Anyone who enjoys extreme sports or outdoor adventures will be able to relate to the difficulty that many people have when trying to find a sports watch that is reliable and will not get damaged by a slight knock or from being accidentally soaked in the rain. You may have been through a number of watches with no success and are now fed up with spending money on short-lasting watches that break at the first sign of being dropped.
However, your search can end here as you will find the best tactical watch for your activity here in our top 15 tactical watch guide. We will take you through the best tactical watches for military, sports, and everyday use, so you can find the watch that will meet your criteria and last you for years to come.
15 Best Tactical Watches in 2020
1. Golden Hour Military Watch
Product Dimensions: 10.24 x 1.97 x 0.59 inches | Weight: 5.61 Ounces
The Golden Hour Military Watch really is worth its weight in gold, as it offers a diverse range of functions alongside its reliability and a battery that will last an impressive 2 to 3 years. This is the perfect tactical watch for all who enjoy playing sporting games with its easy to read digital display and backlight for use in conditions that would make it otherwise hard to read the time. At a light 59 grams, the watch is also comfortable to wear with its large strap that fits up to a 9-inch wrist.
Wherever you are in the world you can still track the time back at home, as this amazing timepiece has a dual time zone function, which is perfect for anyone who travels or competes abroad. You can also synchronize your watch with the date and month, for convenient diary planning. This watch also features a stopwatch, countdown timer, and alarm mode, so it is perfect for all fitness training activities and helping you reach your fitness goals.
2. Garmin Instinct Tactical Watch
Product Dimensions: 1.77 x 1.77 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 5.8 ounces
The Garmin Instinct Tactical Watch is one of the best digital watches for the military that is also US Military approved. You can be certain that this fantastic watch is up to any job, no matter what the terrain or weather conditions. The US Military approval ensures that the watch has decent water resistance, thermal resistance, and is shock-resistant, showing that this Garmin watch is a hardy and resistant to damage.
The highlight of this Garmin watch is that it uses multiple navigation systems to track over even the most challenging of terrains, so you can be certain that this tactical watch will not let you down. In addition, the 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter are essential for all adventures. If you are worried about battery life with all of these wonderful features then you shouldn’t be, as the navigation settings can be switched off when not being used to give 14 days of smartwatch use. The tracking modes will still give an impressive 16 to 40 hours of battery life.
3. Timex Expedition Scout
Product Dimensions: 3.23 x 4.17 x 4.09 inches | Weight: 2.24 Ounces
This Timex Scout Watch is a basic analog quartz movement tactical watch that is easy to work and built to last. The durable strap is comfortable to wear and adjustable to up to an 8-inch wrist so is perfect for most people to wear. Even the watch face is easy to read and the luminous hands make the watch suitable for use in low light and the dark. As is standard with most tactical watches, it is also water-resistant to 50 meters.
While this watch does not have all the features that some other tactical watches have, this is the best choice for a first tactical watch as it is simple to get started with but is also reliable. As with other quartz movement watches, this brand excels with its precise time-keeping, so you can rely on this watch at all times. There is even the option to show the day of the month, so you will never be unsure of the date again.
4. Palada Tactical Watch
Product Dimensions: 11.02 x 2.36 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 2.4 Ounces
If you are looking for one of the best tactical sports watches, then this great watch by Palada is a great choice. It is smart looking with its black casing and black rubber strap and the digital view makes the watch clear to read. The watch can even be used in the dark with its back light that enables the time to be easily read, even when camping in the wilderness. You also do not need to worry about scratching the watches face as it is made from an acrylic mirror, so can withstand some mishaps.
This Palada watch has a number of great additional features that every sportsman will love as the alarms can be used to give hourly reminders and the stop clock is perfect for all workouts. Keep on top of your diary with the date window and never mix up your days again. This digital clock can also be set in either 12 or 24-hour formats for convenience. Like many other tactical watches, the Palada is water-resistant up to 5ATM, so this is one of the best military watches that comes ready for any sporting adventure.
5. Timex Expedition Chronograph Watch
Product Dimensions: 3.94 x 3.94 x 1.97 inches | Weight: 2.72 Ounces
Timex has produced a lovely range of tactical watches and this Expedition model is one of the best. This great Timex has analog quartz movement that is perfect for accurate time-keeping. The analog hands make this timepiece look attractive as well as functional, so is a popular choice. The Indiglo night-light is perfect for use in the dark or even low light, and as an added bonus the night light is perfect for saving the power and making the battery go further.
This particular model features a minute, second and tenth of a second subdial, so the watch can be used as a manual stop clock for up to 30 minutes, with times recorded up to a tenth of second, for superb accuracy. For a secure fit the fully adjustable nylon band has a maximum 8-inch circumference, so it will fit the majority of people. One of the highlights of this watch is that it is water-resistant up to 100 meters or 330 feet, so can be taken swimming or even snorkeling.
6. WISHFAN Tactical Watch
Product Dimensions: 2.08 x 1.91 x 0.63 inches | Package weight: 4.16 ounces
WISHFAN have developed one of the most stylish tactical watches available to buy with its strong zinc alloy case and trendy black resin strap. It will certainly make you stand out from the crowd, while the reliable quartz movement time-keeping and dual digital clock faces, in either 12 or 24 hour format, ensure that this amazing sports watch is one of the best for reliability, while also being perfect for keeping the track of the time when in different time zones.
There is even a handy LED light that will enable the time to be read at night. WISHFAN have also included many appealing tactical features that make this the perfect accessory for all sporting events. Enjoy using the timer to record your next fitness session and the calendar will ensure that you never mix up the dates again. WISHFAN has even included an alarm that can be set to give hourly reminders. This is a brilliant tactical watch that is simple to work but has a useful array of features that is perfect for anyone who enjoys outdoor adventures and games.
7. SUUNTO Core Military Watch
Product Dimensions: 1.93 x 0.57 x 1.93 inches | Weight: 1.4 Ounces
The SUUNTO Core is a fabulous choice of tactical field watch that is essential for anyone who spends time in the great outdoors, especially search and rescue workers. This SUUNTO Core is not only offering you a reliable digital clock but also giving you a range of useful adventure tools that will help to keep you safe. We will also guarantee that you will love the sleek finishing touch that this black SUUNTO Core offers.
If you are out in the elements hiking or exploring your local area, then you will need to get to grips with all tactical features that are on offer. The barometer and temperature guide will help you predict the weather, which combined with the storm warning will enable you to avoid dangerous storms. While you are out exploring you will never get lost again with the handy digital compass on your side and you can also track your elevation with the impressive Altimeter. For an added extra, this SUUNTO Core will tell you the time of sunrise and sunset, so you can plan your trip down to every last detail. The SUNNTO Core is one of the best watches for every hiker and mountaineer.
8. Timex Classic
Product Dimensions: 4 x 3 x 3 inches | Weight: 0.32 Ounces
The Timex Classic is a fabulous all-round tactical watch that can withstand adventure while still keeping to the exact time in different parts of the world. It also has an appealing green nylon strap, which sets it apart from many plain black models. The strap is fully adjustable to 8 inches so will fit most wrists. This wonderful digital, quartz movement Timex is reliable and durable with a scratch-resistant mineral screen and Indiglo backlight for reliable timekeeping in low light conditions.
The Timex always gets good reviews for its features, making this one of the best options for active sportsmen. The calendar is ideal for helping you to keep up to date with your busy schedule, while the alarms will make sure you are never late for a meeting again. When out training you’ll find the stopwatch with countdown timer invaluable, it will even record your personal bests. This wristwatch is also a great option for swimmers as the water-resistance can be used up to 100 meters.
9. Casio Quartz Resin Watch
Product Dimensions: 1.72 x 0.54 x 1.89 inches | Weight: 1.41 Ounces
Casio makes popular watches and you will definitely not be disappointed with this Casio Tactical watch. It is stylish with its green strap and grey digital face but it is also functional with its timekeeping feature that can be used across the world. This Casio model can keep track of the 31 different time zones with the world map also being displayed, making this one of the best-traveling watches that will keep up with the progress of your journey from city to city.
Casio are a leading company when it comes to the precision of their watches and this model is no exception. The stopwatch is accurate to one-hundredth of a second and can run for up to 24 hours, so is perfect for every sporting need. This Casio model even has water resistance features of up to 200 meters making it perfect for professional military use. Even with all of these features, Casio is also confident that the battery will last for 10 years, so there no need to worry about the battery running out.
10. Infantry Military Watch
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.35 x 0.98 inches | Weight: 6.88 Ounces
If you’re looking for a reliable but durable timepiece for long-lasting use then take a look at this Infantry Military Watch. It’s got a scratch-resistant mineral case to prevent any damage from occurring that would affect your ability to read the stunning analog Japanese quartz clock, and the stainless steel case is ideal for protecting against everyday damage. This wonderful infantry model even features dual clocks that can be read at all times of the night by using the handy backlight.
You do not have to worry if the watch gets wet as it has water resistance features up to 5ATM, so can withstand splashing and getting caught out in the rain without any compromise to its working lifespan. Everyone who enjoys exercising will love the timer feature and multiple alarms, making this a great choice for an everyday timepiece.
11. Infantry MDC
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 3.35 x 0.98 inches | Weight: 4.23 Ounces
This Infantry MDC Watch has a subtle, simple design that is perfect to wear every day. The easy to read analog display uses Japanese quartz movement to ensure perfect timekeeping to the standard of any military timepiece, while the stylish, sleek clock face will impress your friends. The 40mm case diameter is perfect if you don’t want your accessories to be bulky and get in the way of your daily tasks.
The strap is comfortable for wearing for long durations and the buckle clasp makes it easy to adjust to the perfect size, so you can be assured that this Infantry watch has been designed with your comfort in mind. Even though this infantry model may not come with all the complicated features that the best military watches will offer, you can still be certain that it is built to last a long time and will withstand daily scrapes. In addition, the scratch-resistant screen and hard-wearing stainless steel case will protect against damage.
12. Timex Tactical Watch
Product Dimensions: 1.57 x 3.94 x 2.36 inches | Weight: 3 Ounces
This is another great high-end model by Timex that is perfect for wearing every day and using for sporting events. The sleek black dial with dark grey fully adjustable buckle strap makes an appealing combination that matches any of the best military tactical watches, while also being comfortable for the wearer. The case diameter is a large 54mm and it is made from plastic resin for comfort and durability, while the acrylic screen offers resistance against scratches.
This wonderful model offers a dual digital and analog clock, with the analog hands being luminous and the digital clock featuring Indiglo backlight, so you will be able to access all of the watches functions in the dark. This particular model comes with many features including, a calendar, alarm, and a 24-hour chronograph function. This is the ideal tactical watch for traveling that offers water resistance features up to 50 meters so you don’t need to worry about getting it wet.
13. MEGALITH Military Watch
Product Dimensions: 6.06 x 3.7 x 0.39 inches | Weight: 3.42 Ounces
This MEGALITH Watch gets top marks for its high-end design, which features a comfy green nylon wriststrap and trendy black dial, while still maintaining the accuracy and precision of the timepiece. For easy readability in all weather conditions, the MEGALITH offers digital and analog clocks that also provides the watch with added character. For top organization, you can also look up the date, which is brilliant for keeping track of appointments.
While the MEGALITH is not going to be suitable for extreme watersports, it is perfectly functional for everyday activities and sports, with added water resistance up to 5 ATM. The stainless steel case and mineral crystal glass casing will also protect against everyday damage making it a durable watch that will have a long lifespan.
14. CAOS Sports LED
Item Weight: 6.35 Ounces
This CAOS Sports and Military Watch makes the perfect timepiece for all sportsmen and outdoor adventurers that looks good and is quick and easy to set up. The dual analog and digital clocks are perfect for good readability in all conditions and terrains and the LED light ensures that you can read the time even in the dark. The auto-calendar will even make sure that the correct information is shown in the date indicator, so you can easily keep track of your diary.
The green strap with black dial is a sophisticated color that is highly sought after as it gives the timepiece a classy finish. This CAOS features water resistance properties up to 5 ATM, so is ideal for wearing in any weather, and the handy timer is perfect for gym sessions. While it is not one of the most popular brands, this CAOS will give the high-end brands a run for their money with the brilliant features that it offers.
15. Infantry MDC Waterproof Military Field Watch
Weight: 4.8 Ounces
These stylish Infantry MDC Military Watches make perfect first tactical watches, as they are simple to set-up but durable and tough against everyday life. The stainless steel casing provides the watch with valuable protection and everyone will love the sleek black finish and subtle black wriststrap that this Infantry model features. The strap is easy to adjust, so will be comfortable for most wrists.
The Infantry MDC has an appealing analog clock, that is highly reliable with its Japanese quartz movement. There is even a date window, so you can keep up to date with the days in one simple glance, and the mineral clock face cover is anti-scratch, which will prevent damage from occurring to your wristwatch.
Buyers’ Guide: Considerations for Buying a Tactical Watch
If you are looking to buy a tactical watch then the chances are that you need a reliable timepiece. For military personnel, this may involve life or death decisions, or even help you avoid a serious accident if you participate in extreme sporting adventures.
However, not every tactical watch is the same, so you need to understand the differences, as this can affect how accurate they are. Most mechanical tactical watches will struggle to compete with digital and analog quartz watches when you compare their timekeeping capability. So if accurate time-keeping is important to you then you will need to carefully choose which tactical watch is right for you. However, if you are struggling to be sure then you are safest to choose a Swiss-made watch that has Swiss certification as this ensures the watch will perform well for precision.
How a watch withstands being dropped, crushed, and scraped is one of the most important features for a tactical watch, as they are expected to survive rough treatment in challenging climates. It is essential that every good quality watch continues to be reliable and that all features continue to function correctly. For the more expensive tactical watches, you would expect them to withstand this treatment without gaining any scratches or damage, proving that they are truly the best tactical watches. Scratches are one of the more common reasons for damage to the case, which can affect how easy it is to read the time, so you should search for a watch with scratch-proof properties that ideally have a durable scratch-resistant sapphire crystal watch face.
The durability of all watches will depend on the materials that they are made from and the craftsmanship of the manufacturers, so to ensure that you are getting a great quality product you should be looking for a popular Swiss-made brand that comes with high recommendations. If you buy an unknown watch with no certification then there is a risk that you will be disappointed and it may not last long.
Design and Interface
Tactical watches are designed primarily to be practical and reliable in every situation, which makes them ideal watches for the military because they can be trusted to continue working even after they have received trauma. However, this can come at a cost to the aesthetics of the watch, so even the best tactical watch may not be designed to win any stylish awards.
Each tactical watch has been designed to be easy to read, so will often feature an anti-reflective lens and luminous hour markers. After all, it is more important that the watch can be easily used in low light and during the night, than one that is impractical with decorative embellishments. If you are the adventurous type who loves extreme activities then you too will be skipping the aesthetics and making sure that your next watch has decent water resistance properties.
When you consider the number of features that a standard tactical watch includes in its specification then you can be forgiven for thinking that they will be heavy and bulky to wear. For high-quality tactical watches, this is often not the case, as many of these watches have been designed as a military watch, so one key requirement is that they are comfortable and do not hinder the wearer.
The first time you try a tactical watch we will guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised by the feel of the watch but there are a few special features that you can look out for if you want to pick the most comfortable and slimline tactical watch available. Most watches will be lightweight, but if you want the lightest possible watch that is still heavy-duty then you should look for a watch with a lightweight metal case, such as titanium. The material that the strap is made from can also have an impact on how secure a watch feels on your arm, so you should look for a durable, hard-wearing buckle strap that is easy to adjust and comfortable, even when the strap is wet.
Digital vs Analog
Choosing between a digital and analog display will depend on your personal requirements. Analog watches have a more traditional look that can give them a leading edge when considering style. Quartz movement analog watches are also the most precise watches for timekeeping, so this often makes them a popular choice, especially if reliability is important to you.
While digital watches may not be able to beat quartz movement for their time-keeping, they do offer an easy-to-read digital display, which can be invaluable in extreme weather and time-sensitive situations. If you’re looking for a tactical watch that has a clear display then a digital version may be for you. Then you can be certain that you will not misread your watch.
Tactical watches need to be suitable to be used in all weathers and environments without a risk that they will break. However, not every brand of watch will have the same water-resistant properties, so if you want to be able to wear your watch in the rain, snow, and water then it is essential that you check the weatherproofing rating, so you can be sure that it will be suitable for the task you want it for.
You can check the weatherproofing specification for each watch, by reading the product description, which will tell you if a watch is water-resistant and how deep underwater the watch can go. It is important to determine the ATM rating, as this tells you the water pressure that the watch can endure. The higher the ATM rating the more confidence you can have in the watches water resistance.
Tactical watches are an essential part of every Navy SEALs kit but the brand of watch that each individual military personnel prefers depends on their own preference. However, because Navy SEALs are expected to regularly have to work in and around water it is essential that any watch they wear is waterproof and can withstand diving to significant depths.
The best military tactical watches for Navy SEALs must include the following features,
- Water resistance
- Be heavy duty and able to withstand rough treatment
- Scratch-proof with a sapphire crystal cover
- Shock resistant
- Be lightweight and comfortable
- Anti-reflective watch face
- Easy to read the time in the dark
- Long battery life or reliable mechanical function
What’s the best tactical watch?
The watch that is considered the best will depend on what you want activities you want your watch for and which features must be included. If you need a watch that tells the precise time consistently then you will need to buy one that uses quartz movement. However, if you will be using your watch in low light then a digital watch with a luminous. easy to read display will be invaluable.
Regardless of what you want to use your watch for, most people will want their tactical watch to have the following features at a minimum.
- Water resistance
When choosing a tactical watch you should have a look at what the popular brands offer, as these watches can usually be depended on for their reliability. However, there are some decent cheaper tactical watches made by less well-known brands that offer a greater range of features for the price. If you are struggling to pick the best watch for you then have a read through of our best tactical watches guide to find your next tactical watch.
What watch do special forces wear?
The Special Forces will often wear a variety of watches, often Swiss made, as long as they perform the functions that are required and if they have been approved by the military. All of these watches must be of a high quality and they are expected to be able to withstand anything that the watch is subjected to, no matter how harsh the climate.
The Special Forces can choose the watch they want to wear but it must have the following features.
- Water Resistance
- Shock Resistance
- Be able to withstand large temperature changes
- Be able to withstand large air pressure changes
- Precision timekeeping
- Alarm function
What makes a watch tactical?
A tactical watch is a timepiece that has been designed to be worn by people in the Military, such as a Navy SEAL, who undergo challenging, physical tasks in a variety of climates. These watches can also be worn by people who participate in extreme sporting adventures, hiking, and search and rescue and they can be crucial for their survival. So the best tactical watches will differ from your normal watch with their durability and ability to withstand trauma.
Aside from how heavy-duty tactical watches are, they are also known for being precise timekeeping watches, especially quartz movement watches. These watches also feature additional specifications that enable them to survive harsh weather and terrain and still be able to do their job. Often these features will include, water resistance, shock proofing, scratch resistance and may even include a night light.