Wristwatches are a great item and accessory to have, especially in comfortable settings like an office or around town. But not all workplaces are comfortable.
In fact, the majority of workplaces are very demanding and highly taxing, especially on equipment and gadgets.
Extreme sports, war zones, high-pressure environments, extreme heat, and high-velocity impact, these are all things that normal wristwatches simply could not handle. This is why tactical watches were introduced on the market, to meet the demands of people that have to deal with extreme conditions and difficult environments.
What are tactical watches?
Tactical watches are bigger bulkier, stronger versions of regular wristwatches. They are designed to handle a lot of pressure, survive deep dives, remain intact after high-velocity impacts, and last for a very long time on their battery power alone.
Not to mention the fact that tactical watches will give you a lot more information than just what time it is. Some have built-in compasses, some have timers, some are able to display depth and pressure, some can even display the air temperature and humidity around it.
However, there is a catch. Each and every tactical watch on the market comes with its own options, its own features, and its own advantages. That being said, you will need to make sure that you get the right watch for your needs.
We went ahead and put together a list of the most popular and the most highly recommended tactical watches on the market. Hopefully, you can find your best pick within it.
1. Suunto Core Altimeter Watch All Black – Buy On Amazon
This tactical watch, while it is among the sleeker and more elegantly designed tactical watches on the market, is one that appeals a lot to skydivers, and to some extent mountain climbers, because of the 3 major tools that it comes with.
Besides being able to tell time, it can also display altitude through its built-in altimeter, the air pressure through its barometer, and the orientation via its compass, all at the same time.
The only hiccup is the fact that it is a bit tedious to calibrate and adjust properly.
Pro: Can run a clock, altimeter, barometer and compass at the same time.
Con: Can be tedious to set up, calibrate and adjust
2. Luminox Men’s LM8822.MI Recon Point Black Watch – Buy On Amazon
This watch is greatly appreciated and highly rated by water sports enthusiasts more than anyone else. That’s because this watch was designed and manufactured to handle the stress and conditions that it comes into contact with during these activities.
It is water resistant, allowing the wearer to dive down to a depth of 200 meters, or 660 feet before water can leak in. It sports a thick polycarbonate case, which makes it resistant to impact and physical shock. Another thing that it sports is an anti-reflective sapphire dial window, making it easier to look at the watch without accidentally blinding yourself.
The only shortcoming that this watch has is the way in which the dial is set up, often times giving the impression that it is too small and that there is too much information crammed into it.
Pro: Highly resistant to impact and physical stress
Con: Can be uncomfortable to read
3. Casio Men’s Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch – Buy On Amazon
The watch is designed in such a way that it can handle anything and everything a mountain can throw at it. The bad itself is made out of resin, with a buckle cover to protect against freezing and moisture. It is water resistant to a depth of 100 meters or 330 feet, and its internal mechanism is designed to handle extremely cold temperatures. This also includes extreme wind chill factors and ice blasts.
As for the tools that it packs, it has a built-in altimeter, barometer, compass, and thermometer. The information is delivered neatly, without it taking up too much screen real estate, the user having the option of choosing what to display at any given time.
Pro: Has all the tools that a rookie mountain climber needs
Con: It does not display everything at once, the user needs to toggle through tools.
4. Casio Men’s GW-9400-1CR Master of G Stainless Steel Solar Watch – Buy On Amazon
One of the things that designers and manufacturers of this watch take pride in, is the fact that it is literally made to be taken to hell and back, and back again. It is literally made to survive some of the most extreme and horrible conditions on earth.
It has a reinforced exterior shell, which protects the screened and insulated interior components. The body structure is designed in such a way that it deflects physical shocks around the edges, keeping the internals safe and protected. Even the buckle is protected by a thick and sturdy cover.
The tools that it packs are a digital compass, and altimeter, a barometer, a thermometer, a stopwatch, a countdown timer, 5 alarms, and a sundial to track the sunrise and sunset times according to the date and geographical position.
It goes without saying that this tactical watch is a great choice for those that have chosen an outdoorsy career which constantly tests their endurance, like rangers, soldiers, mercenaries, and so on.
Pro: Very strong and enduring.
Con: Can be a bit complicated to set up and calibrate.
5. Timex Men’s T49612 Expedition Shock Digital Compass Olive/Black Resin Strap Watch – Buy On Amazon
In fact, it is among the few that comes with only a couple of extra tools at its disposal. In this case, it comes with a digital compass and an Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial.
While it might seem a bit underwhelming compared to other models on the market, it’s because it is supposed to be this way. This tactical watch is designed and geared more towards the amateur crowd, enthusiasts, and novices. People that enjoy hiking, exploring, camping, and so on.
Make no mistake about it, this watch is still an enduring piece of equipment. With a resin body, thick band and buckle cover, as well as a shock resistance in perfect compliance with I.S.O. standards, it is just as strong and just as enduring as other tactical watches in its bracket.
Pro: Geared towards beginners and general survivalists
Con: A bit lacking in terms of tools.
6. Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Watch – Buy On Amazon
Make no mistake about it. Although these tactical watches are made to be strong and enduring, they are also made to be as accurate and as precise as possible. This particular model is the best example of that.
At its heart it is what it was intended to be in the first place, a timepiece, however, it is made to be a bit stronger than your average wristwatch.
It sports a reinforced body with a notched unidirectional bezel, contrasted with white markings. Markings that are so large, it can actually be read comfortably from 3 meters away.
While it does not have a compass, a thermometer, a barometer, or any kind of extra tool, it does have something that a lot of other tactical watches simply don’t have anymore, an analog mechanism with a date display at the 3 o’clock position.
Because of its simplicity, and because it is so easy to read, this is the preferred choice for scouting and recon units.
Pro: Simple, elegant and easy to read.
Con: Lacks additional tools.
7. Luminox Men’s A.8831.KM Recon Analog Display Quartz Black Watch – Buy On Amazon
The first thing you will notice about this watch is the fact that it is an analog one, rather than a digital one. This makes the overall timepiece be as precise and as easy to use as possible. The second thing you might notice is the fact that the dial itself is phosphorescent, however, it is also color-coded. This makes it overall easier to read in the dark, while at the same time keeping the eyes nice and relaxed.
In regards to tools, this watch comes with a compass, cleverly located on the actual strap, right below the watch, and a date display located at the 3 o’clock position on the dial.
In terms of strength, it can survive in water up to 200 meters or 660 feet deep, the case is made out of stainless steel, and the strap is made out of dense rubber.
Overall, it is a very popular choice for military personnel, para-military groups, and field agents.
Pro: Easy to use and read.
Con: Stainless steel case can help conduct hot and cold temperatures to your wrist.
8. Casio Men’s G-SHOCK – The GA 100-1A1 Military Series Watch in Black – Buy On Amazon
In terms of tactical wristwatches, this is a tank. Right from the start you will realize that this watch is a lot bulkier and a lot more robust than other models, and for good reason. This particular model was designed to take as much punishment and as much abuse as possible without giving way.
The watch itself is analog, however, the tools and extras that it comes with are fully digital. It has a stopwatch accurate to 1/1000th of a second, as well as a speed indicator. It is able to track 29 time zones accurately from all over the world as well as automatically swapping through daylight saving options and between home city and world time.
The main attraction, however, is its remarkable resistance to damage and physical shock. Because of its solid reinforced body, it is able to survive plane crashes and still be able to tell time as accurately and as reliably as the day it left the factory. Not to mention the fact that it also sports and anti-magnetic structure, equipped with automatic LED lighting with Afterglow.
Pro: Incredibly strong and resistant
Con: It is rather complicated to use and difficult to get used to.
9. Hamilton Men’s H70555533 Khaki Field Stainless Steel Automatic Watch with Brown Leather – Buy On Amazon
If you were to look at this watch for the very first time, without any prior warning, you would think that there must of have been a mistake. It does not look like a tactical watch, it does not feel like a tactical watch, however, to our surprise, it is actually a very efficient and at the same time elegant tactical watch.
Indeed, it sports a very sleek, modern and elegant look, something that you could wear to the office or to dinner at a restaurant, however, it is deceivingly strong.
It is able to resist water as deep as 100 meters, or 330 feet, it has an automatic self-winding mechanism which winds the watch back when you move, and it even has luminous markings and hands that can be clearly seen in the dark.
Overall, it is a rather luxurious and elegant timepiece to have, which sports a few tactical performances under the hood.
Pro: Can be worn anywhere and with anything
Con: Does not have any additional tools built into itself.
10. MARATHON WW194007 TSAR Swiss Made Military Issue Milspec Diver’s Quartz Watch with Tritium Illumination – Buy On Amazon
One of the more hidden, but at the same time useful feature that this watch has is the fact that, instead of phosphorescent inserts, it uses Tritium gas tubes. This means that it no longer requires prolonged exposure to an external light source in order to become illuminated.
In regards to strength, while it might not look like the bulkiest of watches, it is able to stand its own ground and come out ahead of the pack. It can be safely used at a depth of as low as 300 meters or 1000 feet, it is able to safely function at a pressure of as high as 30 ATM, and it is highly physical shock-proofed.
The final thing worth mentioning about this watch is the fact that it is also extremely precise. So much so that it even has an End-Of-Life indicator on it. It uses a 3 jewel high-torque quartz movement system, allowing it to be extremely precise, as well as highly versatile and enduring.
Pro: Resistant to very high pressure
Con: Can be difficult to read at times.
11. G-Shock THE 6900 MILITARY – Buy On Amazon
First and foremost, it is designed to handle a lot of physical shocks and still ticking over. With a reinforced body and protected controls, it is impervious to falls, tumbles, and accidents.
The second thing about this watch is the fact that it is designed in order to cover all the time to track needs of the user. This includes timing, countdowns, and even alarm signals at set intervals.
This makes it perfect for high-performance athletes, endurance runners, and even free runners, giving them that extra bit of time management and segmentation options.
The only real downside of this watch is the rather limited battery life that it has, around the 2-year mark, depending on its usage.
Pro: Very accurate with lots of time management tools
Con: 2-year battery life
12. MARATHON WW194013 Swiss Made Military Issue Milspec Navigator Quartz Watch with Date and Tritium – Buy On Amazon
With a low and sleek profile, as well as well as a lightweight design, it is easy to see why this is a rather popular choice when it comes to tactical watches. The more notable wearers, however, are pilots and paratroopers, because the watch itself answers all their needs.
The first thing you will notice me the fact that the design of the watch is a bit uneven. This is deliberate, the body itself being stretched a bit to the right, protecting the turning knob.
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that the watch itself is designed and manufactured according to strict military and government specifications. So much so that it even has a Nato Stock Number engraved on the back.
It is a self-illuminating watch which relies on small Tritium gas tubes, planted discreetly in the arms and dial.
One of the most notable features is the endurance that it is capable of. The interior mechanism is designed and assembled in such a way that it can easily handle hard G turns as well as atmospheric changes.
Pro: Has a very high G tolerance
Con: The lob-sided design takes a while to get used to.
13. Luminox Men’s A.8832.MI Recon Analog Display Quartz Black Watch – Buy On Amazon
The very first thing worth noting about this watch is its very low and compact profile, as fat as tactical watches go. This, combined with the fact that the case itself is made out of carbon compound make for a very strong, sturdy and durable watch.
Something else worth noting about this watch is the fact that it comes packing some rather interesting tools. It has a compass, a walk speed scale, and a day/night split dial.
This makes it a great choice for reconnaissance military units, rangers, and long distance hikers, giving them the ability to easily track their movements and manage their time properly.
It is also self-limited, it has a Sapphire crystal anti-reflective coating and an integrated quartz movement system.
Pro: Very easy to read and track
Con: Can feel cumbersome at first.
14. Casio Men’s PRW-2500T-7CR Pro Trek Tough Solar Digital Sport Watch – Buy On Amazon
First and foremost, it is completely solar powered, sporting a solar rechargeable battery which can run for 23 months non-stop on a single full charge. Not to mention the fact that it also has a built-in power saving feature which is meant to prolong the overall life of the battery.
This watch comes equipped with pretty much everything an adventurer and extreme sports enthusiast needs. It has a water resistance of up to 200 meters or 660 feet, it has 5 daily alarms, full auto calendar pre-programmed until 2099, tide graphs, moon data, digital compass, altimeter with memory, barometer, thermometer, and a small internal memory for its programming.
It goes without saying that this is an all-around good choice for people that want to take very long adventurous hikes, as well as general survivalists.
Pro: Solar powered by a very strong battery
Con: Can feel quite complicated to use at times
15. G-Shock Military GA-110 Watch – Black – Buy On Amazon
First and foremost, it is made to survive in some of the harshest environments for very long periods of time, however, it does require a bit of maintenance and upkeep from time to time.
It is reinforced, making it very resistant to physical shocks, it is magnetic resistant and can survive a 200 meter, or 660 feet, deep dive.
It is also able to provide the user with 4 daily alarms + 1 snooze alarm, a 1/1000 second stopwatch with countdown timer, as well as a 12/24 hour clock with an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month.
Pro: Very strong and precise
Con: Very dark and difficult to read
16. SureFire 2211 WristLight Series – Buy On Amazon
Even so, the gadget itself is very versatile and very tough to boot. It is able to illuminate the surrounding area quite thoroughly, as well as provide signaling flashes if need be.
The watch is simplistic, lit in the dark, with a date display at the 3 o’clock position, and easy to read dial.
Overall, this is a simplistic yet very efficient combination wrist light and wristwatch gadget, which can serve well in dimly lit or dark areas, such as caves and tunnels.
Pro: Powerful wrist light
17. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch with Day/Date display, BM8180-03E – Buy On Amazon
Neat, clean, elegant, this wristwatch is one of the newer models that are trying to bridge the gap between tactical watches and domestic/jewelry ones, by incorporating tactical strength and usability into a more elegant design.
While it might not be as bulky and as cumbersome as other tactical watches, this model is still able to handle being submerged underwater for up to 100 meters or 330 feet. This makes it a watch that you can go swimming and snorkel with and not have to worry about water seeping in.
It is very comfortable to wear, with a textured belt and a buckle closure, as well as Japanese quartz movement that changes in natural or indoor light.
It has a rather small profile, meaning it can be worn with anything, and the belts are interchangeable, meaning that it can be work in just about any situation.
Pro: Sleek and elegant
Con: Not as powerful as other tactical watches
18. Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Black Canvas Strap – Buy On Amazon
The back of the watch is clear, allowing you to see the inside mechanism of the watch itself. This makes it a lot easier to see whether or not there is a problem with the mechanism over time, as well a simply interesting detail.
The watch has a date display at the 3 o’clock position, 21-jewel automatic movement with analog display, a stainless steel case, and a Hardlex mineral dial window, making it highly resistant to scratches, tampering, and aging.
Pro: Very light and comfortable.
Con: The adjustment knob is placed at an odd angle.
19. Bertucci A-2S Field Watch – Buy On Amazon
First of all, it has a solid stainless steel unibody case which acts as a physical shock absorber, thus protecting the inside mechanisms from damage.
The glass cover is made out of scratch resistant hardened mineral glass, and the inside mechanism is Swiss made with all-metal movement quartz, adding in that extra tenacity and resistance.
The shape of the watch is an ergonomic one, made to be as accessible as possible and as comfortable to wear as possible, including the turning knob being placed at the 4 o’clock position to not impede any wrist movement.
Pro: Ergonomic and very comfortable to wear
Con: Very simplistic, lacking in tools.
20. Vostok Amphibian Automatic Mens WristWatch – Buy On Amazon
The watch is made to resist 20 bars of water pressure, about 200 meters or 660 feet underwater, and it is made to be as solid as possible.
It has no numbering of any sorts, however, the markings and the overall dial are easy to read and interpret, as well as the date display at the 3 o’clock position.
It comes in a wide assortment of straps and belts, all of them featuring full adaptability and comfort.
Pro: Easy to read and use.
Con: All the markings and engravings are in Russian.
21. Seiko Men’s SNZG15 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Nylon Strap – Buy On Amazon
This Seiko watch has all the right endurance features for this bracket. It is able to withstand being submerged under 100 meters or 330 feet of water, it has a flexible and adjustable Nylon band, with a buckle closure, and a stainless steel case with a Hardlex dial window.
The small twist is that I am a fully analog clock, that packs an automatic self-wind movement mechanism.
Overall, while it is a rather basic watch, it can still fin its uses in difficult survival situations as well as comfortable domestic ones.
Pro: Automatic winding mechanism
Con: Rather basic, lacking in tools
22. Seiko Men’s SNZH57 Seiko 5 Automatic Black Dial Stainless-Steel Bracelet Watch – Buy On Amazon
The watch itself is beautiful and easy to read. It has a day/date display at the 3 o’clock position on the dial, it uses a 3-fold clasp instead of a buckle, and it sports a stainless steel bracelet instead of a strap or belt.
In terms of strength and endurance, the watch is sturdy enough to survive a dive up to 100 meters or 330 feet deep, and the stainless steel body is designed to absorb physical shocks in order to keep the internal mechanism nice and protected.
Pro: Very elegant and versatile
Con: Does not stand out as a tactical watch
There are a lot of options out there when it comes to tactical watches.
You too can find what you are looking for. All you need to do is figure out what your needs are, what tools the watch needs to have in order to fulfill them, and how strong it needs to be.
Once you have all that down, it is only a matter of time until you find the right tactical watch for you and your personal needs.