The Best Military Watches Under $100 for EDC

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Watches are an integral part of many everyday carry setups. Beyond their primary use of telling time, they’re also a reflection the wearer’s personality and style. These watches have rich historical appeal as they were made for and worn in the field by infantry, Special Forces, and WWII pilots. Nowadays, military style watches are popular amongst the EDC community for their features, legibility, durability, and aesthetic. They go hand in hand with tactical gear you might already be carrying, but can easily be dressed down due to their timeless designs. In this guide, we’ll show you our recommendations for good looking, rugged watches that won’t break the bank.

3 Styles to Look For

Field Watches: The Field Watch is usually presented with a slim case, with large, easy to read indices. The thinness keeps the watch from snagging on other gear and will easily tuck under a shirt sleeve. Commonly seen with 12 and 24 hour numeral markings, these watches make telling military time an effortless task.

Pilot (Flieger) Watches: The signature mark of a Flieger is the triangle at the 12 o'clock mark. These watches have large faces and are reminiscent of WWII aircraft gauges that they are inspired by. Also known as “observation watches,” these timepieces make it easy to keep track of time elapsed whether you’re in the air or on the ground.

Heavy-Duty Digital: When you need a timer, calendar, stop watch, alarms, and more on your wrist, there are few better options than a heavy duty digital watch. Shockproof, waterproof, and nearly bombproof, these watches are seen in the field in modern military applications.

Now that we’ve got you acquainted with these common types of military watches, here are six of our favorite examples — all coming in at under $100:

This list was most recently updated on May 30th, 2016


Momentum Steelix Field Watch

The Momentum Steelix is a rock-solid field watch catches the eye in many ways. And I don’t just mean by its massive 44mm 316L stainless steel case. It’s all in the details of the design: large Arabic numerals on even hours set inside much smaller 24-hour markers on a chapter ring, sword style hands, an extended cut-out date window, high contrast orange accents, and lume on everything you’d hope for. Although it is a field watch by design, its 200m water resistance pushes into dive watch territory. It’s a big watch, sure, but an even bigger value when you consider its unique styling, tanky build, and sub-$100 pricepoint.

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Seiko SNE331

One of the key features of a military watch is legibility, and this solar watch from Seiko does it well. The SNE331's large, stenciled numerals dominate the otherwise clean dial with a rugged, no-frills look. Luminescent sword hands and indices pop against the roomy, blacked-out 43mm stainless steel case. It’s solar powered for longevity in the field to keep its Japanese kinetic quartz movement going. Other features like a hardlex crystal window, day/date window, 100m water resistance and a buckled nylon strap make this watch an excellent daily driver if you like to do it big.

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Bertucci A-2S

When it comes to great military watches on a budget, our readers were quick and eager to put in a good word for Bertucci—and with good reason. Their A-2S Field Watch features a durable stainless steel case with a modest brushed finish and wearable 40mm diameter. Super luminous hands and markers make its 12/24-hour dial easy to read, and a mineral glass crystal keeps it protected. Its curved case back provides all-day comfort for your wrist and screws down for water tightness to 100m. An all-metal Japan made quartz movement keeps this rugged everyday watch ticking.

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Timex Expedition Military Field Watch

The Timex Expedition watches are an excellent choice when considering military style watches on a budget. The clean looks, high legibility, Indiglo nightlight, quick-date feature, and reliable quartz movement result in a timepiece that looks like they cost way more than they do. The stainless steel case is slim and comfortable and the 42mm face wears well on any sized wrist. The indices are labeled with minute markers, allowing the wearer to quickly see how much time has elapsed. At under $40, this watch is a no-brainer to add to your collection.

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Seiko 5 Automatic Field Watch

The Seiko 5 line was introduced in the 1960’s for having 5 distinct features, all provided at a value. Each watch in the 5 lineup has an automatic movement, water resistance, day-date display, an unbreakable mainspring and a shock-resistant design. These features result in a handsomely styled military watch that will stand up to EDC use and abuse without breaking the bank. The SNK809 measures in at 37mm — ideal for those who want to wear a watch but not be burdened by something huge on their wrist.

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Timex Expedition Scout Watch

Another affordable military watch from Timex, the Expedition Scout packs many of the same features as the Military Field but in a different design. The black face and brushed gunmetal case result in a more understated look. The Dark green canvas band is high quality and comfortable. You still get Indiglo nightlight, a date wheel, and large, easy to read indices all for around 40 bucks. The seconds hand is a bright yellow arrow, not only does this increase legibility, but it adds a needed pop of color to the dial.

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Citizen Eco Drive Military Watch

Blending both the Field and Flieger style watches into one package, the Citizen BM8180-03 achieves a distinct military look. Sporting a mineral glass crystal and stainless steel case for durability, the watch can stand up to daily wear. Better yet, its Eco-Drive charging feature makes for low maintenance upkeep as you won’t have to change its battery. For extra utility, the timepiece is waterproof to 100M — meaning you can shower and swim without taking the watch off. The day-date display, large luminous hands, and hour/minute indices are easy to read at a glance. (Editor's note: Since the time of publishing, the price of this watch may have increased slightly above the $100 mark.)

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Parnis Flieger Hand Wound Pilot Watch

This Flieger watch from Parnis is a classically designed pilot watch that has a substantial wrist presence. When legibility is key, the 44mm face and large numerals will come in handy. Featuring a hand-wound movement and a large onion-style crown, this watch is a mechanical masterpiece. The Tianjin Seagull movement is visible through the clear caseback, allowing the wearer to witness the gears in motion. The 22mm dark brown leather strap adds to the vintage aesthetic. At only $85, this watch is a great deal — especially given how much it looks like its more expensive counterparts.

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Casio G-Shock GA100SD Digital Watch

Breaking away from the classically styled military watches, the GA100SD from Casio represents a more modern take on a military watch. Although several branches of the US Military have stopped issuing timepieces, the watch of choice for many servicemen are made G-Shocks. Sporting ultra tough shock resistance, an auto-on LED backlight, world time, a precise stopwatch, countdown timer, and 200M of water resistance, the GA100SD is packed with features. The sand colored exterior is perfectly suited to match dessert camouflage but is right at home for casual civilian wear as well. One battery will keep the watch going for approximately 2 years.

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We’ve just barely scratched the surface of all the military style watches out there. Do you have an affordable favorite for everyday wear, or has your smartphone made the wristwatch obsolete? We’d love to hear what’s on your wrist in the comments below!

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Discussion (54 total)

Try Bertucci. Very basic and reliable. Cool bands too.
Are they < $100?
Well, indeed, they go slightly above $100 new, but you can find some good deals on ebay for these watches. I got my A2 for about $70 - new old stock.
Agreed. The watchband pins on the Bertucci are built-in so they won't come out. I had to replace my Seiko 5 when one of the pins came loose and my watch hit the concrete.
Just FYI, they're called solid lugs. And I agree, much more secure than pins.
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Just picked up the Citizen. I haven't worn a watch for more than 15 years. I need one for an upcoming trip to Jamaica since I won't have my phone with me. Looking forward to using my wrist again to tell time....but even more so not having a cel phone on my person to interupt life!
Love my Bertucci A2. Had it for over a year, reliable, and so easy to swap bands. Great for travel, can take extra bands with you to match your look.
Timex exped watches reminds me of WWII watches used by the G.I.'s cool
Every deployment I've made in the past 15 years I have had a G-Shock of one sort on my wrist: PAG-50, PAG-40 or my new GW7900. Solar power is the only way to go.
I like the simplicity of the Timex Expedition watch. I am saving to get one. Not too keen on the G Shock. Bit plasticky!
I owe 4 G-shocks, a Timex Expedition, and a Citizen BM8180. Love all my watches. Favorite G-Shock is the GD350 with vibe alarm. The Citizen sees a lot of wrist time. It's the one I would recommend. Handsome watch. Keeps great time. Good long lasting lume. The Timex is an excellent time keeper and rugged, but it ticks and that gets on my nerves at times.
SMITH & BRADLEY SPRINGFIELD -- If it worked for your grandfather in WWII it will work for you...
Timex Expedition watches are pieces of shit. I have owned two total (in the last 6 months) that have had the knob break off within a month of owning them. I have a replacement from Target on the way but I dont expect it to last so I am shopping around again. Stay away from Timex watches!! They dont have the quality they used too.
Funny. I own two Timex Expedition time pieces. The military field and the expedition scout. The field is going on 3 years and the scout is going on just about 2. Have never had an issue with either of them.
IMHO best one out of this bunch is the Seiko. Robust automatic movement. Runner up is the Citizen.
I got Citizen BM8180-03E for today.
I liked it very much.It became my favorite.
I think a G-shock should be top of the list, but I don't think the choice of the GA100SD is a great representation of G-Shocks. IMO nothing beats a Casio G-Shock DW5600E-1V for best all around military-use watch. Although it is ugly, it is endearing due to it's extreme practicality in the field---Like much of the military kit that is worth a darn.

There are some great recommendations in the comments-- I also like the Casio SGW100-1V. I also propose the Timex Ironman T5K196, and lest we forget the venerable workhorse that is the Timex Camper. I prefer a Timex Originals Camper that is a more updated time piece, with it's larger 42mm width and date window. It looks great on any choice of NATO or Zulu style strap. I agree that the Expedition Scout and Expedition Military are two great watches, but there is little difference between these two model besides some "window dressing". I think replacing one of those on the list with a Camper would have been better.

And while we are at it I cant help but throw out a few suggestions that are above the $100 price point. The Maratac Pilot Mid comes to mind right away (need I say more). Also the Suunto Core would be a good and authentic military pick, that became a modern favorite with deployed forces. I also think a tritium watch would be a nice pick to add to any military watch list. The Luminox 3051 is a classic amongst this class, but the more recent addition of the LM8822 is a handsome choice too. But be weary of the true ruggedness of a Luminox watch. Designed as a dive watch first and foremost, they have since been rebranded as good for all military use. But unfortunately although the tritium lighting is a huge benefit in the field, they aren't as rugged as they market them to be. I have smashed the mineral crystal twice on a 3951.

But as I said from the start-- When it is time to get something done dirty, I always find myself reaching for my cheap, ugly, rugged, G-Shock DW5600.
The under 40 Timex is over 130 when you click and go to Amazon....
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