Toughest Watches on the Market in 2023 (for Military Personnel & Outdoors)

Written by – Updated on March 9, 2024

In the wise words of John F. Kennedy's father, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

The toughest watches live up to the quote.

Their rough and rugged designs help tough watches remain in one piece amidst extreme conditions like unstable weather, accident-prone areas, you name it.

If you shop strategically, you may stumble upon a watch that boasts strong durability and abundant features that may be the ultimate companion for life.

Garmin Instinct Tactical GPS Rugged Watch - Best Overall

The Garmin Instinct Tactical watch combines excellent toughness and high-performance features. Hence, it is the best overall touch watch among the rest.

First, it satisfies US Military Standard 810G. As a result, thermal, shock, and water-resistance abilities are at top-tier levels.

Besides a built-in GPS, the Garmin watch offers additional navigation tools such as GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) and Galileo. These help the watch track challenging locations.

It also allows compatibility with both Apple and Android smartphones because of the Garmin connect online app. A heart rate tracker and activity profiles improve the watch experience.

Long-lasting battery life means one less thing to worry about with the Garmin timepiece. It can last up to 16 hours in GPS mode, 14 days in smartwatch mode, and 40 hours in battery saving mode.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 5/5

  • One of my favorite features of the Garmin Instinct Tactical application is the ability to track my movements on a map. It's incredibly helpful to see my location in relation to other landmarks, especially when engaging in land navigation exercises.
  • I appreciate the robustness and durability of the Garmin Instinct watch. It's clear that they've utilized every inch of space to create a reliable and long-lasting product.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 4/5

  • Even after using the Garmin Instinct watch for years, I still find it impressive. It is not only reliable and durable, but it is also stylish and comfortable to wear.


  • Thermal and shock-resistant
  • Water-resistant of up to 100 meters
  • GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo systems can navigate more difficult environments
  • Smartphone compatibility suggests user-friendly abilities
  • Superior battery life provides longevity


  • None

Casio G-Shock GA 100-1A1 Watch - Best Value

The Casio G-Shock series is another set of watches that deliver the toughest designs that combat rough edges and rocky adventure trails. Indeed, the GA 100-1A1 model does not disappoint, making it the best value watch for the money.

Because it is a G-Shock watch, it contains one of the best shock-resistance ratings trusted by military personnel, tourists, or those who want to go on an escapade.

The G-Shock timepiece comes with a dual-time display. It gives you the option to view the time readings through the classic analog display or a convenient digital format.

A water-resistance depth of 200 meters allows for it to be immersed underwater for extended periods. Accuracy is another calling card thanks to a reliable quartz movement, which gives exact time readings.

The Casio watch also does not feel heavy on the wrist because of a lightweight composition of 2.5 ounces.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 5/5

  • The watch's long-lasting battery life of approximately two years is a plus for me because I don't have to worry about replacing it often.
  • The watch's water resistance of up to 200 meters is perfect for my love of water sports and swimming.
  • The world time feature is a useful tool for me as I travel frequently, and I can easily set the time zone and have the hands adjust automatically.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 3/5

  • I love the tactical look of the watch, and the all-black design adds to its coolness factor. The white hands make it easy to tell the time quickly.


  • Strong shock-resistance ratings
  • Dual-time display; you can choose between analog or digital
  • Superior 200-meter water-resistant depth
  • Precise and accurate quartz movement
  • Lightweight size of 2.5 ounces feels comfortable on the wrist


  • Resin case may not be as strong compared to stainless steel or brass

Timex Expedition Gallatin Solar-Powered Watch - Best Budget Pick

Some of the toughest watches go for expensive price tags because of their premium materials and meticulous construction. Thankfully, the Timex Expedition Gallatin timepiece is the cheapest option on the list.

As mentioned in the product name, it employs solar energy, meaning any type of light can be used for charging. [R] Also, the watch boasts of a 4-month power reserve.

Visibility won't be a problem due to the watch's black dial, easy-to-read analog display, luminescent hands, Arabic numerals, and hour line markers. A date-display can be found at the 3 o'clock position.

Minute markers fill up the outer dial. Combined with a solar-powered quartz display, the watch provides exact and accurate timekeeping results.

A waterproof nylon strap surrounds the watch face for guaranteed comfort on the wrist. Capping off the features is a water-resistant depth of 50 meters and a resin case.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 3/5

  • The solar-powered movement in the Timex Expedition watch is a rare and innovative feature that caught my attention. I'm impressed by the durability of this watch and I feel confident that it will last for a long time.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 4/5

  • I'm impressed by how lightweight the Timex Expedition watch is, which makes it easy to wear for extended periods. It's comfortable to wear and doesn't feel too heavy on my wrist.


  • Solar-powered energy does not require batteries
  • Premium 4-hour reserve
  • Easy-to-read dial and analog display
  • Luminous hands can glow in the dark
  • Accurate and reliable quartz movement
  • Sweat and waterproof nylon strap


  • Resin case may be easily breakable

Citizen Casual 'Military' Watch

Citizen is a solid provider of tough watches. The Casual Military watch can hold its own among the toughest timepieces.

One unique feature that separates Citizen watches from other brands is the Eco-Drive technology, which can convert any type of light into energy. The energy collected by the power cell enables the watch to run nonstop.

Protection is one other priority of the Citizen timepiece. A rust-resistant stainless steel case and scratch-resistant mineral crystal enclose the watch face. The buckle clasp ensures the watch does not slip off the wrist.

It may be a tough watch against potential damage, but it also gives comfort and care for the skin. A nylon strap possesses respectable hypoallergenic properties, so there is no need to be concerned about developing allergies.

Chronograph sub-dials present the day of the week and 12/24 hour display. Finally, Arabic numbers and luminescent hands contribute to the easy readability of the dial and analog display.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 4/5

  • I am impressed by the features of this watch, including its anti-mineral glass and 100-meter water resistance.
  • As a recent launch from Citizen, this watch is innovative and up-to-date with the latest technology.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 4/5

  • The strap is well-made and comfortable, making it easy to wear this watch throughout the day. The signature Citizen buckle gives this watch a stylish and sophisticated look.


  • Eco-Drive technology lets the watch run continuously
  • Stainless steel casing is rust-resistant
  • Mineral crystal is scratch-resistant
  • Nylon strap provides comfort for the wrist
  • Chronograph sub-dials enhance the user experience
  • Easy-to-read dial and analog display


  • 43 mm case size may be too chunky for some

Casio G-Shock GST-S110-1ACR Watch

Another G-Shock timepiece that exemplifies toughness and high functionality is the GST-S110-1ACR model.

Instead of the usual one alarm, the G-Shock watch comes with 5 daily alarms. Hourly time signals can be useful when trying to keep track of the current hours.

Durability is at its finest with its elite shock-resistance abilities and 200-meter water-resistant depth. A full auto LED light can illuminate the dual analog and digital display when in either dark spots or nighttime environments. [R]

The buckle clasp delivers a tight but comfortable grip for the wrist. Precision and accuracy are taken care of by the reliable quartz movement.

A battery level indicator and power-saving mode are beneficial for keeping track of the battery lifespan.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 5/5

  • I am confident that this watch is well-protected with its sturdy construction, and I anticipate it will withstand the test of time.
  • The bottom fire LED located beneath the six o'clock chapter provides excellent illumination for the entire face of the watch. I can clearly read the time in any lighting condition.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 4/5

  • The contrast between the black resin band and the stainless steel gives this watch a modern, sporty, and clean look that I love. It is definitely my favorite version of the G steel watch.


  • Hourly time signals can track the top of the hour
  • Superior shock-resistance
  • Water-resistant of up to 200 meters
  • Buckle clasp can be easily fastened and unfastened
  • Quartz-powered movement gives the watch accurate results


  • 59.1 mm case diameter may be too large for some

Luminox 3001 Quartz Navy Watch

The Luminox 3001 Navy watch epitomizes toughness. Its features and rugged composition can easily keep up with other tough watches.

A self-powered illumination system, which is made up of borosilicate gas capsules, can glow 100 times brighter than other LED watches.

The dive watch has a built-in rotating bezel, which measures time spent underwater. Speaking of, a 200-meter water-resistant depth can withstand immense water pressure.

A polyurethane case and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass are integral watch parts for durability and utmost protection.

The watch dial offers easy readability because of an anti-reflective coating, simple analog display, 12/24 hour Arabic numerals, and luminescent hands.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 5/5

  • The watch has a durable carbon reinforced polycarbonate case and scratch-resistant mineral crystal, making it resilient to water up to 200 meters. I tried it on and it fits comfortably on the last hole in the strap, which I adjusted easily.
  • After wearing the watch for a week, it has not gotten any nicks or scratches, which I am happy about. It looks as good as new.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 3/5

  • The back of the watch is nicely decorated with some cool designs, which I think is a nice touch.
  • The lightweight and reasonable size of the watch have made it very comfortable to wear, and I barely notice it's on my wrist.


  • Self-powered illumination system can light up 100 times brighter than other watches
  • Built-in unidirectional bezel measures elapsed time underwater
  • 200-meter water-resistance can withstand water pressure
  • Scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Easy-to-read dial, analog display, and luminescent hands


  • None

Suunto Traverse Alpha Watch

The Suunto Traverse Alpha watch applies premium materials and extra outdoor features that will attract most watch fans and adventurers.

For starters, the Finland-based timepiece underwent testing to see whether it passed military standards (MIL STG 819G). [R] Therefore, expect top-tier durability and performance.

Its digital dial is composed of a sapphire crystal, which guarantees immunity against scratches and cracks. A nylon textile guarantees maximum comfort and lightweight qualities for the wrist.

Should the environment start getting dark and murky, the built-in flashlight illuminates your current surroundings. Also, GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo settings guide you on the way to the trail and back.

One other cool feature it offers is its compatibility with smartphones, Apple, and Android devices with the Suunto Movescount mobile app. Bluetooth connectivity also results in sufficient radio communication.


  • Satisfies military standards (MIL STG 819G)
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Comfortable, lightweight, and sweatproof nylon crystal
  • The flashlight can be useful in dark environments
  • Navigation tools help you locate out-of-coverage areas
  • Smartphone compatibility thanks to the Movescount mobile app


  • None

Marathon Military Field Army Watch

You cannot have a list of tough watches without a Marathon watch. The Military Field Army timepiece offers a blend of style, ruggedness, and functionality.

The Arabic numbers and luminous hands use Maraglo photoluminescent paint, allowing the watch parts to have 'glow in the dark' abilities. Minute markers that surround the outer dial give exact and correct time readings.

It is another solar-powered watch, meaning a light source fully charges the timepiece. A black nylon strap matches the minimalist black logoed dial.

Since it is a field watch, durable materials like a fibreshell case and sapphire crystal protect the watch face. High accuracy ratings are made possible by a 3-jewel high torque Swiss Quartz watch movement.

Capping off the Marathon watch features are a 3 ATM water-resistance rating, a case diameter of 34 mm, and a strap width of 16 mm.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 2/5

  • The mirror glow coating on the indices and hands of the Marathon GPQ emits a bright green luminescent that lasts for up to 8 hours when charged. I can rely on this watch to remain visible and legible, even in complete darkness.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 3/5

  • The supplied black heavy-duty nylon strap of the Marathon GPQ not only ensures a secure fit but also adds a rugged and stylish touch to its overall design.


  • Easy-to-read dial and analog display
  • Maraglo photoluminescent paint provide great luminescence
  • Solar-powered energy provides a reliable battery lifespan
  • Comfortable and sweat-proof nylon strap
  • Fibreshell case can withstand high impact (falls, crashes, etc.)
  • Sapphire crystal resists scratches
  • Superior and accurate Swiss quartz watch movement


  • 34 mm case diameter may be too small for some

Casio Pro-Trek PRG-270-1 Multifunction Watch

The last timepiece featured on the watch is the Casio Pro-Trek model.

It consists of a triple sensor, which includes features such as an altimeter, barometer, and digital compass. These built-in devices are responsible for tracking altitude, atmospheric pressure, and exact location, respectively.

The solar-powered watch can last up to 9 months at full capacity without additional charging from any light source. A world time feature provides access to 31 different time zones across 48 different cities worldwide.

The Pro-Trek watch even offers a city name display above the digital time display. A rugged case design made out of stainless steel resists anything the outside world brings. These include scratches, rust, etc.

The timepiece does not stop here. A Full Auto LED Backlight will brighten the digital display to improve readability at night or in poorly-lit areas.

Lastly, large buttons surrounding the watch exterior enable a user-friendly experience. These are properly labeled per function and easy-to-find.

NanaDC Badass Rating: 5/5

  • I've worn this Casio Pro Trek PRG 270 watch in various situations such as working in the rain, mud, and digging fence post holes. I've also gone swimming in both fresh and saltwater with this watch, and it's still functioning just like the day I bought it.
  • I wanted a solar-powered watch that I wouldn't have to worry about the battery dying when I'm on a hike or out in the wilderness. This Casio Pro Trek PRG 270 is a great choice for that, and it has never failed me.

NanaDC Suave Rating: 2/5

  • What drew me to this Casio Pro Trek PRG 270 watch was its look and features. It has a lot of functionality, such as the stopwatch, timer, and alarms, which are useful in my day-to-day activities.


  • Altimeter, compass, and barometer provide supplementary data (altitude, air pressure, location)
  • Battery lifespan of up to 9 months
  • World time feature lets you access 31 different time zones
  • Rugged and rust-resistant stainless steel casing
  • LED backlight provides easy readability in dark areas


  • Plastic band may not be as strong compared to silicone and stainless steel

What Are the Features of Tough Watches?

These timepieces live up to their "tough" label thanks to their strong shock-resistant qualities. Just ask the creators of the Casio G-Shock series.

features of tough watches

The toughest watches can handle hard falls, accidental drops, immense water pressure, and other forms of impact.

If you are thinking about going for a hike or trail, you need to purchase a tough watch because these were designed for those who want to pursue an active lifestyle.

Besides shock-resistance, reliable and top-tier timekeeping are additional assets to tough watches.

Whether it employs an atomic, automatic, or quartz movement, the watch is also tough against inconsistent and wrong time readings.

Since a tough watch is designed for outdoor enthusiasts, battery life should be at limitless supply. Luckily, most timepieces are solar-powered. Therefore, exposure to sunlight or artificial lighting will keep the tough watch going.

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between a Tough Watch and a Tactical Military Watch?

Both tough and tactical military watches possess maximum longevity. One other similarity is they include add-ons such as a built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass.

difference between tactical watch and military watch

The differences lie in the fact that tactical watches have slightly more features than the tough watch. Some tactical watches might even have smartwatch abilities like smart notifications, Bluetooth connectivity, GPS settings, etc.

In the case of tough watches, their primary functions are to maintain consistent timekeeping and provide superior durability.

The use of premium materials like stainless steel casing and scratch-resistant crystal dial windows are common among many tough watches.

One common denominator among tough and tactical timepieces is that these can be considered watches for the military. The roughness and ruggedness of both types of watches should be enough to pass ISO standards.

Wrap Up

I hope you had an enjoyable time reading over the toughest watches that are some of the best options.

Before finalizing your preferred watch choice, carefully weigh in the different features each watch contains and your budget range. These will help determine which one suits you the most.

I also encourage you to read supplementary reviews online so you can narrow down your options. For more questions or inquiries, please feel free to contact us.