What Is The Best Tactical Watch?

Best Tactical Watch

What Is A Tactical Watch

The best tactical watch is dependent on what you will be using the watch for, the bare minimum of a tactical watch is that they are rugged and durable watches. In essence we are looking for the best rugged watches and the most durable watch that also has the functions that you need. The word tactical typically means combat related but I prefer to see it as something that gives you an advantage in anything that you are trying to do. For this reason a tactical watch is one that can help you doing something better than you could without it, functionality mixed with durability. Just like with tactical flashlights, tactical watches need to work no matter what when the going gets tuff.

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Tactical Watch Functions

For this article we will separate our discussion into three areas where a watch can be a useful tool and possibly give you a tactical advantage. They are military watches, outdoor watches, and sport watches. Each of these have specific features and functions. 

The Best Military Watch

Land – Field Watch/ Combat Watches

Not all military situations are equal, if you are looking for a watch that is designed as a field watch or a combat watch you do not need many of the functions that come in other watches. For everyday land warfare you most importantly need it to rugged. The Field watch style comes from World War II style watches. The main reason for everybody to have a watch is so everybody does things at the same time. Being synchronized is essential for tactics. It is unlikely that your watch will have to survive at 30 meters under water but it should be able to get wet and not fall apart. Also, it should be shock resistant since gunfire creates massive amounts of shock.

Best Field Watch

Essential Features:

  • Keeps Time
  • Water resistant to 3-5 Meters
  • Shock resistant
  • Backlight


Air – Aviation Watches/ Pilot Watch/ Navigator Watch

A watch that is designed for a pilot will have to have a couple more bells and whistles than the standard field watch. Pilots just like soldiers need to be synchronized, but other times they are traveling at a few hundred or thousand miles per hour. Aviator watches usually have larger faces with high contrast colors so they are easier to see and so the crowns can be used with gloves. Having different time zones and UTC time is are very useful features along with a tachymeter which helps with the conversion between speed and time and vise versa.


Best Pilot WatchEssential Features:

  • Keeps Time (24-hour, Chronometer)
  • Timer, Stopwatch, Alarm
  • Water resistant to 3-5 Meters
  • Shock resistant
  • Backlight
  • Time Zones
  • UTC Time
  • Tachymeter


Sea – Dive Watch/ Waterproof Watch

True dive watches are regulated by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) specifically it is ISO 6425 if you want to look more into it. Dive watches need to be water resistant to the depth of the diver, the ISO standard says 100 meters (about 328 feet). That is really deep and more than most people will need. The watch must have a bezel that moves in one direction with minutes marks at least every 5 minutes so it is very easy to tell how much time has passed. Along with a few other requirements it must also have some sort of an end of life (EOL) indicator so you know if your battery is dying.


Best Dive WatchEssential Features:

  • Keeps Time (24-hour, Chronometer)
  • Timer, Stopwatch, Alarm
  • Water resistant to 100 Meters
  • Shock resistant
  • Backlight
  • Marked moving Bezel


The Best Outdoor Watches – Survival Watches/ Hiking Watches

Outdoor watches have their own special essential features. A great outdoor watch will have an altimeter to help you figure out how much elevation you have covered. They will have GPS so you can figure out where you are and where you want to go. Having a barometer can help you to predict the weather. A few other features that an amazing survival watch will have are sunrise/sunset times, digital compass, and a thermometer. All of these tools will help you to survive and perform better while hiking.


Best Outdoor WatchEssential Features:

  • Keeps Time (24-hour)
  • Timer, Stopwatch, Alarm
  • Water resistant to 3-5 Meters
  • Shock resistant
  • Backlight
  • Compass or GPS
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer


The Best Sport Watches


For this article we will consider sport watches as sport specific watches. These are different than the standard running, workout, fitness, athletic watches. These are watches that help with specific sports, we will list the sport and the specific features that help.

  • Surfing Watches – Sunrise/Sunset and Tide Data for popular beaches
  • Adventure Racing – GPS with waypoint navigation
  • Climbing – Vertical speed indicator
  • Hiking – Reverse of GPS directions
  • Soccer – Game clock
  • Triathalon – Swim/Cycle/Run modes

Just to name a few…

Running – Running Watches/ Workout Watches/ Fitness Watches

Workout and running watches take up most of the sport watch category. There are different features for different types of running and workouts, from high intensity sprints to long distance running. The best running watches and the best workout watches will usually have options for heart rate monitors, lap/split times, GPS. These watches are usually light and fit snugly so they do not bounce around while working out.

Best Sports WatchEssential Features:

  • Keeps Time (24-hour)
  • Timer, Stopwatch, Alarm
  • Water resistant to 3-5 Meters
  • Shock resistant
  • Backlight
  • lap/split timers


Best Tactical Watch

Best Military Watch:

Suunto Core

Suunto Core All Black Digital Display Quartz Watch, Black Elastomer Band, Round 49.1mm Case

To decide the best military watch we looked over hundreds of forums and articles and we kept coming across the same question in different forms. What watches do navy seals where, what watch do navy seals use, what is the real navy seal watch, etc… Seals are required to go through many different conditions where timing is critical and they are considered to be among the best military units. There are a few different answers to this question. In the old days, Seals used to be issued No products found., but this is no longer the case.

These days there seems to be two main options for the majority of watches used by navy seals. The Sunnto Core is pricey but it is known to last, so if you are not prone to losing watches, it will be the only watch you ever need.  No matter what other brands may claim, the Sunnto Core is the most popular choice for Navy Seals perhaps because of the amazing features it provides. Some features that Navy Seals, as well as others, find useful are the storm alarm, sunrise/sunset, depth meter, compass, and temperature to name a few.

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Best Military Watch (Budget):

Classic Casio G-Shock

Casio Wristwatches (Model: DW5600E-1V)

The most used watch by navy seals is the Casio G-Shock. These watches just work, and they are not expensive to replace. If you are hard on watches you will be better off getting a G-Shock over the Sunnto since they are cheaper in general. The Casio G-Shock is also easier to replace because it can be found in many different locations rather than specialty shops.

The standard G-Shock has most of the functions that anybody would need and is just a classic in the watch world for any strenuous activity as it is shock resistant. As a Navy Seal or even a water enthusiast you need a watch that is going to hold up in water, which the G-Shock is water resistant up to 200M. The G-Shock also features numerous different alarms and signals. The daily alarm can alert you a single time or each day, the hourly signal and countdown timer come in handy as you don’t have to look at your watch to know when time is up. The auto calendar is pre-programmed as far away as 2099, so you can really schedule things in advance.

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Best Field Watch:

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto

Hamilton Men's H70555533 Khaki Field Stainless Steel Automatic Watch with Brown Leather Band

The field watch is just as much of a design these days as it is a necessity. The Hamilton Khaki Field Auto is the perfect watch for people who are looking for a men’s watch that is going to withstand the test of time. The Khaki Field Auto is one of the most durable watches on the market, making it the perfect choice for daily wear. Not only that but once you get it perfectly adjusted the Khaki Field Auto is one of the most accurate watches on the market. The case diameter on this field watch is 42MM, with a band width of 22MM, which is the perfect size for most wrists. And with a case thickness of 8 MM it easily fits underneath most sleeves.

Now let’s take a quick look at the watch itself to see what makes it the perfect watch for so many different men out there. One of the main concerns with any kind of watch that uses a crystal is the crystal not being about to stand up to constant use, but the durable sapphire crystal found in the Khaki Field Auto is perfect for the job. The watch is made from stainless steel, which is durable enough for the watch to be used for swimming and snorkeling without the worry of rust. And since the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto is water resistant up to 100 m, these activities are fine, it’s just diving you have to stay away from.

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Best Field Watch (Budget):

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If you are looking for a watch that is up for anything and that won’t break the bank, the Timex Expedition Scout is one of the best choices around, if not the best choice. This field watch comes with a nylon strap, unlike the stainless steel or leather band of the Khaki Field Auto. In terms of keeping to me you have the option of using twenty-four or twelve hour time settings, both are located on the watch face..

One of the best things about the Timex Expedition Scout is that it comes with everything that you need in a watch. The Expedition Scout is water resistant up to 50M and comes with an INDIGLO Night-Light. The crystal/lens is made of mineral glass, which is extremely durable. The case diameter is 40MM, while the case lug width is 20MM and the case is made of brass.

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Best Pilot Watch:

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Anybody who is looking for a pilot’s watch needs to take a closer look at the Laco Type A Dial Miyota Automatic Pilot Watch 861688. Something that you might not know is that the makers of this watch actually made pilot watches for actual pilots during WWII. With the Miyota movements one thing that you are going to need to get used is when setting the time the second hand with the Miyota movements does not stop when you pull out the crown. The Laco Type A is waterproof up to 50M.

One of the greatest things about this amazing watch is that it is light enough to be worn daily without any discomfort. The long, brown calf leather strap adds to the comfort, but also comes with rivets to create a unique look. With a 42MM dial that is 12MM thick, this watch is a bit bigger than a dress watch, but is not quite as big as other pilot watches, which generally have a dial size of 44 or 46MM. The sapphire crystal is scratch resistant and is encased by a matt finished stainless steel case. Both the dial and the hands of the Laco Type A have been treated with SuperLuminova to make them easier to read in the dark.

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Best Dive Watch:

Tissot Sea-Touch Orange

Tissot Men's T0264201728103 Sea-Touch Orange Rubber Multifunction Analog-Digital Dial Watch

For those of you looking for the perfect diving watch, the Tissot Sea-Touch Orange is a superior choice. The orange color makes it easy to spot, think safety color orange, but also makes the watch itself easier to see when you are under the water. The Tissot Sea-Touch Orange can go to depths of 100M and still function perfectly. The case is made of stainless steel to prevent rusting from occurring, while the bracelet is made from rubber.

With the Sea-Touch divers can access everything that the watch has to offer all by simply touching the glass. Divers can see the depth of their current dive, but with the Sea-Touchdivers can also access a diver’s’ logbook, thermometer, compass, and a digital chronograph, plus much more. The logbook allows you as a diver to pull up vital information from previous diving trips, while the dive function shows the depth of the dive using the minute hand, but also shows the speed of the dive using the hour hand.

Best Sports Watch:

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No matter if you are a water or land athlete the Garmin FR310XT is the best choice there is when it comes to a sports watch. Being able to be used on both land and water makes this the ideal choice for athletes who are training for a triathlon. The Garmin FR310XT is water resistant up to 164 ft and is able to time your swim both in the lake and the pool. On land the FR310XT can track your every movement, thanks to its super sensitive GPS system. The GPS satellite also records how heart rate, distance, and pace as long as you are on land. In the water the FR310XT cannot track distance, but a recent software upgrade allows it to estimate, pretty accurately we might add, your average speed and open water swim distance.

The Garmin FR310XT is a great way to monitor your health, as well as your workout and with a 20 hour battery life you won’t have to worry about the battery suddenly dying in the middle of the workout. All data that is collected via the FR310Xt is uploaded to your computer wirelessly as soon as the watch is within range. The Garmin FR310XT can easily transfer from your wrist to your bike, and even comes with bike mounts. 

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Best Running Watch:

Polar M400

Polar M400 GPS Smart Sports Watch with Heart Rate Monitor (Black)

As a runner you want a watch that is going to keep up with you and provide you with useful information as you run, which is exactly where the Polar M400 comes into play. This watch is way more than just a GPS, although the GPS ability is a nice touch. The Polar M400 provides you with improvement options for both your lifestyle and training by using data collected from the watch. The integrated GPS collects information on your pace and distance, as well as altitude during each run and then provides you with information on how to beat your personal best.

The M400 provides you with activity tracking 24/7; yes it tracks your activity even when you are sleeping. The M400 will track your steps, calories burned, and allows you to set a daily goal. While you are sleeping the watch will track how long you have slept, as well as the quality of that sleep. And, don’t get too comfortable because the inactivity alert is there to keep you moving. The M400 also comes with a H7 Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor, which allows you to train at just the right intensity. Relive allows you to share video highlights of your workout journeys, plus the Polar Flow app allows you to perfectly plan each workout.

Best Outdoor Watch:

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The Garmin Fenix 2 is the best outdoor watch around, as it works for just about everything that you will be doing outdoors. The highly durable Garmin Fenix 2 is perfect for running, hiking, or anything else outdoor related. If you are out camping sometimes it can be hard to determine if it is going to get too hot later on or if you need to turn back and seek shelter while out on a hike. The built-in temperature sensor gives you unique insights into the current temperature trends. With the sensor you can determine just how fast the temperature is rising or falling, so you can prepare yourself and your group for upcoming weather conditions. The built-in barometer can also help with predicting what the weather might be doing.

As you are running or hiking the Fenix 2 where you are going really matters, as the last thing you want to do is get lost. The Fenix 2 comes with a 3-axis electronic compass that helps you keep your bearings straight, whether you are moving or not. The barometric altimeter provides you with detailed elevation information so you can easily track your descent or ascent. The Garmin Fenix 2 will even provide you with detailed information on your run, as well as your recovery after a run.

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As you can easily see there are several top tactical watches on the market for you to choose from. With so many different choices it can be hard to narrow down what the best tactical watch for you is going to be. When it comes to picking out the best tactical watch you need to have a general idea of the different styles and uses of tactical watches. Once you know what you are going to be using it for, whether it’s diving, training, or military use, you want something that is going to stand up to repeated use. You want something that you can wear everyday without fail, which all of the tactical watches we mentioned in this article fit this bill without fail.

No matter what tactical watch you end up purchasing, we just want to thank you for taking the time to read our “Best Tactical Watch” article. Here at Best Tactical Flashlights we focus on flashlights but we really want to touch on other tactical gear, if you are interested in flashlights please check out our Best Flashlight Articles page. If you find that you like one of the watches listed on this page, please follow one of our links to Amazon to make your purchase. This site is run by the small commissions that we get from Amazon for each purchase that our readers make through our site. The commission is paid to us from Amazon without any added cost for you. Thanks.

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