-tested rating for up to 100 meters. Some even have as deep as 300 meters but none of these make a difference to the risk that heat poses. Extreme heat naturally expands the metal parts in your watch. It leads to the possibility of creating small openings that can do damage inside. The most common result of water damaging the watch is the formation of misting in the crystals. Increasing amounts of water damage may also seriously damage the watch’s movement.
How accurate are military watches?
When it comes to telling time, most modern watches have an accuracy rating of around 99.9%. Pretty much all watches that are currently out in the market, regardless of their price, are accurate enough for everyday use. Even then, modern military watches could have at least a margin of error of +/- 15 seconds or +/- 2 or 3 seconds at best. They are within acceptable tolerance depending on the make and model. Automatic watches are more accurate than mechanical ones while quartz watches are generally the best military watch models, and by a large margin at that.
Why buy a military watch?
An important component of an outdoors person’s gear, a good quality military watch provides several key benefits. Its accurate time-keeping can help you better synchronize your movements with your friends, unlike a basic watch that may be slightly out of time. Additionally, military watches boast of so many more features that a normal watch simply lacks.