Top Military Watches

The wristwatch was popularized by the Great war, but it has seen much when it comes to innovation. Worn by women originally, infantry men quickly traded pocket watches for wristwatches on the battle field.

Over the years, the military wristwatch has improved significantly regarding aesthetics while still retaining the rugged design. It is designed to military specifications and tough enough to withstand extreme conditions.

Civilians are increasingly showing interest in buying military wristwatches partly due to the desire to own a watch that can withstand extreme conditions and partly due to a part of nostalgia.

Today, many brands are designing watches to replicate military watches, but they lack the features required to be considered fit for military use but are still labeled as such. Now we are not necessarily talking about smartwatches when we talk about military watches but if you want to see the best smartwatch of 2018 that page is a good place to start.

The aim of this article is to provide detailed information regarding the important considerations to make when buying military watches, provide information about the categories of military watches and provide information about some of the top brands.

What is a Military Watch?

It is defined as watch purchased by a governmental agency to be used by military personnel. It is a watch that any pilot, marine, or soldier wear on active duty and is usually larger than a regular civilian watch to accommodate additional features.

Military watches carry a governmental marking or serial number and are made to military specifications. Watches made to military specifications are designed to withstand harsh conditions on the battlefield and act as a reliable watch.

What Makes a Good Military Watch?

The design of military watches has changed over the years, and new editions have been released. However, they still have the key features, which make them have a feel and look very similar to the ones used in the military.

Military watches were usually quite minimalist with a design strictly based on functionality. Manufacturers preferred constructing the cases out of dull material so that they would not be reflective and would thus be less detectable on the wrists of solders.

Overall, a good military watch is durable, practical, and has all the functions you need. To make an informed purchase, it is important to take various features into consideration. Finding a military wristwatch specific to your needs guarantees that it will serve your purpose and provide fast, accurate information.

Important Considerations Before Buying a Military Watch

You need to look out for certain aspects of a good tactical watch irrespective of what the intended use is. Factors like water resistance, a reliable power source, and durability are some of the key features to focus on when looking for the best military watch.

I. Durability

Titanium models with leather or nylon straps are some of the most durable military watches. Resistance to the elements is an important consideration for ensuring that your watch not only lasts years but performs consistently to the highest degree as the day you bought it.

II. Power Sources

Today, the best power source for a military watches is either kinetic or solar. While other power sources for military watches exist, including the mechanical hand winding and the automatic self-winding, these power options are preferred mist by those that like to stick to tradition.

Here are the most common power sources for military watches:

Quartz: It is a type of military watch powered by a replaceable battery and is most accurate when it comes to keeping time.

Solar: It is a military watch as accurate as quartz when it comes to keeping time, but doesn’t require a battery replacement. The battery is charged through an external light source, which is typically the sun.

Kinetic: It is a military watch with an additional rotor that spins to produce an electric charge and recharge the battery.

Automatic (Self-Winding): It is a military watch powered by the wrist’s natural movement, which means that it can only function when worn.

Mechanical (Hand Wound): It is a military watch wound by hand and have to be continually wound once or twice every day to ensure proper, regular functioning. This type of watch typically loses about 30 seconds daily and has lower accuracy.

Precisionist: It is simply a Quartz military watch with a specifically designed crystal that allows for the highest accuracy from any watch available.

III. Water Resistance

A standard feature of any military watch is that it can withstand being submerged in water, some upwards of 300 meters.

IV. Chronograph

The chronograph is just another name for a watch, but they usually feature an extra hand independent from the rest, which is used to keep time like a stopwatch.

V. Night Vision

If you are looking for Special Forces, watch, night vision is a feature you most likely require whether you find yourself hunting at night, hiking, or just walking in the dark and need to read the time accurately.

Other Tactical Features

Depending on the specific use, you may want to consider buying a military watch with some of the following tactical features:

– Compass

– Thermometer

– Barometer

– Altimeter (Great for navigation by helping you verify a location using a topographical map)

– GPS (Great for digital watches since it makes instant location coordinates readily available)

– Storm Alarm (Analyzes the barometric data to identify drastic pressure changes that usually indicate that a storm is eminent)

Categories of Military Watches

Infantry/ General Service Watches

The general service watch is a standard issued watch commonly used for field infantry and ground units. The designs are often inexpensive but still built to be rugged and withstand poor condition. General service watches are known to be very accurate for reliable timing.

Navigator’s Watch

The navigator’s watch features a larger dial than a standard watch. It can measure time intervals, and its readability is clear and easy even when there are aircraft vibrations. The navigator’s watch also features a tachometer for performing distance and speed calculations.

Dive Watch

The dive watch features a solid design and can withstand underwater pressure along with various other extreme conditions. It is the toughest type of military watch and the most expensive too because of its amazing durability.


Military Watch Brands

Once you have decided on the specific features you are looking for in a military watch; it is now time to examine the brands more closely. The number of options available in the market is staggering, which makes the decision and narrowing down of your search much harder. Use the guide to simplify the process and find the best military watch brand for your needs.


Marathon is a leading military watch manufacturer in all the three categories of military watches with its strongest being the dive collection. Marathon is a Swiss-based company that originally manufactured watches under the name Westrum Watch Co. but later changed to Marathon once its owner moved to Canada.

Marathon watches are still currently crafted in Switzerland and still follow the original military specifications. Marathon takes pride in its watches and is very confident that they are capable of holding up in extreme weather conditions irrespective of the terrain. Marathon produces both analog and digital watches with multiple movement options and a heavy focus on functionality and durability.

Marathon uses the luminescent H3 technology of tritium gas to create a consistent glow that lasts for up to 20 years.


Hamilton was established in 1892 and originally made pocket watches and later moved into wristwatches focusing on time pieces for aviation and producing products with accuracy and precision in their navigation features. Hamilton was an official manufacturer of military watches, in particular, to be worn on wrists of American forces by the early 1900s.

Today, Hamilton is a member of the Swatch Group and has been since 1971. Hamilton has a reputation for spreading its name throughout the aviation industry and later into the cinema screen. This American born brand utilized new age Swiss technology and had continued investing in innovation towards the navigation watch and is making consistent progress in the areas of technology.

Hamilton was the first brand to develop an electric watch back in 1957. The Hamilton Ventura was the first battery-powered wristwatch released in 1970.


Luminox is a Swiss brand established in 1989 and is well-known for its revolutionary system of self-powered illumination that allows its watches to provide illumination for about 25 years without exposure to an external light source.

Luminox watches are known for their luminous light technology that uses inserts made of tritium to provide luminesce. Luminox watches were specifically requested for by one of the U.S. Air Force departments due to their functionality, power and extreme accuracy.

The brand developed the first Navy SEAL series back in 1993.



Citizen is a Japanese company that has become one of the largest watchmakers in the world. It has a reputation for manufacturing some of the best military watches in the world. Citizen has several divisions that all make up a group established in 2012 known as Citizen Holdings.

Citizen timepieces are usually made with solar powered movements or quartz movements. Since 1924, when the brand originally released its first pocket watch, it has been innovating and looking to the latest technology when it comes to creating its collection.

A citizen might have started out originally as a brand for making watches, another division of the brand currently produces electronic devices for both consumer and business use. Citizen is credited with the creation of the first electronic watch.


The Casio brand is known for its aesthetic appeal and blends modern technology with a perfectly crafted design to develop a watch that’s extremely durable. It is a brand that always has the idea in mind that all watches it creates should have more functionality than just telling time.

Casio watches typically have unique features such a phone book at the touch of a button. One of the best capabilities of watches from the brand is that they can work with radio technology, which allows them to adjust time zones automatically while your move around.

Casio has various designs of wristwatches for men as well as a line specifically for women that offers various functions. If you are searching for a military watch that is mindful of the environment, you can be sure to find several solar powered options among the Casio collection.

Casio released the first digital watch in 1974 that was equipped with an automatic calendar.


Seiko was established in Tokyo, Japan in 1881 and incorporated in 1917. It is a brand that focuses on emotional technology when it comes to designing its stylish and functional wristwatches. It produces both mechanical and quartz watches and has created a luxury brand that’s branching into jewelry, eyewear, and even devices such as printers.

Seiko, which means exquisite, has a reputation for manufacturing very accurate timepieces and has a result become the official time keeper in many world-class events. If you look at a Seiko watch, it is easy to see elegance and practicality joined together in a beautiful balance.

One great thing about the brand is that you can own one of its kinetics watches for a relatively low price, which is self-charging quartz watches. The repertoire of the Seiko brand is known to be much greater than most of its competitors.

Seiko was the first brand to develop a quartz watch back in 1969 known as the Astron. The brand later released the first spring dive watch and the first multifunctional digital watch.

The Bottom Line

Finding a good military watch tailored specifically to your needs is not always easy. However, with a clear understanding of the options available and a bit of guidance, you can be sure to make the right decision regarding the best military watch to buy.

Fortunately, there are many strong brands manufacturing military watches all harnessing the latest technology to create the best military watches around. What this proposes is that regardless of the brand or model you choose, you are likely to end up with a solid product.

The information rendered in this article should help you narrow down your search and edge closer to finding the best military watch for your needs.