LAST UPDATED: April 08, 2021

The best tactical watches to keep you on time and on target

Best Overall Garmin Tactix Charlie Premium GPS Watch Garmin Tactix Charlie Premium GPS Watch

Combines specialized tactical functions with smart features for fitness training and outdoor navigation. Includes routable color topography maps, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, fitness training metrics, night vision goggle compatibility, and more.

Best Value Casio Men's G-Shock Sport Watch Casio Men's G-Shock Sport Watch

Budget-friendly option has a high durability rating and is a trustworthy product for its price point. Completely shock-resistant for protection against all kinds of drops, impacts, or vibrations. Includes 20-bar water resistance, meaning it can be used safely in the rain, shower, and even while swimming, surfing or jet skiing.

Honorable Mention Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Specialized Tactical Watch Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Specialized Tactical Watch

One of best all-around products on the market. Features night vision capability, allowing you to easily switch between daytime view and nighttime view with a screen that can be read by night vision goggles. Stealth mode stops storing and sharing your GPS position, and disables wireless connectivity and communication.

If you enjoy the great outdoors and participating in a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, backpacking, trekking, climbing, skiing, diving, and more, then one piece of equipment that could come in handy is a high-quality tactical watch. Most tactical watches are quite durable, reliable, and versatile. They are often made from military-grade materials that are shock-resistant to withstand drops and falls and fully waterproof to withstand extreme weather conditions. Some models can even be used in all types of cold climates and inclimate weather conditions, even while climbing at great altitudes or diving at extreme depths up to 1,000 feet underwater. Some tactical watches include special features that allow you to measure altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and direction readings in the most remote locations.

Whether you are looking for great value, durability, portability, or versatility, we took a look at the best tactical watches currently on the market. Read on to see which product is the best fit for your next outdoor trip.

If you’re looking for a high-quality, reliable product, you can’t go wrong with the Garmin Tactix Charlie Premium GPS Watch. This watch combines specialized tactical functions with smart features for fitness training and outdoor navigation. The special features include routable color topography maps, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, fitness training metrics, night vision goggle compatibility, and more. The 1.2-inch high-resolution, sunlight-readable display can easily be switched between daytime use and night vision goggle compatibility modes. The watch includes a powerful, long-lasting battery, with up to 12 days of battery life in smartwatch mode, up to 20 hours in GPS mode, and up to 35 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode. The watch face has a scratch-resistant domed sapphire lens, it is water-rated to 100 meters, and it comes with an all-weather black silicone band.

One downside of the Garmin Tactix Charlie Premium GPS Watch is with its charger. This watch is not able to be charged using a standard USB cable and connector. You will need to use the included charger and cable, or purchase one from Garmin if you need a backup option.

Get the best bang for your buck with the Casio Men’s G-Shock Sport Watch. This budget-friendly option has a high durability rating and is a trustworthy product for its price point. It is completely shock-resistant for protection against all kinds of drops, impacts, or vibrations. This watch also includes a 20-bar water resistance, meaning that it can be used safely in the rain, shower, and even while swimming, surfing or jet skiing. There is a high illumination backlight that allows you to easily read the watch face display in the dark or dim lighting situations. The watch includes a buzzer that sounds for alarms, hourly time signal, and a countdown timer time-up alarm. It also has a 1/100 second stopwatch, elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times, countdown timer, hourly time signal, and full auto-calendar.

One issue with the Casio Men’s G-Shock Sport Watch is its durability. Some customers have reported glitches or issues with their screens and screen functionality. If you have any problems with your watch, reach out to the company regarding a potential refund or replacement product.

Although it is priced at a premium, the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Specialized Tactical Watch is one of the best all-around products on the market. This tactical watch features night vision capability, allowing you to easily switch between daytime view and nighttime view with a screen that can be read by night vision goggles. There is even a stealth mode, which stops storing and sharing your GPS position, and disables wireless connectivity and communication. A kill switch is able to wipe the device of all user memory in the event of a security issue. You can easily sync your location with others by seeing both the universal transverse mercator (UTM) and military grid reference system (MGRS) on the same screen. This watch has access to multiple global navigation satellite systems, including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, to track in more challenging, remote environments.

The only major downside of the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Specialized Tactical Watch is with its price point. If you are willing to spend a lot, there is not a much better tactical watch that includes more special features than the Garmin Tactix Delta Solar Specialized Tactical Watch.

The Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch is one of the most reliable, versatile tactical watches on the market. This product is ideal for mountain climbers, skiers, and wilderness travelers, featuring an altimeter to measure your current elevation, track your ascent and descent, and gauge your overall progress. A high-quality barometer allows you to monitor air pressure trends and sudden changes in the weather forecast in real time. There is even a compass to accurately pinpoint your location in whiteout conditions. This watch is able to operate effectively in all types of hazardous conditions, ranging from 5 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Additional key features of this watch include time, dual time, date, alarm, sports chronograph, countdown timer, and predicted times for sunrise and sunset for over 400 locations worldwide.

One issue with the Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch is with its durability. Some customers have reported issues with leaks or cracks in the face of the watch. If this happens while under warranty, reach out to the company about a potential refund or replacement product due to manufacturing defects.

The Casio Men’s Pro Trek Multifunction Digital Sport Watch is another versatile product, built to withstand a variety of different temperatures and weather conditions. This tactical watch includes an altimeter, barometer/thermometer, and a digital compass. The innovative design of this watch includes an integrated solar panel that uses sunlight and UV light to recharge the watch’s battery while on your wrist. It also includes a full-auto LED backlight that will illuminate the digital display for easy viewing in low light or at night. The watch is fully water-resistant up to 100 meters. It has five daily alarms, as well as a 1/10 second stopwatch. This watch is able to track world time of 31 different time zones, allowing you to predict sunset and sunrise times depending on your location.

One downside of the Casio Men’s Pro Trek Multifunction Digital Sport Watch is that some customers have had issues locking in the accurate time zone. If you are having issues or your watch keeps reverting to the wrong time zone, reach out to the company regarding a potential replacement due to a manufacturing defect.

The Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch is another high-quality, budget-friendly option. Despite its low price point, this tactical watch is designed to hold up during most outdoor activities. It includes a scratch-resistant mineral glass watch face, water resistance up to 30 meters, and up to a 10-year battery life. There is a highly illuminating Indiglo backlight, allowing you to easily read the watch display in dim lighting or at night. The watch also features vibrating alarms, a stopwatch, and a countdown timer. It is also shock-resistant, designed to withstand drops or falls. The lithium ion battery is included with the watch, and it is built to withstand the test of time. The fully adjustable 22mm black resin strap can fit wrists up to 8 inches in circumference.

One issue with the Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch is with the vibration alarm. Some customers have reported that the vibration is too weak to wake you up from a deep sleep. It is recommended to use a phone alarm or backup alarm if possible.

The Casio Tactical Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch is another reliable watch from a reputable manufacturer. This watch is quite durable, featuring a shock-resistant triple sensor that can withstand most conditions, drops, or falls. It is capable of monitoring altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and direction readings simultaneously while climbing, skiing, trekking, or participating in a variety of other outdoor activities. There are multiple gaskets included on the pipes that guide buttons and shafts, which is designed to keep mud, dirt, and debris out of the inside of the watch. The gaskets also enhance button operation and functionality, making it easy to switch between displays as needed. The black digital dial is able to clearly display the date, day, and time features. It includes grey accents, and a black resin band that is also extremely flexible and durable.

One downside of the Casio Tactical Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch is that some customers have reported problems with their delivery. Make sure to inspect your product upon delivery, and if there is any damage or defects, reach out to the company regarding a refund or replacement.

The Marathon Military Issue Diver’s Watch is perhaps the best tactical watch on the market for diving and other underwater activities. It features an incredible water resistance to a depth of up to 1,000 feet underwater. It is made from an ultra durable, 316L surgical grade stainless steel. This watch includes a transparent synthetic sapphire watch face that is completely scratch-resistant. Self contained Tritium gas tubes ensure consistent visibility in dim light or low light situations. In addition to most outdoor activities, including swimming or diving, this watch is an ideal option for search and rescue teams. This watch is available to purchase with a rubber strap band or stainless steel bracelet. Marathon is an extremely reputable manufacturer, producing quality military-grade equipment since 1939.

One issue with the Marathon Military Issue Diver’s Watch is with possible manufacturing defects. Some customers have had issues with the watch hands getting stuck after extensive use. If you notice any problems like this, reach out to the company regarding a potential refund or replacement.

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Why should you trust us

Living in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I have spent plenty of time outdoors on long hiking, camping, biking, backpacking, skiing, climbing, or fishing trips. Trust me when I say, owning a high-quality tactical watch can be an extremely useful accessory for a safe, reliable outdoor experience. The best tactical watches are quite durable, versatile, and safe to use in a variety of situations and different weather conditions. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors and have written a number of other outdoor lifestyle products and camping equipment articles, including camping towels, hiking water filters, walking sticks, insulated coffee mugs, and more.

The most common types of tactical watches

There are three main types of tactical watches. Each type of tactical watch offers its own unique set of features and advantages. Depending on your individual preferences, where you will be using your watch, the type of activities you will be participating in, and the type of weather you will be using your watch, you may require a different type to best fit your needs. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all of the different types of tactical watches before making a decision on your final purchase.

General purpose

General purpose tactical watches are perhaps the most common and popular type of tactical watch. Also referred to as a field watch, this type of tactical watch is often worn by military personnel in the field of duty. General purpose watches are extremely durable, built from military-grade materials. Despite their heavy-duty structure, the watches are often lightweight and feature very long-lasting batteries. They are usually scratch-resistant and completely waterproof for use in a variety of weather conditions.

Dive

Dive watches are another type of tactical watch, specifically built for use underwater while swimming or diving. This type of watch is completely water-resistant and can withstand extreme pressure at water depths up to 1,000 feet or more. Dive watches are not only used by divers and naval personnel, but they are also often the top choice for search and rescue teams due to their durability, reliability, and weather resistance.

Digital

Digital tactical watches are the most modern type of tactical watch, and they often come with the highest number of special features. This type of tactical watch is available to purchase in a wide range of prices. They include an easy-to-use digital display that often includes a backlight for use in dim lighting conditions or at night. Digital tactical watches can toggle between important readings, such as temperature, barometric pressure, GPS location, altitude, and more. They are usually shock-resistant, waterproof, and extremely durable. They are also the most versatile type of tactical watch, and many models can even be worn for everyday use.

What to look for when buying tactical watches

For this article, we extensively researched and tested a wide variety of different types and brands of tactical watches. These included general purpose, dive, and digital tactical watches of all models and styles. The tactical watches were all tested for reliability, durability, portability, and versatility. They were all tested in a number of different conditions, locations, and in a variety of hazardous weather conditions.

The results of this thorough research and testing can be found throughout this article. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the different types, brands, and features of each type of tactical watch before making a final purchase to best fit your needs for your next outdoor trip.

The advantages of owning a tactical watch

There are several key advantages to purchasing and using a tactical watch for your next outdoor adventure. The most obvious benefit is that it can be used to reliably monitor the time, elevation, air pressure, and sudden changes in temperature while participating in strenuous outdoor activities. Most tactical watches are extremely durable, reliable, and designed for use in a variety of different weather conditions and for use underwater. Tactical watches are available in a variety of different styles, models, designs, and brands, and some models are even designed to hold up in extreme weather conditions or while diving to depths up to 1,000 feet or more underwater.

Most tactical watches are quite lightweight, user-friendly, and versatile, able to be used in a variety of weather conditions or different settings. Tactical watches make a great option for a safe outdoor experience, allowing you to safely climb to great heights or dive underwater to extreme depths.

  • A key benefit to tactical watches is that they are extremely durable. Some models are even constructed from military-grade materials that are scratch-resistant, shockproof, and completely water-resistant, even while diving underwater.
  • Another main benefit to tactical watches is that they are quite reliable. Tactical watches are specifically designed for use in extreme weather or extreme temperatures. Even though some models are priced at a premium, they are generally produced by trustworthy manufacturers who will stand behind their products.
  • Most tactical watches are completely waterproof, which often includes construction from shock-resistant and weather-resistant materials. Depending on the type of tactical watch you are looking for, some models can even withstand diving underwater for long periods of time at great depths.

Pricing ranges for tactical watches

  • Under $100: Tactical watches in this price range are available at an excellent value. Make sure to thoroughly read the reviews for products in this price range to ensure that the watch is designed to withstand the outdoor activities where you would be using it.
  • $100-$500: This is the most common price range for tactical watches. Tactical watches in this price range are available in a variety of different types, models, and styles. You can typically find a watch in this range that can be used for a variety of activities in a number of different weather conditions.
  • Over $500: Tactical watches in this price range are priced at a premium. These watches typically include the most special features and are built from the highest quality materials. Tactical watches in this price range can be used for climbing to great altitudes, in extreme weather conditions, or while diving underwater at great depths.

How we chose our top picks

When reviewing new products, we much prefer to go the hands-on route, but sometimes a lack of resources may prevent us from trying out the outdoor equipment in person. To make sure we don’t let you down, we take the time to thoroughly research and review other professionals who have hands-on experience with the equipment, combing through extensive reviews on Amazon, professional publications, outdoor enthusiast blogs, and more to bring you the best information available. For this review, we found the information at Everyday Carry, Luxe Digital, Watch Ranker, and Donat’s Fashion Blog to be extremely helpful when shopping for the best tactical watches for your next outdoor trip.

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