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15 Best Automatic Watches for Military

Best Military Watches that Can Survive the Battlefield

Which are the best automatic watches for military? Read our guide for 15 of the top recommendations.

Military watches are still popular up to date since they are a perfect embodiment of form over function. This article explains the transition of these timepieces from the battlefield to a typical wardrobe.

What is a Military Watch?

In a traditional setting, it’s a timepiece that is given to soldiers. The military watch had to be accurate, easy to read and durable. In addition, for it to be called a military watch, the timepiece was supposed to pass some strict certifications and requirements. However, this is quite the opposite in the modern setting because a military watch is not necessarily issued by government. In fact, there are timepieces that resemble the ones issued by the armed forces during war and are now considered military watches.

History of Military Watches

Watches didn’t have straps that allowed you to wear them on your wrist. Before the 19th century, men would only go for pocket watches since wrist watches were said to be feminine accessories. This norm started changing around the 1880’s. Men, especially those in the armed forces, starting wearing wrist watches. However, they did it for convenience as opposed to aesthetics.

Combat soldiers usually found trouble fumbling for the watch inside their pockets. Besides, checking the time is much easier when its on the wrist than getting it from the pocket. This made soldiers attach straps to their military watches so that they could wear them on the wrist. Soon enough, men wearing watches on their wrists became socially acceptable.

How the WWI Impacted on Military Watches

Soldiers need better military watches during the World War 1. During this time, different watch brands on the market had to meet the demand of the warfare. This saw the brands work to develop their own technologies including unbreakable crystals and luminous dials.

US Military Specification

The US military came up with the military Specification otherwise known as MIL-SPEC before World War 2 broke out. It typically means that those in the military could only use things that follow specific quality and specifications requirements including watches and guns. A watch could only be considered a military watch once it met the standards.

Type A-11 Military Watch

There are different types of military watches but the A-11 stands out from the rest. In fact, most people usually refer to it as the watch that won the world war. Type A-11 military watches were issued to the Army personnel and Allied Air Forces.

Four different companies manufactured this military watch, namely Hamilton, Bulova, Elgin and Waltham. Type A-11 military watches from all these companies were identical owing to the strict quality and requirements they had to meet. The watches had white hands, Arabic numeral hour markers and a black dial. Plus, they featured a high-visibility design and 60 seconds gradations.

A hacking movement was paramount when it came to features. The hacking movement allowed the military personnel to synchronize the timepieces up to the last second. Remember, lateness is never an option for soldiers since it can compromise the entire mission.

Britain’s WWW

Since America had the Type A-11 military watch, Britain had to up their game hence the WWW – Wrist Watch Waterproof. Military watches that met the required standards Could get the British Broad Arrow engraved on the dial.

To produce the military watches, the ministry of defense in Britain requested the neutral Swiss companies to produce the timepieces on their behalf. Luck was on their side since they got 12 different watch makers that were in agreement with the plan. Some of these watch makers include Vertex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cyma, Longines, IWC, Buren, Eterna, Omega, Lemania and Record. They were known as the Dirty Dozen collectively.

The military watches were not only supposed to be durable but also chronometer-grade and waterproof. Britain’s WWW were not quite popular compared to their Type A-11 counterparts. However, they were almost similar especially when it narrows down to design.

Why Do Soldiers Wear their Watches Backwards?

If you are keen, you’ll notice that most people always wear their watches backwards. This typically means that the dial faces the same direction as the palm. This has been a trend for quite a while but it started in the military.

One of the reasons why soldiers wear their watches backwards is because they find checking time in that position easier especially when aiming their guns. It also helps them avoid bumping the watch’s dial against any rough surface. Wearing a watch backwards became a fashion trend over the years but it was originally meant for some practical reasons.

15 Best Automatic Watches for Military

Here are some of the best military watches:

1. Seiko SNK803

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Why It’s Good

Seiko SNK803 is one of the best military watches on the market. It not only has an aesthetic design but also a solid build and top-notch accuracy that’s why it’s iconic. This is your best bet if you are budding collector. This military watch is true to design even though it’s relatively cheap.

Seiko SNK803 features a purposeful design with a legible and clean dial. The case is about 37mm wide which means it’s neither bulky nor small. What’s more, this military watch is also fitted with a nylon strap that is super comfortable and stylish. If you like admiring the caliber of a watch, then this is your best bet since the case back is made with transparent glass.

In terms of specs, SEIKO SNK803 is equipped with a Hardlex crystal. The mineral is known for its tolerance to different types of scratches and durability in equal measure. Save for that, it’s equally less reflective to help minimize the glare of the sun. The watch uses Seiko 7S26B when it comes to movement. The smooth mechanism makes the watch stay accurate and precise.

Here are the specs of Seiko SNK803:

2. Timex Weekender

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Timex Weekender is the best option for minimalists and those who love simplicity. This military-inspired watch features an effective quartz movement. Plus, it can effortlessly run for up to three years without the need to change its battery. It goes well with different outfits owing to its simple and clean dial.

Time Weekender is equally versatile since it has easy to change straps. Plus, you can change the straps from a classic black leather to robust green strap instantly. Just like the military, this classic watch can camouflage to the outfit. In addition, it’s relatively cheap and that is what makes it stand out. Time weekender is actually the cheapest military watch on our list.

Time Weekender specs:

3. Timex Expedition Scout

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Timex Expedition Scout is ideal for those looking for a military watch on a budget. It draws inspiration from the military and you can tell just by the looks. Although Timex Expedition Scout and Time Weekender have a lot in common, they are quite different. Timex Expedition Scout features a busier dial and is larger.

Luminosity is what makes the Timex Expedition Scout stand out. It features Indiglo technology which is the biggest on the market when it comes to watches. The entire dial glows in areas with low lighting and dark places instead of the typical illumination of the hour markers and hands. We must admit, Indiglo is easy on the eyes.

Timex Expedition Scout comes in a range of color schemes including camo, black and cream. This means that this military watch is aesthetically pleasing which makes it ideal for everyday casual wear.

Timex Expedition Scout specs:

4. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

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Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is fairly priced. In terms of pedigree, this watch has very strong roots as far as the military is concerned. Hamilton has three different collections inspired by the military branches including Khaki Field for the Army, Khaki Navy for the Navy and Khaki Aviation for the Air Force.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical features a hand wound H-50 movement interior power. The caliber either comes with a date function or not and helps keep the military watch running for up to a maximum of 80 hours – which is more than the average power reserve. What’s more, Hamilton is one of the prettiest military watches on the market since it’s a typical recreation of the 1960s original model.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical gives off some retro vibes. Plus, it comes in different colors including olive green, black and white. If can’t afford a luxury military watch but are looking to upgrade, then the Hamilton Khaki is your best bet.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Specs:

5. Seiko 5 SNZG15

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Seiko 5 SNZG15 military watch has a modern feel. There’s a good reason this military watch has a huge following from watch enthusiasts. First of all, this military watch is sturdy owing to the DualShock shock-resistant design from the Seiko 5 collection. It’s equally affordable.

Seiko 5 SNZG15 is equipped with the brand’s 7S36 caliber and has a durable case. This military watch is automatic and usually runs at about 21,600 bhp. Generally, the caliber is accurate and reliable workhorse for that price tag. If you are looking to upgrade your military watch from quartz to mechanical, then Seiko 5 SNZG15 is your best option. You’ll get exactly what you pay for with this military watch.

Seiko 5SNZG15 Military Watch Specs:

6. Timex MK1

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Timex MK1 military watch is quite reliable. It features one of the most iconic designs of the brand. In fact, the design was inspired by the 1980s MK1 watch. These watches were disposable and were only used by soldiers back in the days. Plus, you could discard the 80’s MK1 military watch easily following the instructions at the back on the case. Timex MK1 is an upgrade since it’s durable and has more features. However, the design is still the same and the only difference is in the materials used.

Timex MK1 Military Watch is made with durable and sturdy materials. It’s also equipped with the brand’s analogue yet reliable quartz movement with long-lasting durability. This military watch is equally versatile as the patrons can choose between two different materials for the case – stainless steel and aluminium. If you prefer a lightweight feel, then you should go for a Timex MK1 military watch with an aluminium case.

Timex MK1 Military Watch Specs:

7. Luminox Atacama Field Automatic Military Watch

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Luminox Atacama Field Automatic Military Watch falls under the land collection of the brand. The collection is endorsed and used by a number of law enforcement groups dealing with land like the NYPD. It only means one thing – Luminox Atacama Field Automatic Military Watch is the real deal.

Luminox Atacama Field Automatic Military Watch features a 30mm diameter case which makes reading effortless. It additionally features blue and orange accents that are aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eyes especially since they are against a cream dial. What’s more, the dial has a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating material for protection.

When it comes to performance, this miliary watch typically uses the SW220-1 HH5 automatic Swiss caliber with a 28, 800 vph frequency workhorse beats. It powers the military watch up to a maximum of 40 hours.

Luminox Atacama Field Automatic Military Watch Specs:

8. IWC Mark XVIII Edition – Le Petit Price Military Watch

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IWC Mark XVIII Edition Military Watch is ideal for bookworm watch enthusiasts. This military watch features a midnight blue dial that makes it stand out. When it comes to power, the watch is fitted with the brand’s 30110 – ETA 2892-A2 caliber movement. It has a 42-hour power reserve with 21 different jewels. Plus, the inner case of the watch is made of incredibly soft iron which makes it more resistant especially to magnetic fields.

IWC Mark XVIII Edition Military Watch additionally features a Little Prince engraving at the back. The detail is relatively small but is a great addition. You can wear this military watch in both a semi-formal and casual setting as it features a brown leather strap. Go get this watch if your heart can’t seem to stop thinking about it.

IWC Mark XVIII Edition Military Watch Specs:

9. Victorinox Maverick Military Watch

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Victorinox Maverick Military Watch was associated with the Swiss for the longest time.  If you are looking for one of the best military watches in the market, then you need to check out the Victorinox Maverick Military Watch. It features a black dial that pairs perfectly well with different outfits. There’s also the 24-hour military markers on the inside that makes it stand out. The exterior features the index hour marker and 12-hour Arabic marker.

Victorinox Maverick Military Watch is also valuable since it doubles up as a dive watch. This military watch has a 100m water resistance rating and a rotating bezel. It’s one of the best military watches for someone who is looking for a versatile, reliable and affordable option.

Victorinox Maverick Military Watch Specs:

10. Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000

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Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000 Military Watch is the only digital option on our list. The cult love the G-Shock line for a good reason and this because the watches are indestructible. Save for that, this military watch has a number of great features. For starters, it has a 300-city world time, chronograph, clock accuracy and perpetual calendar among others.

In addition, the Casio G-Shock Military Watch also doubles up as a smartwatch. You only need to connect to it to your phone using the G-shock mobile app that’s connected to it. You can do a lot of things with the app including syncing atomic times and setting up reminders for special occasions and events. The Casio G-Shock GMW-B500 is not only functional but also a fashion statement. It features a black matte case that pairs well with different casual outfits.

Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000 is something a solid snake can wear.

Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000 Military Watch Specs;

11. Citizen BM8180 03E Eco Drive

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Citizen BM8180 03E Eco Drive would be Rambo if it was a movie. This timepiece is not only eye-catching but also one of those value for money military watches in the market. It’s equipped with the brand’s 7878 Eco-drive caliber with solar panels. In layman terms, this means that this military watch is powered by the sun.

Since the Citizen Eco Drive Military Watch is powered by the sun, you wouldn’t need change of battery every so often. The brand’s technology will put a stop to the use of disposable batteries in the near future since it has significantly reduced. The watch features a rugged design that perfectly complements the comfortable fit. It has a nylon strap with a universal fit to accommodate different sizes.

Generally, Citizen Eco Drive is reliable and equally affordable. You wouldn’t expect anything less from a renowned brand that produces near-atomic timepieces.

Citizen BM8180 O3E Eco Drive Military Watch Specs:

12. Longines Heritage Military Watch

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Longines Heritage Military Watch is the best option for those in the watch community that love vintage. This timepiece gives you a retro vibe since the manufacturer drew inspiration from military watches that were used during World War 2 by the British Air Force. You can easily mistake this military watch for a vintage one when it comes to aesthetics.

Longines Heritage Military Watch features a cream dial that displays Arabic numerals with a clean finish and simple fonts. It additionally has brown stains that takes the vintage vibe a notch higher. The movement is new despite having a retro design. It features an L888.2 automatic caliber with 21 jewels and up to a maximum power reserve of 64 hours. What’s more, its easy to use without any complications.

Generally, the movement of this military watch is accurate and durable.

Longines Heritage Military Watch Specs:

13. Cartier Tank Military Watch

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Cartier Tank is among the first military watches to hit the market. This iconic military watch has an elegant exterior drawing inspiration from World War 1 Renault tanks. It’s rectangular in shape and features the brand’s signature numeral markers in roman giving it an art deco design. It also makes it an ideal dress watch. Cartier Tank Military Watch is characterized by a quartz movement and comes in different sizes to accommodate all wrist sizes.

If you are looking for an iconic military watch, then the Cartier Tank Military Watch is your best bet. It’s a luxury watch that you can wear on formal occasions.

Cartier Tank Miliary Watch Specs:

14. Shinola Runwell Automatic Military Watch

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Shinola Runwell Automatic Military Watch is the brand’s flagship model. It features a richly-printed dial with Arabic numeral hour markers that makes it stand out. The details not only make the watch aesthetically pleasing but also easy to read. Furthermore, it’s equipped with a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with 26 jewels that helps maintain accuracy and reduce friction.

Shinola Runwell Automatic Military Watch Specs:

15. Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Military Watch

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Bell & Ross Military Watch is quite simple with a round-shaped case instead of the usual square. It has a satin-brushed finish with a stainless steel case and a brown leather strap that almost resembles vintage military watches.

Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Military Watch Specs:

Conclusion

People love military watches since they are practical and durable. Plus, you don’t have to be in the military to wear these watches. If you are a watch lover, consider adding at least one military watch to your collection.

RELATED: Best Tactical Watch Under $50 | Best Military Watch Under $50 | Best Automatic Field Watches Under $500 | Best Automatic Watches for Military

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