- The definition of a tactical watch, often used by law enforcement and military professionals, is flexible but generally revolves around durability, reliability, stealth, legibility, and additional features.
- Popular brands offering the best law enforcement watches include Casio, Timex, Suunto, MWC, Marathon, Luminox, Traser, and Garmin.
- Tactical watches are equipped with various features ranging from basic time and date functions to advanced capabilities like GPS navigation, weather alerts, shot detection, and more.
Understanding the Essence of a Tactical Watch
The term “tactical watch” is widely used, but what does it mean? What characteristics transform a regular watch into a tactical watch suitable for professionals like law enforcement officers, soldiers, and outdoor enthusiasts?
- Durability: A tactical watch needs to be rugged enough to handle the harsh conditions of the field. Key traits include shock resistance, water resistance, and scratch resistance.
- Reliability: The watch needs to work flawlessly, regardless of whether it’s quartz or automatic. A dead battery or malfunctioning second hand can render a tactical watch useless.
- Stealth: While not a strict requirement, many tactical watches feature designs that minimize reflections, making them more suitable for covert operations.
- Legibility: Being able to read the watch quickly and accurately, be it analog or digital, is paramount in high-pressure situations.
- Additional Features: Modern tactical watches often include features such as stopwatches, timers, temperature readings, and more. While these are not strictly necessary, they can prove invaluable in the field.
A Look at the Best Law Enforcement Watches of 2023
Casio G-Shock GW6900-1
This watch is a long-time favorite among military personnel, boasting 200 meters of water resistance, an ultra-durable resin body, and an array of functions including a multi-function alarm, 1/100-second stopwatch, and auto calendar.
Timex Command Shock
Resembling the ruggedness of the G-Shock, the Timex Command watches are designed to endure harsh conditions. With a 100-meter water resistance, they also feature Indiglo light-up dials and stopwatch and countdown timers.
Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar PRW-3510Y-8CR
Beyond the G-Shock, Casio offers the Pro Trek line designed specifically for outdoor activities. These watches incorporate sensors, a compass, solar charging, and more, proving to be an excellent tactical choice.
Suunto Traverse Alpha
For those seeking a watch that goes beyond the usual, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is a remarkable choice. Its features include GPS navigation, shot detection and recording, weather alerts, and a red backlight for nighttime use.
MWC P656 Titanium Tactical Series
With a focus on basic time and date functions, this durable piece is designed to withstand almost any environment. Its tritium tubes provide bright illumination, making it a reliable companion for night operations.
Initially produced for pilots and parachutists, the Marathon Navigator has stood the test of time. Its fibershell case, quartz movement, and 12-hour bezel prove reliable and resilient in the field.
Created for the US Navy SEALs, this watch is as tough as they come. Its carbon-composite case and tritium tubes for illumination are designed to handle any mission.
Traser P99 Q Tactical
Coming from Traser, a brand specializing in watches for police and military, the P99 Q Tactical stands true to its name. It is designed to be stealthy, yet reliable and robust.
The Garmin Tactix is geared toward military and law enforcement professionals with features such as navigation, health tracking, and Jumpmaster capabilities, setting a high bar for tactical watches.
Marathon Anthracite Large Diver’s Automatic (GSAR)
Marathon’s long history of designing specialized military watches shines through with this all-black, automatic, tritium-lumed dive watch. Its extra-grippable bezel and crown make it a prime choice for tactical use.
Choosing the best law enforcement watch involves understanding the demands of the job and matching them with the features and characteristics that tactical watches offer. Whether you’re a professional in law enforcement, military, or an outdoor enthusiast, these watches are designed to deliver under pressure, enabling you to focus on the task at hand.