Best Military and Tactical Wristwatches for Survival Adventures
Today, we’re diving into the world of military watches, essential gear for those who rely on precision, durability, and functionality in the outdoors. If you’ve been around the watch collecting game for a bit, you’ve probably stumbled on the significant military history tied into the very existence of wristwatches. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or just getting started, this chapter will guide you through the top military watches that can be your lifeline in the wild. So, let’s gear up and explore the world of survival watches!
Timex Ironman Triathlon Original
Timex offers the Ironman Original 30, what they call a tribute to the original 1986 Ironman. Surprisingly, the watch clears a solid 200 meters of water resistance and bears a striking resemblance to Willink’s Timex. These Ironman watches are everywhere. And although it’s a bit thick for a digital at 15 Millimeters, it’s a solid feature-packed choice that’s ready for any job.
Casio G-Shock GW6900-1
You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like. While it’s probably the most commonly-used watch across military branches all over the world, not all G-Shocks are created equal. Sure, a basic model will probably take anything you throw at it, but this version adds in a few upgrades. Specifically, the GW6900-1 features Casio’s Tough Solar tech along with Multi Band 6 and one of the clearest dual time zone readouts you can get on a digital watch. A full solar charge will last 10 months. But again, these are on the thicker side. If that bugs you, we have some slimmer options later in the post.
Scurfa Diver One
Owned and operated by Paul Scurfield, a North Sea commercial saturation diver, Scurfa offers some of the most affordable and durable dive watches with Swiss movements you can find anywhere. They’re also incredibly capable, with 500 metres of water resistance and some titanium options. The stainless steel case is also compact and slim, with designs reminiscent of old-school Tudor divers but at an easier level of accessibility. The sword hands also call back to the mil-spec guidelines followed by brands like CWC today. You can snag them in a couple of different dial colors and there’s a black PVD version to satisfy your tacticool needs. All of the models ship with a rubber strap but this will probably do a bit better on a nylon NATO strap. Feel free to explore our full write-up on the Scurfa Diver One.
Casio G-Shock Rangeman Tactical Watch
After the 2020 film Extraction, it’s no secret that Chris Hemsworth brought some G-Shock Rangeman hype to the world of tactical watches. While a lot of it may seem like Hollywood nonsense, this watch is actually a solid choice that often serves in the field. At this tier of the G-Shock hierarchy, you start to see the addition of altimeter, barometer, and compass features. Like many others, this model offers convenient solar charging but the case is massively thick at 18.2 Millimeters. One thing to keep in mind is that watches with a compass feature are often prohibited if you’re in the process of completing land navigation courses during your training. If you’ve graduated and have the wrists for it, have at it!
We’ve long proclaimed how much of a serious pilot’s watch the Marathon Navigator is. Really, when it comes to affordability and its real-world popularity, you really can’t beat it. Originally designed in collaboration with Kelly Air Force Base, Marathon has been steadily improving on the model, with a more recent and very popular stainless steel release. The resin case models are lightweight and honestly classic at this point. It’s so cool to see older examples that were in service during the 90s pop up from time to time. These are available all day and it’s a perfect option if you want something affordable that doesn’t fall into the usual dive watch thing.
Luminox Navy Seal EVO 3000 Series
Aside from G-Shocks or a diver watch from Tudor, few brands are as closely connected to the Navy SEALs as Luminox. The original 3000 model is the classic Luminox when you think of the SEALs. Unlike some newer models, the case size is reasonable at 43mm. The analog dial is also fitted with luminous tritium gas tubes that emit a constant glow, which aids with nighttime visibility. As a quartz watch, you’ll also never really have to worry about accuracy.
By now, it’s clear that the Seiko Turtle diver with its distinct cushion case is pretty popular with guys in Special Operations. Just look at guys like Kyle Defoor and Dave Hall if you need that kind of confirmation. No matter how you look at it, these Seiko divers have long been seen as reliable and accessible sport watches that you could drag through almost anything. Commonly seen in the SpecOps community as far back as the 1970s, Seiko makes a modern and faithful interpretation of the turtle today, the SRP777. Several options are available with different dial color, strap, and bracelet options.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Trace history all the back to the earliest days of military watches and you’ll almost exclusively see what we refer to as the field watch. This clear, legible, and often time-only design has seen so much use and evolution throughout the decades, especially during World War 2. And brands like Hamilton and Bulova are often seen as some of the top players when it comes to the field watch. The Khaki Field Mechanical can really be your first and last watch. You get a compact case that’s more classically sized and an incredible 80 hours of power reserve. It’s a more subtle and timeless option when you compare it to some of the more aggressive designs on this list. The only downside is the lack of a screw-down crown, which would serve to elevate the watch in terms of durability. These watches also absolutely kill it on a leather strap.
Garmin Fenix 7 Series
Some of the most preferred wristwatches in and around the military are Garmin watches. Like G-Shocks, they’re incredibly widespread in active duty scenarios but come packed with an almost absurd amount of features. This goes beyond having just altimeter/barometer/compass functionality. Watches like the Fenix can do that and so much more. The Fenix series can be had across a range of sizes with added functions like health monitoring and topographical map navigation. There’s also the option of connecting the watch to a huge list of compatible devices, including mobile phones. Just keep in mind that connected features like Bluetooth and wireless communication are often prohibited in and around sensitive or classified facilities.
And there you have it, folks, a deep dive into the world of military watches for survival. These timepieces are more than just stylish accessories; they are your companions in the harshest of conditions, helping you navigate, track time, and stay on top of your game when it matters most. Thanks for joining us today.