Being out in the field, it’s crucial for you to know the time so you be prepared for what is to come. With no sense of time, you won’t know when the sun is about to go down, when you are supposed to meet up with your buddies, or just how long you’ve been outdoors. Sure, you could probably make a reasonable estimate with intuition, or if you’ve been tracking the sun’s position over the course of the day.
But, in the 21st century, we have tactical watches that can tell you the time down to the millisecond, and they will be much more reliable and precise than your estimates. Knowing precisely what time it is is a crucial part of outdoor survival, which is why many people turn to a tactical or military watch to provide them with this necessary information.
But just like how cell phones can be used for much more than calling people, a tactical watch has much more utility than just telling the time as well. They often include additional features like a compass function or a small light if you need to find something in the dark. When selecting a tactical watch, think about what activities you intend on doing and find one that matches your needs.
Do not make the mistake of picking the watch first; no matter how nice it looks or jam-packed with features it is, if it is not suited for your demands, it will probably fail you. With that said, there are many great military watches on the market, so there will definitely be a watch that can meet or exceed your expectations.
This review will cover the basic buying considerations you should be making when shopping for a tactical watch, in addition to some other tips. The products listed in this review were determined after consideration research and can serve as a good starting point if you wish to purchase it or look into it some more. By the end of this article, you should be able to confidently browse and select the best tactical watch for you.
Remember that not every watch will serve your needs, so a highly reviewed watch that many people swear is the best may, in fact, be a poor watch for your purposes. You will need to make a list of all of the features you’d like to have in a watch, and a list that you make will be much different than someone else’s.
When you put the word ‘tactical’ in front of any object, the first word you probably think about is tough or strong. That’s exactly what a tactical watch should be. You don’t want to be out in the field only to discover that the tumble you took or the brief dip in the water broke your watch.
A tactical watch is designed to withstand rigorous use so you don’t have to worry about it breaking when you should be surviving. Just slap it on your wrist and expect it to perform the functions you need it to. When buying a watch, the first thing you should determine is how tough it is.
One crucial factor for a tough watch is how durable the face is. Even if the watch is technically functional, a cracked face will ruin the watch so look for models that have scratch-resistant windows. Generally, the quality of this feature is tied to its price, so expect cheaper models to be less durable than their high-end counterparts.
Don’t plan on going underwater? Why take the risk? Besides, who knows what might happen out in the wilderness. At the very least, get a tactical watch that is water resistant so that you won’t worry about exposing it to the rain, or if you need to reach into the water for something. If your watch is water resistant, you will have to find out how far underwater it can go (typically only a few feet) before it is compromised.
If you plan on diving far underwater, you will have to find a watch that is rated for the depths you intend on reaching. For instance, some military watches can reach as far as 650 feet without issue. Ideally, you want to give yourself a small buffer so that you don’t have to worry about your watch breaking mid-dive.
Many people think heavy-duty products are uncomfortable to wear due to how stiff and sturdy the material can often be, but it does not mean your military watch cannot be comfortable. First, look for a wrist band that is not going to dig into your skin so that you can wear it regularly.
A quality watch will have a band that is not only comfortable, but still functional i.e. it stays on your wrist and doesn’t slide all over your arm. Definitely look into user reviews that discuss how comfortable or uncomfortable a particular watch is.
Another point to consider is how big the tactical watch’s face is. Some watches have gigantic faces (which make it easier to see at the cost of taking up a lot of arm space) while others are lightweight and compact. Whether to get one over the other is purely subjective, so just make sure it satisfies your needs and that you like the way it looks.
Why Should You Buy a Tactical Watch?
So, just to recap – the benefit of a tactical watch is to allow you to tell time even in extreme conditions, such as frigid and damp nights spent out in the wilderness. No matter what you will be doing in the field, being able to tell time at any moment will surely help you make better decisions.
Is the sun minutes from going down, or do you still have an hour? It can often be difficult to tell time depending on the weather conditions and where you currently are, but a watch can give you the answer with just a glance.
Another benefit is how versatile it is. A tactical watch can be used for nearly every activity, such as overnight backpacking trips, kayaking, diving, and whitewater rafting; you name it and this watch can handle it. It’s hard to describe just how convenient it is to have a watch that won’t fail you like the other regular watches do. Once you find the best military watch, you will find that that thing strapped to your wrist for days, weeks, even months at a time no matter what you are doing.
Top 5 Recommended Military Watches
Casio Men’s GA100-1A1 Black Resin Quartz Watch
The GA100-1A1 Black Quartz Watch from Casio is capable for just about any task that you could ask from a timepiece. It is shock resistant and water resistant up to a maximum depth of 200 meters (~650 ft.). It has a stopwatch function that is accurate down to 1/1000th of a second, as well as a full auto-calendar. For many buyers, this is a very good choice.
One of the benefits of this watch has nothing to do with its performance, but rather the look of the watch itself. For instance, the dark black matte finish is sleek and helps make the watch look sharp in numerous settings. As you can expect from a company like Casio, many owners praise its durability and its ability to endure tough environments without negatively impacting performance.
The only complaint is minor; some people feel the watch does not illuminate enough in the dark, making it hard to see. So, if you think you will be using the watch frequently in the dark, this may not be the best option. Overall, this watch is a quality product with many happy customers singing its praises.
Infantry Men’s Military Army Sport Stainless Steel Case Quartz Wrist Watch
This model has a stainless steel body as opposed to the matte black finish that other watches have. It includes both a digital and analog readout on the face, so you can get the time quickly no matter your preference. It has a stopwatch, alarm, and backlight functionality. Furthermore, it has Japanese quartz movement on the side for high precision. There are very few features that this model doesn’t have.
The anti-scratch glass keeps the face of the watch safe, and the strap is made of rubber. Buyers agree that this watch is great value for the money and can do everything it claims to do very well. Obviously this model is not a high-end product, but for its price range and the features it offers, it is nearly unbeatable.
Casio G-Shock Rangeman Master of G Series
Yet another Casio product, this product tops our list in terms of price. If you know a thing or two about watches, though, this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the Rangeman line of products have a reputation for its durability and rugged design.
These watches can take quite a beating and chug along like a champ. As for features, it is shock resistant, has atomic timekeeping, uses solar power, and has a triple sensor. The triple sensor lets you access a wealth of information such as barometer readings, altitude, and temperature.
Before throwing down two bills on a tactical watch, you need to know if it can withstand what you plan to put it through. With that said, the Casio Rangeman is something you can rely on. Reviewers have put it through hell in a variety of conditions, and it was capable of withstanding everything that came at it.
Even active military and veterans have given it great reviews, in addition to those who wear it casually. The price may be daunting for some, but take the leap of faith as so many others have. This watch is meant to last and is sure to be a great investment.
Suunto Core Military Watch
As it is with Casio, Suunto is another brand that you should keep an eye out for because of their dedication to making durable and high-performing watches. The Suunto Core Military watch is no different with its aluminum construction, digital time display, and water resisting capability up to 30 meters (~100 ft.). It provides a wealth of features like a compass, altimeter, barometer, and more. There are some different models within the Core Military Watch line that have a variety of colors at different price points.
User reviews for this model often use the words “excellent” and “great” to describe this product. Some have praised the accuracy of its ABC readings (altimeter, barometer, compass). When stacked against other ABC watches, many say that the Suunto Core is more accurate than its competition. Furthermore, reviewers claim that this watch has no issue with continually being exposed to water. With its attractive design, color options, and numerous price points, the Suunto Core military watches provide some solid options.
Timex Men’s T499509J Expedition Shock XL Resin Watch
This watch has less features than the other watches on our list but its moderate price tag make it an attractive option to buyers on tight budget. With that said, it wouldn’t have made it on our list unless it is high-quality, which it is. The Expedition Shock XL can supply ample information for the outdoor enthusiast. Unless you are the sort of person to take part in some sort of extreme outdoor adventure, this Timex watch will be good enough for your needs.
As for this watch’s features, it has an acrylic dial window, the case is constructed from stainless steel, and it has a rubber wristband. It is water resistant up to 100m (~650ft) and comes with a calendar and alarm function. Users say this is the best watch to get on a budget, and that for the average person it is more than enough for their activities.
Tactical/Military watches are available in numerous sizes, shapes, and styles. You cannot simply lump all watches into a single category because all the nuances and subtle details each has make them drastically different.
As this list has shown, you can get a tactical watch at an affordable price, but you could easily spend hundreds more for additional features. You may need to spend several nights researching each watch, but hopefully our list has at least jump-started your progress. With the information found in this article, you should be able to make an informed decision on a great watch for your particular needs.
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