best tactical automatic watch

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021

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Name

Rating

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#1

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 1

BEST OVERALL

Citizen Promaster Diver Watch For Men

#2

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 2

RUNNER UP

Infantry Men’s Skeleton Mechanical Watch

#3

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 3

Seiko Men’s NATO Strap Automatic Watch

#4

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 4

Marathon GPM Military Field Watch

#5

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 5

Bulova Hack NATO Strap Automatic Watch

If you are looking for durability and longevity in a wristwatch, make sure you invest in the best tactical automatic watch you can find. Then again, it’s not all that easy.

With so many manufacturers and inflated prices out there, you wouldn’t know if you’re getting your money’s worth. For that, we’ve got your back.

Before anything else, let’s talk about a little back story first. How did the wristwatch come about anyway?

From Battlefield Must-Have to Fashion Staple

We owe the long history of wristwatches to a German naval officer. Back then, military men use pocket watches, which isn’t all that convenient if you want to keep track of time while in battle.

To solve this problem, the naval officer strapped a pocket watch to his wrist using a leather strap to hold it in place. As the First World War raged on, watchmakers like Rolex, Gruen, and Doxa competed to deliver their versions of military watches.

Innovations that emerged during the Second World War had luminous digits and easily readable dials. After the war, the military watch had become a popular accessory for young bachelors, as many of them had worn the watches as heirlooms.

The increase in its popularity created a massive market for military watches whose design and style are still marketable to date.

Durability, legibility, and reliability are still all characteristics of a modern automatic watch. The vast number of makers that set the bar by keeping these characteristics in check makes it quite challenging to choose from the best military watches available.

To help you narrow down your search for the best tactical timepieces, we have compiled a list of five top-rated models for sale. Most of them come from very famous brands, which means you don’t have to worry about each product’s long-standing reputation.

Which Is the Best Tactical Watch?

The Japanese have come a long way in improving their technology to make the best tactical automatic watches. They can compete against German and Swiss watchmakers while keeping their designs to relatively affordable products.

It is fairly obvious why this compilation includes three brands of wristwatches from Japan, and one of them is at the top of the list.

The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch is the best option because it is a self-sustaining timepiece that can surpass a mechanical watch’s accuracy.

Although its high water-resistance feature makes it a dive watch, it can easily take over the durability, reliability, and legibility of any military watch.

The Citizen Promaster Diver Watch case proportions allow it to feel almost lug-less, and it provides a compact fit. It has an aluminum bezel, which uses a precise 60-click mechanism that hits every mark.

You’ll be amazed to know that the mineral crystal face does not give in to any chipping and scratching.

As to movement, nothing in this list beats the (give or take) 15 seconds per month accuracy range of the Citizen Promaster Diver. The cell on this brute can run up to six months, even in a dark room if fully charged.

To keep your thoughts on the Citizen Promaster Diver timepiece, we leave you with this video, which shows just how Citizen has gone a long way in making the best affordable timepieces.

Best Tactical Automatic Watch Reviews

Best Overall: Citizen Promaster Diver Watch for Men

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 6

  • Model Code: BN0150-28E
  • Movement Type: Eco-drive (quartz-like), automatic light-rechargeable lithium-ion cell
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Anti-reflective mineral crystal
  • Strap Type: Polyurethane strap with adjustable buckle
  • Water Resistance: 20bar or 200M
  • Watch Diameter: 44 mm
  • Item Weight: 15.2 ounces

The Citizen Promaster Diver Watch is proof that a dive watch can have all the traits of a military-grade timepiece. It holds high standards for durability, legibility, and reliability.

Its case is a silver-tone, durable stainless-steel frame with a screw-down crown and a one-way rotating elapsed time bezel. The crystal face is made of anti-reflective mineral, which provides both durability and legibility.

The black dial emphasizes the white, luminous hands and markers, while silver and red outlines correctly identify the hands.

In addition to all that, the four o’clock marker incorporates a small window that visibly indicates the date.

The dials on the timepiece are very legible, even at night time or underwater. Calibrations are clearly marked, hands cause zero confusion, and the date window is pleasantly integrated into the four o’clock marker.

With this watch, you will have no issues with low light visibility, as the markers and hands are perfectly illuminated.

Aside from the lines and dots on the bezel, clearly labeled 10-second markers help recall elapsed time calculations. This feature does not only add to the watch’s legibility but also its reliability and functionality.

The Promaster Diver timepiece can maintain durability underwater up to a depth of about 650 feet. To top it all off, it employs Citizen’s Eco-Drive power-sourcing, which successfully converts ambient light into renewable energy.

The timepiece runs on a rechargeable cell that can provide power for up to six months at full charge capacity. Imagine a watch never running out of power so it can give reliably accurate time readings.

What’s more, Citizen timepieces cost much less compared to other competing popular brands.

On another note, the Promaster Diver has a polyurethane strap with a stainless-steel buckle. Its design is for withstanding decompression problems after deep, repetitive dives.

It has a sporty look, and it can be easily replaced with any similar-sized NATO strap. If you don’t have the faintest idea about a NATO strap, it is a one-piece strap designed by the British Ministry of Defense for wartime use.

Runner-up: Infantry Men’s Skeleton Mechanical Watch

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 7

  • Model Code: REVO-SKL-06-V2
  • Movement Type: Automatic mechanical
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Strap Type: Quick-release silicone
  • Water Resistance: 10bar or 100M
  • Watch Diameter: 47 mm
  • Item Weight: 12 ounces

We want to bring in the muscle as the runner-up to this list of the best tactical watches for men. Nothing screams “macho” better than the Infantry Revolution Skeleton Automatic Watch.

This watch has a sturdy, hard-coated case that showcases the underlying mechanisms on the face and under the lug. What makes the whole Revolution Skeleton system strong is its combined stainless-steel and brass case, enclosed in thickened, scratch-resistant sapphire glass.

For extreme readability, the hands, large numbers, and legibly marked indices on the face are coated with Japanese-made luminous paints. This feature is an addition to the small second indices and five-second counters on the dial.

All labels and markings are perfectly evident on top of the black military face and case design of the timepiece. Wide black silicone straps also emphasize the tactical nature of the watch.

Designed for the great outdoors, the Revolution Skeleton is a military-inspired watch that offers precision and durability. Continuous kinetic movement can be expected from the timepiece for up to 36 hours.

On the other hand, kinetic restoration can be done by winding the push-pull crown of the timepiece. Unlike the Citizen Promaster Diver, the Revolution Skeleton does not have a date or day function.

The Revolution Skeleton is rated for use in underwater depths not exceeding 330 feet. As you can see, it can only go half as deep as the traversal depth of the Promaster Diver Watch.

Alternative: Seiko Men’s NATO Strap Automatic Watch

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 8

  • Model Code: SRPD79
  • Movement Type: Automatic mechanical with manual winding capacity
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Strap Type: Nylon NATO strap
  • Water Resistance: 10bar or 100M
  • Watch Diameter: 42.5 mm
  • Item Weight: 11.82 ounces

Another excellent timepiece that can be counted with the best military watches is another Japanese product. The Seiko SRPD79 has a hard-coated stainless-steel frame and Hardlex face cover, both rated for diving water depths up to 330 feet.

Hardlex is Seiko’s trademark for its mineral-based clear glass. It is harder than polycarbonate, and it equates to the scratch-resistance levels of some mineral crystals.

For legibility, the SRPD79 Tactical Watch uses a bright, long-lasting luminous paint to finish the timepiece’s hands, markings, and indices.

Unlike the Citizen Promaster Diver, the Seiko SRPD79 uses automatic mechanical movement that could stop after a long time of use. The movement duration on this timepiece is approximately 41 hours.

If you did not notice, it holds more time than the Infantry Revolution Skeleton watch. To restore the time and date settings, you would have to wind the timepiece by turning the crown manually.

The accuracy of the Seiko SRPD79 timepiece is between +45 to -35 seconds per day, making it not as reliable as the Citizen Promaster Diver Watch. Still, the additional day display, along with the date window, more than makes up for it.

Alternative: Marathon GPM Military Field Watch

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 9

  • Model Code: WW194003
  • Movement Type: Automatic mechanical, dual-wind
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Strap Type: Ballistic Nylon NATO strap
  • Water Resistance: 3bar or 30M
  • Watch Diameter: 34 mm
  • Item Weight: 8.01 ounces

The Swiss-made Marathon GPM Military Field Watch takes its place as the fourth product in this lineup of the best tactical watches for men. Like the Seiko SRPD79, the Marathon GPM can run for approximately 41 hours after a full windup.

GPM stands for general-purpose mechanical, which means it can be worn for daily use. Its movement also depends on automatic winding.

It has dual winding movement, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and water-resistance capability up to 100 feet. The dual-wind option allows both manual and automatic winding.

For legibility, the Marathon GPM uses tritium gas tubes to illuminate the timepiece in the dark without an external light source. The isotope-H3 tritium is encapsulated at every hour marking on the dial and the hour and minute hands.

Additionally, a center track displays 24-hour markings beside the standard one to 12 markings for indicating military standard time.

The case is a lightweight, high impact-resistant fiber shell partnered with the sapphire crystal. With this combination, it is intended for general infantry.

If you’re looking for a simple tactical watch, the Marathon GPM timepiece is built to government specifications for use by military personnel. Its strap fulfills several NATO Stock Numbers.

Although the strap is designed for military use, you can purchase extra nylon straps in various colors so that you can customize the watch to go with any outfit.

Like the Infantry Revolution Skeleton, the Marathon GPM does not have a date or day indicator.

Alternative: Bulova Hack NATO Strap Automatic Watch

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 10

  • Model Code: 96A246
  • Movement Type: Automatic mechanical
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Domed mineral crystal
  • Strap Type: Black leather NATO strap
  • Water Resistance: 3bar or 30M
  • Watch Diameter: 38 mm
  • Item Weight: 9.14 ounces

The Bulova Hack NATO Strap Automatic Watch puts on a classier look than the Marathon GPM. Add to that its impressive features, and it completes this list of best tactical automatic timepieces.

We set it at the fifth spot since it has a more casual appearance than the very military nature of the Marathon GPM.

The Bulova Watch Company is one of the many subsidiaries of Citizen. This brand acquired the company in 2007, which means many of its innovations come from the trusted watch manufacturer.

Nomenclature aside, the Bulova Hack is inspired by the subsidiary’s military heritage and vintage watches. It is evident in the classic black leather NATO strap and ivory dial.

For legibility, the Bulova Hack has a center track indicating 24-hour increments for effortlessly displaying standard military time. The markings resemble those also found in the Marathon GPM.

The outer ring of the dial has luminescent square markings that match each of the standard 12-hour readings. Additionally, the same illuminating substance fills the hour and minute hands, surrounded by a black outline.

The durable watch case is made of stainless steel coupled with a domed mineral crystal.

Lastly, time readings can be reliable up to 42 hours of inactive use. Simply move around with the timepiece to renew the power reserve and enable reliable automatic movement.

Variations in the Movement of Automatic Timepieces

If you haven’t noticed, different automatic watches have unique movements. Each movement depends on the power source technology.

An effortless way to distinguish movements between a quartz and a mechanical watch is by looking at the second hand. While mechanical watches have second hands that move in a sweeping motion, those on quartz watches have individual one-second ticks.

Most Eco-drive watches from Citizen usually have a quartz-like movement on the second hand.

Moreover, a mechanical watch could either be automatically wound, manually wound, or both. Automatic winding requires wearing the watch and moving it in an oscillating motion, like when your arms move on your sides while walking, to regenerate the kinetic energy within.

Best Tactical Automatic Watches of 2021 12

Jackson

Hi, we're the BroInsider Team, and like many of you, we were men that didn't really care for the looks or opinions of others. But time doesn't stop for anyone. Hairs thin, bellies appear, skin problems arise, and you're suddenly confronted with the reality of age and body care. With a lot of effort and perseverance, we managed to get back our young plus some more. So we decided to share our knowledge because our path wasn't the easiest one.