When you’re looking for the best tactical watches for military and survival, you should look closely at a few of the key features and understand the benefits these features deliver. You’re not just looking for an accessory to give you accurate time.
Far from it! When you’re hiking, camping or training away from civilization, you need a reliable tool, one that’s as useful as a good knife or a durable pair of boots.
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- 1 Choosing the Best Tactical Watches for Military, Survival
- 2 Features!?
- 3 Best Tactical Watches for Military, Survival 2018
- 3.1 1. G-Shock Rangeman Master – Best Overall
- 3.2 2. Casio Men’s Mudman G-Shock – Best for Military Use, Police Enforcement
- 3.3 3. Fathom Stainless Steel Dive Watch – Best Dive Watch
- 3.4 4. Casio Men’s PRG-270 Pro Trek Watch – Extreme Scenarios, Police Enforcement
- 3.5 5. Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch – Best for Outdoor, Basic Survival
- 3.6 6. Casio G-Shock GA-1000-8A Aviation – Best for Military, Diving
- 3.7 7. Casio GW-9400-1CR – Best for Survival, Diving
- 3.8 8. Luminox Men’s LM8822.MI Recon Point Black – Best for Military, Survival
- 3.9 9. Casio GG-1000-1A3CR – Best for Military, Police Work
- 3.10 10. Luminox Evo Navy Seal Blackout Men’s Watch – Best for Diving, Outdoor Activities
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
As you look for the right watch, you’ll usually see three words used to describe the products – military, survival and tactical. The first word, “military,” generally indicates the watch meets or exceeds standards and specifications set by the military, so you may also see the term mil-spec. For survival and tactical watches, the category can extend to many more products, which means you need to be careful when you read the specs and compare prices.
If you’d rather wear one watch for everyday use and switch to a different timepiece for military or survival activity, you can keep this special watch on your bug-out bag strap or in a similar place so it’s always ready for you. Start your search/shopping by learning more about what a tactical/military/survival watch is and what it can do for you.
Choosing the Best Tactical Watches for Military, Survival
It’s easy to get lost when you have so many choices available in the market. The selection process can be further complicated, by the different features and perks these watches bring to the table. But, when selecting the right tactical watch you only have to remember a few things:
- Look for the Mil-Spec (this stands for military specifications and is used to gauge whether the watch exceeds or at least meets the specs set by the organization)
- You need to be capable of understanding all the features on your watch (if you’re not familiar with the use of a compass or how the satellite tracking works you’re spending money on information you’re incapable of utilizing properly).
- Weight, if your tactical watch is too heavy it will become burdensome to wear after prolonged periods, look for one that is lightweight and comfortable.
- Durability is the key the ability to withstand a shock, water damage, pressure, scratches, and emit life are crucial aspects of a good tactical watch (a broken watch is useless).
- Well-established manufacturers tend to offer solid, reliable products.
The factors listed above should narrow down the list from hundreds (or thousands) to a few handfuls. But, please keep in mind that you’re going to be spending a fairly good amount of money on the watch so you’re trying to make an educated purchase.
We’ve already discussed an overview of the plethora of features that tactical watches possess, but here is a more detailed list of what to look for and how it can be practical to have on yours.
A good watch is defined by its ability to tell time accurately. A good tactical watch is designed to do that and more. But, when you’re trying to be as precise as possible, you’ll need a tactical watch that can track time to the most precise degree. Now, tactical watches come in two forms, both analog and digital. Digital watches can help you get some precise numerical values, but analogs tend to be a better match for those with tighter schedules. Luckily, you can find tactical watches that come in both forms.
Additionally the Atomic-6 Timekeeping feature permit the watch to self-adjust to the local time based on your location by utilizing six global transmitters that feed it information as you move.
Do you need to have an exact measure of time to execute your objective? A chronometer is the answer to your problem. Not only can you use it for navigational purposes, but the anti-magnetic properties and adjustment knobs can help you be as precise as you need. This feature, however, is only available in digital format.
3. Compass and Directional Tech
Built-in compass will give you a hold on your current direction. When you absolutely must know what direction you’re headed towards, you’ll want a good tactical watch that has this particular feature. Sailors in particular have a particular need for this feature, and anyone who’s ever been stranded in the ocean will tell you that knowing the way the current is taking you is a deciding factor on whether you live or die. However, the benefits don’t just apply to maritime situations, hiking trips, expeditions, and even exploring the city can be made much easier with a good compass by your side.
The majority of tactical watches display this information digitally, and the magnetic sensors will automatically tell you track your movement direction. Additionally, look for watches with the triple sensor technology. The triple sensor technology includes:
- Altitude and atmospheric barometer
- A compass
Without a doubt, one of the most important features for a tactical watch is the ability to display information in the darkest of places. Tritium luminescent will make use of your arm movements to tell the watch when to light up, which is a blessing for those scenarios where your hands are occupied.
The most popular of these are the ones that feature Gaseous Tritium Light Sources (GTLS).
5. Resistance, Durability, and Design
You want to ensure your money is well spent when you buy a tactical watch. Therefore, you’ll want to purchase something that is scratch-resistant, can take shocks or water without malfunctioning, and that it can take depths of a couple of hundred feet in the water without cracking.
Look for watches that are crafted with sapphire lens and these are known for their durability.
Best Tactical Watches for Military, Survival 2018
1. G-Shock Rangeman Master – Best Overall
Casio has a plethora of top of the line tactical watches, and you’ll find the G-Shock Rangeman Master Watch is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment out in the field. Now, there is a reason why this tactical watch made the coveted *editor’s choice* and it’s simply because it’s the best of the best.
The G-Shock Rangeman Key features:
- Triple sensor technology [Thermometer, Barometer, Compass]
- Solar cell battery
- Shock resistance
- Excellent durability
- Waterproof build
- Great altitude and depth pressure resistances
- Atomic Time Keeping
There is a reason Casio has dominated the market for nearly three decades and the Rangeman is simply proof of their craftsmanship. Whether you’re exploring the depths of the ocean, the mountains of Peru or the deserts in Iraq and Afghanistan, this watch will help you keep track of time, and maintain a sense of direction and altitude.
Atomic Timekeeping means that you’ll be able to adjust for time, regardless of your global position. A solar cell means that you’ll never run out of battery, and finally it’s made to last for a lifetime (or a decade which is the battery life). There isn’t much out there aside from deliberate damage that can hurt this watch.
Additionally, operating this watch is simple, individual tones are assigned to each function. Once you become familiarized with each beep you’ll be able to tell which function you’re utilizing without even having to look. They’re operated by cylindrical buttons on the sides of the watch and it’s literally as simple as pushing a button.
If you want excellence at an affordable price, and the product of a lifetime look no further than the G-Shock Rangeman Master Watch.
2. Casio Men’s Mudman G-Shock – Best for Military Use, Police Enforcement
No tactical watch list is complete without at least a mention of the Casio Men’s G9300-1 Mudman G-Shock. It’s among the toughest watches available and it can handle pretty much anything you can throw its way. From depths of down to 660 feet to the altitudes of Mt. Fuji, you’ll never be at a loss for time and measurements with the Mudman.
The Mudman comes with all the features you know and love from the G-Shock series:
- Solar powered battery cell
- Atomic Time Keeper
- Triple Sensor Tech
- Shock Resistance
- Waterproof build
- Altitude and depth resistance
It needs to be said that Casio’s G-Shock series are amazing tools, and the Mudman is no different. It needs to be said that if you want an excellent piece of equipment that is worth the price of admission the Mudman is definitely among a top choice even in the depths of the ocean.
3. Fathom Stainless Steel Dive Watch – Best Dive Watch
The Fathom Stainless Steel Dive Watch is a different animal from most of the military/tactical watches reviewed.
It’s marketed as a dive watch but will give you outstanding service in almost any conditions. Of course, it will stand up to moisture down to 660 feet and comes with a polymer band for extended wear.
The Fathom company even puts a Morse Code guide on the back of the watch. The back is stainless steel and this watch comes with a rotating bezel.
If you’re looking for a sturdy, wearable watch this one will serve you in combat situations, outdoor activity and when you ski at the lake.
Basic Specs: Stainless steel; Buckle band; One-way rotating bezel
4. Casio Men’s PRG-270 Pro Trek Watch – Extreme Scenarios, Police Enforcement
Yet, another testament to the craftsmanship of Casio, the PRG-270 stands as another great tactical watch. But, why is it lower on the list if it’s so great? Well, it’s bulkier than the previous watches on the list and you’ll have to manually adjust time whenever you move time zones as it doesn’t feature the Atomic Six. However, this is still a great watch, and its durability is excellent which means you can take it with you practically anywhere.
- Excellent durability
- Shock Resistance
- Customizable Alarm
- Solar battery
- Triple Sensor Tech
Now, as we’ve mentioned, the PRG-270 is heavier than the other watches. This means, that you’ll have trouble wearing for extended periods of time. But, it’s a reliable tactical watch that will stay with you through all the tough times and challenges that life brings.
5. Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch – Best for Outdoor, Basic Survival
Outdoorsmen and survival enthusiast on a budget will appreciate the Expedition Gallati. A standard analog watch that is made with durability in mind for those who want to try their hands at basic outdoor hobbies and dives of down to around a 150 feet in depth.
- Excellent durability
- Nylon wrist band
- Night light for low visibility
- Depth and pressure resistance of 150 feet.
If you want to test your hand at becoming an outdoorsmen, but have limited money in your bank account, the Expedition Gallati is probably the best choice for you before moving on to more extreme scenarios.
6. Casio G-Shock GA-1000-8A Aviation – Best for Military, Diving
Casio’s luxury series is on full display with the GA-1000-8A. Featuring a 50mm case and with a thickness of 16.7mm, this watch is built to last through almost any disaster, The wristband is comfortable, and it’s rather lightweight for all the features included, but its design is not as simplistic as the previous ones. The yellow lettering and numbers will catch your eye and make it easy to tell time in almost any light conditions. But, if analog is not your thing, then you’ll be pleased to know that the GA-1000-8A offer both digital and analog displays.
- Triple Sensor Tech
- A compass that can change settings from magnetic north to true north
- 600 Feet Depth resistance
- Long battery life
- Two-year warranty
- Extreme Durability
- Both digital and analog time displays
- Bright yellow lettering and numbering for low light environments
Durable, luxurious, and time-tested are great words to describe the GA-1000-8A. If you want an excellent time telling piece that has your back, but you’re not into the “military look” then this is probably the tactical watch for you.
7. Casio GW-9400-1CR – Best for Survival, Diving
Some of the survival experts I’ve talked to vouch for the GW-9400-1CR’s great functionalities and features, and claim it’s definitely one of the best products on the Casio portfolio. Constructed out of stainless steel and solid plastic casing, the multiple displays and screens will have you swearing by it as well. But, it’s not just good out in the field, it’s also a great diving watch.
- Triple Sensing Technology
- Water resistance
- Five distinct alarms
- Solar Battery Cell
- Excellent Durability
- Shock Resistant
However, it must be said that this watch is rather bulky and can become heavy after using it for an extended period of time, additionally a few people interviewed claim the text can be hard to see in some situations.
8. Luminox Men’s LM8822.MI Recon Point Black – Best for Military, Survival
Featuring a strong durable construction, and with the sophistication and class of a luxury watch, the LM8822 is another top contender for best tactical watches of 2018. Packaged within a 45mm case of steel with a dial window made out of sapphire, it’s not only easy on the eyes, but also pleasant to wear during extended expeditions.
However, it’s not all about the looks as it is worth remembering that this is a tactical watch that can withstand 600 feet in depth and survive most activities that would break lesser watches.
- Depth resistance of 660 Feet
- Durable case with scratch resistant screen
- Walking speed scale to measure how quickly you’re moving
- Light and comfortable
9. Casio GG-1000-1A3CR – Best for Military, Police Work
While it seems that Casio continues to dominate this list, it’s because their products are just that good and the GG-1000-1A3CR is simply another excellent tactical watch in their substantial lineup.
Capable of resisting both shocks and grime, the watch is built to last through almost anything. Not only can it take depths of down to 660 feet, it comes packaged with both a compass and a chronometer.
But, if that’s not your cup of tea, then take a look at its five distinct alarms and a built-in thermometer for those cold nights out in the field.
- Shock Resistance
- Mud and Dirt protection
- Excellent Durability
- Low battery alert to notify you of when it needs to recharge
Capable of producing light in even the darkest of blackouts, the Blackout is a sight to behold. Capable of resisting depths of down to 200 meters and built with a durable case that is meant to handle the extreme pressure of the ocean.
This watch is capable of displaying both the date and time as well as featuring a beautiful all black aesthetic for camouflaging during those dangerous nighttime missions.
But, don’t take our word for it, simply look at the tag that says “Swiss made” and do some research. You’ll discover that Switzerland is one of the top manufactures for watches and if this watch is good enough for the Swiss then it’s good enough for any military member or deep sea diver who wants the best of the best.
- Depth resistance of 200 meters
- Illuminating dials
- Lightweight build
- All black aesthetic
- Extreme durability
Just because this is our last item on the list does not mean you should discredit it. There are plenty of tactical watches out in the market and any of the ones listed here are among the best of the best. However, we could only a couple of handfuls of them and we chose the Blackout as our closer because it deserved a spot in the top 10.
To repeat the advice given at the start, make sure you’re prepared to spend a bit more money than you might think, then buy the most rugged watch you can afford. If you get the right watch the first time, you won’t have to spend more money (and more time) searching for a second one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Tactical Watch?
A tactical watch is a time telling device whose main attraction is the numerous survival oriented features. They’re meant to survive in difficult or unusual conditions compared to luxury or generic watches. Because the military favors these types of watches, they tend to be called “military watches”.
Q: Who Should Purchase a Tactical Watch?
While anyone can go ahead and purchase a tactical watch, they’re best suited to be worn by people who love the outdoors, or personnel who work in the fields of sports, police, paramedics, firefighters, scuba divers, hikers, rock climbers, etc.
Q: Why Would You Want A Tactical Watch?
Ordinary folk will inevitably ask this particular question, and there isn’t always a clear cut answer. The saying “hindsight is 20/20” applies though, as it’s always better to be over prepared than the opposite. You can never truly anticipate the scenarios that a crisis will throw your way, you mind end up stranded one day in a raft in the middle of the ocean and a compass can give you direction; a normal hiking trip can always turn sour on the whims of the weather, and recognizing atmospheric and climate changes might help you avoid it.
Basically, owning a tactical watch is almost as important as having a trusty pair of boots, or a great multi-tool gadget whenever you escape the boundaries of civilization. You might never know when you’ll need it, but you’ll definitely be glad you have it when emergencies strike and no great bug-out-bag is complete without one.
Q: Are All Tactical Watches Submergible?
Most if not all Tactical Watches have varying degrees of water resistance, but keep in mind that there are different levels of submersion proof. You don’t want to mistake splash proof for water resistant and vice versa, but if you want a bit more clarification take a look at the information in the manual and see how far in depth it can go before taking a plunge. You don’t want to submerge it past the established point and if you do, be prepared to have it crack under pressure.
We’ve singled out the tactical watches that work well for divers in this review in order to facilitate the search for those seeking to scuba dive.
Q: What can Tactical Watches do that others can’t?
All watches can tell time, but not all watches feature: compasses, backlights and GTLS, shock resistance, the triple sensor technology, Global Positioning Systems, Atomic Timekeeping, and more. These watches are survival tools like any solid pair of boots.
Q: How do you Care for a Tactical Watch?
Caring for a tactical watch is important for the proper function of the item. You’ll need to clean it regularly in order to properly care for it, but you also need to know a few additional factors: Don’t clean it while submerged, clean it often, and repair as needed in a certified retailer. You can find a list of authorized retailers online.
Q: Do we have a Preferred Brand?
Casio is probably our favorite brand. There is a reason Casio is such a common list in any reputable list of tactical watches, and they’ve been dominating the market for over two decades for a reason. If you’re looking to buy a tactical watch and price is not a problem, we’ll always recommend this particular name brand.
Q: Closing Words
Using this list, you’ll be able to narrow down a list of tactical watches that will specifically meet your needs in whatever situation you find yourself. Tactical watches serve a plethora of purposes and by singling out the one you want, you’ll save money and time in the long run. These watches, can literally save your life by letting you plan ahead regardless of the situation you’re in, and as we all know, you can never be too prepared. Life can take some serious turns, but with a good tactical watch, and a handy bug-out-bag, you’ll never be caught off guard.