Best Military Watches 2019
Buyer's Guide and Comparisons
Since the dawn of man, there has always been one constant factor vital to the survival of ancestors — and even for some native tribes that are still around to this day —, being able to tell time. Specifically, the capacity to tell how much longer till the sun sets, and how much our predecessors had to wait for the sun to rise was a skill that kept us alive and kicking, ready to fight another day. While the first intelligent humans learned to tell time using sundials and other rudimentary tools, the modern man has it much easier when it comes to keeping time. Wristwatches, grandfather clocks, alarm clocks, and even our smartphones, among others, are just some of the tools we have at our disposal today to help us keep track of time.
However, only the most stylish and classy know that the best way to keep time is achieved by using a wristwatch. You see, for the niche group of elitist wristwatch wearers, keeping time is no longer a necessity. Instead, wristwatches are worn as fashion statements; to get a point across while complementing your outfit as a whole. Among the different types of wristwatches, military watches are among the most conservative exemplars. Designed to withstand merciless elements and rough handling, military watches are, basically, the Hummers of wristwatches; they’re rugged, durable, and reliable even after years of faithful services.
Military watches are perfect for anyone who needs to keep time in even the most adverse conditions, such as in combat zones, or for those stationed in posts where the elements are harsh and moments of respite are few and far in between. For the average service soldier, being constantly exposed to the elements such as the dry heat of a scorching desert, the extreme temperatures of a mountain range, or waterlogged service aboard sea vessels are a common occurrence. For this reason, the timepieces issued to these brave men and women must be able to withstand these conditions, and then some.
In this article, we aim to go over the most important factors to consider when choosing the perfect military watch suited to your needs. Our objective is that, after reading the sections below, you’ll be able to browse the market for a product that will provide you years of faithful service even while being constantly exposed to the most adverse conditions out there.
However, before we get into our list of top picks for tactical watches, let’s first go over the reasons why you should consider these types of timepieces versus any other.
Best Military Watches 2019
The products featured in this section are wristwatches that, according to our personal opinion, managed to fill the quota the most when it comes to the features which should be provided by every military watch. The following timepieces offer the best quality, durability, and reliability, and will be able to serve you faithfully in the many operations to come.
1. Casio Men's GW-9400-1CR Best Military Watches
Referred by many as the most resilient military wristwatch of the G-Shock line of timepieces, the Casio GW-9400 offers top-notch performance at a reasonable price tag. The generous list of features offered by this watch starts with its solar-powered performance, which ensures that your timepiece will never lose a beat due to running out of power at the worst moments. Furthermore, the clock also has a backup battery which can ensure its correct functioning during those long low-light operations.
The case is made completely out of stainless steel and has textured pushers and many ridges for extended durability and shock resistance. The main digital display is easy to read, even in low-light conditions, and the other displays offer other useful data for your convenience.
In terms of usability, the watch’s textures make it very easy to operate and configure. The fact that the watch has multiple displays allows you to visualize all your data without having to navigate through many screens to find the function you’re looking for.
2. G-SHOCK The GA 100 Military Series Watch
The GA 100 is designed to provide the absolute most functionality without having to break the bank in the process. Like the entry above, this military wristwatch also belongs to the G-Shock line of Casio watches, which means that this timepiece has ample ruggedness to complement its stylized look. After all, the G-Shock brand has manufactured some of the most durable wristwatches of the past 25 years, and the GA 100 is no exception. This product is waterproof up to 660 ft and is complemented with several features to make it quite resilient to external trauma.
The GA 100 is shock resistant and has a free-fall resistance of up to 10 feet. Furthermore, it’s equipped with a battery which can last up to 2 years, so you won’t have to worry about it running out of juice anytime soon. In short, this watch was designed to offer tireless performance which you can rely on for years to come. The product is designed completely in black in order to maximize stealth in low light environments. Furthermore, this timepiece is also thin enough to fit neatly beneath any sleeve in case you need to conceal it. Despite its ruggedness, this watch weighs only 5.6 ounces.
As far as the dial is concerned, this watch has both digital and analog displays for improved readability and accuracy in any situation. Furthermore, the dial itself is very wide, which allows it to have a larger display for enhanced readability. The tradeoff is that it takes quite a bit of space on your wrist, which is a small price to pay for better accuracy when telling time. Besides your standard timekeeping functionality, this product also comes equipped with a highly-precise stopwatch, a speed indicator, an auto calendar programmed until the year 2099, and an hourly time signal.
The GA 100’s programming allows it to be set in either 12-hours or 24-hours format and to include up to 4 daily alarms, all of which have snooze functionality. It includes support for up to 29 time zones, 48 cities, and UTC.
3. Casio Men's G-Shock Military Concept
Like our previous entry, the DW6900MS is designed to provide the best functionality at the lowest possible price. This military watch will definitely provide you a lot of bang for your buck.
This watch features precise quartz movement which can accurately keep time in any situation. The movement of this watch is reliable, so you won’t even be second-guessing whether the time displayed on the dial is correct or not. And speaking of dials, the military concept behind this wristwatch makes ample use of black matte in order to perfectly blend into the design of any uniform. The dark colors make it ideal for low-light operations, as it doesn’t shine or emit reflections in the light. The dial is backlit with a red EL and features the numbers in reverse LCD (the numbers are white while the background is black), which improves its readability while making it harder for others to peek. Furthermore, the backlight has customizable afterglow, and the time can be set to either 12-hour or 24-hour format.
This timepiece is water-resistant up to 660 feet, which makes it perfect for military operations aboard sea vessels, or even for recreational scuba diving. Furthermore, its water-resistant properties mean that you don’t have to take it off for showering, swimming, fishing, or engaging
in any other type of water-based activities. However, despite its ruggedness and durability, the DW6900MS is also very fashionable and can be used as part of your casual attire without drawing unnecessary attention toward yourself. Additionally, the dial features multiple displays on a single screen, which reduces the number of button presses you’ll need to perform to navigate the watch’s menus, as most of the information will be displayed by default.
The watch is easily adjustable and can be fitted to any person without the need to purchase extenders or perform any modifications. This is all thanks to its resin wristband with multiple holes. Among the features offered by this timepiece, we can find the exclusive G-Shock flash alert, which allows you to program the watch’s screen to flash alongside the alarm, which guarantees that you’ll never miss a reminder. Furthermore, this watch features and auto calendar which goes all the way to the year 2099. The watch itself is precise enough to keep time within 15 seconds of variation per month, so you won’t have to worry about resetting the time or making any type of adjustments.
This watch weighs only 9.6 ounces, which makes it one of the bulkiest on this list, yet is still compact enough to serve you faithfully for most operations. The battery is designed to last about 2 years before having to be replaced.
This Field and Flieger hybrid style military watch combines the strengths of both types into one convenient package. The Citizen BM8180 earns a particular spot on this list thanks to its ruggedness, coupled with easy-to-read dial and mesh wristband, which grants it a unique military look. The case is made entirely out of stainless steel, and the crystal is K1 hardened to provide the best possible durability without getting scratched or damaged in any way.
This watch is submersible up to 100 meters, which means that you can easily hop in the shower, the pool, or your local pond or lake without fear of it getting damaged. Furthermore, the luminous hands and numerals make it easy to tell time even in low-light environments.
As a military watch, the BM8180 offers a small amount of features compared to the rest. However, its simplicity, combined with its stylish military appearance, make it perfect for casual users who need a resilient timepiece that will allow them to accurately keep time should they ever decide to explore the local wilderness.
We’re ending this list strong with the 8900 by Casio. Also a part of the G-Shock line of wristwatches, this military timepiece was designed as a mid-range alternative to the other products mentioned on this list. This watch features is an excellent choice for those that want to receive more features for an additional monetary investment.
Like all the other models on this list, the GR8900A is entirely shock resistant, which means that you’ll actually have to try your hardest if you want to so much as land a scratch on the dial. The watch is solar powered, so you won’t have to worry about the batteries ever running out. Furthermore, it’s also equipped with a battery backup in case you have to remain away from natural light for long periods of times, which makes it ideal for those that want to explore jungles, or go spelunking.
Besides basic timekeeping functionality, this watch also has a countdown timer, a mute function, and LED lighting to make it easy to read in any situation. The mute function is particularly useful for those times when you must remain silent and when a stray alarm can make or break a certain
operation, such as when hunting game. Other features include an auto calendar, a chronograph, a light function, a stopwatch, and a dual time display which can be customized in a wide variety of time zones. The dial is customizable and can be set to both 12-hours and 24-hour formats; whichever is more comfortable for you.
This watch is water-resistant up to 660 feet, so you won’t have to ever take it off when showering, fishing, diving, or performing any type of activities underwater. The silicon wristband is topped with a resin buckle at the tip, which ensures that the wristwatch stays in place at all times without the constant need to readjust it on your wrist. Furthermore, the black design is stylish and makes this digital military watch ideal for just about any situation.
The wristwatches mentioned in the list above were among the very best we could find. However, if you’re still not sure which one to purchase, or if they just didn’t fulfill your requirements, feel free to take a look at the ones listed above. The following timepieces have, for one reason or another, earned an honorary spot on this list:
Military Watches Buying Guide
As we mentioned above, choosing the best military watch for your needs can be a tricky task, what with the wide variety of models available on the market. While the products from the brands listed above will definitely grant you a timepiece that will withstand the test of time, it still won’t help you to get a product truly tailored to your specifications.
In this section, we will go into detail about the factors you’ll want to keep in mind in order to make the very best purchase and acquire a product that will give you the very best bang for your buck.
The next time you’re in the market for a military-style watch, be sure to keep an eye out for the following elements:
At its name suggest, the case is the body which encloses the watch mechanism. For military applications, the watch must be equipped with a durable case which can weather adverse environmental conditions as well as shock, and still be able to accurately keep time. Furthermore, for military operations, the case must have a matte or opaque finish to avoid reflecting light and help keep the user concealed.
The dial — or face — of the watch is the part where the numerals and hands are located. In this manner, this is one of the most important parts of the wristwatch as it will allow the user to tell time. The dial can come in analog, digital or mixed formats. Analog timepieces may come with a sweep second hand or a digital second timer, for added precision. Digital watches, on the other hand, are mandatory for those situations where being able to easily tell time at a glance can mean the difference between the success or failure of a military operation. Operators who want the precision of a digital watch with the versatility of its analog counterpart can opt to get a hybrid, which features analog timekeeping coupled with a secondary digital display.
Whichever type you choose, just be sure that your military timepiece features 24-hour numerals, as well as the capacity to customize the time zones.
For obvious reasons, the crystals of military watches must be both scratch and shatter resistant for safety and readability. Most military timepieces use a K1 hardened mineral or sapphire on their crystals, which makes them several times more shock resistant than standard watches. Furthermore, some wristwatch models may include a wire cage to further protect the crystal.
The term “movement” refers to the internal mechanism of each clock which allows it to tell time. For analog watches, the movements are produced by Swiss jeweled quartz, while digital watches use electronic modules to keep time. Analog movements must be re-serviced every 3 to 5 years, depending on the use and amount of trauma the watch is exposed to.
Like their crystals and cases, military watch wristbands must be made of a material that is both resilient and easy to wear, while avoiding being excessively bulky or unwieldy. Some servicepeople opt to use velcro straps for easier donning and removal of the timepiece. Other wristband materials may include water-resistant leather, silicone rubber, webbed nylon, or Nato straps.
Each and every military watch must be equipped with shock and water resistant features. The timepieces must be waterproof for a minimum of 660 feet, though depending on the application, an operator might require model which is waterproof up to 1,640 feet underwater. In short, military watches must be able to take the most amount of punishment, while trying to keep the costs low in case the item is lost during a mission.
Wristwatches come in both self-winding and battery-powered variations. Military personnel might want to skip on the self-winding wristwatches, as they can sometimes forfeit accuracy for stylishness and elegance. Those that want to be able to accurately tell time in any situation will benefit most from a battery-powered wristwatch. Most battery wristwatches nowadays come with batteries which are designed to last for 3 to 5 years.
The design of the wristwatch will obviously vary based on the user’s preference. However, there are certain situations where certain designs will be more favorable in different situations. For instance, personnel who are deployed in combat scenarios might benefit from a watch which can blend into the user’s uniform. On the other hand, soldiers who are stationed inside controlled environments could opt to purchase a timepiece with a business watch appearance.
The Different Types Of Best Military Watches
Difference Between Military And Standard Watches
The name says it all; military watches are built to sustain heavy damage and still be able to accurately keep time. Military timepieces are built with sturdy and durable materials in order to withstand the most amount of punishment without ever losing a beat. These timepieces are the ideal solution for people who are deployed and don’t have access to watch stores or other places to take their watch for repairs. The main characteristics which define each and every military watch are toughness, accuracy, and reliability.
Styles Of Military Watches
Despite being one category of wristwatches in itself, military timepieces also come in different styles — or subtypes —, which will play a vital role in determining the activities for which they’re designed for. Depending on the type of activities you will be performing alongside your trusty military watch, you’ll need to consider acquiring one of 3 styles:
Field Watches: Perfect for servicemen and women who are constantly carrying lots of gear and bulky uniforms — such as those deployed in areas with extreme temperatures —, field watches are slim and lightweight. These timepieces are designed to prevent snagging on your gear or uniform, and can easily be worn under the sleeve of your shirt. Most timepieces in this style come with both 12-hours and 24-hour numerals, so keeping time in military format is never a struggle.
Pilot Watches: These watches stand out among the rest for their big triangle located right at the 12 o’clock mark. The design of these timepieces is reminiscent of those used by pilots in WW2, and their big dials make them ideal for, besides easily telling time, keeping track of elapsed time. Whether you’re deployed in the air or on the ground, telling time with a pilot watch is never a confusing task, even in the most adverse conditions.
Heavy-Duty Digital Watches: These watches are perfect for those who need the “whole package”. Heavy-Duty Digital Watches come with a big dial, and a plethora of features to help not only with telling time but to provide a wide range of useful information to the user. These military watches often come equipped with several tools such as calendars, compass, stopwatch, timer, and alarms, among others. Furthermore, these watches live up to their name by offering the most amount of shock protection coupled with waterproof capabilities up to several feet underwater. These watches are just a few features short of being bulletproof and are among the most reliable specimens for those who absolutely must be able to tell time in any and every situation imaginable.
Despite the existence of several styles and types of military watches, remember that, even though they have their differences, the absolute minimum features that your prospective timepiece must have are:
- Utilitarian design to be free of complications and snagging with your gear.
- A matte-finish and bead-blasted case which will allow it to take a beating and prevent it from reflecting light so you can still remain concealed during combat or hunting scenarios.
- The dial must be big — the bigger, the better — so you can easily tell time in any scenario. If possible, the dial must contain both 12-hour and 24-hour format numerals.
- Depending on the applications, your timepiece must contain specialized features designed to improve your performance on the field, such as a GMT function, a chronograph, or a fully graduated diver’s bezel, among others.
- Your timepiece must have the mandatory markings that specify the military branch you’re associated with. Most wristwatches issued to servicemen and women come with these markings already, but if you’re looking to acquire a different one, be sure to have your company logo — as well as the inventory, part numbers, and manufacturer name — engraved.
The Different Brands Of Best Military Watches
Like with products from every other industry out there, the wristwatch market is flooded with tons of models, ranging from different prices, and with tons of different features for sale. The vast amount of products makes it quite hard to settle on a single watch for your needs and makes the feat of acquiring a reliable timepiece that much harder. Regardless, there are certain brands that, along the years, have built themselves a reputation by providing the best quality in timepieces. If you’re not sure of what product to acquire for yourself just yet, be sure to begin your search by browsing the following brands’ catalogs:
One the heavy hitters in the wristwatch industry, Casio was founded in 1946, right in the brunt of WW2. This Japanese company started out by developing the world’s first electric compact calculator in 1957. With this success under their belt, Casio branched out to specialize in other types of products. Nowadays their catalog includes a wide variety of electronics such as calculators, mobile phones, digital cameras, electronic music instruments and, above all, high-performance wristwatches.
Timex Group is an American watchmaker company. Headquartered in Middlebury, Connecticut, and with a significant presence in China, the Philippines, India, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Mexico, this company has made a name for themselves by manufacturing what are arguably the world’s best timepieces. Founded in 1854, Timex has, for more than a century, manufactured all types of watches: from the classical wristwatches to their digital counterparts, as well as other types of niche timepieces like GPS watches, workout watches, and other types of high-tech timekeeping equipment.
Armitron is a brand manufactured by the E. Gluck Corporation which, in turn, is the fifth largest watch manufacturer in the United States. The brand was founded in 1956 by Eugene Gluck, the founder and current CEO of the E. Gluck Corporation, as a subsidiary of the Armin Corporation. In their beginning, Armitron focused on 5-function — hours, minutes, seconds, day, and date — watches. Nowadays, the brand has expanded and manufactures a wide variety of watches, from Men’s dress watches and ladies’ sports watches to licensed watches and rugged military watches.
This Finnish company, founded in 1936, started off as a developer of a proprietary compass housing built entirely out of celluloid and filled with liquid to dampen the needle and protect it from shock. Though not the first to create a reliable protective casing, Suunto was the first manufacturer in the world to reduce it to a size small enough to be worn on the wrist. Their protective casing was invaluable for soldiers in WW2 who need a reliable and compact way to calculate an azimuth. After the war, Suunto’s design persisted and was generalized to other products for both civilian and military purposes. Today, Suunto manufactures some of the world’s most resilient military, most of which are completely handmade in their factory, and sold for a variety of purposes such as hiking, diving, or military service.
Citizen Watch is the primary company of the Japanese corporate conglomerate Citizen, which is based in Tokyo. The company was founded in 1918 as the Shokosha Watch Research Institute, but their name was changed in 1924 to Citizen, based on the designation of a pocket watch which was popular at the time. Citizen is among the biggest manufacturers of quartz and automatic wristwatches in the world. Besides portable timepieces, the company also produces different types of utilitarian equipment, such as chronometers, calculators, electronic schedulers, portable TVs, glucometers, and printers, among others.
Best Military Watches Wrap Up
In this day and age, wristwatches are used for more than just telling time, and when it comes to military wristwatches, more functionality translates to an increased chance to succeed at any operation. Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of products available for purchase on the market, which makes choosing a product ideal for your needs a challenging endeavor. However, with the information contained in this guide, you are now prepared to browse the market at your leisure and choose the very best product tailored specifically for your requirements.