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Discussion Starter #1
Not a week goes goes by when I don't get a private message regarding my opinion on "tactical watches" and what to choose when looking for one. Now I want to start by saying that this entire thread is purely based on my own opinion as a soldier and somebody who has had to use a watch in certain types of situations that fit into that category.

Firstly, I will say that in the armed forces of the USA, as mentioned many many times before, Suuntos, Timexes, and G-Shocks make up 95% of the watches worn by soldiers. Its a simple fact. However, a lot of people here want a more.......interesting (for lack of a better word) option. That's perfectly alright. It is their preference and one I understand. Albeit not very well, but that's irrelevant to this conversation. So I will focus on pieces outside those brands.

So what makes a watch "tactical"? I have no idea as such a concept is all but alien to me. It seems as though that word is used to categorize equipment that as a whole, fits a soldier's needs. What most civilians don't understand (and have no reason to), is that each piece of equipment a soldier carries serves a specific purpose. Therefore, depending on the task of the day, week, month, or even year, that equipment changes. That happens to include watches sometimes. In this thread, I will focus on watches that fit into most of those changes and serving said purposes.

1. Marathon TSAR
I have owned and used this watch for years on deployments across the world and climates. For me, this fills most of the requirements for a soldier. It's tritium tubes glow all day and night brightly enough to be seen at a glance, without being brightly enough to be seen by people who shouldn't. By using a sewn together cloth or velcro piece slipped through the band I use for my watch (es), it blocks the glare of moon/sun light from being seen and potentially compromising a position. This is the watch I choose when I'm in uniform if I don't want to use my G or Suunto.

2. Omega SMP (Quartz).
When out of uniform, but still working, I choose my SMP. Its been slightly modified to have a less flashy profile (brushed a bit), and because it has the old Tritium paint for markers, and newly lumed Superluminova for hands, it keeps the lume at a minimum. I use Quartz for the most part because of its shock resistance, accurate timekeeping, and low maintenance. The quick-set hour has also been a godsend when I switch timezones as my team and I sync our watches at various points and the least amount of times that has to be done, the better. It also doesn't overtly say "soldier", which is obviously a must in most plain clothes situations. When even less flashiness is needed, I put it on a rubber strap.

Notice how both of the above have a "date" function. I usually need that when on long shifts in both of the above situations. Especially after long flights that mess with your brain (jet lag).

3. Seiko Monster (SKX preferably). Yes. An Automatic. I'm a quartz guy at heart, BUT sometimes, an auto is needed for certain reasons. Those reasons are irrelevant at this time for the purposes of this thread. The day and date function also comes in handy a lot more often than you think. I have only one Monster, which has been modified with a Cerakote finish to dull the otherwised polished steel. For those unfamiliar with Cerakote, it is a commonly used application of ceramic coating on firearms to better blend them into environments. I have two watches with this application, the Monster and.......

4. Dievas Vortex. Now, I have one of the earlier ones that feature a Fricker case. Thats more of a plus of ownership than a necessity of daily wear. My Vortex is made of titanium, which is very light compared to steel, the dial is very large and legible, especially with the modified lume I had done. Even stock, this watch is extremely accurate, has a high magnetic rating, can take as much abuse as the Monster, and can be read at a glance. Also, the rubber strap and deployment clasp is an exact 1:1 double of the ever popular Sinn rubber and full size deployment, making it extremely comfortable for long term wear. The steel deployment makes it balance quite well with the watch head itself further adding to the comfort level. Alternatively, I have seen some soldiers wearing a Kobold SMG which shares a case with the Vortex.

In addition both the Monster and Vortex have 4 o'clock crowns, which make sure it doesn't dig into the back of my hand, which I quite like.

I hope this clears things up for those looking for "tactical watches".

Thanks for reading,

Ethan
 

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Thanks for the write up drop.

It bugs me to no end around here when people call watches that would be USELESS in any field environment tactical. Like that sere watch with 50m water resistance...

I guess the reason this thread hasn't gotten much traction is because the people who are in the military, are police officers, EMT guys or otherwise already understand what you've stated and the rest of wus/ the guys that want to play army or pretend gardening needs a "tactical" watch don't want to believe what you've stated. They want to believe that their Alpanist would do just great in a deployment environment (read: garden. Where planting tomatoes is the mission)

Either way. Thanks for taking time to write this up
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I couldn't agree with you more Josh. I bang my head against the wall when I read some of the stuff you mentioned.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and respond.
 

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Helpful post, thanks. You didn't discuss the Suunto, and I'm curious where it fits in the scheme of things.

Sounds like you need a very tough watch with hacking feature, good lume for night operations, date for some environments. Is there anything else that you find tactically useful?

And do you know of any so-called Tactical watches that are actually used in the service?

brash
 

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Thanks for the writeup Drop, I always found it odd when people referred to a black dialed watch with black markers, and other such stuff as "tactical", thanks for reaffirming that a proper "tactical" watch places functionality above all else, regardless of how it looks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Helpful post, thanks. You didn't discuss the Suunto, and I'm curious where it fits in the scheme of things.

Sounds like you need a very tough watch with hacking feature, good lume for night operations, date for some environments. Is there anything else that you find tactically useful?

And do you know of any so-called Tactical watches that are actually used in the service?

brash
I've **heard** of Resco making appearances on some Navy SEAL's wrists, but cannot confirm.

I specifically mentioned Suunto along with Casio and Timex. My favorite Suunto for service is the Vector, with the Core in second.

And yes, hacking is very important for certain tasks, and irrelevant for others. That's one of the changes where the Monster is eliminated from options.

Interesting, thanks for your views.
I was initially surprised to see the Monster listed, being a bulky shiny auto, though I see you modded it to reduce the bling.
Yes. I mod all of my watches in a certain way. Sometimes its subtle, sometimes it isn't. But it always serves some type of purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
This thread caught my eye. Then made me laugh, but only because I know your pain. A Timex Ironman got me through basic training. Gshock through deployment.
There you go. Had a 6600 in basic and a 5600 for most of the rest of my time. Later on, when I dabbled in private, and then went back in, I had a Suunto and some of the above mentioned.
 

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Oh crap, you mean I won't automatically turn into a SEAL if I buy that Luminox I was looking at?


NS14
They say a cigarette cherry can be seen from a long way off by a trained sniper. And though I've never tested that theory, I imagine a bunch of tritium tubes burning on your wrist would have the same risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
They say a cigarette cherry can be seen from a long way off by a trained sniper. And though I've never tested that theory, I imagine a bunch of tritium tubes burning on your wrist would have the same risk.
A situation remedied by a technique I mentioned in my OP. By utilizing a sewn piece of cloth wrapped around the watch head that can be slid up and down to quickly view the time should the need arise.
 

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Refreshing to see a person actually in the service talk about this stuff.

99.9% of 'Tactical' stuff is marketed squarely at paint-ball weekend warriors and overcompensating mall ninjas.

Tactical pens! With an end that's stabby! So if someone at gunpoint forces you to sign a credit card receipt you can go 'AHAAA!' and stabby stabby them!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Fair enough and completely agree. But it always seemed to me that this-the tritium-is why people think they are tactical.
Exactly the kind of preconceived notion I'm trying to discuss. A lot of things make up the word "tactical" to a layman, even outside the world of horology. The absence or inclusion of Tritium is one of many such an example.
Refreshing to see a person actually in the service talk about this stuff.

99.9% of 'Tactical' stuff is marketed squarely at paint-ball weekend warriors and overcompensating mall ninjas.

Tactical pens! With an end that's stabby! So if someone at gunpoint forces you to sign a credit card receipt you can go 'AHAAA!' and stabby stabby them!
Exactly my point.

Although, I do have one of those "tactical" pens and have been taught and in turn taught others how to properly use them. In the right hands, with proper training, they can be quite effective.
 

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a gorgeous woman is walking by, put watch hand on head feinting headache so said woman could see your bling bling: tactical.

mayweather%u00252Bholding%2Bhead.jpg

but seriously, tactical in military sense ... need to ask a soldier what would be helpful;
glow in the dark,
chronograph function
timer, etc
 
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