There are hundreds of military watches available, and each of them presents a different value offering. You don’t need to be in the Military to benefit from wearing a mil-spec watch. Military watches are suitable for rugged use when climbing, camping, hunting, or exploring.
These watches come with a bevy of functions that benefit timekeeping and navigation, making them the ideal choice for anyone visiting a National Park or venturing out into public land. We scoured through listings to find the best models available.
In this review, we’ll look at the best military watches. Our choices are the best we could find, with models available at different price points. We’ll help you find the military watch that meets your needs and your budget.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Military Watch Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Military Watches Buyer’s Guide
- 5 Essential Factors
- 6 Military Watches FAQs
- 7 Military Watches – The Verdict
We realize real military operators don’t have a minute to spare. If you don’t have the time to go through all the options in this review, check out these top picks. We took the best military watches in three categories, giving you an option to suit your timekeeping requirements and budget.
Best Pick: G-Shock GG Mudmaster 1000
- Shock resistant, neobrite, mineral glass, mud resistant, 200-meter water resistance, led backlight (super illuminator), digital compass, thermometer, world time, stopwatch
- Countdown timer, 5 daily alarms, hourly time signal, low battery alert, full auto-calendar, 12/24-hour format, button operation tone on/off, approx. Battery life: 2 years on sr927w x 2
- Quartz Movement
- Case Diameter: 56.2mm
- Water resistant 200m (660ft): in general, suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports, but not diving
The G-Shock range from Casio is an iconic brand well-known in military circles. These watches feature a rugged design with plenty of functionality. This model comes with a resin canvas wristband for an authentic look and comfortable feel on your arm. The G-Shock Mudmaster features mud-resistant buttons for use in the field. You get a digital compass for navigation and an LED backlight. The GG-1000 gives your 31-time zones and a 200-meter (660-feet) water resistance.
Premium Pick: Garmin Tactix Bravo
- NAVIGATOR + ABC - High-sensitivity GPS/GLONASS positioning with automatic calibrating altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass
- BLACK, NON-REFLECTIVE - All-black, non-reflective design inspired by the requirements of tactical gear intended for use in the field
- NIGHT VISION GOGGLE COMPATIBLE - Reduces backlight settings to a level that doesn’t interfere with the operation of night vision goggles
- WATER RATING - Water rated up to 10ATM / 100 meters1; suitable for swimming
- WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY- Utilize one or more Wi-Fi hot spots to automatically sync your data with Garmin Connect and update software (when in range)
The Tactix Bravo from Garmin is a new-evolution digital military watch. This model’s functionality is incredible, with a 1.2-inch high-resolution Garmin Chroma Display, featuring LED backlighting. You get an omnidirectional stainless steel EXO antenna included with the design and an all-black look for a tactical effect.
Budget Pick: Armitron 408231RDGY
- Two-tone digital watch with multiple dial displays, compass-inspired bezel, and textured pusher
- Features lap timer, countdown timer, military time, hourly charm, chronograph subdials, LCD screen
- 44 mm resin case with acrylic dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with digital display
- Resin band with buckle closure
If you’re looking for the most affordable model in this review, you can beat the value you get with this Armitron model. You get a durable and rugged design, with a two-tone black and silver color. Functions include countdown and lap timer, 24-hour military time, hourly chimes, chronograph sub-dials, and a backlit LCD.
Military Watch Reviews
After checking through our top picks in this review, you might need some more inspiration for your choice. Let’s introduce you to a few other models worthy of the title of the best military watch. We’ll unpack each of them in further detail, giving you everything you need to know to make an informed purchase decision.
G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000
Military operators, EDC, and outdoor enthusiasts can choose the G-Shock Mudmaster as their top choice for the best overall military watch in this review.
This model features a robust casing design with a rubberized finish for shock resistance. The casing’s mud-resistant buttons are suitable for use in various demanding environmental conditions, and you get water resistance up to 660-feet.
The Mudmaster comes with a bevy of functions, including a digital compass, temperature, Multiband 6 time adjustment, five daily alarms, a countdown timer, and a 1/100th second stopwatch.
The Mudmaster gets the classic Casio G-shock design, featuring a bulky, durable casing and digital interface. We like the breathable canvas wrist strap and the luminescent hands for easy timekeeping at night.
- Mud-resistant buttons
- Durable, shock-resistant resin casing
- LED backlight featuring afterglow
- 660-feet water-resistance
- Chronograph functionality
- Canvas wrist strap
- Digital compass
Garmin Tactix Bravo
If you’re looking for the best premium military watch available, we recommend the Garmin Tactix. This fully-digital model has plenty of functionality.
You get everything you do with the Mudmaster G-Shock, along with GPS location tracking and smart technology, keeping you in communication with your contacts.
This military watch features a blackout design with a backlit display and a breathable canvas wrist strap. The superior styling makes it suitable for EDC use and urban wear.
We like the anodized stainless steel finish for the bezel and buttons, along with the knurled start/stop button, rear casing plate, and hardware screws.
- New-generation smart military watch
- Built-in tactical features
- Onboard GPS navigation
- Smart functionality connects to your messages and inbox
- Plenty of functionality, including a compass and barometer
- Superior styling with knurled bezel and buttons
- Anodized stainless steel finish
- Canvas wrist strap for comfort
If you’re looking for an affordable model for a present, we recommend the Armitron 408231RDGY. This model features a stylish two-tone design with a black and silver finish.
The rubberized wrist strap comes with a tang clasp, and you get decent features and functionality with this model.
You get water resistance to 330-feet, as well as lap and countdown timer, 24-hour military time, an hourly chime, and chronograph sub-dials.
The Quartz movement and crystal display are nice finishes for a watch at this price range.
- Suitable for a kids watch
- Chronograph sub-dials
- Water-resistant to 330-feet
- Two-tone colors
This model is the top choice for SEALs. The Luminox brand is synonymous with top-quality watches for marine applications. This model features a mil-spec design with a blackout face. You get luminescent hour markings and hands, but that’s the only addition of color to the watch.
This model is in high demand with EDC enthusiasts, making a great choice for a durable, accurate timepiece that works in the most demanding conditions. You get a Swiss quartz movement, along with water resistance to 660-feet.
The Luminox Blackout features a scratch-resistant mineral display and a silicone strap with a tang clasp for operator comfort in wet weather.
- Top choice for Navy SEALs
- Blackout dial
- Swiss quartz movement
- Water-resistant to 660-feet
- Carbon fiber reinforced casing
- Comfortable rubber strap
- Scratch-resistant mineral crystal display
- Tang clasp
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
This fully-digital Garmin model comes with a sleek design, featuring smart technology and full GPS integration with GLONASS technology. You get accurate atomic timekeeping with a full-color TOPO US mapping and 3-axis compass.
This model comes with heart-rate monitoring, athletic performance analysis, advanced running dynamics, and functional features. The high-resolution Garmin Chroma Display features protection with a sapphire crystal lens and PVD-coated stainless steel bezel.
This model has a silicone wrist strap with a tang clasp for comfortable wearing. You get LED backlighting with this military watch, and transflective technology to ensure you can always see the digital display.
- GPS enabled with GLONASS technology
- Full-color TOPO US mapping
- 3-axis compass
- Smartwatch functionality
- Rugged design with PVD-coated stainless steel bezel
- High-resolution Garmin Chroma Display
- Scratch-resistant sapphire lens
This G-Shock model from Casio features triple sensors for accurate timekeeping and a rugged, camo-green casing. The Rangeman is a great choice for use on the shooting range, with the robust case standing up to the shockwaves from firearms muzzles during combat training.
You get all the functionality you would expect out of a Casio model, including stopwatch, lap timing, and much more. The Rangeman comes with a silicone wristband for comfort and water resistance to 660-feet.
This model is a great choice for EDC, but some users might find it a bit bulky. However, the Rangeman offers great value for money and plenty of functionality, making it a top choice in this review.
- Classic G-shock brand
- Indestructible design
- Shockproof and waterproof to 660-feet
- Tang buckle with rubber wrist strap
- Mineral crystal display
- Resin and plastic reinforced casing
- Multi-band atomic timekeeping
- Solar-powered operation
Casio Pro Trek
Casio makes some other great watches outside of the G-Shock range. The Pro Trek model is an excellent example of the versatility in watchmaking from this manufacturer. This model comes with a field watch design that’s something of a throwback to the original field watch from the Great War.
However, with the Pro Trek, you get a Quartz movement and reliable solar-powered operation. This watch comes with a full Auto LED backlight, featuring afterglow function.
With the Pro Trek, you get a silicone wrist strap for comfort and a triple sensor featuring a barometer, altimeter, compass, and thermometer.
- Classic field watch design
- Luminescent hands and face markings
- Selectable illumination duration
- Silicone wrist strap
- Double LED light
- Solar-powered operation
- Quartz movement
This model features a blackout design, but it’s also available in other colors. The Suunto Core has a silicone casing and wrist strap for strength and shock resistance.
The mineral crystal display offers scratchproof protection for the watch face, and the bezel features compass markings.
This Suunto model features triple sensors for barometer, altimeter, weather indicator, compass, and storm alarms.
This military watch is the ideal choice for operators working in demanding weather conditions.
- Blackout design
- Affordable for a digital watch
- Full digital interface
- Altimeter, barometer, and compass
- Built-in weather trend indicator
- Traditional rotating bezel
- Dual time zones, date display, and alarm
- Accurate depth readings to 30-feet
- Available in a variety of colors
Timex Expedition Gallatin
Timex is an international brand with a reputation for building affordable, functional, and stylish watches.
This Expedition Gallatin model features a blackout look, with luminescent markings on the face and hands. The Gallatin has a nylon wrist strap for durable use and a tang clasp.
You get water-resistance to 50-feet and dual timekeeping markings on the watch face. We like the classic field watch design of this model.
- Classic field watch look
- Durable nylon wristband
- Black dial with luminescent markings and hands
- Water-resistant to 50-feet
- Dual timekeeping in military and civilian time
Timex Expedition Scout
The Timex Expedition Scout is the closest watch we could find to the original field design from the First World War.
This affordable model features a classic look, with dual timekeeping in 12-hour and 24-hour formats, thanks to the watch’s markings.
You get a durable mineral crystal display for scratch resistance and a nylon wrist strap with a tang buckle.
- Classic army field watch design
- Available in a variety of colors
- Quartz movement
- Mineral crystal display
- Tang buckle and nylon wrist strap
Other Best Selling Options
- Adjustable green 20 millimeter nylon strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- Black dial with date window at 3 o'clock; Full Arabic numerals
- Gray 40 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal
- Indiglo light-up watch dial; Luminous hands
- Water resistant to 50 meter (165 feet): In general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
- Rugged GPS watch built to withstand the toughest environments
- Constructed to U.S. Military standard 810G for thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100 meters)
- Built in 3 axis compass and barometric altimeter, plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, Glonass and Galileo) support helps track in more challenging environments than GPS alone
- Monitor your estimated heart rate, activity and stress; Train with preloaded activity profiles. Strap material: Silicone
- Stay connected with smart notifications (with a compatible smartphone) and automatic data uploads to the Garmin connect online fitness community
- From G-Shock, this timepiece is the latest addition to their new Power Trainer sports lineup
- The watch is designed with a 49.5mm brown resin case and black dial
- This timepiece links with the G-Shock Connected phone app to provide access to a number of functions that enhance workouts
- Daily health and fitness support functions include a 3-axis accelerometer that keeps track of step counts, a Multi-Timer that lets you create up to 20 timer combinations of five timers each, memory for up to 200 lap records, and more
- The app also makes it possible to maintain step count logs with five exercise intensity levels, to calculate the calories you burn, to specify a daily step target, and more
- An altimeter tracks your vertical movement, a barometer tells the Trend in air pressure, and a compass points the way
- Suunto core tracks both the weather and the sun for you; Operating temperature: 20° C to +60° C / 5° F to +140° F; Storage temperature: 30° C to +60° C / 22° F to +140° F
- A weather Trend graph and storm alarm along with preset sunrise/sunset times for over 400 locations help you stay safe and plan your activities
- With stylish designs in more than a handful of variations, you are sure to find just the right Suunto core for your style
- Wrist top computer watch with altimeter, barometer, compass and weather indicator
- Adjustable tan 20 millimeter nylon strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- Black dial with date window at 4 o'clock; Arabic numerals in increments of 5 up to 60
- 30-minute chronograph measures to 1/20th second
- Black 43 millimeter brass case with mineral glass crystal; Indiglo light-up watch dial
- Water-resistant to 100 meter (330 feet): In general, suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not diving
Military Watches Buyer’s Guide
The wristwatch soared into popularity during the First World War. Infantry received field watches for their duty, allowing them to track time during combat conditions.
Before the advent of the field watch, the wristwatch was a feminine piece of jewelry. Men wore pocket watches and never thought about using a wristwatch.
Today, most men wear wristwatches, and while the watch still serves the same purpose as the original model – many of them come with extra timekeeping and navigation features.
Today’s wristwatches sport purpose-built design for use on sea, air, or land. Some models cover all three disciplines, while others focus on providing a specialist timekeeping solution.
Military watches come with a bevy of functions, from dedicated GPS sensors to chronographs. There are hundreds of top-quality models available, and settling on the right choice requires some assessment and investigation.
In this section, we’ll outline the uses, features, and functions of military watches, allowing you to make an informed purchase decision. Your new wristwatch will be with you for a long time, and it’s a critical part of your EDC kit. We’ll give you all the information you need to settle on the perfect model to suit your timekeeping requirements.
What are the Types of Military Watches?
Military watches come in a few types. Essentially, they are all watches suitable for use by military operators. Therefore, the watch needs to include accurate timekeeping, along with several other critical timekeeping and navigation functions.
Real military watches, such as the Luminox Blackout model, feature a “mil-spec” design. The company works closely with the Military to understand the needs of its servicemen and women.
From combat to EDC, the manufacturer looks at all the watch’s tactical options and how it can help the teams with their timekeeping needs. These watches feature premium design, with top-quality components and timekeeping. Mil-spec watches meet the rugged demands of various environmental conditions.
The second type of watch is a prototype military watch. Manufacturers build these military watches to tactical specifications, making them suitable for use with military operators. However, the watchmaking company never officially works with the government on the watch design.
The final type of military watch is mockup. This design looks and feels like a military watch, with many of the same features and functions. However, it’s more of a dress watch and a fashion piece than a real military watch.
These watches are great choices for kids, introducing them to the complexities around military timekeeping practices.
What Do I Look for in a Military Watch?
After the First World War, the wristwatch stuck around as a men’s jewelry item. The watch gained popularity across the world, and watchmakers started creating designs to cater to the market.
As the decades progressed, there were plenty of new designs of wristwatches. Most men preferred the sleek and classy look of dress watches, making a watch a fashion statement and a status piece.
However, and a handful of manufacturers kept on producing military-style watches. Brands like Luminox and G-Shock by Casio would continue to produce tactically-inspired watches.
With the rise of the internet and smart technology, manufacturers started implementing different tech into military watches, producing models offering navigational and timekeeping functions.
While new military models have some amazing features, the standard mil-spec designs still play a significant role in non-digital models. Luminescent hands for better timekeeping at night and strong bezels with crystal displays and rugged casings are still standard features for military watches.
Initially, military watches started producing luminescent hands using a “lume.” However, this material fell out of favor due to its exuding radioactive properties. Today, manufacturers use materials like zinc sulfide and tritium to provide lighting technology for the hands and face of the watch.
Most casings come with a brushed or blackout finish for military watches. This blackout design or dull surface prevents light reflecting off the watch casing.
When choosing your ideal military watch, you need to think about your needs. Sure, chances are you’re not a military operator.
However, you can still get plenty of utility out of a military watch with other activities., Camping, hiking, hunting, and diving are all sports and activities where you can benefit from the use of a military watch.
When picking out your ideal model, spend some time reviewing the functions and features of a few models that catch your eye. Here are some of the top features to look for in the best military watch.
When evaluating your new military watch, there are a few critical features you need to look for in a prospective model.
Shock Resistance and Durability
The first field watches feature a slimline design with a durable steel casing. However, over the decades, polymer science innovations led to a change in military watches’ casing design.
Today’s models feature design and construction with hardened resin formulas, rubber, plastics, carbon-fiber, and other durable, long-lasting materials.
We recommend you choose the right materials to match your application. If you’re diving deep, resin molded cases or polymer cases provide a lightweight, pressure-resistant casing.
Rubber-reinforced casings like you find on the Casio G-Shock range provide your watch with protection against impact and drops, ensuring the screen won’t crack.
The wrist strap is another important feature of your new military watch. The type of strap needs to match your application. Typically models used in SEAL teams or seaborne operations require a molded plastic, rubber, or silicone strap. This strap provides water resistance, ensuring that the material doesn’t waterlog.
A canvas strap is the better choice for land and air-based operations. A canvas strap allows the skin to breathe, providing a lightweight and comfortable fit. Typically, Green Berets and pilots prefer canvas straps.
Battery Power Source
When you select your ideal military watch, you have the choice of a few power sources. Let’s unpack the different types for your new watch.
- Quartz Movement – This movement is the most popular choice across all military models. The Quartz movement is precise and affordable. You find this movement on watches with cheaper price tags. The Quartz movement utilizes a battery for power, and you’ll need to change it out every few years. Professional watchmakers can assist you with a replacement.
- Solar Powered Movement – The solar power movement is growing in popularity. These models use the sun’s UV rays to power the watch for an endless supply of energy. These watches reach a full charge quickly, and most come with a battery backup in case you’re working at night or in overcast conditions.
- Kinetic Movement – With this type, your body movement powers the watch. The internals of the watch feature a rotor that moves and charges the battery.
- Automatic (Self-Winding) Action – These watches charge when you start wearing the watch. The natural movement of the wrist creates the energy needed to power the timepiece.
- Mechanical (Hand-Wind) Action – This classic watch design requires you to charge the watch by winding the dial. Most models require winding once or twice a day. Classic field watch designs feature this mechanism, but it’s fallen out of favor for solar and automatic winding designs.
The water-resistance 0of your new military watch is important. If you’re using your watch for waterborne activity, you’ll need a model designed for aquatic conditions. The Luminox Blackout model is an example of a purpose-built watch for use in marine conditions.
Most purpose built-models feature water resistance for depths up to 660-feet. Semi-water resistant models might only offer half that water resistance. However, regardless of whether you’re using the watch for land or sea operations, most military watches come with some level of water resistance.
Timekeeping functionality sure changed over the last 100-years of field and military watches. The advent of silicone technology means that manufacturers can start adding features and functions to military watches. If you took today’s top digital model, like the Garmin Tactix, back to 1920, chances are the soldiers would think its witchcraft.
Today’s watches feature timekeeping functions like a chronograph, as well as split and lap timing and digital dates. Look at the features and functions of the watch you like, and make sure that you’re going to use all the features.
Backlit Displays and Luminescent Hands
Make sure that your watch comes with a built-in backlighting system. If you’re trying to tell the time at night, you need luminescent marking on the hands and face.
However, a sidelight can help light things up to help you tell the time. If you’re working with a digital model, make sure it has backlighting on the LCD. We recommend going with H3 technology in your military watch. With H3, you get glowing hands that last for up to 20-years.
What other Tactical Features Do I Get with a Military Watch?
As mentioned, the first military watches told the time and date, and that’s about it. However, today’s military watches come with a bevy of timekeeping and navigational features and functions. If you’re purchasing a digital model, look for a watch with the following extra features.
- GPS – This system helps you find your location coordinates in the field.
- Digital compass – Some watches feature this integrated into the GPS.
- Altimeter – Verify your location using a topographic mapping system.
- Barometer – Keep an eye on weather conditions. Look for models with storm alarms if you’re a hiker or climber.
- Thermometer – Check the external temperature to plan your operating conditions.
Military Watches FAQs
What are the top military watch brands worn by real operators?
Military operators rely on their timepiece. In some situations, having the time can save your life or guarantee the success of an operation.
Navy SEALs prefer premium water-resistant brands like Luminox and Timex, while Green Berets prefer rugged watches like G-Shocks. The blackout Luminox model in this review is a top choice for SEALs and Green Berets.
Why do military operators wear their watch on the inside of their wrist?
You might notice that military operators wear their watch with the face on the inside of their wrist. This strategy helps to avoid any glare glinting off the face during the day.
The watch face hands feature luminescent markings that might draw attention at night. Keeping your watch on the inside of your wrist helps to prevent it from getting damaged during an operation.
Some decades ago, the US military would issue SEAL teams with the Rolex Submariner or Sea-Dweller for standard equipment. Not only was Rolex an accurate timepiece, but it serves as a bargaining chip behind enemy lines.
Downed pilots could trade the watch for safe passage back to an American Embassy. However, the Military stopped issuing Rolexes in the nineties, and today operators use tactical watches like the models listed in this review.
Where is the best place to buy my military watch?
We recommend you purchase your military watch from Amazon. Amazon Prime members get the advantage of fast, free shipping directly to your door. With Amazon, you get buyer protection on your order, and returns are easy to manage. Amazon has great customer service, and they have the best prices online.
Military Watches – The Verdict
After reading through our buyer’s guide, you should have a good idea of the best military watches. However, we realize it’s challenging to settle on one model. If you’re struggling to choose the right military watch, why not rely on our top picks?
The G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000 wins our award for the best overall military watch. This model has a rugged casing that’s shockproof and water-resistant to 660-feet. You get plenty of functionality, including a chronograph and digital LCD. The canvas-style wristband gives the watch an authentic military look that throws back to the original field watches of the First World War.
The Garmin Tactix Bravo is the new-age model of military watches. With the Tactix, you get built-in tactical features for fitness tracking and outdoor navigation, with accurate sensors pinpointing your position. This model is expensive, but it’s everything you need in a military watch. The smart functionality keeps you connected to your messages and inbox, notifying you if you receive any communications.
The Armitron 40/8445DGN is our top choice for the best budget model in this review. With this military watch, you get a stylish two-tone design with a durable casing and plastic wrist strap. The Japanese quartz face is scratch-resistant, and you get water resistance to 330-feet. This model is the ideal choice for a kid’s birthday present, and it comes with an affordable price tag.