Choosing a Tactical Watch

WatchesThere are several small pieces of gear that can be overlooked. Does it really matter what socks you wear or what sunglasses you choose? Yes, actually, it does. Comfort, usability, quality, features – the little things can make a big difference in your day. And the same is true for your wrist watch.

There are many good choices available, so long as the choice you make meets certain needs.

  • Illumination can help you to see your watch in the dark without using a flashlight or other illumination device. It can also reveal your position. Self-illuminating watch faces and hands should be avoided in field watches. Instead, get a watch that has a light built into it that is operated by a button. When using the light, shield the watch by cupping it with your hand to prevent the light from being visible by potential threats. The self-illuminating watches can be okay if you have a cover that goes over the face of the watch. This is also helpful for the next thing to look at in a watch.
  • Shiny, reflective watches are nice to have when you go on a date. In the field however, just as much as the pretty glowing hands are bad, a shiny watch can be seen by people you’d rather not know where you are. Dull bands and cases are important and faces should be treated with an anti-reflective coating. By turning the watch so that the case sits on the underside of the wrist, the reflective face issue can be reduced. Even better would be placing a cover over the face.
  • Analog watches may not be as easy to read with a quick glance, but they have an advantage over digital. An analog watch can be used as a field expedient compass during SHTF situations.
  • Band material is important. Leather looks nice and feels good against the skin to most people… until it gets wet. And then rots. And falls apart. And stinks. Metal is shiny and can be a bit loud if it scrapes or smacks against other pieces of gear. Canvas or high quality rubber (silicone) bands are best. Canvas can still have issues with water but not as bad as leather would. Both are non-reflective and won’t make much noise if it hits other gear.
  • Buckles should also be non-reflective. This item should be made out of metal or high impact plastic. If it is metal, it should be painted or coated with a scratch resistant finish to prevent shining out to the world. Clasps should be avoided as they can become knocked loose and often lose their durability faster than buckles.
  • Locking crowns are good to have. A watch does little good if the crowns get bumped and the time, date, or other functions get moved to the wrong settings. Crowns that screw into place will help prevent this as well as assist with the next issue.
  • Water resistant watches are important. Even if you are not expecting to work in an aquatic environment, water resistant watches are good to have as they can usually hold up to heavy rain better. They also will be good to have if you have to cross a creek or river or swim through part of a lake. A good water resistant watch should have a locking crown to aid in protection. It doesn’t have to be a dive watch that can go 300 feet deep. A mere 30 feet should be fine.

By picking a good, sturdy watch, you can have a piece of gear that lasts a lifetime, gets the job done, and doesn’t give you up to threats.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt
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1 thought on “Choosing a Tactical Watch

  1. Forgot one!

    I am a big fan of Luminox & Victorinox but they use mineral glass which is soft and scratches or chips easy. Citizen and Casio make a line of tactical watches that use sapphire glass that is very hard and durable.

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