What We Look For In The Best Military Watch
What is the best military watch? Whether you are a civilian who likes to support the troops, or a member of the armed forces, a person needs a good watch that will get the job done while also standing up to the harshest conditions. Military equipment are known to be tougher and more robust than your typical civilian equipment. When you go to war and your life depends on a piece of kit that you are using out in the middle of nowhere, you want to know that you can rely on it! That is why a lot of folks want a military watch. It is something we use everyday and on which we rely a lot for different purposes, so we want a watch that we know will not let us down. So what do we look for in the best military watch?
Functions – A lot of watches has every function under the sun you think a watch can have (just check out the Suunto watch we discuss later on), but ultimately the best military watch should only have the functions that you will need specifically for your job. Sure, if you are a Navy SEAL who needs to be able to do anything and everything then you need a watch that has everything you may need. But if you are not going to be scaling high cliffs or sky-diving, do you really need an altimeter? Probably not! And it is one more thing that sucks up battery power or that can break (the more moving parts, the more chance for something breaking). So what functions should the best military watch have? We believe the basic functions a military watch should have (besides being able to tell the time of course) is:
Shock resistance – A military watch needs to be able to take a beating. If you drop it or bump it, it needs to be able to carry on.
Water-proof – If you are a military man, chances are you are going to get wet…real wet some times. We have found most of the top military watches are water-proof up to 660 feet.
Timer – A timer is one of those functions you do not think you will ever need…until you need it!
Compass – Typically you should have a compass on you if you are out in the field, but it never hurts to have a back-up. If you are out in the boonies and you need to find you way back, your watch’s compass might just save your life.
Build Quality – This is probably obvious, but a military watch needs to be built to last. A watch made from a flimsy piece of plastic just won’t cut it! The screws, buttons and strapping all need to be quality stuff made from the best materials. A lot of the top military watches are made from materials such as Resin, Titanium or Carbon Fibre.
Accurate Time – All watches keep time accurately, right? Unfortunately some watches loose a bit of accuracy over time. Some of the best military watches, such as the G-Shock watches, actually use Atomic Time Keeping to ensure that the the watch is kept accurate at all times.
Our Top Military Watch Choices
Now that we have covered what we look for in the best military watch, we can have a look at 4 great watches. Obviously there are a LOT of watches out there that are tough enough to be listed as one of the best military watches, but these watches are commonly believed by different folks to be among the best military watches available today.
Casio G-Shock Rangeman “Master of G”
The G-Shock range of watches from Casio is the watch of choice for many special forces. In his book “American Sniper”, Chris Kyle lists the gear he uses. He described that the G-Shock was the watch that he wore throughout his career. Ex-Special Forces soldier Andy McNab mentions in several of his novels how his fictional character Nick Stone relies on a G-Shock watch. According to Mark Bowden’s book “Blackhawk Down”, the DELTA Operators wore G-Shock watches during the combat events of 3 & 4 October 1993. Since then, G-Shock watches have become very popular with Special Forces groups in both American and other NATO nation units, due to their being “battle tested”.
The Rangeman is the first G-Shock watch to incorporate Casio’s Triple Sensor technology, featuring digital sensors that measure compass bearing, altitude/barometric pressure, and temperature. The watch employs Casio’s Triple 10 concept where a watch is required to withstand a 10 meter free-fall, endure 10 bar water resistance and have a 10 year battery life. Another distinctive Rangeman feature is the dedicated sensor button with each sensor activation sounding its own unique beep, allowing one to activate any sensor eyes-free. The sensor button is also protected with a metal cylinder structure for extra impact protection.
When it comes to keeping accurate time we like this watch’s Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping feature, which enables the watch to receive time calibration radio signals from six transmitters worldwide — one in the US, two in Japan, and one each in China, Germany and the UK. For superior display accuracy, the signals are received up to six times a day. If you want a watch that is not reliant on batteries, then this is definitely the best military watch for you as it is solar powered. Casio’s Tough Solar technology ensures that even the weakest of light will be sufficient to power the watch.
However the big thing for us that makes this watch a contender for one of the best military watch options is the fact that it is a Quartz watch. If you are shooting (especially with high recoil weapons) a mechanical watch will be severely affected by the vibrations. However a Quartz watch will be less affected by such vibrations as a Quartz watch uses the vibrations in a piece of Quartz to ensure accurate time keeping.
One thing that some folks might not like is the negative display. In low light conditions it could be difficult to see the display and it you might even have to use the light.
Suunto Core Black Military Watch
When we first heard the name Suunto, we thought it must be Japanese (who tend to make some good electronic watches). But in fact Suunto is from Finland! Suunto has a history of manufacturing military equipment, having made sighting compasses for artillery officers in WW2.
If you want the Swiss Army Knife of watches, then the Suunto is the best military watch for you! It has more features and functions than most watches and probably way more than you would ever need! Suunto Core is an ABC-watch (A=altitude, B=barometer, C=compass). Since its release in 2007 there has been more than 30 different versions of Core. All of them have the same functions, but their external appearance differ. Some of the many features this watch boasts, include: Logbook function, countdown timer, stopwatch, guided calibration, bearing tracking, mulitple language support, depth meter, sunrise/sunset times, calendar clock, weather memory, weather alarm, trend indicator and graph, sea level pressure and of course the ABC sensors already mentioned. The feature that intrigues us is the weather alarm. It senses a sudden drop in air-pressure, which usually indicates a storm is approaching.
The cosmetics of the watch is such that while it is a military style watch, it still looks smart enough to wear in most civilian environments. It is very expensive though. While it boasts good construction quality and features, it does not necessarily beat out the Casio G-Shoch options for quality and durability.
G-Shock X-Large Digital GD100
The Casio G-Shocks are so nice, we listed them twice! The Rangeman is certainly a great watch that will fill the needs for most people as the best military watch, however with its green coloring and silver buttons, it might not be exactly what some folks are looking for. In such a case, the G-Shock GD100 might be what you are looking for with its all black styling. It still has the features you want in one of the best military watches, namely shock resistance, water resistance, stop watch, negative display, etc. It also has a high-density LED light to light up the display when you are in dark conditions. However, unfortunately this watch does not have the ABC functions like the Suunto or Rangeman.
What does make the Rangeman a better military watch option is the fact that it is solar powered, whereas this GD100 is only battery powered. This of course is not a huge problem as modern watch batteries last a really long time anyway (battery life for this watch is listed to be approximately 7 years).
Timex Men’s T49612 “Expedition Trail Series”
If you want to be different from the crowed who all seem to wear G-Shock, then the this watch from Timex might just be the best military watch for you! Not only that, but it is also a lot more affordable than the other watches. This Timex watch is also the only American watch on our list (the company is head-quartered in Connecticut, the watch is manufactured in China).
This watch is not a full ABC watch, as it only has a digital compass (not the Altimeter or Barometer), but it still has the main features you would like to have in a military watch. These include timers, alarms, day, date, calendar. light, shock resistance and being water-proof.
The Timex watch uses Indiglo® night-light to light the watch surface. It does this using patented blue electroluminescent lighting technology, which uses less battery power than most other watch illumination systems, enabling your watch battery to last longer.
What is different from this watch to the other watches that you may notice is the glass used for the face watch. It is made from Acrylic crystal rather than Mineral crystal. Acrylic crystal is an inexpensive plastic that allows shallow scratches to be buffed out. Mineral crystal is composed of several elements that are heat-treated to create an unusual hardness that helps resist scratches.
Which Watch Do We Think Is The Best Military Watch?
From the above watches, you can see there are some great military style watches available. Each have a range of features and qualities that make them contenders to be called the best military watch out there. So let’s recap the watches we looked at:
The G-Shock Rangeman Master of G from Casio has all the features you might need, from being solar powered to having a barometer! The color of the watch makes it suited for combat type environments where you may need to be camouflaged, while still being good looking enough to wear in civilian life. The over-sized buttons will make using this watch with tactical gloves on a pleasure! It is an expensive watch though when compared to some of the other watches on our list.
The Suunto Core Black is a nice looking watches with all the functions a watch could possibly have. Whether users would need all those functions are debatable and probably depends on what you need it for. If you are a Special Forces operator, then quite possibly you will find a lot of the functions useful. However if you just want a tough watch that gets the job done, then this is not the best military watch for you.It is very expensive though, and for the money we would probably rather go with a Casio G-Shock.
The G-Shock GD100 does not have all the fancy features that the Rangeman and Suunto does, but it is a solid watch that is also a lot more affordable than the Rangeman and Suunto. With its black styling, it will provide stealth in a combat situation while being presentable in civilian environments. If you want a really tough watch that does not cost an arm and a leg, this watch is possibly the best military watch for your needs.
The Timex watch is the most affordable watch on our list and is also a great alternative if you do not want to follow the crowed and get a G-Shock. Sure, it does not have all the cool features that the Rangeman or Suunto does, but it still has the basic functions that you might need.
So, which watch do we think is the best military watch option?
If we had to cough up our hard earned money for a military watch, we would very likely either go for the G-Shock Rangeman or the Timex watch. The Rangeman looks like a true military watch, is well constructed and has all the features you may ever need. However, when prices becomes a factor then the Timex is our best military watch. It does not have all the extra features that a Rangeman has, but realistically you won’t need all those features. It is a lot more affordable than the G-Shocks and Suunto, but is still tough enough to serve you well in most environments.
What Do You Think – What Is The Best Military Watch?
What do you think is the best military watch? Do you think there is no competition for the G-Shoch watches, or do you think they are over rated and that there are much better watches out there? If you have some thoughts on the topic of what the best military watch is, please share them in the comments section below!