Best Tactical Watch 2024

Last updated on March 30th, 2024

Before looking at the best tactical watch, we need to know what differentiates a regular watch and a tactical watch. A tactical watch is when you need some extra’s that a regular watch just doesn’t have. The watches listed below have been carefully chosen for their distinct features that might be handy to Military, Law enforcement and the rifle shooter that spends a lot of time in the field. They span different budget ranges, and some are more traditional than others, but inclusions like ballistics software, heavy duty durability and nighttime luminosity are just some of the features the watches listed below include.

This all came about after recently spending a few days testing the limits of the heavy duty Victrix Pugio rifle, and made me appreciate different watches and how they stack up to life in the field.

Best Overall Tactical Watch: Garmin Tactix 7 – Pro Ballistics Edition

The big standout feature here is the built-in Applied Ballistics calculator. This calculates aiming solutions for long distance shooting with the built-in ballistics’ calculator all contained within the watch. For those looking for some extra customization, the watch also comes with two wrist bands, Garmin’s usual rubber band and a nylon band that is super similar to the classic NATO band. 

Best Tactical Watch

To use Applied Ballistcis you download the AB Synapse Garmin app and from there you can add and manage ballistic profiles on the watch. Inputting the usual bullet weight, caliber, muzzle velocity, barrel twist, distance to the target, and elevation change between the firing line and the target. Once that info is input into the Garmin, it shows the necessary adjustments need to get on target in MOA or MIL’s. 

Best Tactical Watch

There at 5 buttons around the case. The top right brings up the menu that lets you select the modes such as maps or choosing a workout. The bottom right button is the ‘back button’. The top left button activates the menu, and the middle button is for editing the watch face and other widgets. Last but not least bottom left button brings up the music settings. It might sound complicated but its fairly easy to navigate the menus with a bit of practice. Plus the large buttons are neat and make it easy to use.

There is also the ability to use to watch like a touchscreen, which is an ability I wish my Fenix 6 had. The screen is responsive when touching it and it makes controlling it pretty quick and a little less clunky than just relying on buttons.

Best Tactical Watch

At this price point you want quality components and luckily the Garmin Taxtix is packed with them. The watchface is a sapphire lens, this might not mean much to some people but its huge for me. I have a sapphire screen on my Fenix 6 and its been with me on three week long hunting trips in the NZ Alps without getting a single scratch. It’s a quality feature for sure. Keeping up the quality is the titanium bezel, not only is it solid it also has solar charging, giving you some extended battery life in the field.

What makes this watch feature on the tactical list, aside form the AB software is some neat capabilities built in. There’s a kill switch feature which wipes the contents of the watch. There’s even night vision useability too for when night vision goggles are used. And a stealth feature also disables wireless communication and GPS data. The LED flashlight can omit a white or green light depending on preferences. It does have a great battery life with 37 days of use in smartwatch mode or if you need all the satellite connectivity it can keep going for 63 hours.

Best Tactical Watch

Other features which Garmin smartwatch owners might be familiar with include an altimeter for elevation data, topographical maps and all the fitness features. There is a long list in this space but basically it includes heart rate and a bunch of stress and sleep monitoring stats.

The Garmin Tactix 7 truly is a neat bit of kit for the rifle user who finds themselves doing some quick maths in the field. Its hard to believe that so many capabilities are loaded in to a watch. If you are looking for AB software in a easy to reach place the Tactix 7 wont let you down.

Garmin Tactix 7 – Pro Ballistics Edition

Best Value Tactical Watch: Casio G Shock

One of the most durable watches on the market today, the Casio G-Shock has a proven name in the industry. What makes these an absolute tank in the watch world is their shock resistance and ability to work in all temperatures. As testament to this, they even pack a whopping 200m of water resistance.

Best Tactical Watch

The watch has analogue and digital read outs, the analogue function has the classic hour and minute hands without seconds. The hands are easy to read on the black background. This is similar to the digital display with the readout having a black background and the displayed info being white. Seconds are displayed digitally.

The durability comes from its size and the materials used. The 52mm case has a thick resin surround. The overall thickness is 17mm, making it on the larger size of all the watches here. The size however does give this watch a kind of confidence that it can take a hit and keep working.

Best Tactical Watch

The glass used in this budget minded watch is mineral glass, its no sapphire but the glass choice keeps the price down. The glass is decent and provides excellent shock protection. The strap is made of a comfortable resin that’s 25mm wide. It suits the size of the watch and ensures the watch stays firmly in place.

The watch has a battery powered Japanese Quartz movement. This movement is a safe and incredibly reliable way of keeping time. When looking for a watch that will keep accurate time and last for many years, a Japanese quartz movement will do the job.

Best Tactical Watch

The watch also includes a stopwatch functionality, different time zones, a light, countdown timer and an alarm. Casio state that the watch battery will last for 2 years before needing to be replaced. If you are looking for extra features, there are other variants that include GPS and Bluetooth connectivity. There is also a big community of G-Shock watch owners and there are lots of aftermarket components available. For many of my friends that wear this watch on the daily, no one has a bad story about it.

Best Military Tactical Watch: Luminox Navy Seal

The Luminox Navy Seal is a US watchmaker who makes all their watches in Switzerland. There is a legitimate connection to the military through this watch company with Luminox having a partnership with the Navy Seal foundation, making this an easy addition to the best tactical watch list.

Best Tactical Watch

Similar in style to the G-Shock the major differences with the Luminox are that the hands and indexes on the dial are a lot easier to read, especially in the dark, there is a date window on the side, a rotating bezel and higher quality components are used.

The sleek all black look is to ensure the watch doesn’t have any reflections. It’s a matte colour which has a nice aesthetic. This design is a little more appealing than the G-Shock with some more refined design touches but does come with a larger price tag. You could get away with wearing a Luminox watch at a formal event, as opposed to the G-Shock.

Best Tactical Watch

Luminox Navy Seal

Best Traditional Tactical Watch: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 

This is a remake of the classic military field watch used by military personnel all around the world. The Hamilton Khaki Field watch may not have all the advanced features of some of the others on the best tactical watch list such as the Garmin Tactix or Casio G Shock but it brings with it other subtle qualities. It’s part of the Khaki Field collection which boasts over a dozen different military inspired variants.

These are a pretty compact unit, being just under 10mm thick and with a 38mm steel case the watch is comfortable to wear and doesn’t bring a large profile. These are designed to be a bit of a under the radar time piece.  Those coming from a larger watch such as the G-shock would find this to be a completely different tact.  It wouldn’t be a military designed watch without being able to take the classic NATO bands. The 20mm lugs mean it can be fitted with a wide variety of nylon or leather bands. The standard strap it ships with is a nylon dark green strap that has brown leather for the keepers.

In terms of durability, it can be submerged to 50m but if you are going any deeper than that, you might need a more dive focused watch. The glass is sapphire and that’s one of the features that makes this a little more expensive than some other competitors in the field watch category.

The dial is fairly simple with its black background and white numbers. The Hamilton branding sticks out. Keeping things simple means there isn’t a date window included with the watch, this is inline with its historical models. The ‘lume’ for those unfamiliar is a term used for the luminous phosphorescent glowing solution applied on watch dials. The Hamilton has it on the dials hour marks and the watch hands. This helps with functionality at night.

Being a mechanical watch it will last 42 hours once fully wound, but really needs to be wound each day. This is one of the appeals of mechanical watches and it’s a more traditional connected feeling. It sends a message that you appreciate the deeper side of watches. Once the watch is wound up, it lets you know and the crown won’t turn any further. A nice touch by Hamilton is the neat little H on the crown.

Hamilton’s Khaki Field watch is a slimline redesign of a military classic. Its legible at a quick glance and its sturdy with its good 38mm case and 20mm lugs. Its widely availability due to its popularity. It’s an accurate watch that comes in at an affordable price.

Hamilton Khaki Field

Best Value Mechanical Tactical Watch: Seiko Sports 5 Field Watch

After permanently having a Garmin Fenix on my wrist over the years I recently opted for a more traditional field variant. The Seiko Sports 5 field watch has many similarities with the Hamilton Kahki Field but comes in at a lot cheaper price. Not wanting to break the bank I picked up the Seiko and this is my experience with it so far.

Best Tactical Watch

You get a lot for your money with this watch, a solid automatic movement combined with a good size and classic field watch aesthetic. Knowing the proven reputation that Seiko watches have, this is a trusted manufacturer in the industry with a long history offering value and quality. This series was relaunched in 2021 and brings with it a large 39.4mm stainless steel case, this is around the same size as Hamilton’s 38mm case on the Khaki Field.

The movement in the Seiko is the 4R36 automatic with manual winding. It’s a reliable movement and Seiko lists the accuracy as being +45 to -35 seconds per day. Not too bad for a mechanical watch and the movement will last 41 hours.

Seiko Sports 5 Field Watch

In terms of how it sits, the case is on the larger size with a thickness of 13mm, compared to the Hamilton’s slim 10mm case. The hands of the watch have a nice lume level and the index’s have a great glow in low light conditions thanks to Seiko’s LumiBrite coating. There is a cool day/date display in the right side of the dial.

When adjusting the time, the second-hand stops allowing you to perfectly sync up the time. This mighty watch is even rated to take on 100m of water resistance. The strap that comes with the watch is a tan coloured NATO style made of nylon. There are plenty of aftermarket straps available if you prefer a different colour.

Where the Hamilton brings its own solid design, the Seiko brings a similar classic aesthetic in a reliable and great price point. The throwback military field watch look combined with its proven track record make it an easy buy and cheaper mechanical option for the best tactical watch.

Seiko Sports 5

Best High End Tactical Watch: Breitling Chronospace Military  

On the top end of the price scale is the Swiss made Breitling Chronospace Military. Plenty of interesting folk in the weapons world have worn Breitling’s, most notably Viktor Bout, the sketchy Russian arms dealer who inspired the movie ‘Lord of War’. This Swiss made watch is impressive but for most of us we are priced out of this one. At the heart of the Breitling Chronospace Military is the Breitling caliber 78 SuperQuartz movement, which will last a couple of years between battery changes. To alleviate some of that dead battery anxiety there is an end of battery life indicator which lets you know when you need to replace the battery.

Best Tactical Watch

The watch includes the traditional hour, minutes, and seconds hands as well as two LCD screens on the watch face. The screens offer up some extra functionality which includes a 1/100th of a second chronograph/stopwatch as well as a countdown timer, an alarm, dual time zones readout and a full calendar.

Best Tactical Watch

It’s a much larger watch coming in at 46mm wide and 15.6mm thick which compared to the compact Hamilton is a bit of a contrast. In terms of the lume and reading the dial, it’s very functionable and I am super attracted to the aesthetic of the watch. It does a great job emulating the modern urban style and is an easy addition to the best tactical watch category. 

Best Tactical Watch

The black dial ad white numbering makes a strong contrast that allows you to check the time at a quick glance.  Navigating the watch face at night there are the large luminescent numbers 3 and 9 which are easy to read. To further help you gauge the time in dark conditions there is a triangle at the 12 o’clock and the square marker at the 6 o’clock position.

Best Tactical Watch

Not being a dive watch it has 50 meters of water resistance. Overall the Breitling Chronospace Military is a high quality prestigious field watch. If you have the disposable income that allows it, get hands on with one at an authroised dealer or Breitling boutique to see it up close.

Breitling Chronospace

Final Thoughts – Best Tactical Watch

Tactical watches are made to stand up to tough situations. They’re built to shrug off impacts, avoid scratches, and keep out water, all while making sure you still get the accurate info you need. Thankfully, they come loaded with features that help them keep ticking, no matter what life throws their way. Finding the best tactical watch comes down to the watch that best fits your budget and your requirements.

EDITORS PICK

Garmin Tactix 7 – Pro Ballistics

Ballistic software built in, tough build from one of the best smart watch companies in the world

BEST VALUE

Casio G Shock

Packed with features and a tough exterior

MILITARY FAVORITE

Luminox Navy Seal

Swiss made with easy to read index’s.

TRADITIONAL MECHANICAL PICK

Hamilton Khaki Field

Traditional field watch favorite, high end glass and easy to read

BEST VALUE MECHANICAL

Seiko Sports 5

Great intro to mechanical watches at an even better price point

HIGH END PICK

Breitling Chronospace Military

Built tough and with a proven track record of performance. High end time piece with digital, analog features and chronograph

Editors Picks

Every long distance shooter needs this book. A must have.

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Provides a secure hold on your firearm and a place for all of your accessories.

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BEST CLEANING SOLUTIONS

Hoppes 9 Elite Gun Cleaning Kit

Effective solvent for removing primer, powder, lead and metal fouling.

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