Military kit should be the best the market has to offer – durable, practical and fit for an athlete. Military watches, like their wearer, should be a tough cookie.
Let’s look into ten of the best tactical watches fit for military use in 2020.
$651 / £500
This timepiece stays true to the classic G-Shock style. The 1000GB-1A was developed for those who work across the elements.
The wristband, button, bezel, crown and other metal features are all plated with black ion and it has solar power to ensure reliability.
If you’re familiar with G-Shock, you’ll notice this device is an evolved model that doesn’t stray too far from the classic look of those before it.
Suunto X-Lander (Military)
$200 / £153
Suunto is a favourite with triathletes and this device is perfect for those in the forces. It has a precise electric compass as well as a reliable altimeter.
It’s got a tough case made of aluminium, for ultimate durability, with mineral glass covering the face and a silicone strap.
The look is simplistic, classic for Suunto and is perfect for someone who needs something subtle.
It does need a new battery once in a while, but the other features make up for this. It has an altimeter and can tell you the weather in your location. Furthermore, it also offers multiple alarms. All these things are incredibly useful to those on a mission.
Timex Expedition Shock (XL)
$42 / £32
This Timex offering is much loved. It is black with distinctive green digits and a minimalistic look.
It’s powered by a quartz movement, has a resin wristband, and a water resistance rating of up to 200m so it’s great for diving.
Design-wise, it’s got a real 90s feel. It’s quite chunky and offers a simple colour scheme.
Timex Expedition Gallatin
$42 / £32
This is a classic from Timex, inspired by the US Rockies. It’s a traditional analogue clock where the top ring is raised. The movement itself is quartz with a tactical dial.
The case comes in matte black. The wristband is a comfortable nylon and you don’t have to worry about getting it dirty.
It has a backlight which is very useful for rapidly checking the time in low-lighting. It’s got a water-resistance rating of up to 50m. Perfect for outdoor adventures!
$120 / $100
The GD-X6900MC-3 has everything an army cadet might need. It’s environmentally-compatible (meaning it comes in camouflage).
It also boasts an auto-LED backlight which makes it easy to read in low light and at night. It can withstand water pressure of up to 200m and is shock-resistant too. This device has been put through harsh testing that put it through the effects of extreme conditions so it just keeps working. The best bit is its 10 year battery life. Extremely good value for money, and considered to be military-grade.
Luminox Recon Point Man 8820
$375 / £325
This is a Swiss brand and was developed specifically to cater for the requirements of military personnel who needed a decent analogue watch.
Its makeup means it is highly reliable, physically-speaking. It’s anti-resistant as well as anti-reflective because it’s made of sapphire crystal. It has a rotating bezel that feature as well as a countdown quadrant with contrasting colours.
Swiss Army Military Secretary Andrew Micheli acted as a consultant in the making of this watch. He worked with Luminox to create a timepiece to meet the specific needs of those in the military.
Marathon Military Navigator
$179 / £150
This Maraton quartz offering has a natural colour and simplistic design. It very much goes under the radar on purpose. It was made to meet tight military restrictions and specifically devised for military pilots and parachutists.
The case is a fibre shell. It’s water-resistant up to around 6m (which isn’t too much of a shock, as it’s made to be in the air, not the opposite). However, It is sweat-proof as well as being shock-resistant.
It’s very lightweight, which is great for not weighing down the wrist when flying.
Bell and Ross WW1-92
$2,500 / $2,300
Bell and Ross is, as the price suggests, a higher-end watchmaker. It offers this particular model as a homage to its first military watch for pilots, which came out in the 1920s.
It has a tough leather band in a natural colour. It’s a decent everyday watch, as it’s so comfortable and subtle-looking. The steel case is a matte grey; which is purposely done as a nod to the past. It has over-emphasised minute markers and overall offers an easy user experience.
It’s quite thin compared to others on this list, but it’s no less sturdy.
Infantry Co. IN-059
$49 / £32
This is a little off-piste as it’s more science fiction than military appropriate.
It’s mostly black but it has green numbers on the face. It’s masculine but a bit cheeky at the same time. If you don’t like this particular colour, it comes in several more.
It has a sturdy stainless steel case and matching strap. The glass on top of the face is anti-scratch and it’s powered by an accurate Japanese quartz and a push-pull crown.
MWC US Military 1969 Vietnam Era Field
$59 / £39
Another slimline offering for those needing something lightweight.
This timepiece comes camouflaged as an everyday watch with its black strap – you can easily wear it to most occasions and it’ll fit in nicely.
The case is screw-on, which means it’s got a good level of water-resistance. It has an anti-glare glass face, which offers a great level of scratch-resistance.
For the price, you get something that’ll give you many years of accurate timekeeping.
Just because you’re in the military doesn’t mean you need a watch that comes with complicated features or is made out of titanium. Something under $50 can serve as a faithful timepiece and will do the job perfectly well.
The features require depends on the mission at hand. Watchmakers have been all too happy to help the forces to do their duty and there is no shortage of choice that caters to the very specific needs to the military.
If you’re not in the military, but you like the idea of a rugged watch, check out our article on tactical watches here.