Everyday Carry

The 18 Best Tactical & Military Watches in 2023

Adam Molina
158 Likes
12 Comments
102 Shares
The 18 Best Tactical & Military Watches in 2023

Related Gear:
  The 22 Best Tactical Pens for EDC in 2023
  The 19 Best Divers Watches in 2023
  A Minimalist Way of Keeping Your Money (Best Minimal Wallets in 2023)

When you think of tactical gear, you likely picture tough boots, durable multitools, and maybe a first-aid kit, but you probably don’t picture watches. It’s a little weird, considering many watches are famous for being specifically requested for military use or for being on the wrist of renowned adventurers when they accomplish extraordinary tasks. Keeping track of time is essential, but it can sometimes be critical.

Many of today’s wrist pieces can take a good beating and make it through without issues; only a select few can be described as tactical watches. Whether you’re timing your pizza reheat, going on a multi-day thru-hike, or keeping track of time between artillery fire, an excellent tactical watch is one you wouldn’t want to be caught without. In this guide, we’ll go over a few things you should know before picking up a watch of your own and recommending a few that would be a great addition to any EDC.


Best Tactical Watch — 2023 Edition

The Best Overall Tactical Watch: Marathon No-Date Navigator [Buy]

The Best Premium Tactical Watch: Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon [Buy] / [Full Review]

The Best Value Tactical Watch: Citizen Brycen [Buy]

The Tactical Watch with the Most Features: Garmin tactix Delta Solar [Buy]

The Most Rugged Tactical Watch: G-SHOCK FROGMAN [Buy]


Marathon

The Best Overall Tactical Watch: Marathon No-Date Navigator

Purchase
Key Features
Tritium gas tubes
Built to strict military specifications
Black composite material
Specifications
Movement
High-torque Quartz
Case Diameter
41mm
Water Resistance
60M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Marathon watch company has a history going back to the early 20th century and were wonce found on the wrists of the Allied troops. If you want a timepiece looks good, has a storied past, and is durable enough to be worn by Air Force pilots, check out the no date Marathon Navigator. This watch features an ETA quartz movement for reliable accuracy that can be measured at roughly +/- 0.5 seconds per day. The case is made from a 316L stainless steel and was made specifically to withstand some of the most extreme environments that a pilot might encounter. For a no-nonsense watch that you won’t have to worry about wherever you are in the world, the Marathon Navigator might be the one for you.
Victorinox

The Best Premium Tactical Watch: Victorinox I.N.O.X. Carbon

Purchase
Key Features
Carbon composite case
Paracord strap
Super-LumiNova lume
Specifications
Movement
Swiss Quartz
Case Diameter
43mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
When it comes to tactical watches, Victorinox somehow gets consistently overlooked despite having plenty of solid options. One of them is the I.N.O.X Carbon Limited Edition which has a high visibility glow-in-the-dark dial. The distinctive case has a 43mm diameter while sitting just under 13mm high. That said, it’s still lightweight thanks to the scratch-resistant carbon composite material. It also comes with three different watch strap options including a paracord, a NATO strap, and a black rubber strap. This watch doesn’t have a dive bezel but it does have a 200m water resistance so if you find yourself needing to go for a quick swim your watch is one less thing to worry about.
Citizen

The Best Value Tactical Watch: Citizen Brycen

Purchase
Key Features
Super titanium material
Second time zone
Luminous hands and markers
Specifications
Movement
E820
Case Diameter
43mm
Water Resistant
100M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
If you want to add a watch to your collection that’s tough enough for adventures and EDC alike, check out the Citizen Eco-Drive Brycen. Its titanium-treated construction means that its lighter and more scratch-resistant than its stainless steel counterpart. Whichever metal you choose, you’ll get the same great 43mm watch with the tried and true Eco-Drive movement, which uses light to power the watch. Other useful features are a perpetual calendar, 100m water resistance, and a tachymeter. At around $400 USD, the Citizen Eco-Drive Brycen checks all the boxes for a classic everyday watch that’s more durable than the average wrist piece.
Garmin

The Tactical Watch with the Most Features: Garmin Tactix Delta Solar

Purchase
Key Features
100+ smart features
Solar charging
Ballistics calculation
Specifications
Movement
Smartwatch, GPS time update
Case Diameter
51mm
Water Resistance
100M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Garmin watches are already synonymous with adventure sports and a do-anything attitude, but the Tactix Delta Solar takes that to another level. This watch has a 24-day battery life with solar-powered charging, so it’ll stay mission-ready for as long as you’re outside. The Garmin Tactix features a built-in ballistics calculator, a stealth mode that disables wireless connectivity when you need to remain low-key, and a ton more that you’d expect from a company like Garmin. The watch has a scratch-resistant screen that measures 35mm across for plenty of visibility, even in low-light situations. While the Garmin Tactic Delta Solar isn’t cheap, it’s also hands-down a winner.

Related Gear:
  The 16 Best Concealed Carry Belts in 2023
  The 8 Best GPS Watches In 2023 Ranked & Reviewed // EDC
  The 12 Best Flashlights to Add to Your EDC in 2023

CASIO

The Most Rugged Tactical Watch: G-SHOCK FROGMAN

Purchase
Key Features
Bluetooth smartphone link for dive logs
Tide indicator
Dual time
Specifications
Movement
Atomic radio timekeeping
Case Diameter
53.3mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
When G-Shocks were first being developed one of the requirements was that they had to pass the “Triple 10” test. This means that a watch should last 10 years on a single battery, would survive a 10m drop, and can be submerged in up to 10m of water. It has been a long time since then, and the G-Shock FROGMAN passes all of these with flying colors. It has a 200m water resistance, shock-resistant carbon fiber case, and is solar-powered so as long as there is a sun in the sky the watch shouldn’t die. It’s a great option for people that dive or just spend a lot of time on the water in general. Not only does it have a dive mode that lets you keep track of your time underwater (though no depth sensor, unfortunately). But it also has a tide mode. At the 3 o’clock position there is a tide meter that will show you information about a specific location which can be customized in the G-Shock app.
Suunto

Suunto Core Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Storm alarm / weather trend indicator
Altimeter / barometer function
Backlight
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
49mm
Water Resistance
30M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$
SUUNTO products go hand in hand with military history. Its first products were lightweight compasses worn on the wrist during WWII and have only been up from there. The SUUNTO Core is easily one of the best tactical watches, thanks to useful features like a barometer, compass, and built-in altimeter. It also has a storm alarm, depth meter, and a sunrise/sunset alert packed into a 49mm composite casing. It’s water-resistant up to 30m and has a battery that will last months before needing to be replaced. Overall, this should be on your shortlist if you want a no-fuss watch to help you tackle any adventure.
SUUNTO

SUUNTO Traverse Alpha Stealth Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Hunting, fishing, and hiking modes
Breadcrump trail GPS mode
Automatic shot detection
Specifications
Movement
GPS time update
Case Diameter
50mm
Water Resistance
110M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
If you spend a lot of your free time hunting or fishing, then one watch you might want to check out is the SUUNTO Traverse Alpha Stealth. Even though it was built to military standards with its scratch-resistant crystal and stainless steel bezel, the watch has specific features to make your time out in the field easier. It has sunrise/sunset alerts, altimeter, GPS, and GLONASS for pinpoint accurate location data, and it’s even compatible with night vision goggles. The battery can also last up to two weeks straight, which should keep you covered for even the most intense trips.
Casio

Casio Rangeman Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Stable solar power
Button guard cylinder
Sensor for altitude, orientation, and atmospheric pressure
Specifications
Movement
Tough solar
Case Diameter
63.75mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Ask for a list of the toughest watches in the world, and a G-Shock will surely be on that list. The brand came into existence purely out of necessity for a look that wouldn’t break. In this case, the honor goes to the Casio Tactical Rangeman. It is undoubtedly one of the toughest models you can get and toughest models you can get and also one of the most practical. It has textured anti-slip buttons, a large and legible digital display, and a clever triple sensor system that can measure orientation, altitude, and temperature, to name a few. The Casio Tactical Rangeman is also mud-resistant and low temperature-resistant, so you can rely on it to provide accurate readings even if uncomfortable conditions.
Luminox

Luminox Evo Navy Seal Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Case and dial
Genuine rubber strap
Navy SEAL series
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
43mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Navy SEALs are some of the most elite soldiers in the world, and one watch whose story is entwined with the SEALs is the Luminox Evo Navy Seal. When the SEALs wanted a rugged watch that they could rely on back in the 90s, they went with Luminox. This new model has a case diameter of 45mm, water resistance up to 200m, and a hardened crystal for the toughest environments. Low light visibility is also excellent thanks to Luminox Light Technology, which is how the company keeps the hands and markers bright in the dark for up to 25 years. The watch comes on a genuine rubber strap which is what you’d expect from a watch meant for the wrist of a group of people who work in the sea, air, and land.
Traser

Traser H3 RED COMBAT Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Trigalight illumination
Steel / Carbon fiber
Sapphire crystal glass
Specifications
Movement
Ronda 517.6 DD Quartz
Case Diameter
45mm
Water Resistant
200M
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
If you want a discreet blacked-out tactical watch with a few red accents for better visibility, the Traser H3 Red Combat is the watch for you. Combining steel and carbon-ficarbon fiber materials means this watch is durable and lightweight. It’s water-resistant up to 200m which is nothing to sneeze at, and has a bidirectional rotating bezel. At the 3 o’clock position is a date and time window in bright white lettering, so it’s visible against the muted dial. The trigalight illumination keeps the marking visible without needing an external source like batteries or even sunlight. Inside is a Ronda Quartz movement so you know you’re getting something reliable that will be easy to service in the years to come.
Bertucci

Bertucci 12022 A-2T Field Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
U.S. Patented solid titanium Unibody™
Active Comfort™
Integrated unbreakable titanium band
Specifications
Movement
Swiss Quartz
Case Diameter
40mm
Water Resistance
200m
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$
While barometric pressure and altitude readings are good to have, sometimes a good old-fashioned field watch is more than enough to get the job done. If that sounds appealing to you then the Bertucci A-2T field watch is worth considering. There’s nothing fancy here, what you get is what you see. A tough 40mm titanium case, 200m water resistance, and super luminous numbers and marking for telling the time at a glance. The 4 o’clock screw-down crown keeps the crown from pinching against your wrist and the battery only needs to be changed once every three years. If you don’t like thinking too much about watches and want something that’ll just work a classic field watch is the way to go, and the Bertucci A-2T is one of the best around.
SureFire

SureFire 2211 WristLight Series Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
300-lumen variable output side light
USB rechargeable internal battery
1.5 hr max runtime on high output
Specifications
Movement
Swiss Quartz
Case Diameter
51mm
Water Resistance
Not rated
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Combining two must-have tools into one is a classic EDC move to do more with less, and the Luminox wrist light is the perfect example of that. This Luminox wristwatch has a rotating bezel for timing events up to an hour and has a date window at the 3 o’clock position, but what sets it apart is the high output flashlight built into it. The light has an output of 300 lumens and is completely rechargeable with a micro-USB charging input. The runtime is around 4 hours on medium or up to 13 hours on low. Plus, it’s reprogrammable with multiple settings so that you can quickly get the exact brightness you need in a pinch.
Luminox

Luminox 3503 Navy Seal Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Self-powered illumination
Tempered scratch resistant mineral crystal
Carbon reinforced unidirectional turning bezel
Specifications
Movement
Swiss Quartz
Case Diameter
45mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
Another great offering from Luminox is the tough 3503 Navy Seal watch. It has a hardened, scratch-resistant crystal with an anti-reflective coating and is water-resistant up to 200m which is more than enough even if you’re going diving. The case diameter measures 45mm and the watch face has been designed to help increase legibility. It has a navy blue dial and bright yellow accents on the hand and on the diving bezel for high contrast and easy readability at a glance. Not to mention the lume is rated to last up to 25 years.
Seiko

Seiko Prospex "Arnie" Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Digital/Analog hybrid
Solar powered
Silicone strap
Specifications
Movement
Seiko H851 Solar Quartz
Case Diameter
47.8mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$$$
If you’ve ever seen the movie Predator, then the Seiko Prospex SNJ025 might look familiar. Colloquially referred to as the “Arnie”, this is a modern take on that classic watch that Arnold Schwarzenegger wore. It’s powered by the Caliber H851 solar quartz movement that gets its power from light. Once fully charged it has a 6-month power reserve so even if you only take it out every now and then it’ll be ready to go. That said, it makes a perfect everyday watch thanks to a number of useful features like the built-in alarm, stopwatch functionality, and innovative strap design that’s both durable and comfortable. Whether you’re scuba-diving, going fishing, or timing the laundry, the Arnie is a classic big, fun Seiko diver that won’t disappoint.
MWC

MWC Navigator Swiss Military Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
GTLS Tritium light sources
10 year battery life / battery life indicator
20mm NATO webbing strap
Specifications
Movement
Ronda 715li with 10 year battery life
Case Diameter
43mm
Water Resistance
300M
EDC Rating


If you’re after is a watch that you don’t need to think about regardless of what your next adventure is, check out the 40mm MWC Navigator Swiss Military watch. It’s powered by an NH35A movement and is water-resistant up to 300m. That said, this shouldn’t be considered a dive watch since the bezel isn’t marked for timing dives and instead lets you track a second-time zone if you need it. Whether you’re under the water or 12,000m up in the air, this watch is designed to keep accurate time either way. Throw in the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating and it’s hard to pass on this watch.
Casio

Casio Pro Trek PRW3500-1 Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Triple sensor version 3
Lasts up to 23 months without exposure to light
31 Time zones
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
56mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
When you picture tough tactical watches from Casio chances are you picture G-Shock, but forgetting about the Pro Trek line would be a mistake. The Pro Trek PRW3500-1 is about as close as you can get to a perfect outdoor watch. Its features triple sensors that give you a compass, thermometer, and altimeter all on your wrist. It’s also resistant to super-low temperatures and can continue functioning in weather as cold as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius). The battery is also solar powered so chances are it’ll never run out of power. Even if you forget about it in a drawer it will run smoothly for an estimated 23 months. If you were looking for a durable beater you can bring hiking, climbing, and swimming the PRW3500-1 is a great option.
Luminox

Luminox SET Recon III Chronograph Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Tachymeter scaled to measure walking speeds
Used to determine bearings whenever the sun is visible
Chronograph
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
48mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Just released
Price
$$$$
While tachymeters on chronographs are objectively awesome, they’re also a little impractical for everyday life. That’s why the Luminox 8841. KM.Set Recon III Chronograph scaled down its tachymeter to walking speeds. It also has bright yellow accents to help with visibility. There are also a few key features specifically added to help people navigate outdoors. For example, as long as the sun is in the sky you can use the watch to determine your location thanks to the bezel compass. If you’re in the Northern hemisphere just line up the hour hand with the sun’s position in the sky while the watch is lying flat. Taking the midpoint between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock position will approximately point south, allowing you to spin the bezel accordingly. Of course, it’s a very approximate calculation but it can come in handy in a pinch. Whether you’re part of a search and rescue team or are simply thru-hiking, the Luminox Recon III is a great companion to have.
Timex

Timex Expedition Shock XL Tactical Watch

Purchase
Key Features
Chronograph function
Indiglo backlight
3 Time zones
Specifications
Movement
Quartz
Case Diameter
50mm
Water Resistance
200M
EDC Rating


Price
$$
A great tactical watch doesn’t need to break the bank. Take the Timex Expedition Shock XL for example, which checks a lot of the boxes for what you’d want in a tough watch and can typically be found for less than $100 USD. It’s shock-resistant, has the tried-and-true INDIGLO backlight, and can even keep track of two timezones if you need it. Plus, it has a built-in chronograph and vibrating alarm function that can alert you without disturbing anyone around you. One thing worth mentioning is that with a 50mm case diameter and a height of 17mm, this is not a small watch. Still, when you consider the 200m water resistance, 10-year battery life, and budget-friendly price the Timex Expedition Shock XL is a solid watch for EDC.

What exactly is a tactical watch?

A tactical watch will still perform its intended functions even under extreme duress. The term “tactical” is typically used to refer to gear used by military, special forces, or law enforcement, so extending that to watches means that it better be able to handle more than your average bump against the doorframe. Tactical clothing, gear, or tools are intended to give the user confidence that they won’t become a hindrance if things hit the fan.

Choosing a Tactical Watch

Not all tactical watches offer the same functionality. A watch is a tool and a tactical one even more. So understanding what is available and ensuring you have the right tool for the job is what EDC is all about. These are a few of the terms and features you should be aware of. Some watches offer more extra tools beyond telling the time.

  • Extras: For anyone that spends time at altitude, whether for work or pleasure, it might be worth looking at watches that feature a built-in barometer and thermometer. Some are even Bluetooth compatible so that you ensure accurate time by syncing via the internet. Some watches have compass functionality which is handy for anyone that spends time off the grid.

  • Water resistance: It probably isn't tactical if you can’t wear your watch in the rain. Tactical watches go even further with water resistance ratings that will let you take them diving down to hundreds of meters.


  • Materials: What an item is made of has always been necessary to EDC. Finding the right balance between a tough material that can take a beating but won’t weigh you down is key. Many watch manufacturers opt for 316L stainless steel, which is pretty standard, but you’ll also find some made of titanium and hard plastic composites for some digital options.


  • Shock and scratch resistance: The point of a tactical watch is to be on your wrist in less than ideal conditions. Who knows what your next adventure might bring, so it’s essential to make sure your watch of choice is resistant to the most common kinds of damage. It doesn’t matter how nice your watch is if the crystal gets so scratched up you can’t read it.

  • Analog vs. Digital: This is one of the areas in the watch world where analog and digital watches peacefully coexist. Both are valid options as long as your watch of choice offers the tools you need and won’t break on you while you’re out in the field and need it most.

  • Accuracy: A watch that‘s a few minutes off might not be a significant deal on a regular day, but that margin of error can be critical in the field. Accuracy is everything with tactical watches, and the watchmakers on this list take it seriously. Some of the watches on this list connect to your phone via Bluetooth to ensure the time is accurate, while others have tried-and-true high-precision quartz movements, so you know you can rely on them.

  • Durability: For the average person, an excellent vintage watch is the perfect daily companion for commuting to the office, but they’re not meant for the field. Tactical watches take durability to another level with resin composites and stainless steel cases designed to take a beating without disrupting the watch’s functionality. You also don’t want to worry about winding it, which is why so many rely on solar power, so you only need to charge them or change the batteries sparingly.

  • Legibility: Legibility is another thing to look out for if you’re looking for a tactical watch. A big, easy-to-read-at-a-glance watch is crucial to getting the information you need with minimal effort. If you prefer a digital watch, then a clever UI and straightforward information layout are something to keep an eye out for. Then there’s the lume to think about. A watch you can’t see is useless, so a good backlight or lume for low light conditions shouldn’t be overlooked.

Frequently Asked Questions

What watch is used by the Navy Seals?

While Luminox has a model that was introduced in 1994 specifically for the Navy SEALs, many SEALs turn to G-SHOCK.

What watches do the military use?

The military relies on tough watches that can handle a beating, so it’s no surprise that for the most part, they turn to watches from Marathon, G-SHOCK, Luminox, Suunto, and Garmin.

Does the military use Garmin watches?

While Garmin watches aren’t issued by the military, many people from every branch do rely on Garmin as their EDC watch.

Who makes the best tactical watch?

The best overall tactical watch has to be the Marathon Navigator with no date. It checks two of the most important boxes regarding tactical watches in that it’s tough and highly accurate.


How we picked

Decades of experience and deep connections in the everyday carry industry give us a unique viewpoint on the market to inform our product recommendations. We have the depth of information for thousands of products that have come before and an extensive eye on the market to see what’s new and trending for each piece of gear. The result is a buying guide that we feel is informative and useful for EDCers of every trade, industry, and budget.

What is Everyday Carry?

Everyday Carry is both the concept of what people carry in their pockets and the process of picking out gear that thoughtfully considers what one wants or needs in their daily lives. It encompasses everything from style to preparedness to utility, meaning an entire industry full of valuable tools and essentials to choose from.

Why you should trust us

Our team has decades of combined experience in all aspects of everyday men’s essentials, from wallets to pens to bags and everything in between, and we know where to find great gear ideas that you may not come across at your local stores or when shopping online. Our expertise with the industry and familiarity in design, materials, and usability help you make more informed choices when it comes to picking up your next piece of gear.

#tactical-watches #buying-guides #tactical #watches #tactical-watch #high-end-tactical-watches see all



Who Likes This (158)

149 others

Discussion (3 total)

Al3xKmbll ·
In the MWC spcification are indicated a swiss Quartz movement, but in description say Japanes mechanical movement.