The Best Military Watches 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

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Best Military WatchesMilitary watches are popular men’s accessories famous for their reliability, durability and multiple functionalities.

But with so many models available on the market, how can you choose the best one?

Read our military watch reviews and check our best military watches buyer’s guide to find out more about the features and characteristics of these valuable timepieces.

Top 5 Military Watches

 
Casio G-Shock GA 100
Bulova Precisionist Chronograph
Suunto Core All Black Military
Luminox 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark
Casio Master of G GW-9400-1CR
Weight
2.47 oz
11.40 oz
2.26 oz
12.80 oz
10.40 oz
Water resistance
660 feet
984 feet
100 feet
660 feet
660 feet
Case material
-
Stainless Steel
Composite
Polyurethane
Stainless steel
Display Type
Analog
Analog
Matrix
Analog
Digital
Movement
-
Japanese quartz
Quartz
Swiss quartz
Quartz
Stopwatch
Calendar
Alarm
Barometer
Compass
Shock resistant
Price
$
$$$$$
$$
$$$$
$$$
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1. Casio G-Shock GA 100

Military Watch

Boasting multiple features, the Casio G-Shock GA 100 is one of the most popular tactical watches available on the market. This G-Shock is designed to handle any type of outdoor activity and it impresses with its rugged yet elegant lines.

If you want more options, check out our review of the best Casio G-Shock Watches.

Case

GA 100’s case is made of black resin and it measures 51 mm in diameter and 17 mm in thickness. Many may consider these measures bulky, but the truth is that GA 100’s lines are sleeker compared with other G-Shock watches while the timepiece is still extremely robust and resistant to shock.

Wristband

Matching with the case, the wristband is made of black resin and it has a width of about 16 mm. For the closure, Casio equipped this watch with a resistant and easy to use buckle.

Dial

GA 100 has a black dial that boasts a combination of analog and digital elements, each of them used for different features. The current time is indicated by analog hands, while a digital display shows the current date and day of the week. The dial is protected by a mineral crystal window

Features

GA 100 is resistant to shock and water at 660 feet. In addition to this, the watch boasts an anti-magnetic structure and an auto-illumination feature with afterglow. Activating the illumination is easy with a simple twist of the arm. Apart from this, the GA 100 has a full pre-programmed calendar, world time with 29 time zones and 48 cities, easy home city/world time swapping option and more.

  • Extremely well visible white hands
  • Bright illumination
  • Accurate time settings
  • Calendar and alarm features
  • Affordable price
  • The dial is hard to see in certain light conditions
  • Powered by a regular battery

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2. Bulova Precisionist Chronograph

Military Watch

Bulova is famous for its unmatched watches with extremely precise quartz mechanisms that allow the timepiece to avoid drifting. What makes Bulova Precisionist line watches special is the unique mechanism able to oscillate eight times more than a normal system.

Case

Bulova Precisionist Chronograph is a unique watch with a splendid design that pairs perfectly with casual and business outfits, while the outstanding features come handy in the most unexpected situations. The case is made of stainless steel and it has a diameter of 46.5 mm, while the thickness of the watch is 17.89 mm.

Wristband

The wristband of the Precisionist Chronograph matches perfectly with the case, presenting itself as a stainless steel bracelet that inspires masculinity and virility. The wristband is 24 mm wide.

Dial

Bulova Precisionist features a round dial protected by a curved sapphire crystal window. The analog display matches perfectly with the design of the watch and it is divided into various dials dedicated to the various functions. The hour and minute hands are self-illuminated while the black background highlights the white and yellow markings and hands.

Features

As the name suggests, the Precisionist is equipped with a chronograph but it also boasts other tactical features. The watch features a tachymeter, the model being a reliable aviator watch. In addition to this, the watch is water resistant to 990 feet, being suitable for the professional marine activity.

  • 100% scratch-resistant dial window
  • Easy to use chronograph
  • 990 feet water resistance
  • Great price for the value
  • The elegance of the design
  • Curved window
  • Sharp edges

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3. Suunto Core All Black Military

Military Watch

Suunto Core is one of the most popular military watches, the timepiece impressing with its sleek design, minimalist black dial, and outstanding features. Without a doubt, this is a complete tactical watch that can suit like a glove military professionals, adventurers, and athletes.

Check our extensive review of this watch here: Suunto Core All Black.

Case

Suunto Core boasts a sleek black case made of composite and an aluminum rotating bezel designed to register the depth of the water while diving. The dimensions of the case are rather reduced compared to other heavy-duty tactical watches. Suunto Core’s case measures 49.1 mm in diameter and it has a thickness of 14.5 mm.

Wristband

Suunto Core’s wristband is made of elastomer and it perfectly matches with the design of the case. The watch is extremely lightweight and suitable to wear during any type of outdoor activity. The manufacturer produces several types of wristbands that are compatible with this watch and that can be purchased separately.

Dial

This watch boasts a black digital dial with large characters that indicate the time and display the other functions of the timepiece. The negative display is really easy to read in almost all light conditions while the protective window is scratch and shock resistant.

Features

Suunto Core is a complete tactical timepiece boasting numerous features useful for navigation, weather monitoring, diving or simply monitoring the physical activity.  Among the many functions, we can mention the altimeter, barometer, and compass, weather alarm, track monitoring, 7 days logs for weather and altitude, rotating bezel, daily alarm, trend indicator and graph, water resistance at 100 feet and more.

  • Easy to read negative display
  • Sleek design
  • Low weight
  • Excellent ABC function
  • Weather alarm
  • The buttons sometimes get stuck

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4. Luminox 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark

Military Watch

Luminox manufactures exclusively military timepieces, its watches being developed under the close supervision of former and current military professionals. For this reason, all Luminox watches respond to specific military demands, the timepieces being durable, reliable and extremely functional. One of the most popular timepieces is the 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark.

Case

3051 EVO Navy SEAL impresses with its beautifully designed polyurethane case built to resist in the most adverse conditions. The dimensions of this watch are those of a typical tactical watch, the case measuring 44 mm in diameter and 13 mm in thickness. The design is completed by a scratch-resistant mineral dial window.

Wristband

The wristband of the watch is consistent with the case and it is made of black polyurethane. The band has a width of 23 mm and it is extremely resistant to prolonged wear. The buckle clasp ensures a secure fitting of the watch to the wrist.

Dial

The analog dial is simple and easy to understand, featuring large white markings and numbers that are easy to see in all light conditions and in any environment. A characteristic is the standard military time format of 24 hours.

Features

The most important feature of this watch is the auto-luminosity ensured by the use of tritium that provides a constant glow for up to 25 years. Other features include water resistance to 660 feet, tachymeter, and a unidirectional bezel.

  • Comfortable to wear
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Bright constant glow in no light conditions
  • Water and shock resistant
  • Attractive design
  • The wristband wears quite quickly
  • Spare parts are very expensive

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5. Casio Master of G GW-9400-1CR

Military Watches

We dedicate our last military watch review to one of the most popular timepieces available on the market, the Master of G GW-9400-1CR by Casio. This watch is considered the best in its category and it is designed to meet the demands of literally any type of environment.

Case

The GW-9400-1CR boasts a sturdy, heavy-duty case made of resin and that is built to withstand the test of any tactical activity. This timepiece is designed to be seen with ease in any environmental conditions, the case boasting 5.3 cm in diameter and a thickness of 17 mm.

Wristband

Similar to all G-Shock models manufactured by Casio, the wristband of the GW-9400-1CR is made of resin and has a rugged design that matches perfectly with the design of the case. The width of the wristband is 22 mm. A buckle closure secures the band to the wrist.

Dial

The Master of G comes with a light gray digital dial that contrasts perfectly with the black characters used to display the time and other information. The dial is split between current time, date and day of the week while the other features are easily accessible from the buttons present on the case. The dial is protected by a scratch-resistant mineral crystal window.

Features

Part of the Rangeman collection, this watch comes with multiple tactical features. The most important one is, without a doubt, the resistance to mud, shock, and water at 660 feet. Apart from this, the watch boasts multi-band 6 atomic timekeeping, altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer, a sunrise and sunset function, four alarms, stopwatch and countdown timer, calendar, and a solar rechargeable battery with a lifespan of about 7 months without further exposure to light.

  • Intuitive and easy to read display
  • Lightweight compared to other G-Shock models
  • Easy-to-use buttons
  • Accurate ABC function
  • Solar battery
  • Users have reported some issues with the display
  • The wristband cannot be replaced if broken

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Military Watches Buyer’s Guide

Military watches represent a revolution in the men’s accessories fashion. Up to the nineteenth century, men used to wear large pocket watches, usually tied to a chain and kept in the vest or trousers.

Things changed during the First World War when military personnel realized that it was impossible to hold arms, control the enemy and extract the watch from the pocket at the same time. The operative needs of the military professionals led to the apparition of men’s wrist watches, useful accessories that enabled men to watch the time without distractions.

The first military wrist watches were provided with a crown fixed on a spring that was used to prevent the accidental extrusion of the winding gear during battle, a feature that prevented the watch from stopping or getting damaged while on the field.

Over the years, the mechanical winding mechanisms were improved and eventually transformed into the automatic winding mechanisms that charge themselves with the simple movement of the wrist. The manufacturers also upgraded the functions of the tactical watches, adding important features such as the chronograph.

The first quartz mechanism watches were introduced on the market in the 70s. These timepieces brought more precision, they needed less maintenance compared to the automatic watches and integrated multiple functions.

Nowadays, thanks to the technological evolution, tactical watches integrate a wide variety of useful functions, such as GPS tracking systems, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, daily alarms and more.

Why Should You Buy a Military Watch?

  • They are reliable, durable and made of high-quality materials
  • If you choose a vintage model, you will be able to wear a piece of history
  • Modern models have outstanding tactical features
  • All military timepieces are waterproof and almost all of them are shockproof
  • They are more versatile than the traditional men’s watches or sports watches

There are plenty of reasons to buy a military timepiece. Military watches are robust, durable, precise and they come with a wide variety of interesting features that cannot be found in other watches.

Apart from this, tactical watches can meet the taste, budget, and needs of any user, coming in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and materials. Furthermore, the most technological watches even boast special features such as physical activity monitoring, while the latest models are manufactured as smart watches that can be synchronized with other devices.

For instance, if you are a businessman, a military timepiece manufactured by brands such as Bulova or Invicta can successfully complete your style thanks to their sleek lines and beautifully crafted analog dials. But apart from the aesthetic consideration, such a timepiece will provide you many useful features such as multiple time zones, tachymeter, chronograph and more.

On the contrary, if you love sports or outdoor adventures, many manufacturers such as Casio, Luminox, Suunto or Garmin propose lines of smart military timepieces and tactical watches that can pair with any type of activity. The models vary from minimalist to rugged, they are resistant to the most adverse conditions and extremely reliable.

Military Watch Features

As already mentioned, military timepieces come with multiple features designed for tactical purposes. Let’s see them in detail.

  • Accuracy – is by far the most important feature of a tactical watch. Quartz and digital watches are more accurate than the self-winding ones; nevertheless, many people still invest in mechanical watches because of their craftsmanship. The Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, the body responsible for certifying the precision and accuracy of the Swiss watches, consider mechanical watches precise when they don’t drift by more than 6 seconds per day, while the quartz timepieces are considered precise when they don’t drift more than 0.07 seconds per day.
  • Standard Military Time Format – uses the 24 hours of the day to express time, eliminating in this way the need of using AM and PM designations and also eliminating the risk of creating confusion when communicating the time to others. For this reason, standard military time is used in many fields, including tactical, scientific, medical, and transport.
  • World Time – feature refers to the ability of the watch to simultaneously show the time in all the 24 time zones of the world.
  • Calendar – is a straightforward feature and it refers to the ability of the watch of showing the current date and, ideally, the day of the week. Almost all analog and digital military timepieces have this feature.
  • Durability – is an essential feature of a military timepiece. High-quality military timepieces have wristbands made of stainless steel, other solid metals or resin. Some manufacturers equip their watches with canvas or leather wristbands that are comfortable to wear but less resistant to heavy use and adverse environmental conditions. Regarding the window of the dial, the most durable ones are made of sapphire, although mineral crystal is also a great and less expensive option.
  • Luminescence – tactical watches must be visible at all times, and for this reason, luminescence is an important feature of a good military timepiece. For this purpose, the best military watches use tritium, a gas that glows constantly. To highlight the various parts of the watch, manufacturers usually enclose tritium in differently colored vials that give the final color to the glow.
  • Water & Pressure Resistance – thought as heavy-duty watches, military timepieces are usually used in the most adverse conditions, including under heavy rains, at high altitudes, or in the water. It is therefore easy to understand why the water and pressure resistance are important features of any respectable military watch. Ideally, the watch should be resistant to at least 10 atmospheres.
  • Anti-Reflective Coating – tactical watches should have the ability to stay invisible to the eyes of the enemy even in the most bright daylight. To reduce their brightness, manufacturers coat the military timepieces with anti-reflective coating.
  • Navigation Features – military timepieces are extremely popular because they double as excellent gear for a wide variety of purposes, from hiking to diving. Navigation features are essential for orienting on the field or on hikes and they usually include a compass, altimeter and barometer features. More advanced models also have a depth meter and they can keep a log of the tracks, while the most technical ones feature GPS.
  • Daily & Storm Alarm – many military timepieces boast at least one daily alarm and when equipped with a barometer, a storm alarm that is incredibly useful in notifying about imminent weather changes.

How to Choose a Military Watch?

Now that you know what features to look for, let’s see how to choose a military timepiece.

The design can vary from elegant to rugged depending on the intent of use. For this reason, the first thing to consider when choosing a military timepiece, in addition to checking the list of desired features, is to choose the design that best matches your personality.

There are many options available on the market, from classic timepieces with analog dial and stainless steel or precious metal wristbands to heavy-duty watches made of resin or the more sporty versions such as the ones manufactured by Suunto.

Regardless of your choice, the watch must be lightweight, comfortable to wear and resistant to water, shock, and scratches. As one could imagine, there are different models of military timepieces, each of them built for a specific tactical activity.

General Service
The most “standard” tactical watches, usually equipped with functions such as an altimeter, barometer, compass, and other functions useful for the field activity. This type of watch is ideal for those who practice hiking or orienteering, apart from the military professionals. A great watches in this category is Casio Pro Trek.
Diving
As the name suggests, these watches are built specifically for the professional marines. They present superior resistance at pressure and can be used for almost any type of underwater activities. The most representative model probably is Luminox Navy SEAL.
Aviation
These watches usually have larger markings designed for easy readability and feature a tachymeter and a chronograph. This watches are ideal for pilots and also for those who enjoy the vintage aspect of a timepiece. Invicta Aviator line is a collection of impressive aviation military timepieces.

Price

The last thing to consider when choosing a military timepiece is your budget. On the market, there are dozens of models of timepieces that come at different price ranges.

Low price rangeMiddle price rangeUpper price range
These timepieces are usually made of resin and are powered by batteries. Although inexpensive, they still boast impressive characteristics and many consecrated manufacturers, such as Casio and Timex have their lines of budget military timepieces.
This category is by far the vastest, including watches with the most various designs and functions. Prices in this range usually vary from a few tens of dollars to a few hundred, while the timepieces vary from the simplest models to those equipped with multiple features. Some smart tactical watches are included in this category.
Includes the most expensive and most reliable timepieces manufactured by brands such as Rolex. In fact, the most representative model of the upper price range is probably the Submariner by Rolex. However, supreme quality comes at a few thousand dollars.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, military watches are the most versatile timepieces on the market. Investing in such a watch means investing in a timepiece of superior quality that comes with multiple functions designed for the most varied activities. For this reason, buying a military timepiece will be the wisest decision you have ever made.

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