How to Choose a Tactical Watch

How to Choose a Tactical Watch

tactical watch can be an indispensible tool to have on your wrist while on duty. Highly durable and designed with spec ops, police officers and military in mind, a tactical watch is much more than a simple device telling you what time is it.

It goes without saying, there is no a universal watch to meet everyone’s requirements and needs. However, a good tactical watch has certain features you should pay attention to. In this article we give a quick review of these features.

Main functions of tactical watches

tactical watch displays time with unprecedented accuracy, but its functionality goes way beyond simple chronometer. Precise time measurements in various configurations are what tactical watches known for.

  • Stopwatch. Stopwatch is essential if you want to synchronize multiple team members or measure time between multiple events. A tactical watch would not be what it is without stopwatch.
  • Countdown timer. We all know how it works: you run the timer and then the watch rings (beeps, buzzes) when the allotted time has elapsed. It is a convenient tool in many situations, so 100% tactical watches have it.
  • Calendar. Days and weeks are also time periods, although a larger scale. Knowing the day of the week/month is pretty much standard function in many watches.
  • Time zones. When operating in multiple time zones, you need a convenient way to quickly see both local and base time. Moreover, with a tactical watch you may not worry about changing time zones; many tactical watches track up to 25 time zones for you automatically.
  • Military time. 24-hour time format is preferred during military operations thanks to its unambiguousness. However, a tactical watch still allows you to make your own choice of how time is displayed.
  • Alarms. You can’t be late if you are in the army. Actually, you can’t even if aren’t. And alarms help you not missing the important appointment or keeping up to a schedule.

Professional functions of tactical watches

Ok, the basic functions can be easily found in many watches on the market as well as in smartphones. However, tactical watches deliver many more advanced functions and do this in the most straightforward and easy to grasp way.

  • Altimeter. A tactical watch tells you the altitude or depth you are at. Extremely useful for tourists, trackers, hikers and mountain climbers.
  • Compass. Another essential tool for virtually anyone. The compass in a tactical watch works independently of the GPS signal or Internet alike.
  • Thermometer. A thermometer is a must-have device if you are outdoors. Cold nights can be deadly, and thermometer will inform you about sudden drops of temperature.
  • Tachymeter. This function allows you to learn how fast you are moving. Nice thing to know if you are on some transport and want to measure its speed, or if you want to calculate your average speed from one checkpoint to another.
  • Barometer. By measuring air pressure can combining it with temperature you can predict weather. For instance, if air pressure decreases, you can say rain is highly likely within a few hours.
  • Moon phase. Sometimes it is handy to know whether it is full moon or new moon. Not only does it provide information about lighting conditions at night, but also can help you plan navigation with respect to tides.
  • Gyroscope. A tool to measure your relative position to the horizon and vertical axis.

What to pay attention to when selecting a tactical watch

Here are some vital things you should consider when buying a model of tactical watches.

Lens material

tactical watch is going to be used in very harsh conditions, so you need strong and scratch resistant lens of the watch. The topmost choice is sapphire of course; this material demonstrates extreme hardness surpassed only by diamond. This means no scratches, no cloudiness, always clear and easily readable glass. Anti-reflective coating is also recommended.

Quartz watch

While mechanical watch seems like all-time classic, for a tactical watch you should always prefer quartz mechanism. Good quartz watches are much more precise, so you don’t have to resynchronize often or at all.

Luminescent digits and arms

Prefer a tactical watch that has neon digits and arms. They are easily seen even in complete darkness, and do not require you to turn on the light to read the watchб which is a great tactical advantage.


Water resistance is a must if you need to submerge with the watch on your wrist. Shock resistance is also a nice quality because in rough situations the watch can sometimes take damage: falling, hitting, occasional scratching and so on. Magnet resistance is also a must if you want your device to still provide accurate time information and work like a charm.

Casing material

Let’s be short: no plastic. Ever. Your choice is either carbon or stainless steel. Carbon casing combines toughness with low weight, while stainless steel is extremely resistant to elements and damages as well, no matter how hard you hit. Yes, stainless steel is weightier. At the same time, feeling that weight on your wrist is a sign of status and reliability of a tactical watch.

Comfortable watch strap

Make sure the tactical watch comes with a comfortable wrist strap. Even better if the manufacturer supplies several ones to choose from: metal, plastic or leather. Comfort is everything when it comes to the device you will be wearing all day long on your wrist. Don’t underestimate this.

This article is the author's opinion and does not represent the official position of BattleSteel®️

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