The Best Military Watches Add a Rugged Edge to Your Regular Civvies


Like fatigue pants and aviator shades, the best military watches are all built to stand up to the rigors of life in the trenches, the cockpit, or the ocean depths—but that’s really just a bonus. Because in addition to being tough as army boots, each one promises to lend a subtle hit of rugged flavor to your regular ol’ civilian staples.

Military watches fall into three overarching categories: field watches, diver’s watches, and pilot’s watches, each of which boast their own unique histories and function-driven design flourishes. The field watch, for example, was created in WWII to be uncomplicated, easy to read, and reliably sturdy—qualities you’ll appreciate whether you’re crouching in a foxhole or just running to catch a flight. Diver’s watches were originally built for navy frogmen, but their tough, waterproof cases make them the perfect accessory for conquering the urban jungle, too. Pilot’s watches might be the most specialized of the bunch, but their oversized cases (made to be worn over a flight suit) and dials jammed with esoteric markings make them that much more of a high-flying style statement for civilians. 

These days, if you’re in the market for a military-inspired timepiece you’ll have plenty to choose from: dive watches approved by the Navy SEALs, faithful repros of WWII pilot’s watches. Whatever your preference (and whatever your budget), any of the wallet-friendly tickers below will be faithful allies in the ongoing battle of fit dominance.

All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  • Bulova A-11 “Hack” watch

    Bulova was one of several brands that produced the A-11, the Allies’ go-to field watch in WWII. At 38mm across the case, this one is bigger than the 32mm original, but everything else about its look comes straight from the archives.

  • Laco Type B watch

    This German brand has been a specialist in aviation watches since the 1920s. Fortunately for anyone with a love of vintage pilot’s watches, its catalog is full of budget-friendly repros like this one, modeled on a piece made for WWII flyers.

  • Marathon General Purpose Quartz watch

    With a case measuring 34mm, this Swiss-made field watch is one of the most diminutive options you’ll find. Military-grade specs like a fibershell case and tritium gas tube lume, however, make it every bit as fit for service as the big boys.

  • Luminox Original Navy SEAL watch

    It’s notoriously hard to become a Navy SEAL. But getting your hands on this SEAL-approved watch couldn’t be easier.

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The Best Military Watches Add a Rugged Edge to Your Regular Civvies

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