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The Best Military Watches for Men

What makes a good Military Watch?

A watch is a critical piece of equipment for a soldier. Watches keep the armed forces running on time and in sync. It’s important to have a watch that won’t break or die on you when in a tactical situation. Frankly, an Apple Watch isn’t going to hack it (at least for long).

There are a few general problems that members of the military have with most watches:

  • Watches break. Hit a watch with the stock of a rifle and then try to tell the time. In less-than-ideal conditions, you’re likely to bump and jostle your watch. Military watches need to handle some bumps and bruises.
  • Watches die. Seemingly when you most need them. Find a watch with at least a five year battery life to reduce the likelihood of problems. And don’t use an Apple Watch (for the first and second reason).
  • Watches can get lost. We love NATO Straps for tactical situations. They are designed to hold onto your watch. They are waterproof and impervious to most problems. Stainless steel bands can also work, but are more visible.
  • Watches can flash your position. Physically or digitally. For this reason we recommend wearing watches on the inside of your wrist. But also get a watch that serves you without being flashy or calling attention to you. Including the illumination. Many watches glow like a halogen light at night (not good). Black is the watch color of choice for the military.
  • Watches should show military time. The 24 hour clock rules your life in the military. Why not use a watch that also has military time available?

Is it possible to find a watch that meets all of these criteria? Yes, the perfect military watch is available. But of course, it’s not an accident. Watches have to be designed for military use. Tactical watches with a smart designer can be exceptional tools for a member of the armed forces.

The Best Military Watches

Here’s our rundown of the perfect military watches for men.

  • The best military watch is the SANS-13 Tactical Watch. Designed from the ground up for armed forces personnel and law enforcement officers. This all black watch features unbreakable construction (guaranteed for life), 300 meters of water resistance, a Swiss quartz movement that will last, and a NATO watch strap to hold it all together. Shop the SANS-13 Tactical watch.
  • Second is the Springfield GMT Field Watch. This is a lighter weight Military watch. It still has the Swiss Quartz movement, but also includes the GMT hand that tells you military time with a glance. Inspired by the watches worn by soldiers in World War II, it’s an exceptional choice for anyone in the armed forces. Shop the Springfield GMT Watch.
  • Next is the Atlantis Blackfish Automatic Tactical Dive Watch. Because it’s a Swiss Automatic watch, it does not use batteries and won’t ever die because of that. Automatics use the movement of your wrist to keep the watch wound. This does make it more expensive, but it will last a lifetime. It is still unbreakable, features an all-black look and a rubber watch strap, which is almost as good as a NATO band. Also waterproof to 300 meters. Shop the Atlantis Blackfish Automatic Tactical watch.
  • Finally, last but not least, is our Quartz version of the Atlantis Blackfish Tactical Dive Watch. It has been recently upgraded with a new face and stainless steel watch strap. It’s the heaviest choice in our lineup, but still a solid military watch. Unbreakable, water resistant to 300 meters and features a bezel that can mark time when you need it. Shop the Atlantis Blackfish Tactical Dive watch.

Key Characteristics of a Great Military Watch

As you can see, not just any watch can work for a member of the military. A Rolex is nice, but it does not have the capabilities to serve alongside our armed forces. To be a military grade watch, you need a few things:

  • Tough, unbreakable case and glass. We recommend stainless steel for the watch case and Sapphire crystal for the watch face. Both are tough and can take some tactical impacts. A broken watch is worthless in the heat of a battle.
  • A Good Watch Band. We love NATO watch straps, which were designed for British soldiers long ago. NATO straps hold onto a watch even when they are cut. And nylon is impervious to water or sweat or anything else. Leather bands are not the best choice for the military. Rubber or stainless steel can work as well, but NATO watch bands were designed for this situation.
  • Military watches should not need to be charged. And they should not track your location. Need I say more? There are times where you won’t have a plug readily available, so avoid Apple Watches. These watches are also more breakable, which is another problem.
  • Military watches should not glow too brightly. I know you love tritium tubes for illumination but they are not the right choice for members of the military or law enforcement officers. May as well wear a spotlight over your head.
  • The watch should be dependable. We always recommend Swiss movements. Choosing between a Quartz or Automatic watch is a personal choice. But don’t choose a cheap movement that can’t be trusted.
  • Waterproof at least to 10 meters. Preferably over 100m. The watches we recommend are all at least 10 ATM/100 meters of water resistance. That means if you need to swim or even dive, you’re not going to ruin the watch. Most can go to 300 meters or 900 feet of depth, so you can dive deep with these watches.
  • American built. An American soldier deserves a watch built by American hands. Hands that he is protecting. Smith & Bradley watches are built in the US because it allows us to guarantee the quality. And the quality of a watch is critical to a soldier.

When you purchase a military watch for a member of the armed forces, know that it will be a key piece of equipment they rely on. It can’t fail and it shouldn’t break. Choose a watch that is designed for military use in tactical situations.

Smith & Bradley was founded to create watches for men of high caliber protecting Americans everyday. Shop Smith & Bradley watches here.