The Best Tactical & Military Watches on the Market

With the speed technology is increasing, the amount of things watches can now do is actually insane.

With things like weather reports, storm alarms, GPS, and even an inbuilt flashlight, one of these could easily end up saving your life.

They go so much further than telling the time and they’re built to be indestructible.

But with them varying so much in their price, design, durability and what they can and can’t do, how do you choose the best military watch?

Well, I’ve spent the last week researching the hell out of them and made this list of the five best ones that are out there at the moment.

Check these guys out and you’ll definitely find one which is right for you…

Military Style Watches Comparison

  1. Suunto Traverse Alpha— Top Pick and Best With GPS
  2. Vostok Amphibian Automatic Mens Self-winding Wrist Watch #710662— Our Top Pick Under 100
  3. Casio G-Shock Black Resin Quartz Tactical Military Watch (Men’s 1A1)
  4. Suunto Core All Black – Military
  5. SMAEL Men’s Sports Analog Dual Quartz Movement Digital Wrist Watch

Military Watch Reviews

1. Suunto Traverse Alpha — Top Pick and Best With GPS

SUUNTO Traverse Alpha - Woodland

This is the one, it’s got it all.

Handmade in Finland and designed to pass military standards, it’s built to last and has a ton of cool tactical features that other combat watches don’t.

Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass and a water-repellent nylon strap, he should last you years and years.

With sunrise and sunset alerts and location-based moonrise and moonset times, this can literally do everything.

If you want the best of the best, this is it.

What I liked about it:

  • It has an inbuilt GPS and GLONASS system which tracks and records your route and displays it right on the watch. This means you can always easily retrace your steps if you suddenly find yourself lost. You can also mark points of interest on the map, good for if you find somewhere you want to go back to.
  • Compatible with the Suunto Movescount app, you can plan your routes on topographic maps and record what happens on hunting and fishing trips.
  • There is an inbuilt digital compass, and a barometric meter which records your altitude. You literally can’t get lost if this is on your wrist.
  • The barometric meter also creates a pressure graph that shows you the current weather trends and, if any crazy weather is about to come in, it will automatically sound a storm alarm, so you’ll never be caught unawares.
  • Incredibly, this is built to automatically detect when a shot has been fired and record it. It’ll track your exact position and the exact time for each and every shot you take.

Who’s it for?

If you’re looking for something that will keep you safe and won’t let you down, this is it.

It’s not cheap costing a little bit more than 300 bucks, but damn do you get what you pay for.

With more features than you can imagine, you’d never believe a watch could do so much…

Some other sweet features:

  • There is a hidden flashlight built into the watch and it’s surprisingly powerful. Really handy for when you’re out in the dark and need to find something.
  • A red backlight means you can read the display no matter the conditions you are in and not give away your location. It’s also compatible with night vision goggles, so you don’t have to worry about blinding yourself.
  • It’ll notify you when you receive a text or call by linking up with your phone through Bluetooth
  • The battery’s crazy decent, lasting 14 days in time mode and 10-100 hours in GPS, depending on what settings you have it on.
  • Water resistant up to a depth of 100 meters, so you won’t have to worry about it breaking when you go snorkeling or diving.

2. Vostok Amphibian Automatic Mens Self-winding Wrist Watch — Our Top Pick Under $100

Vostok Amphibian Scuba Dude Automatic Mens Wristwatch Self-Winding Military Diver Amphibia Ministry Case Wrist Watch #710662 (Black)

Vostok is famous for being the official watch supplier to the Defense Department of the Soviet Union.

You can imagine how strict the Soviet Union is about only getting stuff that is 100 percent reliable and this is exactly that.

This is how they got the contract: by being the absolute best of the best.

The company started over 75 years ago, and they’ve been constantly innovating and researching new ways to improve their watches ever since.

This Amphibian watch is the result of years of researching, re-designing, and passionate dedication.

What I liked about it:

  • You can’t help but admire just how solid and durable this guy is. He’s literally been designed to stand up to anything. It doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is, if it gets smashed on a rock, or even if it comes under some seriously heavy pressure, it just won’t break.
  • It has a 20 bar water resistant rating, so it shouldn’t have a problem going to a depth of 200 meters. This is pretty damn deep for a watch. Whether you’re diving, snorkeling or just having a swim, the water resistance of this watch should cover you for pretty much everything a human can do in the water.

Who’s it for?

For a watch that’s so reliable, this guy really is so damn cheap.

He costs less than 90 dollars, so if you’re on a tight budget but still want a solid watch, this is the one for you.

Some other sweet features:

  • Built for precision, the time shouldn’t lag or go out of sync even if you don’t set it for months. If it’s reliable enough for the Soviet Union, you can bet it’s reliable enough for me.
  • There are 7 different styles to choose from, and they look super tough, badass and just pretty damn cool.

3. Casio G-Shock Black Resin Quartz Tactical Military Watch (Men’s 1A1) — Our Favorite Military Pick

Casio Men's G-Shock Quartz Watch with Resin Strap, Black, 20 (Model: DW5600E-1V)

Unless you’ve had your head in a hole your entire life, you’ll know about Casio military watches.

They’ve been leading the market in affordable high-functioning watches for years and don’t seem to be letting up anytime soon.

The G-Shocks got it all.

Durable, cheap and able to do a hell of a lot more than just tell the time, if you’re looking for a tactical watch, it’s worth checking this guy out…

What I liked about it:

  • The LED backlight turns on automatically when light levels are low and there is any movement and has a soft afterglow too. So no matter the time, it’s easy to use.
  • Built for hunters, mountaineers, backpackers, and explorers, it’s shock resistant and crazy strong.
  • With a big case design, it’s solid and will last you through any adventure you find yourself on.
  • The accuracy of the stopwatch is pretty mad. It can record times down to 1/1000th of a second and has a speed indicator too, which is pretty much as accurate as you get.
  • If water resistance is your thing, this one can reach a depth of 200 meters, so you can take it snorkeling or scuba diving with you and not worry at all.

Who’s it for?

This is great if you’re looking for a balance between it being jam-packed with military features and a reasonable cost too.

It’s only about 85 bucks and, considering some of the stuff it can do, this is pretty crazy.

Some other sweet features:

  • You can’t deny that it looks badass as hell. The raised indexes give the whole watch a 3-D look, which you can’t help but love.
  • Free with the watch you get a microfibre cloth which is pretty sweet for cleaning the face without scratching it if you ever get any smudges or marks on the surface.
  • World time and dates with 29 preset time zones that are super easy to switch between by just pressing a couple of buttons.
  • The buttons are decently large, so even if you’ve got gloves on you can operate the fella super easily.

It’s easy to see that Casio makes some of the best military watches in the market.


4. Suunto Core All Black Military — Best Cheap Military Watch

SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010

This guy’s hella badass.

It’s just crazy the amount of stuff it can do and all while looking good too.

If you’re looking for something that does more than just the tell the time, check this out…

What I liked about it:

  • It has a weather trend graph and storm alarm, which is sweet. An inbuilt barometer measures any changes in the air pressure and works out whether a storm is approaching. It creates a graph so you can predict changes in the weather yourself and sounds an alarm if something serious is about to happen. Either way, you should never be caught in a storm again.
  • There is also an altimeter which displays changes in elevation and records an ascent and descent graph of your entire trip, which is fun to check out when you get home from a crazy adventure.
  • The inbuilt compass looks really classy and is a pretty necessary feature.

Who’s it for?

If you want a watch that’s not too pricey but still has it all, then this is one to seriously consider.

It’s jam-packed with extra features, is super tough and it’s made by Sunnto, a company that’s got a seriously good reputation.

Perfect for any survivalist, adventurer, or explorer.

Some other sweet features:

  • There are preset sunrise and sunset times for more than 400 locations so you’ll never get caught out in the dark again.
  • It’s not too expensive, considering how much crazy stuff it can do, so it’ll only put you back around 150 bucks.
  • It has a depth gauge for snorkeling that works to 10 meters, which is cool. And you don’t need to worry about it breaking, since its water resistance goes up to 30 meters.

5. SMAEL Men’s Sports Analog Dual Quartz Movement Digital Wrist Watch — Best for Sport

SMAEL Men's Sports Analog Digital Quartz Military Watch Waterproof Multifunctional Large Dial Wrist Watch for Men (Gray)

SMAEL was created back in 2005 and since then they’ve been really focusing on developing and investing in their research and development team.

In over ten years, they’ve come a long way and that’s how this guy got created.

He’s cheap, durable and lightweight.

Oh, and it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, which they uphold no questions asked. I love just how much this shows they believe in what they’re selling.

What I liked about it:

  • The first thing has to be the price. It’s easily the cheapest on my list, only costing about 15 bucks and for a watch that can do so much, that’s literally unheard of.
  • It has both an analog and digital display so you can set two different time zones at the same time if you want to. The digital watch is in 24 hours, military time which gives it a nice tactical look.
  • It’s water resistant up to 50 meters, which is wicked, but you can’t press the buttons underwater, which can be a bit of a pain.
  • The wristband is made of reinforced resin, which is super strong, ergonomic and comfortable.

Who’s it for?

If you’re looking for a super cheap one, this is definitely the one to get.

They’ve managed to make them hella strong, long-lasting and functional, while still keeping the costs low.

Definitely, one to check out if you like a bargain.

Some other sweet features:

  • It should go out of sync by less than 1/100th of a second each day.
  • There’s a LED backlight so you can illuminate the clock, and read the time no matter the time of day or night.
  • There are multiple alarms you can set so you never miss an important time, and the date and day is displayed too.
  • There are 10 different styles that you can choose from, so you can find the right one to suit you.

What Makes a great Tactical Watch?

What makes tactical watches so great is the number of ways that they can help you out or even save your life.

You want one with a compass and preferably one which will tell you sunrise and sunset times too. That way, you’ll never get lost and never be caught out in the dark.


Without a doubt, you want one that’s waterproof and strong as hell.

Just ask yourself when looking at a watch, what will it do for me?

What watch do special forces wear?

Special forces were supplied Rolex’s for free during the Vietnam war, but they stopped using them because they were having problems with them when they were put under shock.

Now they’re allowed to wear whatever watch they want as long as it doesn’t stand out too much.

Jocko Willink watch


This is a man who loves his watch, and you can tell why: it’s pretty badass.

He wears the Timex Ironman T66801, which is a real beast, but unfortunately, it isn’t sold anymore.

What watch do Navy SEALs wear?

While navy seals are able to wear whatever watch they want, most seem to go with one from either Suunto or Casio and you can definitely see why.

Luminox even collaborated with Navy SEALs in the early 1990s to create the Luminox EVO Navy SEALs collection, responsible for placing Luminox in the spotlight when it comes to watches for men. They make the best military watches by using the needs of the world’s toughest special operations force as their quality guideline.

If you’re looking for the best out there and money isn’t an issue, then I’d definitely go for one of these guys.

What do Army Rangers use?

Army Rangers are allowed to pick whichever watch they like, but, again, tend to pick either a Suunto or Casio.

G shock Rangerman vs Mudman: The Big Debate


These are some of the best military watches and which one you go for really depends on how much money you can afford to spend.

The Rangeman is about 200 bucks, while the Mudmans only 130, but by spending that extra 70 bucks, you get a whole load of extra features, like a barometer, an altimeter, and preset sunrise and sunset times.

What are the better watches for Law Enforcement & Policing?

I’d suggest going for a Vostok Amphibian.



It’s not too expensive and is the most reliable watch out there.

Designed to be used by the Soviet Union, the time won’t lag or go out of sync and it can go through a real bashing without breaking.

What are the Top Brands?

Suunto and Casio are definitely the leading brands if you’re looking for the absolute best military watch.

The stuff some of their military watches can do is actually incredible and both companies seem to be constantly breaking down barriers of what we thought watches were capable of.

Think GPS, barometer, shot detection, inbuilt flashlights, phone notifications and so much more.

Do All Tactical Watches Come With a Compass?

Considering how important the function of a compass is, you’d think that they would, but actually, some do not.

If you’re buying a super cheap model, it’s pretty likely they’ll have left out putting a compass in just to save costs.

But if you’re spending over 50 bucks, you should definitely expect to have a compass.

Should you go Digital?

If you want reliability and a watch that’ll last, then I’d suggest against it.


Digitals tend to go out of sync more often than analog watches, and not only that, but analogs look classier too.

Men Or Women? Are they unisex?

Of course!

Some are a bit bulky and you might think these are all watches for men, but most of the ones on my list have multiple designs to choose from, so there should be a style that’s just right for you.

Can They Be Used For Hunting?


A lot of military watches are designed with the sole purpose of being used by hunters and to make hunting as safe as possible.

Take the Suunto Traverse Alpha, it automatically detects when a shot is fired and records the exact time and place that you took the shot.

On top of that, you’ve got weather reports, storm warnings, and a GPS.

If you’re a serious hunter, then getting a tactical watch is pretty much a must.


Tactical smartwatch: Are they worth it?

If you’re often out in the wild in harsh, potentially dangerous conditions, then having one of these couldn’t be more worth it.

I mean you, can’t put a price on your life and, with emergency storm warnings, GPS tracking and stuff like sunset times, one of these could legitimately save your life.

They’re also built to live through a bashing so, although some might be quite expensive, they should last you your lifetime.

How to wear a tactical watch?

You can wear it on your wrist just like a normal watch.

However, if you are trying to stay hidden at night, then it’s better to wear it on the inside of your wrist to avoid any light reflecting off the clock face and giving away your position.

Does it have a red backlight?

Some do and some don’t.

It’s really worth checking before buying as having a red backlight means you won’t lose your night vision.

If you’re planning on using it at night, get one with a red light.

Can I watch movies online with any of these tactical watches?

Unfortunately, no.

Military watches are built specially to be used by the army or navy and, as such, are built solely for practical functionality.

They tend to be jam-packed with military features, but don’t have unnecessary recreational features so that the size and cost can be kept low.

Why military wear watches upside down?

The main reason for this is to stop any light from reflecting off of their watch face at night, which could be seen by the enemy and give away their position.

Does it have a countdown timer?

All of the ones on my list have inbuilt timers, but their accuracy varies greatly.

If you’re looking for military precision, then the Casio G-Shock is the way to go. The timers accurate to a 1/1000th of a second and you don’t get much more precise than that.

Does it have an international warranty?

Unfortunately, no.

Most of these don’t come with a warranty, but the SMAEL Men’s Sports Quartz Movement Wrist Watch does!

It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is nice if you’re looking for that extra peace of mind and comfort.

Is it waterproof?

Water resistance is definitely at the top of the list of priorities for the best military watches. All of the watches on this list are completely waterproof and will be absolutely fine in any kind of normal everyday usage.

Some you can even take down to 200 meters, far deeper than any average person will ever go, but this does vary depending on the model, so double check before buying.

What materials should I keep in mind?

Stainless steel will always be the most well known for durability. However, military watches have evolved to other materials for even greater shock resistance to get you through anything. Can you imagine Navy SEALs with a shiny silver watch on their wrist? Stainless steel was replaced by fabrics and other alternatives that are more comfortable to wear and more discreet.

Another thing to consider is the material on the face of the watch: the traditional material used in the face of watches for men is mineral glass, which is relatively easy to break, but more scratch resistant than plexiglass, and more affordable than other alternatives. As mentioned above, some of the best military watches have sapphire crystal on their face, which is second only to diamonds in hardness, making them extremely scratch resistant, but it is a more expensive material.

Scott Moey

Based in Brooklyn, New York, entrepreneur and philanthropist Scott Moey lives a wild life as an adventurer, explorer and traveller. He blogs about his love for the outdoors on

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