Best Tactical Watch Reviews

Updated July 24, 2020

As the name suggests, the selection of timepieces we like to call military-grade watches is designed to resist the roughness of a military theater. However, this doesn’t mean their features cater only to the military and law enforcement personnel.

Military watches are just as useful to EMTs, professional divers, rescue teams, outdoor adventurers, and more. These timepieces are made to withstand harsh conditions while keeping their accuracy and reliability.

As such, there’s no wonder that almost every watchmaker in the market has at least one collection deemed as tactical. And since we know it can get pretty difficult to choose from the plethora of products out there, we found the best tactical watches and reviewed them for you.

We also have a detailed buying guide, so you’ll know which features to follow and why.

Best Tactical Watches

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1 Garmin Tactix Bravo Tactical Watch
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2
Best Overall
G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 Tactical Watch
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3 SureFire - 2211 WristLight Series
Best For Low Budgets
SureFire 2211 WristLight Series Tactical Watch
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4 Luminox - Recon Pointman Luminox Recon Pointman Tactical Watch
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5 Marathon - WW194007 Tsar Military
Best For Higher Budgets
Marathon WW194007 Tsar Military Tactical Watch
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6 Luminox Evo Navy Seal Tactical Watch
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7 Casio Pro Trek Solar Watch Tactical Watch
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8 Bertucci - A-2S Field Watch Black Bertucci A-2S Field Tactical Watch
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1. Garmin Tactix Bravo Tactical Watch

Highlights

The Tactix Bravo from Garmin is a watch built for the tactical environment but also packs features that keep track of a user’s fitness activity. 

It is durable due to the non-reflective, all-black design and 1.2-inch high-resolution, sunlight-readable dial protected by a high-strength domed sapphire lens. The dial can also be seen during the night due to the night vision system that is compatible with goggles. In addition, the watch is water-resistant (up to 100m) and supports WiFi connectivity (which allows it to automatically update its software and apps). The 

The watch can be used for orientation and localization due to the high-sensitivity GPS/GLONASS with automatic calibrating altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass. Also, due to the omni-directional stainless steel EXO antenna, the watch can keep track of your location even in more difficult terrains. 

Among the most-appreciated features, there are the ones that make it a tactical watch like Jumpmaster, projected waypoints, dual-format GPS coordinate data and TrackBac (to get back to your starting point). But the Tactix Bravo also comes with features for tracking fitness activity which is why many outdoor adventurers prefer it. 

In terms of style, the Tactix Bravo is not bulky but it is rugged and fulfills its durability promises. It is comfortable to wear, the face is large and easy to read, and there’s no need to worry about charging. The battery life is up to 50 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode, 20 hours in GPS mode and up to 3 weeks for regular use (as a smartwatch).

Specifications

Material:
Diamond-like Carbon (DLC), Coated Stainless Steel, Nylon Fabric Strap
Battery Life:
20h GPS Mode/21 days Time Mode

Pros

  • Slim, all-black design with a ruggedness to it
  • Lots of useful features
  • The provided information is reliable and accurate
  • Easy to read screen
  • A great fit for any outdoor adventurer

Cons

  • The nylon strap retains odors
  • It is a bit pricey

2. G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 Tactical Watch

Highlights
Best Overall

The Rangeman is one of the larger G-Shock models on the market and, if you add the classic case protection, it’s also one of the bulkiest. However, the large face accommodates a series of extremely useful features and has an integrated solar cell that keeps the watch going with regular exposure to everyday light. In fact, there is a battery status indicator right in the middle of the watch’s face (the L-M-H / Low-Medium-High bar). 

In addition, once you set the timezone, you don’t have to worry about setting the exact time. The watch communicates with the closest Worldwide Atomic Time transmitters in order to keep extremely accurate time. The GW-9400  is designed to communicate with six such transmitters all over the world. 

The watch features 11 modes, among which you have the regular timekeeping mode (with 12h and 24h formats), world time mode (timekeeping in a different time zone), stopwatch (it can go on for 1,000 hours), 24h countdown timer, alarm (5 of them), and more. 

Lastly, the watch comes with triple sensor technology with a built-in compass, thermometer, and barometer. It can also save some of the information so you can check it at a later date and it can be influenced by outside elements. The controls are easy to understand (each button on the side of the case has multiple functions), but it’s best to play with them until you learn how to make all the settings.

Specifications

Material:
Mineral Crystal Lens, Resin Band and Case
Size:
5.4cm
Weight:
5.93oz

Pros

  • Extremely durable build
  • Lots of features and modes
  • Solar-powered mechanism
  • Extremely accurate when it communicates with one of the pre-set transmitters
  • Large face that accommodates a series of information

Cons

  • It has a bit of a learning curve
  • It is rather bulky
  • The illumination could stay on longer

3. SureFire 2211 WristLight Series Tactical Watch

Highlights
  • Perfect wrist light for tactical situations
  • The watch face is easy to read
  • Unidirectional rotating bezel
  • Good battery power
Best For Low Budgets
SureFire - 2211 WristLight Series

This is a combination between a tactical wrist light and an analog watch with Quartz movement. Since it goes on your wrist, the SureFire 2211 is extremely useful for law enforcement and military personnel who can’t use a hand-held flashlight.

Of course, this functionality is just as useful for outdoor adventurers, hunters, campers, and other people who need an easy-to-use illuminating device.

SureFire 2211 creates a MaxVision Beam and can be worn on both hands. There are three levels of light power (300, 60, and 15 lumens) and you can easily move through them using the built-in switch.

To increase its functionality, SureFire added an analog timepiece at the top, with a unidirectional rotating bezel, 12h markers, and date window. The dial is black and simple, featuring white Arabic numerals. The self-illuminating tritium hands (a three hands movement) and markers are easily visible in low-light conditions.

Both the watch and the light use standard CR123a Lithium-Ion batteries and can be recharged using a USB port. Depending on the light power, you’ll get 1 hour at 300-lumens and up to 13 hours at 15 lumens.

The watch and wrist light secure around the wrist using a nylon strap with buckle closure. Overall, this is a useful piece of tactical equipment, but it can be quite bulky, so it takes some getting used to.

Specifications

Material:
High-impact Polymer, Nylon Strap
Size:
2.36 in x 2.02 in x 1.03 in
Battery Life:
1 hour at 300-lumens and up to 13 hours at 15 lumens

Pros

  • Three-hands quartz movement
  • Illuminated hands and hour markers
  • Durable materials & build
  • Powerful wrist light

Cons

  • It is bulky
  • It’s a bit pricey

4. Luminox Recon Pointman Tactical Watch

Highlights

The Pointman is part of the Recon NAV SPC series from Luminox and it’s a two-piece system designed for navigation and survival in unfamiliar terrains. The main piece is the watch, which is rugged and solid with a reinforced polycarbonate case and a ruler rubber strap that’s marked with inches and centimeters on one side and three common map scales on the other side. This way, you can use the strap to calculate your heading and distances using a map.

On the strap, you’ll find a buckle-style closure and an analog magnetic compass that can be removed. The compass has a bidirectional rotating bezel that helps you establish the headings.

The watch in itself is rather big and has a unidirectional bezel with an aluminum inner ring that can be used for time maneuvers and calculating your current position. At the center of the black dial, there’s a four-hands, quartz-powered movement, and in the 3 o’clock position, you’ll find a date complication. Everything is protected by an anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal window.

The watch is useful in both sunlight and its absence (at night) as it uses Luminox’s Tritium illumination method. It comes in a specially-designed Luminox pouch with belt loops on the back (so you can wear it in the pouch, on a belt, or on the strap of a backpack). It’s also lightweight despite being quite large (46mm case) and it’s perfect for adventurers and explorers.

Specifications

Material:
Rubber Strap, Reinforced Polycarbonate Case, Anti-Reflective Scratch-Resistant Sapphire Crystal Lens
Size:
46mm

Pros

  • Durable build, with lightweight materials
  • It comes with an attached compass
  • The strap can be used to chart a path on the map
  • It is powered by a reliable quartz movement
  • It has lots of features for navigation and establishing position

Cons

  • It is a bit bulky, especially for smaller wrists
  • It’s not easily accessible for explorers on a budget

5. Marathon WW194007 Tsar Military Tactical Watch

Highlights
  • Solid build with high-quality materials
  • Rotating bezel with markings for divers
  • 12h & 24h formats
  • Tritium gas tubes on hands and hour markers
Best For Higher Budgets
Marathon - WW194007 Tsar Military

Marathon is the official supplier of wristwatches to the US and Canadian military since 1941, so their tactical watches are based on actual military expertise.

The TSAR is built to government specifications for use by military personnel and was designed for Search And Rescue missions at sea. The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters (1000 feet) underwater and has a rotating bezel with diver’s 60-minutes markings. In addition, its case is made from 316L surgical grade stainless steel, and the lens is made from scratch-resistant synthetic sapphire.

The watch is powered by a Swiss-made ETA F06 3 jewel high-torque Quartz movement with EOL (End-of-Life) indicator. To set the time and date (window date between 4 and 5 o’clock), you have a textured screwdown crown that’s easy to grip.

The analog dial is black and features both 12h and 24h formats with Arabic numerals. The three hands movement and hour markers are designed with self-illuminating tritium gas tubes that glow even when they are not charged by an external light source.

Overall, the TSAR is a beautiful tactical watch that holds its own in real military missions or intense adventures. It’s a reliable design with a durable build that can easily become your best tool in times of need.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel With Scratch-Resistant Sapphire Crystal and Rubber Strap
Size:
41mm Diameter x 14mm Thickness
Battery Life:
Around 3 Years

Pros

  • Easy-to-read analog dial
  • Tritium gas tubes
  • Reliable Swiss Quartz movement
  • Solid build & durable materials

Cons

  • The case is big and bulky
  • It’s rather heavy for its size

6. Luminox Evo Navy Seal Tactical Watch

Highlights

The Evo Navy Seal from Luminox features durable polyurethane case and band, resists under 660ft (200m) of water, and glows 100 times brighter than other luminous timepieces on the market. This makes it the ideal design for people who need to tell the time in low-light or no-light conditions or for professional marine activity.  

The large face, durable mineral dial window, and white hands and markers make it easy to read the analog black dial with one date complication by the 3 o’clock position. The watch features both 12h and 24h formats and the unidirectional textured bezel is adorned with minute indexes for easier timing. 

At its core, the Evo Navy Seal is powered by a Japanese Quartz movement, which means it is highly accurate. In summary, this is a highly durable, comfortable to wear, reliable timepiece that can be used by professionals with demanding jobs like US Navy Seals, Air Force pilots, medical personnel and more.

Specifications

Material:
Polyurethane, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size:
44mm
Weight:
2.05oz

Pros

  • Durable build & protective case
  • Reliable & accurate quartz movement
  • Easy to read face
  • Good water resistance
  • The glowing markers are bright

Cons

  • The band breaks in time
  • The glowing markers will lose power in time
  • Replacement parts are quite expensive

7. Casio Pro Trek Solar Watch Tactical Watch

Highlights

As the name suggests, this timepiece is created for backpackers, hikers, and people who usually have an active outdoor lifestyle (whether it’s for work or for fun). 

Equipped with Tough Solar Power technology, the Pro Trek PRW2500T is a solar-powered, digital sports watch. This means that you can use sunlight to recharge the battery, which will hold about 5 months on a full charge with all the features available and without any further charging. In Power Saving mode the watch is supposed to last for about 23 months. 

Other features that make this watch stand out are Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping, Tide Graph, Moon Data, digital compass, altimeter (with the possibility to save data), barometer, thermometer, and more. In addition, its water-resistance and EL backlight with afterglow, make it a fantastic tool for divers and people who are usually around water.

As a timekeeper, the Pro Trek is equipped with a stopwatch, countdown timer, five alarms, full auto-calendar programmed until 2099, 12/24h formats, and more. 

In terms of design, this is a rather bulky watch with lots of buttons and plenty of information displayed at almost any time. Still, due to the titanium bracelet, it is not as heavy as you’d expect. It’s also complex, due to the multitude of features it has to offer, so it takes a bit of reading the instructions and playing with the settings to learn what it does.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens, Titanium Band
Size:
51mm
Weight:
4oz

Pros

  • Durable design with lots of cool features
  • Bi-directional stainless steel compass bezel
  • Atomic Timekeeping for increased reliability
  • Solar-powered with a good power reserve
  • Good water resistance

Cons

  • The interface is a bit complex
  • The design is bulky and large
  • You must take it off for accurate temperature reading

8. Bertucci A-2S Field Tactical Watch

Highlights
  • Very durable build with lots of high-grade materials
  • Analog dial with 12h and 24h formats
  • Super Luminous lume for improved visibility
  • The lens is sunk inside the bezel, for extra protection

Designed to fit extreme conditions, the Bertucci A-2S Field timepiece features a simple and durable design. The Unibody case is made from U.S. Patented solid stainless steel and comes with a screw down crown (in the 4 o’clock position) and an equally solid case back.

The watch is water-resistant for up to 100m (330ft or 10 ATM) and comes with a scratch-resistant hardened mineral crystal lens that ensures maximum visibility at all times. The lens is depressed about 1/8″ below the bezel, so it’s hard to actually hit it by accident with another object.

Furthermore, the Bertucci A-2S Field is powered by a Swiss made all-metal quartz movement with three hands. The analog dial is black with 12h and 24h formats (in Arabic numerals) and has Super Luminous paint on the main hands and hour markers (very visible in low-light conditions or at night).

The battery on this watch can go on for about 3+ years and the movement remains highly accurate throughout its lifetime.

Overall, this timepiece is built like a tank, with a perfect finish and top quality NATO textile band!

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel With Mineral Crystal Lens
Size:
40mm Diameter x 14mm Thickness
Battery Life:
Around 3+ Years

Pros

  • Good resistance to water
  • A textile strap that’s easy to secure
  • A scratch-resistant lens
  • Impressive battery life & accuracy

Cons

  • The dial is very simple, and all the information is printed on (no complications)

Tactical Watch Buying Guide

Type

There are several ways to categorize the type of military grade watches, depending on their ruggedness, style, or information they can offer. We took a different approach and decided to categorize combat watches depending on the technology that powers them: digital, analog, and advanced (or smart).

Tactical Digital Watches

From a tactical point of view, digital watches are a bit more advanced as they can accommodate more functions. Such a watch can incorporate GPS/GLONASS technology or can connect to a mobile device that has these sensors (like a mobile phone). 

It can also have the possibility to store and access topographic maps of the area and record your movements for later analysis. Furthermore, digital tactical watches often come with air pressure sensors (barometer and altimeter) and can provide information on the weather and future weather trends.

Of course, there’s always the downside of battery life, since the more features a watch will have, the quicker they will drain the battery. To avoid this, valuable tactical watches use light sources for energy (solar or artificial), which is a neat way to solve the power source problem. 

Tactical Analog Watches

Analog watches are usually seen as more reliable, but it’s important to make sure your timepiece has a reliable movement. As you can see from our reviews, all the timepieces we selected have a Quartz movement. This means that your watch uses a battery as a power source, but it doesn’t need recharging – you just change the battery when it gives out (which usually happens in several years).

While an analog timepiece doesn’t have too many fancy features, it will always give you the time and date (if it has a date window). Also, the hands can be used for orientation when you don’t have a compass around. 

Lastly, an analog display is easier to read than a digital one, as it’s usually less cluttered. Also, we can argue that these timepieces are more reliable and durable than their digital counterparts. 

Tactical Smart Watches

A smartwatch is a more advanced digital watch, so it will have all the features mentioned above and more. Today’s devices can be used to send messages, take calls, and monitor your activities on a large scale. 

Some have quite accurate heart monitors and all have access to a wide array of apps and watch faces that can enhance their functionality. 

However, they are not very durable and the technology they pack can be quite sensitive to weather exposure. Still, some brands managed to overcome this issue, so there are a few impressive models out there. 

Style

All military style watches feature a rugged design, built around functionality. They must withstand extreme conditions (humidity, low or high temperatures, dust, and more) and provide accurate information. 

A military watch must be as stealth as possible, without any reflective surfaces or elements that could easily draw attention. These timepieces are heavy-duty and highly-specialised, in order to provide users with the right type of data. 

As a result, some designs may look a bit bulky or the watch face may look a bit complex. However, they are built to be convenient, so it’s easy to get used to them. 

Features

When it comes to army watches, each person’s needs are different. However, there are a few features that matter the most when you choose such a timepiece. 

Compass

If it were to choose between a watch with GPS and one with a plain-old compass, a military man would be wise to select the later. Tactical watches with compass are reliable and accurate in conditions where the GPS signal is blocked or has interferences. Furthermore, a compass feature doesn’t drain the battery and has plenty of uses in a tactical scenario.

Even more, most military watches with compass also come with other useful sensors such as a barometer or altimeter. When these three features are combined, you can tell if there’s about to be a storm well in advance, and you can use them to understand the surrounding environment. 

Overall, the compass and the sensors that usually accompany it, are crucial for a tactical watch. Whether you’re in the military, law enforcement, rescue missions, or you’re just a regular hiker, this feature can guide you in a difficult situation!

Shock Resistant

A top military watch must be durable – there’s no way around this. People who choose to buy them need a timepiece that can withhold a few mild shocks and bumps and can take on a few scratches without falling apart or becoming unusable. 

As a result, most tactical watches have a rugged design and can seem bulky (at first). However, the materials used are lightweight, so the ruggedness doesn’t mean additional weight and it doesn’t create discomfort. 

In addition to durability, a shock-resistant timepiece also needs to remain reliable under extreme conditions. For this, experts recommend a quartz movement, since they are more likely to withstand shocks and temperature variations (compared to mechanical movements).  

Waterproof

You never know when you’re going to walk through heavy rain or when you have to dive into the water, without too much warning! These scenarios and more are part of outdoor adventurers and military personnel’s lives, which is why they need water-resistant accessories. 

As such, a top military watch must be capable of resisting submersion in water for at least up to 100m/320ft (and more). The best tactical watches can withstand up to 300m/1000ft underwater. 

These timepieces are created to withstand higher pressure, have protections around the case and buttons, and have good illumination for low-light conditions. Some of the best designs use Tritium gas tubes that provide illumination without requiring an external light source to recharge. 

Materials & Colors

As you can see from our reviews, military watches use a wide range of durable and lightweight materials. Still, the most popular choices are polyurethane, shock-proof resin, stainless steel, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, rubber or nylon for the strap, and a few more. 

In terms of color, most people choose to go with a black tactical watch since this is a color that integrates well with most environments. You will also find these rugged timepieces in camouflage or dark green. The secret is to use colors that fare well in extreme conditions and don’t attract unwanted attention.

Our Verdict

The term ‘tactical watches’ covers a wide selection of models, but they are all built to be durable and useful in tough situations. While these pieces are built around functionality and durability, you can still find stylish watches that will fit your design needs.

However, some of the best tactical watches are rugged and a bit bulky. Of course, they provide a wide range of useful information and they are lightweight and comfortable – perfect for everyday use.

Overall, these are more than watches – they are wearable tools that the military and law enforcement personnel use to guide themselves through the unknown.

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