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These Are 10 of the Best Tactical Watches

We explore what makes a watch “tactical” and pick out some of our favorites for actual use in the field.

best tactical watches
Gear Patrol

What makes a watch “tactical?” Does it have to look stealthy? Does it need to be digital, or analog? Does it have to give the user readings in temperature and barometric pressure, or feature a compass?

Truthfully, there’s no true single definition of what constitutes a “tactical” watch. True, many of the timepieces used by men and women in the military or in police departments have a certain rugged look to them, but any watch that can fulfill the needs of a professional working in the aforementioned fields could conceivably considered appropriate for “tactical” use.

So what are some common traits that many of these watches tend to exhibit? Here are a few that come to mind:

-Ruggedness. A watch that can’t stand up to the rigors of the field is useless to a professional soldier, police officer, outdoorsman or woman, etc. Shock resistance, water resistance and scratch resistance are key.

-Reliability. Whether quartz-powered or automatic, a tactical watch needs to work. If you look down and your battery is dead, or that sweep seconds hand is no longer sweeping, the watch is useless.

-Stealth. While a tactical watch doesn’t need to be PVD-coated or feature a matte finish, any minimization of reflection is a good thing, at least in a military environment. This is why some militaries require their soldiers to cover their watches.

-Legibility. A watch that can’t be easily read, whether analog or digital, provides little utility to the user.

-Extra Features. While not strictly necessary, modern digital tactical watches often provide stopwatch functionality, timers, temperature readings, etc, which can be extremely useful in the field.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the best options for tactical watches currently available, some of which were chosen from personal experience in the military. Whether you’re active military or police yourself, or you simply want something to wear while angling, hiking or hunting that’ll stand up to the rigors of the field, we’ve got you covered.

G-Shock
Casio G-Shock DW9052-1V
Casio amazon.com
$69.95
$47.34 (32% off)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A longtime favorite of military personnel, this fairly basic G-Shock has everything you need, and nothing you don’t: 200m of water resistance, an ultra-durable resin body, a multi-function alarm, 1/100-second stopwatch, hourly time signal, auto calendar, and 12/24 hour time formats.
Movement: Quartz
Diameter: 48.5mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Timex
Timex Command Shock
Timex amazon.com

Crafted in a mold similar to that of the G-Shock, the Timex Command Collection of watches is built to take a beating. Water-resistant to 100m as well as heavily shock-resistant, they feature Indiglo light-up dials, durable metal and resin cases and stopwatch and countdown timers.
Movement: Quartz
Diameter: 54mm
Water Resistance: 100m

Courtesy
Casio G-Shock Gulfman Tough Solar
Casio amazon.com
$248.10

If you're looking for a bit more out of your G-Shock but still want the brand's signature toughness, look no further than this radio-controlled tank of a watch with Tough Solar charging. With world time, tide tabled and more, it's the perfect tactical companion.

Movement: Quartz
Diameter: 46.3 mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Suunto
Suunto Traverse Alpha
SUUNTO amazon.com
$378.82

One of the ultimate outdoorsman’s watches, the Traverse Alpha offers GPS navigation, shot detection and recording, weather alerts, a red backlight for nighttime use and a small light to illuminate one’s surroundings (just don’t activate it accidentally). A rugged, stainless steel knurled bezel ensures that you can knock it around.
Movement: N/A
Diameter: 50mm
Water Resistance: 100m

Marathon
Marathon Navigator without Date
marathonwatch.com
$360.00

Originally produced for pilots and parachutists, the Marathon Navigator was recently upgraded with sapphire crystal. We field-tested one of these bad boys and we can assure you, its fibershell case, quartz movement (with date or no-date) and 12-hour bezel held up perfectly well.
Movement: ETA FØ6 high-torque 3-jewel quartz movement
Diameter: 41mm
Water Resistance: 60m

MWC
MWC 45th Anniversary Titanium Military Watch
mwcwatches.com
£345.00

A little tank on your wrist. If all you need is the time and date, this thing will survive quite literally anything you can throw at it (trust us — we know from experience). The tritium tubes provide illumination so bright you’ll be forced to cover the watch on night exercises, should you go on any. Also: we have SCUBA dived with thing.
Movement: Ronda 715li quartz
Diameter: 40mm
Water Resistance: 300m

Men's Luminox Land Recon NAV SPC
Luminox amazon.com
$495.00

The Recon Nav PC is an analog-display watch that’s nearly as feature-rich as many of its digital counterparts. Featuring a GMT hand, rotating dive bezel, tachymeter scale, removable compass, tritium tube illumination, date window and a 46mm carbon reinforced polycarbonate case, this watch is perfectly suited for overland navigation.
Movement: Ronda 515 quartz
Diameter: 46mm
Water Resistance: 200m

Garmin
Garmin Tactix® Charlie
garmin.com
$749.99

Packed to the gills with tactical features, the Charlie is geared toward military and law enforcement professionals, though anyone can of course take advantage of all that it has to offer. With navigation, health tracking and even Jumpmaster features, this may be the ultimate tactical watch.
Movement: N/A
Diameter: 51mm
Water Resistance: 100m

G-Shock
Casio G-Shock GSWH1000
Casio gshock.com
$1,000.00

The first G-Shock to take full advantage of Google's Wear OS, the new GSWH1000 features an LCD touch screen display, customized dashboards, myriad sensors, and more. While it lacks solar charging, its wide feature set could make it perfect for tactical applications.
Movement: Quartz
Diameter: N/A
Water Resistance: 200m

Marathon
Marathon Anthracite Large Diver's Automatic (GSAR)
Marathon marathonwatch.com
$1,600.00

An all-black, automatic, tritium-lumed dive watch with an extra-grippable bezel and crown that ships on a rubber dive strap? It doesn't get much more tactical than that. Marathon's long history of designing and building specialized military watches should put you at ease.

Movement: ETA 2824-2
Diameter: 41mm
Water Resistance: 300m

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