Best Military Watches: 2019 Buyer’s Guide

In situations of life and death, time can make all the difference. Governments of various countries understood that when they made the decision to alter how soldiers would keep track of time forever. For soldiers, watches needed to be durable, reliable, and easy to read and adjust.

Why Are Military Watches So Impressive?

For decades, military watches provided precision and accuracy for both soldiers and civilians alike. Before World War II, it was limited to soldiers and military personnel only. Nowadays, EVEN YOU can have top of the line timekeeping equipment at your disposal. Not only does a majority of military watches sold to the public is based off the same punctual and reliable design, they are also just as effective. Some of the best military watches in circulation are so good that even military personnel picks up civilian copies.

Military Watches and Technology?

It’s no secret that the military spends A LOT of money on technology. The rapid development of increasingly accurate watch technology has made more information than ever before accessible. It can include anything, from air pressure, precise time readings, GPS navigation, altitude to temperature and much more. Military watches are in high demand due to the obvious reason – military technology has always been perceived as more advanced. Whether you are searching for the best compass or the best long-range walkie-talkies, chances are you will find it a descendant of military hardware. You Want a Military Watch To:
  • Be legible
  • Be durable
  • Blend in
Easy to read and easy to use, they are popular among anyone who loves outdoors. If you are a hiker, hunter, or adventurer – it will come in handy.

Best Military Watch with Compass: Suunto Traverse

Suunto Traverse
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon Features:
  • Easy to use
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Barometer
  • Links up to your smartphone, so you stay up to date with your notifications
  • Tracks steps and calories
  • Water Resistant
A Suunto Traverse can do more than tell you the time. Made in Finland, the Suunto Traverse’s ease of use is consistent with the Finnish minimalistic design philosophy. Combining elegant design with advanced technology,  the Traverse watch guarantees access to information that would be vital during a military operation. It comes not only with a compass, but also with a responsive GPS. This key feature increases directional awareness during a hunting or hiking trip. You can even upload routes to the watch so it will act as a guide. Moreover, it uses GLONASS Satellite navigation systems to display routes accurately. On top of having a compass, Suunto Traverse  uses barometers to predict weather changes. The watch does this by detecting air pressure changes in the atmosphere. The watch even provides storm alerts, so you can quickly find shelter in case of a major storm. For an avid adventurer, knowing the weather comes in handy. You won’t lose track of time with this watch on your wrist. Suunto Traverse keeps you informed of both the sunrise and sunset. Being able to read watches once the sun sets becomes an issue if the watch doesn’t have a backlight feature. Thankfully, Suunto thought ahead and incorporated a backlight feature to their Traverse watch. Once the sun sets, the backlight feature kicks in for easy readability. The whole point of a hiking trip is to disconnect from the rest of the world. That being the case, constantly checking your phone during an excursion can be tiresome. A Suunto Traverse watch links up to your smartphone, so you can get calls or text notifications on the go. This watch made in Finland – what guarantees use of hqh quality materials. The stainless steel bezel protects the watch’s screen from damage. More importantly, the steel ensures water protection of up to 100 meters.  The watch won’t weigh you down and will be a convenient addition to your escapades. Pros
  • Lightweight & Water Resistant
  • GPS navigation
  • Steel protection
  • Low Battery Life
  • Faulty Android App
Bottom Line The Suunto Traverse is an excellent hiking or hunting trip companion. For accuracy and results, it is the most reliable military watch with a compass on the market. However, keep in mind the inconsistent battery life of the Suunto watch. Check Price on Amazon

Best Military Watch for Under $100: Casio Men’s G-Shock Classic Analog-Digital Watch

Casio Men's G100-1BV G-Shock Classic Ana-Digi Watch
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon Features:
  • Shock Resistant
  • Water Resistant
  • LED Backlight
  • Full Calendar
The Casio G-Shock design doesn’t resemble that of a traditional military watch, but don’t be fooled. The G-Shock watch is popular amongst a majority of soldiers stationed in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The rise in G-Shock preference is due to its features. Don’t worry about banging your G-Shock around. If the military loves the watch, so will you. If you plan on exposing your watch to a lot of force, the Casio G-Shock is your answer. It is shock resistant, which helps the watch sustain heavy damage. However, it’s most impressive feature is how waterproof it is – It is water resistant up to 200 meters! Even scuba divers attest to its water resistant quality. You don’t have to worry about recharging your Casio G-Shock; the watch is not rechargeable. The battery will last three years, which is enough time for you to take advantage of what the watch has to offer. If you are a fan of analog-digital watches, the Casio G-Shock best fits that category. It comes with an automatic calendar that is pre-programmed to the year 2039. The watch won’t last you that long, but the feature will come in handy. You can personalize a Casio G-Shock to your specific needs. The watch acts as your daily alarm and stopwatch that is accurate to 1/100 of a second. Accuracy is key to a functioning watch. Without accuracy, you might as well not have a watch. The G-Shock is the least minimalistic military watch on the market, but soldiers love it all the same. Pros
  • Accurate Time Readings
  • Extremely Durable
  • Water Resistant
  • Shock Resistant
  • Difficult to adjust analog
  • Will die one day (Battery is not rechargeable)
Bottom Line The G-Shock military watch will prove to be useful when you need it. If you are looking for a sleek watch, this won’t be the one for you. Check Price on Amazon

Best Military Solar Watch: Seiko Men’s SNE331

Seiko Men's SNE331 Sport Solar Black Stainless Steel Watch with Beige Nylon Band
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon Features:
  • Water Resistant
  • Nylon Band
  • Solar Powered
If you are the type of person who believes less is more, this Seiko watch is the one for you. Seiko watches are the standard for Olympic and sports timings, so it makes sense for military personnel to use it as well. You would be wearing one of the most accurate watches on the market. For those who require glasses, this watch is your simple solution. The face of the military watch has large stenciled numbers that make it easy to read. In fact, the black background of the watch complements well with the beige numbers and isn’t hard on the eyes. One superior feature about a solar powered watch is that the sun will never run out as an energy source. In fact, your Seiko watch will never die. Let the watch soak up some rays, and you are ready to go. Up to 100 meters, the Seiko watch is water resistant. This comes in handy in times of rain and other tumultuous weather. The military watch is suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not scuba diving. If you want to forget you even have a watch on, a nylon band is the way to go. Seiko makes their watches with nylon bands to guarantee comfort. More modern military watches tend to come with plastic bands, so Seiko is keeping the antique design alive. If you prefer the style of a classic antique military watch, the Seiko watch is the one for you. Seiko mimicked the style of antique military watches. Antique watches aren’t meant for practical use, so a Seiko watch is the ideal alternative. Pros
  • Solar Powered
  • Original Antique Watch design
  • Easy to read
  • Thin Nylon Band
  • Nylon band isn’t weather resistant
Bottom Line Seiko’s military watch looks like an antique but functions as a modern watch. For those old timers, this watch will be a quick trip to the past while keeping 21st-century technology. Check Price on Amazon

Best Military Watch Under $200 : Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch

SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon Features:
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Compass
  • Depth Measurement
  • Tracks both weather and the sun
As far as field watches go, the Suunto Core military watch delivers. This watch benefits people who need to have access to information about their surrounding environment at a clicks notice. The Suunto Core watch guarantees efficiency and safety. The Suunto Core comes with technology that allows the watch to analyze the surrounding area. This watch comes with a barometer, an altimeter, and a compass. These are all necessary tools for when you are out in the wilderness. The Suunto Core proves that knowledge is power. The features discussed above work together to provide the wearer a full understanding of what is happening around them. The barometer senses the changes in air pressure and helps predict changing weather conditions. The altimeter displays the elevation of the wearer and records the numbers. You have a device that keeps track of your steps, so you don’t have to. Both of those features work together to trigger the intelligent storm alarm. This notifies the wearer of any weather changes. The included compass helps with navigation through unfamiliar terrains. Using these features drains battery life, so make sure you use it when it’s necessary. The watch has a sleek, all-black finish that plainly displays all the numbers you need to know. The Suunto Core looks like a modern watch and functions like one as well. Pros
  • Water resistant
  • Altimeter, Barometer, & Compass
  • Suitable for Snorkeling
  • Change battery once or twice a year
  • Band wears off after years of use
Bottom Line The Suunto Core watch combines three separate instruments to work efficiently. For under $200, this is the highest quality watch you can purchase. Check Price on Amazon

Military Watch Buying Guide

There are many areas where shoddy craftsmanship can go unnoticed. Watches are not one of those products.  The difference is apparent from the moment you put one on.  From the feel and comfort, to how well it stands the test of time, good quality is essential. Wristwatches have developed quickly over time.  Initially designed for women as a response to the pocket watch, their convenience was noted, and their durability made them fashionable. Inevitably like many tactical developments, the military took the idea to the next level. While pocket watches are fashionable devices, wrist watches for men were born from convenience. World War I was the main reason for the military enhancing the wrist watch. Soldiers needed something for keeping track of time that was resilient and easily accessible. Pocket watches required digging in pockets, while wristwatches could be read without shuffling around. After soldiers had returned from World War II, the wrist watches were noticed, and civilians clamored for the option to buy military watches. When the 21st-century came along, the military watch market experienced a boom. A majority of people saw the convenience a military watch offers as well as the high functionality.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for the Military Watches

With numerous types of military watches available, the buyer needs to decide as to what they specifically want. The first question to ask yourself is, “Do I want a classic  antique military watch or a modern military watch?”

Original Antique vs. Modern Military Watches

Are you looking for a historical watch or a practical one? a classic antique military watch is ideal for a collector. A modern military watch is ideal for individuals who need a precise and durable watch. Below are details about the differences between original and modern military watches.

Original Antique Watches

Collectors make up the majority of people who buy authentic military watches. If you are a collector, you need as much information about the watch before purchase. Three countries who developed military watches in World War II are Germany, Britain, and America. Each had an identification number imprinted on the back of the watch. Each set of numbers belonged to a soldier in the military. You can use this feature to verify if the watch you are buying is an authentic military watch. It is not recommended to make daily use of an antique military watch because of the delicate nature of the inner clockwork. Before buying, you should make sure the clockwork functions. The value of the watch increases with a functioning clockwork.

Modern Military Watches

Modern watches are a prime example of why you don’t need to be in the military to own a military watch. Hunters, hikers, law enforcement, and tactical enthusiasts make use of modern military watches for its features. There are no product identification number on military watches nowadays because they were never issued by the military. Some watch manufacturers draw inspiration from antique models and provide a modern alternative to watch enthusiasts. If you like the look and feel of antique watches, there are modern watches that will cater to that preference.

Military Watch Bands

Choose the right band for your watch; especially if it is a classic military watch. Military watches issued prior World War II had leather bands that experience wear and tear after an extended period. New military watches come with bands that are either nylon or metal, and it complements the body of the watch. Nylon band military watches are commonly seen on American models. Nylon is a cheaper option as well as a more versatile one. Every color band is possible with nylon, which makes it a great material to complement a military watch with. Less commonly used watch bands are leather and metal. Both leather and metal are inefficient due to their bulky and nonconforming qualities. Leather bands wear quickly, and metallic wrist bands are inflexible. Another band material that is more common amongst civilian military watches is silicone rubber. The material conforms to the user’s wrist but tends to store heat. The stored excessive heat makes a rubber band less popular amongst the military. For someone who needs it for daily use and isn’t doing Silicon rubber bands for military watches are a rare, but acceptable style. Rubber watch bands consist of a comfortable malleable material which can withstand variant temperatures. It can be a problem for members of the military that attempt to use them. Military personnel sweat profusely during operations, so having a restrictive band is a no go. For civilian use, there’s no reason not to choose a rubber watch band. A rubber band is versatile and conforms to your wrist. For the avid sports player, it may not be the best fit for comfort, as the rubber will cause friction to occur.


Military watches are typically larger than other watches. This is because of the amount of information a military watch can tell you. The more the information, the more room a watch would need to function properly. There are digital military watches that have smaller faces, so the size choice is up to the buyer.

Display Features

You may think that looks don’t matter with a military watch, but a lot of time goes into the appearance of a watch. Ever since military watches have been gaining civilian interest, design options have been proportionally increasing as well. On top of a watch’s functionality, design quality is as important. Certain brands have become a staple military watch because of specific design features. Anytime you hear military watch, the word tactical normally follows. The word tactical is synonymous with durable, which is a key feature for a military watch to have.

Three Different Styles

There are three different styles that matter in regards to military watches. Digital Watch: If you are looking for an advanced multi-functional military watch, a digital one will prove to be most useful. Digital watches include a timer, calendar, alarms, and much more. It’s a phone on your wrist. Digital watches are shock resistant, waterproof, which is why they are common amongst military personnel. Field Watch: Field Watches are notable for their slim appearance and easy to read numbers. The slender case keeps the watch from snagging on gear and easily camouflages with an outfit.  Most antique military watches are field watches. There are modern field watches in production as well.  For effortless time reading, field watches are an excellent option. Pilot Watch: Pilot (Flieger) watches are accurate when it comes to telling time. You know you own a pilot watch if there is a signature triangle symbol at the 12 o’clock mark. The larger faces of pilot watches make it easy to tell time and are reminiscent of World War II military watches. It’s important to note that you don’t need to be a pilot to own a pilot watch.

What Brand Should You Go For?

With so many military watch brands out there, it’s difficult to choose one. Research is essential to choosing the right brand. Ask yourself, “Which country is this watch manufactured in?” Japanese, European, and American brands are excellent options. If you are looking for antique watches, go for a German, British, or American watch. Keep in mind prices because some brands are more expensive than others. It is not impossible to buy a high-quality watch for under $200. The brands reviewed above are premium choices are anyone with a tight budget.

Closing Thoughts

Buying the right military watch is like buying a car; it requires research and time. You need patience to make the right decision. If you buy the first military watch you see, you are robbing yourself a chance to explore other options. As you can see, there are a lot of decisions to make when you buy a military watch. Knowing what you want makes the buying process smoother. Naturally, the price of the watch ultimately sets the tone for your options. You want a watch that is durable and accurate. All the military watches above will perform to a high standard. All you need to ask yourself is, “What type of design am I looking for?” Once you got the design down, the buying process is a cakewalk. The watches reviewed above range in price, but stay consistent in quality.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.