Forget Counterfeit Watches: Here Are The 5 Best Military Watches Under $100

Military watches may be primarily about practicality and function, but they’re also becoming a popular fashion item. Generally active people (joggers, regular gym-goers and outdoor adventurers) have taken on the traditional military style -- so it’s no longer just for hardcore military folk.

What does this mean?

The Bottom Line

It means there’s a tonne of variety out there these days, and it can be difficult sorting the genuine article from the lemons. It’s no secret that you can find thousands of fake brand watches for under $100, but this post is here to review the best military watches (from recognized brands) on the market right now.

We spent several weeks reviewing and comparing the 21 of the top military watches on the market and ended up covering 5 of our  favorite ones in this guide.

Lets begin with our top picks:

How We Picked?

This guide compares our top picks divided into 3 price-ranges for easy browsing (Here is the full list of the 21 products we tested). You can jump between price ranges using the menu below. Finally, there’s a useful buyer’s guide at the bottom of the page that helps explain what to look for when buying a military watch.

This buyer’s guide is suited to everyone from budget conscious buyers interested in learning which military watch to buy or what's good about them,  what's missing from each and how best to place them.

Choose Your Budget

TOP PICKS

RATINGS

TYPE

BEST OVERALL

Men’s Casio G-Shock GA100L-8A

4.8/5

Analog & Digital

BEST BUDGET

Casio G-Shock GA100-1A1

4.1/5

Analog & Digital

BEST DIGITAL MILITARY WATCH

AAA

4.0/5

Analog & Digital

The Runner Ups


These watches didn't make the top 3 list, but you should take them into consideration:


Best Casual | Seiko 5 Black Dial SNK809
Military watches don’t only need to be about functionality. The minimalist, tactical style is something to be worn of its own merits. My Best Casual choice goes to a sleek watch from Seiko which I would be comfortable wearing in almost any environment.


Runner up for best budget spot | Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch

This is a great budget option in the military niche. It doesn’t come with any of the frills or additions like some others on this list, but it keeps time efficiently and I personally like the thinner case which doesn’t get in the way or catch on my sleeve.


Also, for a little bit more detail on what to look for in a military watch, check out my super brief Buyer’s Guide. Then get straight into the reviews to find out what the next best choice for your wrist will be.



Best Overall

My Best Overall choices takes into account the three major factors (see Buyer’s Guide for more); Practicality, Reliability and Quality. These are two watches you can rely on in tough conditions, but can also wear casually or on social occasions.

1

Men’s Casio G-Shock GA100L-8A

The G-Shock GA100L-8A is an ideal mixture of functionality and style. It wins my overall choice mostly for the quality of its parts, and its range of functions, but I would happily wear this watch in social settings also.


Who Should Buy

Anyone looking for a reliable, durable military-style watch that they can wear for different occasions.

Full Men’s Casio G-Shock GA100L-8A Review:

Casio’s G-shock watches are designed for their toughness and durability. The GA100L-8A is no exception, made with a thick 55mm Khaki resin case and a shock and magnetic-resistant design. It boasts 29 World Time zones (48 cities +UTC), an accurate timer and stopwatch (to 1000th of a second) and it allows for 4 daily alarms plus a snooze option.

Reliability-wise, this G-shock ticks all the right boxes. The case itself is tough enough to withstand frequent force, and it’s also incredibly water resistant (up to 200 meters!).

Stylistically, it’s also a popular choice. G-shock watches have something of a reputation for being a fashion statement, which means you can comfortably wear this watch in all situations: intense and casual alike.

My only issue--and it is a minor and somewhat subjective one--is the case thickness. It’s important to have a bit of thickness to protect the watch, but I prefer a slimmer case. Slim fits are easy to slide your sleeves over, and they rarely get in the way of any other tactical gear. This G-shock is a little thick for my taste, but besides that it’s an all-around winner and overall the best military watch you’ll find under $100.

  Tech Specs:

  Case: 55mm Khaki Resin

  Analog/Digital: Combined

  Water Resistance: 200 meters

  Special Features: World Time (29 zones)

PROS

  • Durable, and backed by a two-year warranty
  • World Time Zones included (29 countries, 48 cities)4 alarms plus snooze alarm
  • Accurate stopwatch and timerStylish design for all occasions

CONS

  • Some reviewers have complained about the band breaking earlier than it should.
  • Also, there has been mention of the negative digital display being tough to read in some lightings. Personally, I find the design easy to read, but it certainly doesn’t stand out brightly (which I prefer, in any case).

Best Budget

My Best Budget choices aren’t just about the lowest price. They’re about getting the best military watch for your money, and this means not sacrificing on quality or durability. There will, of course, be some sacrifices made--my budget choices have stripped back on the fancy additions, keeping things functional and simple.

2

Casio G-Shock GA100-1A1

The simplistic matte black tactical design of this G-Shock is great, in my opinion. A solid watch that focuses on function and practicality without any frills or added extras.



Who Should Buy

Ideal for active people who want a mixture of functionality and affordability.

Full Casio G-Shock GA100-1A1 Review:

Another solid design from Casio, the GA100-1A1 gives you everything you would expect from a G-Shock. It has that classic thick case design, and plenty of functions like World Time, daylight savings time, alarms, stopwatch and timer.

Making use of both analog and digital displays, the display diameter is actually pretty compact at just 37mm. This is backed by LED lighting for easy reading at night, although some users have complained that the mineral window surface makes it difficult to read in direct sunlight. While this is a common complaint for G-Shock watches, it’s never been an issue for me.

  Tech Specs:

  Case: 37mm Resin

  Analog/Digital: Combined

  Water Resistance: 200 meters

  Special Features: Matte black design

PROS

  • Accurate stopwatch and timer
  • Solid water resistance, shock and anti-magnetic resistance
  • Great alarm functions
  • Best budget choice winner

CONS

  • Band may not be as durable as the case
  • No numerals on analog display

3

​Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch

This is a great budget option in the military niche. It doesn’t come with any of the frills or additions like some others on this list, but it keeps time efficiently and I personally like the thinner case which doesn’t get in the way or catch on my sleeve.


Who Should Buy

Anyone looking for a stripped-back, minimalistic design with a clear analog display.

Full Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch Review:

Timex have been in the watchmaking industry for a long time, producing watches for any situation; from high street to the deepest darkest jungles. The Expedition Gallatin is inspired by the Northern edge of the U.S. Rockies--it’s supposed to be a completely minimalistic approach to tactical timekeeping, and they’ve done a pretty great job of it.

A strictly analog display with big bold, easy-to-read numerals and a clear distinction between the second and minute hands. You also have the seconds listed around the outer edge of the case, in 5 second intervals up to 60 to act as a substitute timer. Note ‘substitute’. You may be used to modern watches coming with features like stopwatch, timer, world time zones and the like, but the Expedition from Timex has stripped everything back and stuck with a basic analog design and nothing more.

I don’t mind this approach, but my only issue is the nylon band. While I understand it isn’t a fashion contest, the nylond band means that I would really only use this watch when I’m outdoors (preferably hiking and away from the city).

  Tech Specs:

  Case: 44mm Resin

  Analog/Digital: Analog

  Water Resistance: 50m (short period of time)

  Special Features: Second numerals listed on outer case

PROS

  • Simplistic design
  • Thin case
  • Functionally sound with accurate time-keeping

CONS

  • No features like alarm or stopwatch
  • Nylon band

Best Digital Military Watch

Many military watches come with a mix of both digital and analog displays, but if you’re looking to keep things strictly digital, this is the watch for you. Timex is a trusted name in the watchmaker industry, and the Expedition Shock is their toughest product on this list.

4

​Timex T49612 Expedition Shock

A top adventurer and watersports enthusiast watch. The in-built compass feature is great for hiking and the Expedition Shock can handle the rough terrain that goes with it.



Who Should Buy

Ideal for marine activities, above water sports like water-skiing, and outdoor adventurers.

Full Timex T49612 Expedition Shock Review:

This is the most durable and shock-resistant watch from Timex on my list. Unlike the Gallatin, this is built to survive rough and tough outdoor conditions--it actually even looks somewhat similar to the classic G-Shock style from Casio. Thick round case, heavy duty band and a simplistic display.

The display is entirely digital, though it retains the traditional hour markings on the outer case. This is not just an aesthetic addition--there is a method to the madness. Timex’s Expedition Shock comes with a built-in compass feature, and so the ‘hour’ markings actually serve as directional markings for orienting yourself.

The main selling point for this model is its tough water resistance, making it suitable for serious marine activity and above water sports. With a solid 200 meter water resistance specification, you don’t need to worry about going underwater with it--although, this model isn’t designed for serious scuba diving or deep water diving.

  Tech Specs:

  Case: 48mm Resin

  Analog/Digital: Digital

  Water Resistance: 200 meters

  Special Features: Inbuilt compass

PROS

  • Durable, resin case
  • Suitable for water sports and marine life
  • Clear, digital display
  • Timex signature Indiglow technology for easy reading in the evenings and nights
  • Shock-resistant

CONS

  • Band issues, complaints of breaking within 24 months of use

Best Casual

Military watches don’t only need to be about functionality. The minimalist, tactical style is something to be worn of its own merits. My Best Casual choice goes to a sleek watch from Seiko which I would be comfortable wearing in almost any environment.

5

​Seiko 5 Black Dial SNK809

A stylish black face watch from Seiko, the SNK809 runs on automatic movement mechanism--meaning that the more you wear it, the more the power it stores for use.



Who Should Buy

This is more suited to a casually active lifestyle, rather than heavy-duty living. Fine for light hikes, jogs and all other indoor events, but not ideal for rougher terrains.

Full Seiko 5 Black Dial SNK809 Review:

Seiko’s military line typically lean on the pricey side, but the SNK809 is a welcome compromise between quality and affordability; still coming in under that all-important $100 mark. Another great simple tactical design, the Seiko stands out from the rest with its simple black face display and (honestly) elegant stainless steel casing. The back of the case is transparent, allowing you to take a look at the inner workings and gears--which is always a fun way to pass the time (and to get an idea of how well the mechanism is tracking).

The SNK809 is an automatic mechanical watch. What’s that? Simply put: no battery, no solar-power. Automatic mechanical designs are powered by the movement of the wearer’s arm. Fine if you’re wearing your Seiko every day, but be wary of storing it on the shelf. Seiko suggests up to 8 hours of daily use will keep your SNK809 ticking accurately (don’t stress too much on this point, there is also about 40 hours of power reserve). 

For all its perks and positives, the SNK809 ultimately lies somewhere between the casual and active range. When compared to Casio’s G-Shock models, it doesn’t quite stand up to the same standards or conditions. This is more suited to active/casual wearer than the rugged outdoors, so just keep that in mind when deciding.

  Tech Specs:

  Case: 36mm Resin

  Analog/Digital: Analog + Digital

  Water Resistance: 30 meters

  Special Features: Automatic movement mechanism

PROS

  • Tactical, stainless steel design
  • Transparent backing from tracking the mechanisms function
  • Automatic mechanism: no worrying about replacing batteries
  • Clean, crisp analog display

CONS

  • Limited water resistance
  • Not as shock-resistant or suited to strenuous activities as other military style designs.

6

​Casio Men’s GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock

I’m pretty confident recommending most G-Shocks. This model has the added advantage of being entirely solar-powered, along with being a little tighter in its design (not so chunky).



Who Should Buy

While some would claim that the smaller display makes it a woman’s watch, they are mistaken. This is a classic tactical style watch, with badass features and reliability.

Full Casio Men’s GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock Review:

Featuring another G-shock from Casio is no surprise. They’re a leader in the industry because they focus on making utilitarian, tactical watches for active people. This solar-powered model is no exception, though a little lighter and slimmer than most other g-shocks you’ll find out there.

Coming with 46.4mm resin case, we’re working with a strictly digital display here. Casio has been working recently with their solar-powered line, along with releasing some Bluetooth-connective watches that automatically update with your phone’s time. All of this is just to say that Casio are always experimenting and fine-tuning their designs, and I love the fact that this model is entirely solar-powered.

The fact that it is strictly digital (and not a particularly bright display) means that visibility can be difficult with glare. When people complain about this, I get it--but at the same time, all it takes is a slight turn of the wrist to relieve the issue: it’s not a deal breaker for me.

  Tech Specs:

  Case: 46.4mm Resin

  Analog/Digital: Digital

  Water Resistance: 200 meters

  Special Features: Solar Powered

PROS

  • Durable, efficient solar-powered design
  • Slimmer and smaller case
  • 4 daily alarms plus snooze alarm and World Time Settings
  • Both 12hr and military 24hr display options

CONS

  • Glare factor
  • No analog display (if you like a traditional watch)

Buyer’s Guide

How to choose a military watch under $100

Ideally, the perfect military watch will be something that scales to any situation: from desert plains to dinner parties. That being said, it’s worth defining our leading priorities:

Practicality;

Reliability/Durability; and

Quality

If you stick to these three principles, you can’t go far wrong. People wear Rolex to catch people’s attentions; to impress. Military watches are functional--in fact, in most cases, the less they stand out the better (see my section on camouflage design).

Practicality Factor:

This is my primary concern when searching a military watch to serve me well. How functional is it? There are hundreds of designs out there which are made to look functional, but the manufacturers simply haven’t taken the time (or spent the money) to make a product that really meets the users needs.

I’m talking about field watches that are thin enough to wear under sleeves--without worrying about it catching on the sleeve whenever you want to check the time. I’m talking about large easy-to-read indices for the day so you can tell the time at a glance, and/or digital options for reading at night. Little things that will make the watch feel as though it were a natural extension of your body--not some awkward appendix to slow you down.

Reliability Factor:

In some ways, this will tie in to my quality factor. However, the focus here is on maintenance, accuracy and durability. You want a military watch that can take some hits, handle force and preferably with a decent water resistance marking. While I would personally wear many of watches from my best military watches reviews to dinner, that doesn’t mean it’s the primary environment. The main environment is full of high stressors, rapid movements and plenty of wear and tear.

You need a military watch that can perform as well on the two-hundredth day as on the first. Degradation of quality and accuracy can be a slow and subtle process in watches. It can be a couple of minutes on the display, or it can be a low-response/lagging timer--these minor inaccuracies can make all the difference, and don’t want to be put in yourself in more trouble than necessary because of faulty equipment. Okay, it doesn’t need to be as dramatic as that, but you get the idea.

Quality Factor: 

Unless you know a thing or two about the internal mechanisms of watches, it can be difficult to know what makes for a quality watch. Resin or hardflex window? Automatic or solar-powered?

The truth is, in the under $100 range you’re really just looking for a watch that will keep time well, survive your daily activities and look good while doing so. The quality of a product will come out in the reviews (which is why I’ve done my research to find the best products out there for your money). When it comes down to components, sticking with well-known brands is your safest bet--since they undergo the necessary quality standard testing and you know what you are getting yourself into.

FAQ

How to change my watch from military time?

This will depend on the exact model, but taking Casio’s G-shock line as an example, there is an adjust button labelled on the outer case. Toggle this button through the options until you reach the military option. Other digital displays will come with instructions on how to shift from 12hr to 24hr format, usually just in a couple of quick steps.

For analog displays, needless to say, it’s not possible to change it to military time.

Where to buy military watches?

When it comes to the best military watches under $100, you definitely still want to stick with trusted brands. Finding a cheap watch on the street or in a side stall is about the easiest thing you could do--but it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a good deal. If the seller is happy about it, they’re probably scamming you. Trusted brands in the watch industry like Timex and Casio, however, are aware of the competition (even from unofficial competitors like side-street vendors and online discount stores). What does this mean? It means they have also adapted a line of less expensive watches which still meet their basic quality standards.

Again, when it comes to where to buy the best military watches under $100, stick with known names.

Are swiss military watches good?

The Swiss are famous watchmakers, and they’re certainly good at what they do. Military watches are no exception--but for the best military watches under $100, you are unlikely to find many made from a Swiss brand. For pricier labels and designers watches, you should definitely consider Swiss military watch brands like Wenger, Hanowa and CX Swiss Military Watch. However, if you’re looking to stay under one hundred bucks, I personally would opt for the lines offered by Casio and Timex.

Can apple watch be set to military time?

Yes. The first thing to note is that even if your phone is showing 24hr time, you’ll need to change your settings on the Apple Watch separately. Just select the My Watch tab, then scroll to the fifth section and choose the Clock app 3. You should see an option for 24-Hour Time listed on the first line, so naturally select that and you should be ready to roll.

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