Wednesday, 21 Nov 2018

Best Tactical Watches [Hands-On 2018]: All Budgets

Best Tactical Watches [Hands-On 2018]: All Budgets


Looking for a tactical watch?  Something that looks cool and has withstood hard military use?

I shamelessly admit that I’ve done that Google search…and bought a couple of them throughout the years.

Best Tactical Watches

Though I didn’t wear mine into battle…they’ve spent long days and nights with me on backpacking trips, range shoots, and keyboard warrior-ing.

Here are my picks of the best tactical watches…across a couple different budgets.  Plus some honorable mentions.

By the end I hope you’ll know which one to get for boot camp, real missions, or for the office.

Table of Contents

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1. Casio G-Shock

No surprise here…the Casio G-Shock ($43) is the watch that is mentioned the most.

Casio G-Shock, Black on Black
Casio G-Shock, Black on Black

It has everything you need…can survive almost anything…and costs less than $50 bucks.

However, it’s the one I wear the least.

But that is my bad…I went with the coolest looking black on black.  And you CANNOT see any useful info unless the room is brightly lit and you’re at the right angle.

G-Shock Black on Black Screen
G-Shock Black on Black Screen

I found myself having to use the illumination button to see it every time.

Besides that…it rocks:

  • Shock resistant
  • 200 meters water resistant
  • Great backlight
  • Stopwatch, alarm, and tons of other features
  • Battery life of 2+ years

My only nit-picky thing is that the metal clasp is too shiny in that “cheap” kind of way.  But there’s always replacement bands if it bothers you too much.

Casio G-Shock Clasp
Casio G-Shock Clasp

If you’re looking for a functional watch that has everything you need…but might be a little common…the G-Shock is the way to go.  Plus the price is so good you won’t feel too bad if you lose or manage to break it.

My advice is not getting the Black on Black…if I could choose again I’d go with the Matte Black (screen) on Black.

Popular Choice
G-Shock Watch

G-Shock Watch

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Pro-Trek PRW-3000-1CR

I’ve been rocking the Pro-Trek ($221) for almost 3 years.  It’s a jump in price but you get a lot too.

Pro-Trek PRW-3000-1CR Triple Sensor
Pro-Trek PRW-3000-1CR Triple Sensor

It’s also not overly tactical so you can use it as a part of your everyday carry.

The “triple sensor” part of it means that it has an altimeter, compass, and barometer.  Plus it measures temperature too.

It’s served me well on long hikes where I had to orient myself and also check on altitude.

Pro-Trek Closeup
Pro-Trek Closeup

It’s showing its wear a little on the outside bezel but the band, clasp, screen, and buttons have been top-notch.

Pro-Trek Clasp
Pro-Trek Clasp

My main complaint is that there’s no “lockout” feature for a screen so there’s been some times where something accidentally touches one of the buttons and I get moved away from my home time screen.

Otherwise it has all the sensors…plus the regular alarms, 100 m water resistance, Atomic timekeeping, and solar battery.

I haven’t had to change the battery in 3 years.

It’s my choice for a more discreet watch that still has everything AND the kitchen sink.

Discrete Choice
Pro-Trek PRW-3000

Pro-Trek PRW-3000

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Suunto Core

The Suunto Core ($155) comes up a lot too and is my top choice that I’ve been wearing for 3+ years.

Suunto Core with HK Elite
Suunto Core with HK Elite

It looks super cool especially in the “Military” black on black model.  And no, it’s not like my G-Shock…you can actually read everything still.

Suunto Core with Grey Ghost Slide
Suunto Core with Grey Ghost Slide

It also comes with an altimeter, barometer, compass, and thermometer.

Suunto Core Elevation
Suunto Core Elevation

Which work pretty well…but the compass tends to eat a lot of juice.

It helped a lot during my longer hikes and it’s what I wore to train and summit Mt. Whitney (tallest peak in the continental US).

Eric on Mt. Whitney
Eric on Mt. Whitney

I also love how it has the “lockout” feature so you stay on whatever mode/screen you like.  Plus it has a rolling trend for barometric pressure so you can spot some inclement weather heading your way.

One negative I mentioned was that the compass sucks up a lot of battery.  I found with a hike or two a month and using the compass sparingly…I still had to swap out batteries every year.

Suunto Core Compass
Suunto Core Compass

Not terrible…but I would have expected more.

Another negative is that the strap has started to break after 3 years.  It’s been through a lot and I did spray it with some 95% DEET while in the Amazon that scuffed it up pretty good.

Suunto Core Clasp
Suunto Core Strap & Clasp

So it’s not THAT big of a deal…especially since there’s a lot of replacement options too.

Otherwise overall it’s my favorite pick and it comes in at a reasonable $150 too.

Editor’s Pick
Suunto Core (Military)

Suunto Core (Military)

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on the Suunto Core?

Readers’ Ratings

5/5 (2)

Your Rating?

4. Rolex Submariner Date

Ok…let’s ball it up a little bit with the Rolex Submariner Date ($8550).

Rolex Submariner Date
Rolex Submariner Date

Rolex might be the most recognizable luxury watch brand out there…but it has its military roots when it was issued to British Ministry of Defense (Milsub), US Airforce (Turn-O-Graph), and more.

It’s robust, submersible to 300 m, non-electronic, and holds value.

Plus it looks classy with a suit or out in the field.

Rolex Submariner on Schmidt & Bender PMII
Rolex Submariner on Schmidt & Bender PMII

One of my favorites for something that will turn heads AND do its job as a timepiece.

Luxury Choice
Rolex Submariner Date

Rolex Submariner Date

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Panerai Luminor

My favorite luxury tactical watch is the Panerai Luminor ($9100).

Panerai Luminor Power Reserve on HK Elite
Panerai Luminor 1950 GMT Power Reserve on HK Elite

Born from Italian frogmen way back when…

Italian Frogmen with Panerai
Italian Frogmen with Panerai

It’s still popular in watch circles but isn’t overtly recognizable unless you’re in the know with its famous crown guard and lever device.

Panerai Luminor 1950 Power Reserve
Panerai Luminor 1950 GMT Power Reserve

It’s chunky but not TOO big even for my average wrists.

Panerai On Wrist
Panerai On Wrist

It’s what I wear when day shooting becomes night drinking on the town.

PSA 1911
PSA 1911 & Panerai Luminor 1950

Plus…it has a clear back so you can look at the gorgeous movement.

Panerai Movement
Panerai Movement

If you’ve got the coin…you can’t go wrong with Panerai.

But my luxury watch days are over…now that I’m into firearms (RIP wallet also).  Because these watches can’t shoot bullets!

Panerai Luminor

Panerai Luminor

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

Honorable Mentions

There’s a lot of other great tactical watches out there.  Here are some popular affordable ones that I’ve seen and handled…but don’t currently own.

But I want to pick up some time!

6. Luminox 3051 EVO Navy SEAL

Ok…it has Navy SEAL in the name but the Luminox 3051 EVO ($178) it isn’t some gimmick.

Luminox 3051 EVO
Luminox 3051 EVO

It’s super visible during the day and has colored dials that really glow in the dark for low-light situations.  Plus 200 m water resistance.

7. Marathon Navigator

Mil-spec and really popular before and now.  The Marathon Navigator ($300) was designed for pilots and paratroopers.

Marathon Navigator
Marathon Navigator

Comes with date function, tritrium gas illumination tubes, and water resistant up to 200 feet.

Conclusion

More Best Tactical Watches
More Best Tactical Watches

There we have it…if you’re looking for the most economical and popular…you can’t go wrong with the G-Shock.

Popular Choice
G-Shock Watch

G-Shock Watch

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

And if you want a little bit more features…I recommend the Suunto Core.

Editor’s Pick
Suunto Core (Military)

Suunto Core (Military)

See It

Prices accurate at time of writing

As for the luxury ones…it’s more a matter of personal taste.  But my heart goes out to my Luminor 1950.

How did I do?  Any other ones I should check out and add to Honorable Mentions?  If you’re looking at other EDC gear…check out our other hands-on articles: Best EDC Flashlights and Best EDC Knives.

The post Best Tactical Watches [Hands-On 2018]: All Budgets appeared first on Pew Pew Tactical.

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