When in the field, knowing the time is an integral part of being prepared for what is to come. Without a knowledge of the time, you won’t know when you meet up with your buddies at a designated spot, when the sun is going to go down, or how long you have been out in the elements. Having an accurate and reliable way to tell time is a crucial part of basic survival, which is why so many who spend time in the outdoors turn to a military or tactical watch in order to give them the information they need.
In addition to telling time, these kinds of watches also often include other features, such as a compass function, a small light, and more. When picking out a tactical watch for your own uses, think about what it is that you will be doing and then find a watch to suit your needs. You don’t want to go about this process backward – picking the watch before you know what you will be facing – as you might end up with a model that isn’t well-suited to your demands. There are a great number of military-style watches on the market today, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that is a perfect fit for the performance you desire.
This article will cover some of the important buying considerations when shopping for a tactical watch, along with a few options. We have taken the time to do some research into the top watches on the market in order to save you time and effort. After you read this article and browse the options we have selected, you should have a pretty good idea of which model will be the next one you wrap around your wrist.
Tactical Watch Buying Considerations
As mentioned above, the specific considerations that are important to you will be different from those that are important to other buyers. You are going to need to assemble a list of features that you want to be present in your watch – and your list may be drastically different from someone else who is also shopping in this niche.
It’s Gotta Be Tough
The first thing that most buyers will look for in a military watch is toughness. You don’t want to get out into the field only to find that your watch has broken due to taking a minor hit or getting splashed with a bit of water. The watch isn’t doing its job if you have to worry about its condition at every step along the way – you should be able to strap it to your wrist and just expect it to perform no matter what comes your way. Therefore, when browsing options and reading reviews, make sure the toughness of the watch is something that you carefully consider.
One of the key elements that make for a tough watch is a durable face. A cracked face is a sure way to stop even the toughest watches, so look for models that use scratch-resistant materials for the window. Often, this is a feature that is closely associated with price, so you can expect that cheap models will not offer the same level of durability as those with a higher price point.
Even if you don’t plan on going underwater, you never know what is going to happen when you get out into the wilderness. Any tactical watch that you consider should, at least, have a moderate level of waterproof capability, so you won’t have to worry about protecting it if the rain comes in or you dip your hands and arms into a lake or river. Also, if you are planning on heading underwater on purpose for some diving, you will need to make sure your chosen watch is rated for the depths that you will be reaching. Some military watches are rated to down as far as 650 feet or more, meaning you won’t have to worry about the case being compromised by water even when you head down deep.
Just because this style of watch is meant for tough duty doesn’t mean it should not offer a comfortable feel at the same time. Look for a band which isn’t going to wear on your skin unnecessarily so you will be willing to wear the watch day after day. A quality watch will offer a comfortable band that will stay in place without sliding all around your wrist or up your arm. Take into consideration the comments of previous owners regarding the comfort of any watch that you are thinking of ordering.
One last point to consider concerning your next tactical watch is the size of the face. Some watches offer giant faces (which also take up a lot of space on your arm) while others are compact and lightweight. There isn’t a ‘right or wrong’ on this point, but be sure that you are picking one out which meets with your tastes and your needs in terms of performance.
Benefits of Owning One
The benefit of owning this kind of product is probably somewhat obvious to you at this point – this style of watch offers you the ability to tell time even in difficult conditions, such as cold and wet nights spent out in the wilderness. No matter what you are up to in the field, you will want to be able to tell time at a moment’s notice so you can make smart decisions. Is the sun about to go down, or do you have another hour of sunlight? It may be hard to tell depending on the weather and where you are located, but your watch can give the answer in just a fraction of a second.
Another benefit to this type of watch is the variety of activities that it can be used for successfully. Going on an overnight backpacking trip? This style of watch is a perfect companion. Heading out diving, or kayaking, or even whitewater rafting? A waterproof tactical watch is a smart accessory to have on your person when you depart. Once you own a quality military watch, you might be surprised to learn just how versatile and useful they actually can be. In fact, you may notice that you tend to strap your watch onto your wrist and leave it there for weeks or months at a time, no matter what you happen to be doing.
Top Five Rated Models
Casio Men’s GA100-1A1 Black Resin Quartz Watch
For a full-featured tactical watch that can take care of just about any task that you could ask for a timepiece, this Casio model is up to the job. This is a shock resistant watch which is water resistant up to 200 meters. It includes a stopwatch which goes down to 1/1000th of a second, along with a full auto-calendar. It has proven to be worth it for many buyers.
One of the first benefits of this watch that are mentioned by owners actually doesn’t have anything to do with performance – but rather the looks of the watch itself. The dark black matte finish is appreciated by many, as the watch can look sharp in a number of settings. As you would expect with a Casio watch, the reviewers are complimentary of the durability of the watch, as it can take a beating and keep on working with no loss of performance. The only minor complaint about this product seems to be the fact that the face doesn’t illuminate bright enough for some users after dark. So, if you are going to be regularly using your watch in the dark, that would be one point to consider. However, on the whole, this is rated as a quality product with more than a few supporters to sing its praises.
Infantry Men’s Military Army Sport Stainless Steel Case Quartz Wrist Watch
Right off the bat, you will notice a dramatic difference between this watch and the first option on our list as this model has a stainless steel look as opposed to the matte black finish above. This watch looks like it means business, with the stainless steel case and hefty size that it offers. There is both an analog and digital readout on the face, so you can get the time quickly no matter how you prefer to take in the information. It has precision Japanese quartz movement on the inside, and there is a stopwatch along with a backlight and alarm. It is hard to imagine that you could be looking for too many features in a tactical watch that aren’t included in this product.
The strap is rubber, and there is anti-scratch glass which protects the face of the watch. Buyers state that this watch is a good value for the money and that it does everything which is claims to do. While it is obviously not a high-end product like you would find at significantly higher prices, this watch gets the job done without breaking your bank account at the same time.
Casio G-Shock Rangeman Master of G Series
Another Casio product, this is the most expensive watch to this point on our list. That shouldn’t be a surprise if you know much about watches, however, as the Rangeman line of products is well-known for its rugged design and durability. These are watches that were designed right from the start with the purpose of being able to take a beating in the field. It has atomic timekeeping; it uses tough solar power, is shock resistant, and includes a tripe sensor. That triple sensor means you can access an abundance of information including altitude, barometer readings, and temperature.
If you are going to invest a couple of hundred dollars in a tactical watch, you want to make sure it is up to the challenges that you are going to throw its way. In that respect, the Casio Rangeman is a model you can count on. Reviewers have put this watch through its paces in a variety of conditions and the vast majority report that it was able to handle whatever they threw its way. In addition to durable performance, the looks of this watch have been complimented by plenty of wearers. It has been given great reviews by some who are in the military, and others who simply use it for everyday wear in the outdoors or even around town. While it will take a little bit of investment to own this watch, it is one that is meant to last and impress all along the way.
Suunto Core Military Watch
Along with Casio, Suunto is another watch name that you should know you can rely on for durability and performance. This is a well-respected brand in the business, and this watch lives up to the expectations that many have for this watch maker. The Suunto Core is an aluminum watch which uses a digital time display, is water resistant up to 30 meters, and offers a number of other functions such as altitude, barometer, compass, and more. There are a number of different specific models within the Core Military Watch line, and you can pick from a variety of colors and price points.
Reviewers often use the words ‘great’ and ‘excellent’ when referring to this product, and some have complimented the accuracy of the ABC readings (altimeter, barometer, compass). When compared to other ABC watch options, many users feel that the Suunto Core is the most accurate choice. Also, other reviewers have noted that this watch seems to have no problem putting up with water exposure, which is important if you are going to be spending extended periods of time out in the elements. With great looks, color options, and a range of price points, the Suunto Core line of military watches is one to consider closely.
Timex Men’s T499509J Expedition Shock XL Resin Watch
The last option on our list comes in with a very moderate price tag. That makes this Timex worth consideration right off the top, as it stands to save you a significant amount of money from some of our other options. Of course, you aren’t going to get as many various features as are offered on the more expensive options, but the Expedition Shock XL can provide ample information for the average outdoor enthusiast. Unless you are taking part in some serious outdoor adventure, there is a good chance that this Timex is all you need.
Getting down to the details of this watch, it includes an acrylic dial window, the case is made from stainless steel, and the band is rubber. It is rated for up to 660 feet of water resistance, and it includes both an alarm and a calendar. Reviewers appreciate the durability of this model, as well as the vibrating alarm feature. For the price, this watch is a great way to get into the tactical watch world without making too much of an initial investment.
Military/Tactical watches come in a variety of shapes, sizes, looks, and more. You can’t really lump all watches that make their way into this category into one pile because there is so much variation between them. As this list has proven, you can find a tactical watch for an affordable price, or you can easily spend hundreds if you would like more features and capabilities. It may take a little bit of searching and research – jump-started by the list above – but you should be able to settle on a great choice in the near future.