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The times when watches were used only to tell time are gone. Modern watches are advanced pieces of hardware full of useful features. That said, tactical watches are even more advanced.
Military and security personnel use best tactical watches that help them with measuring temperature, depth, height, and plenty more.
We have spent countless hours researching tactical watches to present you with our top picks. You don’t have to spend your time reading lengthy reviews and user comments, we have done it for you.
If you are looking for a military-grade tactical watch, no need to read the whole review, Casio G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is our top pick.
This watch is feature-packed with a shock-resistant mineral glass crystal. It comes with a digital compass, stopwatch, a thermometer, and we are just scratching the surface. There’s nearly every feature you want in a high-end tactical watch in the G-Shock GG-1000-1A5CR.
For a little more, you can get your hands on the Garmin Tactix Bravo. Apart from having GPS, barometer, altimeter, and a 3-axis compass, this watch can also connect over Wi-Fi to help sync data and update its software.
Casio is the brand to beat in military-grade watches. With the entry of the G-Shock approximately 38 years ago, other companies are still trying to catch up. The G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is a watch designed to stand up to the most extreme situations. From extreme cold, heat, water to vast depths, sludge, mud, and anything else that the field has in store for you.
The G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR tactical watch comes with an analog-digital display. With a Neobrite mineral glass crystal, the watch is shock and scratch-resistant. You don’t have to worry about rocks or ice scratching this watch. This way, you can depend on it for years as it allows you to check the time without an ounce of blurring.
Its classic Mudmaster Silhouette is a reminiscence of the ruggedness only a G-Shock can provide. It uses a cylinder-type guard structure to protect the buttons from the mud. It has gaskets for cylinders and shafts that prevent dust and mud from entering the watch. Not to mention it is water-resistant to 200 meters. It can be of use for most types of water activities from snorkeling to surfing and swimming.
Its resin and stainless-steel case is 56.2 mm wide. It’s a chunky timepiece, and only those with large wrists will appreciate how it sits on the wrist. And with equally large Arabic numerals plus the LED illuminator, it is super easy to read and navigate its advanced features.
G-Shock comes with twin sensors aided by 360-degree hashes. They help to make fast and straightforward compass interpretations leaving no room for confusions on the field. Since it is a digital compass, you will never get lost as it can suit anyone including those with a poor sense of direction.
The sensor also helps to tell the temperature. It can measure temperatures as high as 140F and as low as 14F. The measuring unit is 0.2F, and the readings are just as simple to view. Complemented by the black dial-face, it makes it easy to comprehend and use the different features.
You’ll find a gear dial that helps to indicate the timer and alarm features along with a digital day/date panel. It allows you to transform the watch into 1/100 second stopwatch that is super accurate. This watch also includes world time that caters to over 30 time zones. You can also set five daily alarms on it or an hourly time signal.
The position of the LED lighting is at 6 O’clock, which makes it only useful when reading the analog hands in dark conditions. It is difficult to see the digital readout beating its full functionality in low light environments or at night.
G-Shock Men’s GG-1000-1A5CR is a professional-grade tactical watch. It is fitting to the most extreme environments. Being shock, mud, and water-resistant, and having twin sensors makes this watch practical and convenient. You can’t beat the value as it is not a super expensive watch.
The hardcore adventurer will appreciate the Garmin Tactix Bravo. It is another military-grade watch, but with features which any civilian will find functional. These include GPS/GLONASS, which is essential when you are off the grid.
This watch is truly stylish. Unlike those from the G-Shock line, you won’t be calling attention to yourself. It is an excellent fitness and survivalist watch as it also tracks real-time body metrics like your heart rate and calories burnt.
As a tactical watch, the physical design is just as important as its functionality. This watch comes with either a silicon or a nylon strap which you get to choose before the watch is shipped out. It is not a big watch, featuring a black non-reflective design that will never give your position away and is readable in the sun. Its night vision capabilities also come in handy to help readout at night.
Garmin Tactix Bravo comes with a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal. Ranked 9 out of 10 on the hardness scale, the sapphire crystal gives you assurance it will never scratch. The watch also has a knurled bezel with DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. It boasts extreme resistance to abrasion in whatever situation you may be in.
Its ruggedness is complemented with PVD-coated stainless-steel buttons. It also boasts a sturdy rear case plate, quality screws, and knurled start/stop buttons. Seeing that it is water-resistant to 100 meters, this watch withstands surface water activities and marine environments.
If you are going off the road or would like to extensively track your fitness, Garmin Tactix Bravo has got you covered. This watch features an Omni-directional EXO antenna made of stainless steel. It acts as the GPS/GLONASS receptor that will help with navigation in less than ideal situations.
Its navigation features do not stop here as this watch will tell you when a storm is coming using its barometer readings. It will also help to show your exact position using the altimeter. And with a 3-axis compass, this watch can tell your bearing at all times.
With a compatible phone like an iPhone, you can now get all your emails and Whatsapp messages even in the backcountry. Its wireless connectivity also allows updating of Garmin’s software on the watch and syncing your data with Garmin Connect.
When using Wi-Fi connections, the battery life of this watch drops down from around two weeks to about three days. Luckily, it’s possible to turn off the notifications and any other feature that may drain the power from this watch.
You don’t have to sport an analog watch when you want tactical functionality. A smartwatch can still give you great functionality. Case in point being the Garmin Tactix Bravo. This is an adventurous watch that proves reliability in harsh environments.
Garmin Instinct is built with endurance in mind. It is your best sports companion when you want to track vital metrics that help measure your progress.
Garmin Instinct is still a military-grade watch built to 810G standards for shock, thermal, and water resistance. It comes in a rugged design with key sensors that will come in handy when away from civilization. With a case that’s 44mm men with slim wrists will not find it overwhelming, unlike chunkier models.
This watch has a reinforced polymer case complemented by a scratch-resistant display that is also chemically-strengthened. The silicone band is vented so that it’s comfortable since it does not collect sweat. It is a good choice if you’ll be using during jogging and similar fitness activities.
Garmin Instinct is replete with a ton of sensors. It has GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo capabilities. It allows you to overcome the toughest situations as it has receptors for nearly every position on the planet. The watch also includes a barometric altimeter and a 3-axis compass. It helps you to accurately track your position, which is handy if you’re a hiker since a GPS might not be available.
This watch offers key tracking features like your sleep, heart rate, steps, level of intensity in an activity, and even the level of stress in your body. It will relay this information to Garmin Connect where you can see all your data collected. It is a nice way to see your progress over time.
This watch has 28 sports modes that help you during activity tracking. It doesn’t matter whether you are swimming, walking, rowing, kickboxing, or something else; this watch will help you track your stats.
This watch can be a handful during the first uses. You will want to read the manual and also spend some time learning the features before heading out.
A rugged GPS watch can be hard to find and does not always come at a reasonable price. But Garmin is making their stuff more friendly in terms of price with the Garmin Instinct. This watch covers most aspects of a tactical watch while being incredibly reliable in tactical elements. Although fitness-oriented, soldiers and survivalists can still find great functionality in the watch.
Casio keeps wowing us with its tactical watches. The Casio Men’s Pathfinder PAG240-1CR is no different since it is a top-performing, multifunctional watch. Apart from keeping you informed on position, altitude, and temperature, it will never need charging.
If you keep forgetting to charge your digital watches and need one for your peace of mind, the Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder is the one to grab. It comes with a super-sized lithium battery that is solar-powered. It needs very little light to charge and can provide functionality for a max six months with a full charge.
This watch boasts a large, dual display that is backlit for day and night visibility. The button configuration is pretty straightforward. There are three buttons for the triple sensor on the right side and four buttons for various functions like adjusting the backlight. The case is of stainless steel, and it has a mineral dial window that is scratch and shatter-resistant.
This watch still follows through with a water-resistant frame to 100 meters.
Outdoor practicality is the highlight of the Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder. Its triple sensor technology consists of a barometer, altimeter, and a thermometer.
The altimeter will track elevation gain and loss in 20ft increments from -2300 to 32,800ft. It is a useful product when mountaineering as it helps to know how high you are so that you can track when oxygen levels become depleted. It will keep 40 records of your altitude together with the date and month, which is essential for climbers. You can even set goals, and an alarm will go off when you attain a certain altitude.
The barometer is just as essential in tracking weather changes and the coming of a storm or a warm day by monitoring atmospheric pressure. The watch also tells you current temperatures from 14 to 140F. It also includes a stopwatch, timer, auto calendar, and world time with 39 time zones. You can use the 24-hour clock convention of timekeeping, or the 12-hour one. The watch allows you to set an hourly chime and you can even see the sunrise & sunset data.
Unfortunately, this watch does not hold up against mud, especially on the compass rotating dial. You will also find it difficult to operate this watch with gloved hands.
Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder is not a complex watch though it has sophisticated capabilities. From its crisp display to triple sensor technology, it gives you everything you might need to conquer the outdoors.
With the lack of GPS, the Suunto Core is a good watch for hikers and skiers, if they know how to use a compass. This watch is highly accurate and genuinely reliable for sports and outdoor activities.
Suunto Core looks sporty and smart because it is. The watch delivers on quality as it does on functionality. The display is not super bright, so it won’t burn your eyes in the sun. This feature makes the watch very easy to read in the sun and you’ll not struggle to see it in low-light conditions.
With a mineral crystal and composite case, it maintains a decent level of ruggedness. The watch is water-resistant to 30 meters, which makes it viable for snorkeling, swimming, and surface water activities. The dials are effortless to grab, and it remains super accurate to a depth of 10 meters (30ft.)
The elastomer strap is a feature to appreciate as it is not only durable but remains comfortable whether in the cold or in hot environments.
Even though it lacks inbuilt GPS, it doesn’t mean you won’t find your way. Suunto Core has a digital compass that will track direction for you. When combined with a map and a separate GPS, you will always navigate with ease. We do like that this watch also includes an altimeter that is accurate to 29,500ft.
The altimeter will sense when you are moving and start tracking automatically. It uses the Alti/Baro mode that is automatic and will switch between the altimeter and barometer mode. In the barometer mode, this watch will track the air pressure and even keep a trend so that you can tell the weather. You can accurately tell whether it’s going to get warmer or colder.
What’s more, this watch has a storm alarm feature that will activate when air pressure drops rapidly in a period of three hours. You can secure a tent and find a secure place to camp when you have Suunto Core with you.
Lacking GPS is one of the complaints that keep coming up about this watch. This is because most people cannot depend on it solely for navigation. It has to be together with GPS. Its waterproof rating is also the smallest on our list something you may want to consider if you are always around water.
Suunto Core is in the running for the most reliable sports watch for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Search and rescue teams have nothing but praise for this watch, which is great considering it is not compatible with phones.
Bertucci A-2T Original Classics looks the part when it comes to ruggedness and simplicity. It is a titanium field watch that can take on the rigors of everyday outdoor life.
This watch comes in a decent size that is only 40mm in diameter. It looks and feels great because all it is made for is to tell time accurately. Perhaps the best attribute of this watch is its titanium case which scores six on the hardness scale. It is harder than stainless steel on the Mohs scale, which should give you an idea of how good this watch is.
Bertucci A-2T Original Classics also features a high-performance hardened mineral glass crystal. It invests in premium features although it is not an expensive watch. It looks sleek with its richly hued traditional colors ideal for hunts, fishing, and other outdoor hobbies.
With 100-meter water resistance, you will have no worries in the shower, on the lake, and the ocean. It is resistant to any form of corrosion which guarantees its longevity.
This watch uses Swiss super luminous hands and marks. It is a joy to view in poorly lit environments and will not be a pain in direct sunlight. It has 12- and 24-hour markings so you can choose which system works best for you. With its titanium screw offset at 4 o’clock, the watch sits ergonomically such that it remains comfortable over long hours of wearing it. Since the screw locks down with the help of course threads, the watch will never accidentally adjust itself.
Another impressive feature is the use of Japan Quartz movement to ensure it never loses a second while it remains very easy to read.
Bertucci A-2T Original Classics is not for those who want advanced features. You will find that although it lacks GPS and sensors, the watch does not fall into the cheap category.
Plainness and simplicity are no surprise when it comes to the Bertucci A-2T Original Classics. Bertucci has a reputation for sticking to the classics, and this model sits right in with what the brand is all about. It is simple to read, accurate, and, most importantly, very durable.
Mechanical watches require you to manually wind them every 24 hours. But the Vostok Komandirskie K-35 automatically self-winds. The watch befits the functionality of a tactical watch as it showcases an ergonomic and durable construction.
The K-35 is a polished model that can grace different occasions depending on the strap you adorn. If you go with a stainless-steel strap, rest assured it will blend in with dress shirts. But if you are going with the nylon webbing straps, you will want to stick to the outdoors.
This watch features a shockproof crystal alongside a stainless-steel case which brings the diameter to 42mm. It sits comfortably and ergonomically with the screw-down crown in the 3 o’clock position. The placement of the crown ensures that the watch stays in the correct position.
You can rest your worries if you need a watch that will be reliable in wet conditions. Vostok Komandirskie K-35 is water-resistant to 100 meters. Since it is a military watch, it is no wonder that it can withstand wet and cold conditions.
Vostok Komandirskie K-35 boasts self-winding 31 jewel movement with the help of a central second wheel and a date wheel. The 12- and 24-hour dial gives it military stature as it also includes 60-second markers and hour markers. The watch also includes luminous dots and numbers which help to read the watch in the dark.
This watch comes with over 31 hours of battery reserve and an automatic rotor that is protected from over-winding. The over-winding protection ensures that the watch stays reliable into the future. You don’t get any navigation features with this watch, which may be something you want to consider.
This may be a self-winding watch, but you still need to adjust the date and time. And if you have not worn this watch for some time, you will have to adjust the date and time again.
If you like the art represented by a mechanical watch, then go for the Vostok Komandirskie K-35. It is a timepiece with lots of adoring fans. With its classic design, this watch will give you nothing but satisfaction in its accuracy.
Casio G-Shock The-GA 100-1A1 is a cheap watch and perhaps the most sought-after military-style watch in its class. This watch is built like a tank, without any compromises concerning its durability and functionality. The only thing you won’t get is navigation functionality.
This is an analog-digital watch with a whopping 55mm diameter. Only those that love big and chunky watches will be fond of this watch. As much as it is tough, the watch does not prove complicated in the way it operates. It comes with large anti-skid buttons that provide effortless operation. With its embossed indexes, the watch passes for a sporty model thanks to its 3D look.
For the price, you get a mineral dial and a resin case that is hard to beat in the rough outdoors. Weighing only 2.08 ounces, it is not a heavy-to-wear watch so it won’t become uncomfortable over time. With a glass that is protected by a urethane bezel, this watch will remain relatively scratch-resistant for a long time.
You’ll like that 4/6 pushers also have protective guards adding to the durability of this watch. It is mud, shock, and magnet resistant along with being water-resistant to 200 meters. Combined with a battery that can last an impressive two years, there’s nothing to dislike about this watch.
It may lack GPS and a compass, but you get to use it as a 1/1000 second stopwatch and countdown timer. This watch also allows you to set daily alarms and use many measuring modes such as lap time, elapsed time, split time, distance output, and even speed. You can use it in various environments where you need your watch to be more than just a watch.
The auto LED with afterglow is nice in low-lit environments though it may not be the best in total darkness. But you’ll appreciate that it has world time, which is a nice plus during travel.
Unfortunately, the digital window is hard to read, and it becomes completely blocked by the minute hand every hour for ten minutes. It is not a significant flaw because you can still read the time, but those buying this watch for its digital display may be a little disappointed.
You can still have a nice looking and excellent functioning tactical watch on the cheap. Casio G-Shock The-GA 100-1A1 shows it is a reliable watch that looks good and works as stipulated. Its extra features are to fall for as it can be used in real outdoor situations.
Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch gets a thumbs up on looks alone. It is a classy, but straightforward watch, which is why many people like it despite it lacking advanced features.
Chrono is a watch that is not too big or too small. With a case that is 42mm in diameter, most people agree it feels great and suits most occasions as it has a brown leather strap. We could suggest changing the strap for a nylon one if you are spending most of your time in scorching weather. Otherwise, it is a beautiful watch for everyday use.
We like that it has a black steel case with a military face that is going to look part in outdoors expeditions. This watch uses W-91 chronograph for general timekeeping. It is accurate to one second and offers a 30-minute chronograph. It sets fast and easy with the help of the crown. It allows you to pull on it to the second or middle position and then turn forward or backward in one-hour increments.
It is just as easy to set the date and reset the chronograph when need be.
Timex is known for durability. The expedition has a battery that can last up to ten years, so you never have to think about changing it. Its rugged qualities follow a watch that can stand up to water up to 100 meters in depth. Along with its indigo backlight, this watch does not lose on some of the specs that make it a valuable Timex watch.
There are complaints about quality control with this watch. Although it is not a rampant problem, some units are superior in construction while the others have minor faults that may cause the watch to fail.
Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Watch is a solid timepiece. It is a nice size as it is designed for both men and women. It is unobtrusive, built to last, and shows some really cool features. Anyone can match its looks to their outfit in the field or in the office.
Obviously, tactical watches are going to tell you the time. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We will show you everything you need to know before you purchase a tactical watch.
First of all, you don’t need to be working in security or military to need a tactical watch. You will learn that tactical watches are great for hikers, runners, climbers, nature lovers, and everyone else who wants a useful watch.
Tactical watches come with plenty of features that the other watches can only dream about. Plenty of tactical watches come with a compass, GPS, atomic timekeeping, shock resistance, backlights, and plenty more.
If you are serious about survival, then a tactical watch should be considered a survival tool. Some of the high-end models come with sensors that respond to your environment. The best tactical watches come with an included barometer (measures changes in atmospheric pressure), altimeter (measures the altitude), and a thermometer (measures the temperature.) But, that’s not all! You can find tactical watches that inform you of incoming weather changes like storms, snow, and heavy wind.
Since tactical watches are created for security personnel, soldiers, and people who enjoy extreme sports, it is only natural to expect a couple of features from them.
You don’t need to be on the extreme side of life to enjoy tactical watches. But, you should know a couple of important features that you need to consider.
Tactical watches are durable, but you need to make sure that they continue to operate without a hitch. If you want to ensure that your new watch will last you for a long time, then take care of it.
You should often clean your tactical watch. We tend to sweat while wearing a watch, and that leads to grime accumulating. Look at all of the nooks and crannies of your watch, and use something small to clean them. Make a habit out of it, and your watch will last you a long time.
Even if your watch is water-resistant, don’t dunk it in water to clean it. Just because a watch claims to have 33ft (10 meters) of diving capability it doesn’t mean that you can keep it submerged in the water.
There will come a time when you will have to repair your tactical watch. Don’t take it to anyone besides a certified dealer. They are experts, and they will repair your watch better than a random repairman.
You have noticed that all of the tactical watches inform you of their water-resistant capabilities by informing you of their diving capability. But, what does it mean?
Is it possible to dive with a watch that claims to be water-resistant up to 98ft (29,9 meters)? No, and the reason is water pressure. If your tactical watch isn’t meant for diving, then don’t dive with it. The moment you hit the water, the pressure immediately shifts. The pressure shift forces the watch to go above its water resistance level, which could cause the water to pour inside.
The rule is simple – if you want to dive with a watch around your wrist, then a diving tactical wristwatch could be what you need.
While plenty of watches can work fine while being wet, the water isn’t a problem during showers. The real problems are shampoo and soap. They are highly corrosive, and they will damage your watch.
If you accidentally splash some soap on your tactical watch, then clean it as fast as possible. Plenty of people have never had problems with showering with a watch on. But, our advice is to take your tactical watch off during a shower.