Tactical watches are often used by people in the military or police force, but are great options for outdoor adventurers, too. Designed to do more than just tell time, these rugged styles can also work as a stopwatch, navigator, timer or calendar. When shopping for a good one, look for options with shock-proof resin cases that helps prevent scratches and are lightweight and water-resistant. You also want a wristband that’s sturdy, made of thick rubber or nylon. And for reliably accurate timekeeping, a quartz movement is the way to go. Unlike mechanical movements, quartz is sensitive to temperature fluctuations and withstands impact better. Considering all this, we compiled the best styles on the market. In addition to the above features, they also offer handy functions like GPS and chronography.
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1. Garmin Instinct Tactical Wacth
Featuring a fiber-reinforced polymer case and scratch-resistant display that’s high-contrast enough to read in bright sunlight, this mil-spec is thermal, shock and water-resistant.
Pros: It also features GPS, a 3-axis compass and altimeter, while monitoring your activity, heart rate and stress throughout the day. It’s also equipped with pre-loaded activity profiles for running, biking, swimming and more and includes an adjustable, perforated nylon band for a comfortable fit. A TracBack feature allows you to navigate the same route back to your starting point. You can sync it with a compatible smartphone to receive notifications. It comes in eight colors.
Cons: Some may find the vibrating notification mode a bit loud.
2. Casio G-Shock Sport Watch
This chronograph model also offers a shock-resistant construction that protects against impact and vibration. A quartz movement provides optimal accuracy.
Pros: A 200-meter water-resistant design ensures the watch won’t get damage from light rain, showering or swimming. An electro-luminescent backlight with afterglow lets you read the watch face in environments without light. It works as a daily alarm, stopwatch, countdown timer and auto-calendar pre-programmed up to the year 2039. It comes in multiple versions with different color accents. You can also program this watch to alert you of the time every hour.
Cons: It doesn’t have a GPS function.
3. Suunto Traverse Alpha Tactical Watch
Built for action, this water-resistant GPS watch features a rugged, knurled stainless steel bezel, a durable, adjustable nylon strap and a premium scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass.
Pros: You can receive text notifications and incoming calls with a Bluetooth smartphone connection. It also has a discreet built-in flashlight for hunting, while automatic shot detection technology keeps track of when and where you shoot. The GPS lets you save points of interest along the way. A location-based moon phase calendar with moonrise and moonset times helps you determine the best hours for hunting and fishing. It also features a digital compass and barometric trend information with storm alarms.
Cons: It may not change time zones automatically.