How Do I Buy A Military Watch? Military Watch Buying Guide

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Are you looking for a military watch? Don’t let complex jargon and fancy features get you confused. In this article, we’ll look at all the critical factors you need to consider to find a high-quality tactical watch suited for your lifestyle.

Table of Contents

What Aspects Should A Military Watch Have?

All military watches must meet a specific set of standards before they’re fit for use in the field. Even as a civilian, it’s important to ensure your watch meets these standards so you can feel confident in your investment. Tactical watches can act as a lightweight form of survival gear. When you buy the right watch, you get a multitude of features that come in handy in all kinds of situations. In general, you want to make sure your watch meets the following 4 qualities:


Durability is a must-have feature for any tactical watch. Military watches are designed to handle fast-paced work environments where people are sometimes exposed to dangerous elements. Tactical watches need high impact resistance and the ability to keep accurate time while exposed to different external factors. Watches that continue to keep accurate time in the rain or snow are extremely valuable in survival situations.

Look for watches that feature scratch-resistant materials. Crystal or sapphire watch faces are materials that are common in tactical watches. Buying a watch with a stainless steel or polymer case is a great way to protect your investment from impact damage. Something as simple as swinging your arm into a counter can break a watch that isn’t designed with impact resistance in mind. 


Practicality is a value embraced by the military that you can see reflected in the timepieces they choose to wear. Watches from Luminox are popular with military personnel thanks to their unique lighting system. Luminox watches use self-illuminating tritium tubes to highlight the numbers on your watch in the dark. This lighting design allows people to check their watch in the dark without giving away their position. Unlike conventional watches, this lighting system won’t drain your battery.

Readability comes into play if you lead an active lifestyle. If you’re rock climbing, skiing, or doing any other fact-paced activity, you want a watch that’s easy to read at just a glance. Some tactical watches automatically activate the backlight using a motion sensor to detect when you’re looking at your watch. If you lead a fast-paced life, you’ll find this feature extremely helpful.


Accuracy is another essential factor to look for when buying a tactical watch. Military personnel rely on accurate timepieces to coordinate events and time key actions during missions. While there are high-quality tactical mechanical watches available, your best bet is quartz or digital watches if accuracy is a priority. Mechanical watches can slow down by multiple seconds per day, which can cause unacceptable miscommunications in the field.

Water Resistance

Water-resistance is an important quality that enhances the durability of your tactical watch. Most military watches are water-resistant up to 200 meters. Check the atmosphere rating on your watch to see how reliable it is when exposed to pressure. Your ability to use your watch as a survival tool becomes comprised if you get stuck in a storm or fall in some water. Tactical watches with at least a 10-atmosphere rating are practical and necessary for people with an active lifestyle.

How Does Your Watch Keep Time?

One thing to consider when buying a tactical watch is the type of movement used. The caliber or movement of a watch is what allows it to run without any additional maintenance. Many people ignore watch movements because it isn’t a visible feature. However, watchmakers spend hundreds of hours optimizing the mechanism inside the watch to create a powerful and accurate timepiece. If you want the best value for your money, it’s worth knowing what’s making your watch run.

Quartz Movement

Quartz watches are powered by a battery that causes the second hand to move individually. As previously mentioned, Seiko was the first watchmaker to master this technology in 1969. These watches work by using a battery to send an electrical signal through crystal quartz. The quartz responds with exactly 32768 vibrations per second, which circuits in your watch use to move the hands accurately. Quartz mechanisms are highly accurate and require little maintenance. Quartz watches have fewer moving parts, which enhances their durability.

Mechanical Movement

When it comes to military watches, you’re most likely to see armed forces use quartz watches. However, mechanical watches do have a place among tactical watches. Mechanical watches use a complex series of springs and gears that cause the hands on your watch to move. These watches require manual winding instead of using a battery for power. Some mechanical watches even use the earth’s gravitational pull to create kinetic energy that activates the automatic winding system. Because these watches don’t need a battery, they boast longevity. Many mechanical watches are also more aesthetically pleasing than watches designed purely for tactical use. If you don’t have specific tactical needs, there’s nothing wrong with getting a mechanical watch with a military design.

Related Article: Top watches worn by special forces

What Are Some Examples Of Good Watches?

Seiko SKX007K 

The Seiko SKX007K is an example of a watch that uses automatic movement but is still acceptable for tactical use. This watch is primarily designed as a dive watch, and Navy Seals have been known to sport the SKX007K. This timepiece uses kinetic energy from the movement of your wrist to activate the automatic winding mechanism. The SKX007K comes with a high-quality rubber band and is water-resistant up to 200 meters.

Timex Ironman

The Timex Ironman is a classic military watch from a well-trusted brand. The Ironman is water-resistant up to 100 meters, which makes it a good choice for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving. The Timex Ironman has a lightweight build and boasts up to 10 years of battery life. This watch uses a resin strap, which is highly durable and provides solid impact protection.

Marathon Military Navigator

The Marathon Military Navigator is a highly durable tactical watch that uses a high-impact fiber shell case. This watch is designed primarily for pilots and paratroopers, which is highlighted by the 6-atmosphere rating, which helps it quickly adjust to sudden changes in pressure. The Marathon Military Navigator also comes with self-illuminating gas tubes, which makes this watch easy to read at a glance.

Casio G-Shock DW 6900

The G-Shock 6900 is a tactical watch that is powerful in all areas. This watch is shock and waterproof up to 200 meters and features a plastic band that maintains a high-quality feel. The DW 6900 is perfect for people who spend lots of time outdoors and don’t want to worry about their watch’s durability. At the same time, you can quickly dress this watch up for civilian encounters without feeling like you’re sticking out. Police officers and Navy Seals are known to enjoy wearing the G-Shock DW 6900.

Related Article: Garmin Vs G-Shock

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