Finding the best military watch can be a tricky endeavor.
Here's the catch:
There are many great choices out there, and with so many factors to look for, it can be overwhelming to decide.
The best part?
Luckily, I did tons of research on the top military watches and put together this article to save you all of the headache of sifting through tons of information.
Let's take a look at the top 5 watches for military and tactical situations first, and then we will get into the criteria.
That's not all...
After that, we will look closely at each of the top 5 so that you can decide which one is right for you.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Military Watches Comparison Table
White on Black
1CR: Black on White
3CR: White on Black
White on Black
Black on White
Black on White
Yes with Tidal Info
When selecting the right military watch, there are several criteria that you want to look for to match your needs.
For most of us, price is always a main concern. Usually, there is a trade off of features and quality related to how much we pay.
Consider which features you absolutely need and that are mission critical versus what you might want, but may not really need.
A main factor is build quality and long term durability. We want a watch that can take a beating over and over and still work during critical moments.
This feature is called shock resistance, but we need to ensure we go with brand names that other customers have thoroughly reviewed and reported back how well they hold up.
Some cheaper watches may look cool at first, but its completely worthless if it breaks the first time it gets dinged or splashed with water.
The next factor is water resistance. If we end up in the water and the watch gets submerged, we need to know that it will come out fine.
Typically, watches have a depth rating of how far under water they can go, so we need to pay attention to this number to make sure it meets how we will be using the watch.
Naturally, a big factor is we want a good time and calendar system built into the watch. We need at a bare minimum for the watch to display both 12 and 24 hour military time.
We also might need a world time feature that can track different time zones that we might find ourselves in across the globe.
This comes in handy if we find ourselves on missions or on travel in other areas so that the watch keeps track of time differences for us.
Another factor is whether or not we want to have solar powered capability on the watch, so that it recharges itself whenever it is exposed to light.
This is a great feature, because it usually means we may not need to replace the battery for about 10 years, instead of every 2 years for a watch with a regular battery and no solar capability. However, we may or may not need this feature.
Many traditional LCD watches work by having a white or green back screen and creating black symbols to display information. In most cases this is perfectly fine.
However, if one of our main concerns is stealth, then we might want to invest in a watch that has an inverse LCD screen, meaning that the back screen is black, and the symbols are white.
This makes it much harder for others to see the watch from farther away because the eye is not as sensitive to see this unless it is up close.
Finally, we want to check if we need some of the more advanced features out there that modern technology has made available to us.
We have the option of paying more to get a built in digital compass, barometer (pressure), thermometer (temperature), and altimeter (altitude). There are even some watches that have things like tidal information.
The modern digital compass is based on the magnetometer, and can fit into an miniature electronic circuit these days.
Other sensors like pressure, temperature, and altitude have been around for a while and fit nicely into a watch.
Now that we looked at the critical criteria for the best watches for military, let's dive into the details on the best ones out there.
The GA100-1A1 has all of the fundamental features that we look for in military tactical watches.
It is incredibly durable, water resistant up to 200 meters, has a fantastic time system, and has an inverse LCD screen. These features at an extraordinary price make it the top choice.
One drawback is that it is not solar powered, and instead has a 2 year life battery.
It also doesn't have any of the advanced features that we discussed. If these features are not on your list, then this watch is for you.
It's overall black design makes it fashionably impressive and stealthy.
Here is a video review of the GA100-1A1 below.
Two options tied for the number two spot are the GW-9400-1CR and GW-9400-3CR, which are practically identical in features except for how they look and the LCD screen polarity.
The GW-9400-1CR has a white LCD background with dark symbols, and the GW-9400-3CR is the reverse of that.
If you are looking for the more stealthy of the two, then you should pick the GW-9400-3CR.
Both watches have the core features and advanced features that we have discussed. Not only are they durable, water resistant to 200 meters, and have a great time system, but there is more.
They are also solar powered, and if you are looking for military watches with a compass, then you are in luck.
They have a built in compass, barometer, altimeter, and thermometer.
The GW-9400-3CR is one of the best watches for survival.
The GA110-1B is almost identical to the GA100-1A1 in overall features.
However, the look, style, and watch face arrangement is different.
If the GA100-1A1 is not your favorite, then give this watch a look for great features at a great price.
It is a very stylish watch with a one of a kind look that will set you apart from everyone else out there.
It also excels in being stealthy.
If you are looking for all of the great core features we have talked about, but also want the advanced features at a more affordable price, then the PAG240-1CR is the right choice.
It sports awesome durability, water resistance to 100 meters, a great time system, and solar power.
One drawback is that its LCD screen is not inverted, meaning it has a white background with dark symbols. Again, this is only important if you need extreme stealth in your watch.
The PAG240-1CR has the advanced features covered with a built in compass, thermometer, altimeter, and barometer.
If price is no object and you want the best of the best, then the PRW-2500T-7CR is the way to go. It is part of their ProTrek line.
It has everything from durability, 200 meter water resistance, the best time system, solar power, and advanced features.
Not only does it come with a digital compass, altimeter, thermometer, and barometer, but it also has tidal information.
The LCD is the classic white background with dark symbols, so it is not inverted.
All of the features wrapped into one watch make this watch a great buy.
In summary, there are many things to look for in a military watch. We covered the core criteria, advanced features, and even the importance on deciding what type of LCD screen is right for your situation.
While doing all of the research for these type of watches, Casio was the crowd favorite by having the highest reviews on their watches by people who have used them for a long time. This gives credibility and value to the brand. Other brand watches, while having great prices and features, suffered in reviews.
Also, if you are looking for even more variety in the G-shock product line, there are some other excellent reviews as well.
One complaint that some Casio fans have is that the backlight for their watches is typically "too dim" for a small amount of owners. However, as several reviewers point out, for military and tactical situations, you don't want a bright backlight.
You normally will only be checking the time in critical moments, and therefore the Casio backlight design illuminates only the time portion of the display well, keeping your position hidden in the environment.
Now that we have covered the top 5 military watches, it's time for you to decide which one is best for you. Also, a watch like this makes a nice addition to a great BOB.
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