Bear Gryllis has hiked in the Himalayan mountains, crossed the Atlantic Ocean on an inflatable boat and parachuted from an airplane over the African desert. On his wrist in all those perilous scenarios? A tactical watch. Others may prefer a dress watch or claim the latest vintage Daytona up for auction, but explorers and those who have served (or still serve) in the armed forces, like Gryllis, usually opt for a rougher, tougher and more durable watch. bolder. .
There is no clear definition of a tactical watch, but there are a number of purposes a watch must meet to fall into the category. First, it must be extremely durable, able to withstand shocks and intense changes in atmospheric pressure, while being waterproof. A tactical watch should also be lightweight and scratch-resistant, which is why it should feature heavy-duty rubber or nylon or canvas straps; it’s best to avoid leathers and most metals, unless it’s titanium. The dial should also be very readable, allowing you to keep track of everything from the time of day to your time underwater (lest your oxygen tank runs out).
There are also a few styles that have add-ons, including barometers, thermometers, compasses, backlighting, solar-powered batteries, and other tools that will help you out in the field or out in the wild. Finally, the look should be beautifully beefy. It should telegraph ruggedness, stealth, and reliability. Even if you’re not a daredevil, you can still emulate the style with the tactical watches below. And if you ever wanted to follow in the footsteps of Gryllis one day, you’ll have a watch ready for your big adventure.
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It might surprise you to learn that the DW5600E-1V is not the original G-Shock watch. It’s probably thanks to the model’s ubiquity and that infamous ad showing him being punched in a goalie’s glove. Casio now calls it the “quintessential G-Shock,” and that sounds about right. The look is a throwback to the 80s, when G-Shock inventor Kikuo Ibe set out to create a watch that could withstand almost anything anyone could throw at it. That means it’s ridiculously shockproof, has a water resistance of 200 meters, and it’s about as indestructible of a watch as you could ask for, especially with a low price tag below $40.
G-Shock DW-9052GBX-1A9 Watch
If you’re looking for a more modern tactical look, G-Shock has you covered too. The DW-9052GBX-1A9 (let’s say three times faster) is shockproof, water resistant and comes with additional features like electroluminescent backlighting and flash alerts. It’s the kind of watch that’s perfect for diving deep into the ocean or looking serious. It’s almost hard to believe it’s under $60.
Casio is also offering a great deal on a tough tactical watch under its own name. That’s no surprise, given that G-Shock falls under the Casio umbrella. It’s also no surprise that this waterproof watch is perfect for the great outdoors: extras include a compass, thermometer and stopwatch. If you’re hiking into the great unknown or just going for a hike, this is the watch you want with you.
Garrison Eco-Drive Quartz Watch
Although rugged in appearance, this field watch, featuring a super sturdy green nylon strap, is renowned for its comfort. It’s inspired by the watches worn by the military, which means it’s scratch and wear resistant. The real highlight, however, is that it has no battery: the Eco-Drive movement is powered by artificial and natural light, and reserves energy for months.
If you’re planning on going up and down a twisty mountain trail any time soon, you’ll want to have this Suunto watch on your wrist. That’s because the watch has a built-in barometer that detects changes in air pressure, a compass that’ll make sure you’re heading in the right direction, an altimeter to track your progress, and (worst-case scenario) a feature that’ I’ll let you know of impending storms.
Navigator with date watch
The Marathon Navigator was designed to withstand extreme changes in atmospheric pressure, the type of function required by pilots and skydivers. Cadets at Kelly Air Force Base know what’s up: how it’s water resistant, incredibly durable, and how it won’t disappoint anyone sitting at high altitudes. That’s because Marathon makes the problem of the watches available to US service members. And whether you’re enlisted or not, now you know that too.
Luminox is Bear Gryllis’ brand of choice, so you know it’s good. But if you need more convincing, this model, in particular, was actually created for the Navy SEALs. The watch features a sturdy yet lightweight Carbonox case, a comfortable yet durable rubber strap, night visibility, and water resistance up to 200 meters.
Remember Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 80s, especially in Commando and Predator? If you look closely at his wrist, you will see this watch from Seiko. Now called Arnie by fans in honor of the action hero, the watch features a sturdy silicone strap, hands treated with LumiBrite, and a solar-powered battery that will last six months on just one charge. All that, and you also get 200 meters of water resistance suitable for diving.
Tactix Delta Solar GPS Watch
As we mentioned before, stealth is a key feature to have in a tactical watch – and this one from Garmin is the stealthiest of them all. Look at the! And if the aesthetics alone are not enough to convince you, know that it has advanced sensors for navigation, preloaded topographic maps, waypoint draft, night vision and a kill switch! I don’t know why this last item is needed, but if you’re a secret spy, this will surely come in handy.
INOX Carbon Limited Edition Tactical Watch
Of course, Swiss army knife supplier Victorinox has a watch to survive in the wild. Not only is the rugged paracord face and strap molded in a camo design, but the lightweight carbon composite housing is as light, strong and scratch resistant as it gets. Add Super-LumiNova for low-light visibility and you have a watch ready for the perilous journeys ahead.
BR V2-92 41mm Limited Edition Automatic Stainless Steel & Canvas Watch
At the more sophisticated end of the tactical watch spectrum is this style from Bell & Ross. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters and features a durable canvas strap and LumiNova treated hands, of course, but it’s the kind of accessory that’s more about form than function. He just wants to show up at a campsite, a five-star campsite.
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