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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm a serving infantry soldier and have been extensively researching the best military watch. I have not found a watch that I believe meets 100% the criteria that would, in my opinion at least, be the ultimate true military watch. I think only very vew manufacturers come anywhere near a proper military watch and only two (Casio and Suunto) that come close to the ultimate military watch. My criteria for the accolade of the ultimate military watch is:

Physical Charcteristics (Stealth and Durability)
  • Black Inverse/ reverse LCD screen for stealth (e.g. Suunto Military/ Suunto Core Black)
  • Red backlight LED to maintain natural night vision (like some casio 'military' versions)
  • Black Titanium or Carbon Fibre case for light weight and durability (like Suunto X-lander Military and Suunto Core)
  • Rubber ribbed strap with screw on hinges (e.g. like Sunnto military strap found on Suunto Core military version)
  • Low Temperature operation for arctic operations (e.g. Casio Protrek series)
  • At least 100M Water resistance (just so there are no doubts if it's dunked or exposed to seriously heavy waterfalls)
  • Large Recessed buttons with textured surface to avoid getting caught in webbing straps (e.g. Casio Protek series)
  • Solar Powered (e.g. Casio Protrek) or at least field/ self change battery (e.g. Suunto Xlander military and Suunto Core)
  • Depth Meter (e.g. Suunto Core Military)
  • Rotating Bezel marked with cardinal compass points
  • Large form factor for using with cloves- small watches will not do.
Timing Functions (in addition to standard time, stopwatch and alarm functions)
  • 24 Hour time format (like most sport watches)
  • Countdown timers (found on Protrek, Suunto and many other sport models)
  • Selectable Flashing Alarm mode (since audible alarms can cost lives in a tactical environment- Casio 'Military' versions have this)
  • Selectable vibrating alert/ alarm (overcomes audible and visible issue in a tactical situation- not found on any watch)
  • World times (Convenient in planning and changing zone when travelling- e.g. Casio protrk & Suunto XLander/ Core )
  • Sunrise/ Sunset times (really important/ essential stuff to know in a military context- e.g. Suunto slander and Suunto Core)
  • Quick Global silent setting- a single option to kill all audible functions on the watch (not found on any watch AFIK)
Environmental Functions (ABC, navigation, decision and planning support)
  • Electronic Compass (Casio Protrek Protrek PRG-130Y-DR and Suunto X-Lander and Suunto Core)
  • Compass 3D mode (like more expensive Suunto sports watches)
  • Compass readings in MILS (not found on any watch)
  • Barometric Monitoring (Casio Protrek PRG-130Y-DR and Suunto x-lander/Core)
  • Altimeter (Casio Protrek and Suunto x-lander/Core)
  • Manual or automatic switching between Barometric and Altimeter readings
  • Storm Alert (e.g. Suunto Core)
  • Temperature sensor
  • Wind chill factor indication (Not seen on any watch I have found so far)
  • Moon Phase (really important from time to time to know in a military context)
  • Tide phase/ prediction (really important form time to time to know in a military context)
GPS Functions (in addition to standard GPS navigation functions)

  • Separate battery to normal watch battery (i.e. two batteries so that if GPS battery dies, the watch continues to function)- not found on any watch
Using a single battery to power both GPS and watch functions is the single most important reason why any infantry soldier should not leave the FOB relying upon GPS watch for normal watch functions- leave it in your bed space! The size of the Casio Protrek series or the Suunto wathces should not preclude the adoption of two battery compartments. I'm amazed the manufacturers have not implemented a dual battery solution.

Watches that meet the above criteria?
The only watches I have found that come anywhere close to meeting the above are the Casio Protrek series (e.g. PRG-130Y-DR)
), Suunto X-lander and Suunto Core Black Military watches.

However, it is the Suunto Core that has most of the above Criteria. I have owned one for three years and have exposed it to withering machine gun operation, hot and arctic environments, bangs, scrapes and encounters with my webbing, numerous dunkings in the sea, rivers, swamps and lakes not to mention my local swimming pool- even after two field battery changes. I never take it off for hot showers either. It's proved amazingly resilient and continues to be so.

I have used the Suunto Core ABC functions on numerous occasions and have relied on the Sunrise/ Sunset function as input to patrol planning. The barometric functions have helped me to accurately predict on the spot local weather. For this reason, my next watch is another Suunto Core since the current one, although 100% functional, is looking like it's been through the wars and my wife is commenting on it when we go out to smart dinners together!

The Suunto Core Military does not however have the following features (although it is 30M water resistant). Essential/ must have features in red:

  • Red backlight LED to maintain natural night vision (like some casio 'military' versions)
  • At least 100M Water resistance (just so there are no doubts if it's dunked or exposed to seriously heavy waterfalls)
  • Selectable Flashing Alarm mode (Casio 'Military' versions have this)
  • Selectable vibrating alert/ alarm (overcomes audible and visible issue in a tactical situation- not found on any watch)
  • Compass 3D mode
  • Compass readings in MILS ( Not found on any watch)
  • Wind chill factor Indication (Not seen on any watch I have found so far)
  • Moon Phase (really important form time to time to know in a military context- Casio pro trek series have this)
  • Tide phase/ prediction (important form time to time to know in a military context- Casio pro trek series have this)
  • GPS with separate/ dedicated battery for GPS functions (not found on any watch)
  • Quick Global silent setting- a single option to kill all audible functions on the watch (not found on any watch AFIK)
However, I would love to hear from anyone who has found a watch that beats the Suunto Core! I've researched and cannot find anything better.
In conclusion, IMO, I think the Suunto Core all black Military watch is the Ultimate Military Watch. It also looks the business |>

P.S. The above features not found on the Suunto is my list of things for Suunto to add to the Core watch :)
 

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I find reverse LCD to be difficult to see and it doesn't really add anything to my "stealthyness." As for the alarms....its crazy, if you are in a "military environment" where your life or someone else's depends on silence TURN OFF YOUR ALARM!!!!

But hey, when you live on a FOB its nice to know what time the DFAC opens up for midrats.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know some watches reverse LED is difficult to read but you do get used to it. The Suunto's reverse LED is easy to read- I don't give it a thought now. Naturally one would turn off the audible alarm but also having the option of a flashing (or even vibrating alert) would be great. Of course a flashing alert can be a problem also but having the option would be a great.

It is indeed great to know when the NAAFI opens!
 

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Armies and soldiers have done very well with a simple 3 hand watch, one that shows the hours, minutes and seconds.

You do not need more.
 

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hi-nice to know you are home safe -im presuming you are unless you are on the satellite! my son danny is a royal marine and back from his 5th tour in helmand -i know he used the black core suunto -although last time i saw it bits were hanging off although still working -maybe he will find something different when the money starts to roll in as he has handed in his papers to work on the ship protection thing -god bless to you and your mates !
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Armies and soldiers have done very well with a simple bows, arrows, horse drawn carts and great contraptions to log balls of fire :)

Now to today. Today, particularly NCOs have enormous workloads- they're expected to do tens time more things with 10 times less manpower. Every bit of information or aid to planning and execution is always a plus. Hence the benefit of better knowledge of how far you climbed and compared with contours on a map is something that can be used to the benefit of the patrol in unknown or difficult terrain. The ability to make a an informed decision on whether to press on or strike camp in anticipation of a storm is useful. Checking time without disturbing night vision etc etc.....

We all survived without mobile phones..... well I think the point is made. We can survive with a basic little watch with hours mins and secs but perhaps in difficult situations, more information will be invaluable.

The question of need is a function of the mission objectives, mission status, patrol disposition, tactical situation and environment. Most troops get by with a simple watch but that does not mean an ABC chronograph is useless. Hence my interest in using technology to gain advantage on the rare occasions that additional information from my watch can help.

The Suunto Core is, so far, the closest IMO to the Ultimate Military Watch and has practical utility in the field.
 

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Friend, I spent 3 years an an officer in a Swedish unit in the Arctic during the Cold War. We had to rely on our skills and knowledge, not on electronics.

If you can not read a map, you have no use for the Altitude meter in a watch, as the meter has to be callibrated shortly before use if it is any helpful. As soon as the barometric pressure changes, it has to be callibrated again.
I am assuming you want a reading of +- 1 meter to 5 meters.

Electronics can never replace your skills. If you rely on them, you will forget ( or make slight misstakes) your skills, and you are toast when the electronics give up.

Fombat has not changed much over time, despite what you think.
Without taking sides, or intending any political discussion, remember the Soviet- Afgan war, and of todays war in Afganistan.

Two forces with superior technology against militarily unsophisticated small forces. You know the result in both conflicts.

Thinh also of the Falklands incident in -82.

Skills, not tech, wins wars.

If you need to use a watch, it will be for the time measuring aspect. You need to be able to see it instantly.
imagine you have previously presses some buttons, and the display shoes the time in Peking. Or the temperature.

Trust me, a good, sturdy 3 hander with good lume is what you need, if you are going into the field.

You list a long list of features you think you need. You do not.
Skills, that you need. If you do not have them, get them.

Let me tell you this: my unit spend 3 to 4 weeks unassisted in the field, in the northern top of Scandinavia.
If we had to, we moved between 70 and 130 km per day, on foot, or on skis. We had to be able to find a specific spot, after maybe 2 weekd of trekking.
Using maps, compass and skill.

You know which watches we had? I had an Omega Tuning fork. One of my colleagues had a Tudor, and another one a Rolex. The rest had just standard swiss watches.
To get an approximation of thr correct time, we 3 with the best watches did average of our watches daily, that was the official time for our squadron.

By all means, buy that toy. But have it for fun, not as an essential tool, as that can kill you.
 

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Just to add a couple of points: which watch is used by some German Elite units?
Which watch is used by some Canadian and US units?
The make does not matter . But, they are all 3 handers. I rest my case.
 
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Janne.

For heaven's sake. Get over yourself. No one has advocated reliance on electronic aids. Who the heck would substitute common core military skills with electronics? Just because one advocates the use of the ABC watch does not mean that it becomes the primary tool- that would be absurd. Perhaps we should strip all patrol commanders if their GPS units in the field and all the other myriad of electronic aids that supplement basic military skills? You getting a little silly here by making illogical presumptions around what I am discussing on this thread.

An ABC watch is simply an aid to mountaineering/ field operations just as GPS is an aid to Navigation. You've hijacked this thread which is about exploring what can better the Suunto Core and/or the Casio Protrek Series. A majority of troops that I know have more than just the basic three watch. There are many aids to common core skills and ABC watches and GPSs are examples.

In fact, a majority of SF troops I know own and use ABC watches- frequently to supplement/ cross check.

Please hijack and go off on a bender on another thread. Your view on the ultimate military watch has been very well made. Cheers.
 

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I have to agree with Janne regardless of whether or not his post was a thread hijack. Watches with all their bells and whistles are fantastic but are next to worthless if you don't know your job or basic fieldcraft.

I could care less what SF units wear on their wrists. I use my watch to tell time...thats it. If I need the myriad of other gadgets that Suuntos, G Shocks or Pathfinder/Pro-treks include then I will use the technology that 10 plus years of war has provided our military and not some piece of plastic I bought at the exchange. But if it works for you then I won't knock it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Absolutely agree and neither have I hinted, implied or suggested reliance on technology as a primary tool. Also if you don't know your job and/or basic fieldcraft then you would not fully understand how to use the technology anyway.

ABC watches can be an aid- features like sunrise/ sunset and Moon/Tide graphs and a barometer for judging weather can be a help from time to time. I havce never met a soldier who has viewed the technology to make up for lack of job knowledge or fieldcraft- it's almost an illogical position since a professional soldier would not be a professional soldier if they did not know their job and/or did not know fieldcraft.

The features listed at the beginning of the thread can be a great aid. A blackened watch with red backlight is very useful 100% of the time regardless of how good your field craft is. I owned a Traser P6500 for years and an many occasions I was reminded of how my wrist glowed at night :)

The Barometric feature is usefull 100% of the time regardless of soldering skills- keeping an eye on the cloud conditions, temperature and barometric trend can help predict adverse weather if the weather is or can be an impediment to the mission It's use is not a reflection on whether you know your job or not neither does it substitute any fieldcraft.

I have never seen or known anyone using a compass watch as a primary means of navigation. they are not designed for primary navigation so the suggestion that that function would replace map reading is bizarre to say the least.

Anyway, it would be great to discover if there are any watches that match of beat the Suunto Core.
 

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I did not intend hijacking your thread.
You asked " The ultimate military watch" and I gave you my view.
It is a good quality 3 hander, preferably Quartz, but a good mechanic one will do too, but the mechanic one will be far more expensive.
The German SF use Sinn
Some Canadian and US units use ( Maratac? Forgot the name, and can not quickly find it)

Sorry if you feel I hijacked your thread, but your choices of watches have no connection to your initial query. Way too complex.

The features of those watches are not consistent and precise enough for a practical use.

As a last ditch use - yes, they are OK.
I myself together with my son potentially survived once because of the Compass feature on my T- touch.


As I wrote, I have extensive knowledge in field ork under adverse conditions. Before and after my military stint, I have been a keen outdoors man.
 

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Interesting thread. It's going to come down to this - do you or do you not want all that stuff on your watch? If you do, then Specialist has made a pretty good list (except the negative display - even the "good" ones are a pain in the arse in medium-to-low light). If you do not want all that stuff, Janne's points stand. No soldier NEEDS all that, it's a want. If I were to lose 20 pounds and 20 years and re-visit my government travel agent, I would bring something that I can rely on... like these:

 

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Absolutely agree and neither have I hinted, implied or suggested reliance on technology as a primary tool. Also if you don't know your job and/or basic fieldcraft then you would not fully understand how to use the technology anyway.

ABC watches can be an aid- features like sunrise/ sunset and Moon/Tide graphs and a barometer for judging weather can be a help from time to time. I havce never met a soldier who has viewed the technology to make up for lack of job knowledge or fieldcraft- it's almost an illogical position since a professional soldier would not be a professional soldier if they did not know their job and/or did not know fieldcraft.

The features listed at the beginning of the thread can be a great aid. A blackened watch with red backlight is very useful 100% of the time regardless of how good your field craft is. I owned a Traser P6500 for years and an many occasions I was reminded of how my wrist glowed at night :)

The Barometric feature is usefull 100% of the time regardless of soldering skills- keeping an eye on the cloud conditions, temperature and barometric trend can help predict adverse weather if the weather is or can be an impediment to the mission It's use is not a reflection on whether you know your job or not neither does it substitute any fieldcraft.

I have never seen or known anyone using a compass watch as a primary means of navigation. they are not designed for primary navigation so the suggestion that that function would replace map reading is bizarre to say the least.

Anyway, it would be great to discover if there are any watches that match of beat the Suunto Core.
Here's some real-world reading for you: https://www.watchuseek.com/f7/military-personal-what-watch-you-wearing-568583.html
 

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I'm a serving infantry soldier and have been extensively researching the best military watch. I have not found a watch that I believe meets 100% the criteria that would, in my opinion at least, be the ultimate true military watch. I think only very vew manufacturers come anywhere near a proper military watch and only two (Casio and Suunto) that come close to the ultimate military watch. My criteria for the accolade of the ultimate military watch is:

Physical Charcteristics (Stealth and Durability)
  • Black Inverse/ reverse LCD screen for stealth (e.g. Suunto Military/ Suunto Core Black). Useless
  • Red backlight LED to maintain natural night vision (like some casio 'military' versions). Useless
  • Black Titanium or Carbon Fibre case for light weight and durability (like Suunto X-lander Military and Suunto Core). Fine, but stainless steels is gine too. Any alloy will do in fact
  • Rubber ribbed strap with screw on hinges (e.g. like Sunnto military strap found on Suunto Core military version). Synthetic and natural rubber goes hard and brittle in cold temperatures. Metal bracelet is the best
  • Low Temperature operation for arctic operations (e.g. Casio Protrek series) All eatches work strapped to your wrist
  • At least 100M Water resistance (just so there are no doubts if it's dunked or exposed to seriously heavy waterfalls). Absolutely
  • Large Recessed buttons with textured surface to avoid getting caught in webbing straps (e.g. Casio Protek series). Unlikely scenario
  • Solar Powered (e.g. Casio Protrek) or at least field/ self change battery (e.g. Suunto Xlander military and Suunto Core). Good feature solar, if you attempt to replace the battery yourself, you might lose the WR. And need to lug on a set of watch making tools
  • Depth Meter (e.g. Suunto Core Military). Forget this feature.
  • Rotating Bezel marked with cardinal compass points. Excellent feature, makes the emergency ompass taking easier
  • Large form factor for using with cloves- small watches will not do. In fact, smaller ( under or around 40 mm) is better, as you eant to put it under the battle dress/ uniform
Timing Functions (in addition to standard time, stopwatch and alarm functions)
  • 24 Hour time format (like most sport watches). Excellent feature, specially if you will be deployed in the Arctic in winter
  • Countdown timers (found on Protrek, Suunto and many other sport models)
  • Selectable Flashing Alarm mode (since audible alarms can cost lives in a tactical environment- Casio 'Military' versions have this). Useless, and can cost your life if you forget
  • Selectable vibrating alert/ alarm (overcomes audible and visible issue in a tactical situation- not found on any watch)
  • World times (Convenient in planning and changing zone when travelling- e.g. Casio protrk & Suunto XLander/ Core ). cool, but not really useful?
  • Sunrise/ Sunset times (really important/ essential stuff to know in a military context- e.g. Suunto slander and Suunto Core). sunset and sunrise is the same time as yesterday.
  • Quick Global silent setting- a single option to kill all audible functions on the watch (not found on any watch AFIK)
Environmental Functions (ABC, navigation, decision and planning support). Cool, but not really useful
  • Electronic Compass (Casio Protrek Protrek PRG-130Y-DR and Suunto X-Lander and Suunto Core)
  • Compass readings in MILS (not found on any watch)
  • Barometric Monitoring (Casio Protrek PRG-130Y-DR and Suunto x-lander/Core)
  • Altimeter (Casio Protrek and Suunto x-lander/Core)
  • Manual or automatic switching between Barometric and Altimeter readings
  • Storm Alert (e.g. Suunto Core)
  • Temperature sensor
  • Wind chill factor indication (Not seen on any watch I have found so far)
  • Moon Phase (really important from time to time to know in a military context). Same moon as yesterday
  • Tide phase/ prediction (really important form time to time to know in a military context) i hope you are joking?
:)


Just some thought from a guy that did war carrying a bow and arrow!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Don't slag off my bow and arrow! I occasionally feel the need to revert to it :)

The list above bar a few items is covered by the Suunto. I have occasionally used each of the features but mostly use the barometric function.

I'm not a fan of shiny/ silver coloured watches. I think any watch where a techno stack or basic timepiece needs to be black with weak nighttime illumination. For electronic timepieces, red backlight is ideal. Only seen red backlight on G-Shock Casio Military models.

The G-Shock shown above was the exact watch I had for many years. Amazing battery life
 

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"Tide phase/ prediction (really important form time to time to know in a military context) i hope you are joking?"

Perhaps you are planning an amphibious operation and you have no true hydrography assets at your disposal!!!!!

I would have to disagree about metal bracelets. I think a NATO/Zulu would be more durable and loss of a watch minimized if a spring bar broke (happened to me in Helmand and had to keep my watch in my pocket......travesty!).

 
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I would also go with a G shock, I have a Riseman, the altimeter was next to useless grot anything other than giving a rough estimate when hiking. your navigational needs will almost certainly demand better gear than that, the barometer could be considered useful if you wanted to know what the weather was doing.
G shocks are available with the three hand plus digital which can be useful to glance at and tell the time quickly. I am not sure you will find any better than one from the suunto or Casio range, but please let us know what you decide on :D. Despite not being an armed forces member, a childhood in the Air Cadets led me to enjoying tactical gear :thumbup:
 

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