If you lead an exceptionally active lifestyle, you need to find one of the best rugged watches available. With a rugged watch, you won’t have to worry about your watch face breaking or damaging it when participating in extreme activities. You will have a watch that performs at its peak level just as you’re performing at yours.
Rugged watches are not only for those that lead active lives, but they are also for the accident-prone and adventure-seeking. From military watch options to waterproof varieties, there really is a rugged watch made for everyone.
When you’re ready to buy a new rugged watch, you need to consider a variety of features. From shock resistance to drop protection, there is a lot to think about. Our guide will help steer you to the best option for you and your lifestyle.
View The Best Rugged Watches Below
1. G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
The Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 offers something for everyone. This stainless steel watch is solar-powered and offers multiple displays. It uses quartz movement and also features an analog display. The mineral crystal dial is extremely protective. It does provide good water resistance and can be used while swimming and scuba diving.
The Casio G-Shock is easy to operate and resist impact. The casing is sealed so that no dirt or debris can get into the watch. It also offers memory so that you can record the date and time, or the temperature. This watch is extremely durable and provides both an analog and digital display.
+ Digital Compass
+ Altimeter Barometer
+ 5 Alarm Options
+ Buckle Closure
Why We Liked It – Casio G- Shock watches are beloved by users. No matter the situation you’re facing, it offers durability and reliability. You can take this on your toughest adventures, and know it will be ready to go on your next one.
2. Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch
When you invest in the Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch, you will get an abundance of features. This military watch offers a 100-hour chronograph and a 24-hour countdown timer. Additionally, you have access to three separate alarms. It provides shock resistance and allows you to see three different time zones from across the world at the same time.
You will get occasional reminders if you need them, and you will also have access to a calendar. One of the coolest features of this rugged watch is the fact that it has a hydration timer. When you are on a long Excursion staying hydrated is critical, and this watch will help ensure that you are aware of when you need to take a break and drink some water.
+ Suitable for Snorkeling and Swimming
+ Digital Display
+ Light-Up Dial
Why We Liked It – Timex is a brand you can put your trust in. When it comes to Timex, men have trusted them for generations, and you will not be disappointed once you give them a try.
3. Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch
This outdoorsman watch comes in at a price that aims to please. It’s styled like many other military-grade watches and has plenty of features in its design. This timepiece may replace all your others because of the built-in GPS. The built-in 3-axis Compass will give you great insight as to where you are, regardless of your place in the world.
You will be able to monitor your heart rate during activities, and you can use this timepiece for training. There are a variety of different preloaded activities on it. It also provides you with notifications from your smartphone. All data that it tracks will upload to the Garmin Connect Community for easy access.
+ Water Resistant
+ Shock Resistant
+ Altimeter Barometer
Why We Liked It – Not only will you be getting one of the best rugged watches, but it also functions as a smartwatch. Being able to wear the same watch for multiple purposes not only will save you money but will also keep you connected, regardless of where you are.
4. NIXON Regulus Watch
The Nixon Regulus watch is top-rated when it comes to tough watches. This watch comes in many different color varieties and is designed to suit most styles. It’s incredibly durable and offers 100 meters of water resistance. There are dual chronographs, and it has an oversized display.
The display is backlit for convenience. Most consumers get about five years of battery life out of this watch. Consumers are pleased with the strapping system of this watch. It uses a Looper lock strap, so you will never have to worry about it coming off during activities. The stainless steel case is a smart design for tough adventures.
+ Alarm Features
+ Countdown Timer
+ Light Functions
Why We Liked It – These tough watches are amazing because of the mineral crystal display. One of the great things about this is that you won’t have to worry about it cracking or sustaining scratches. You will always be able to read the information that this watch provides clearly.
5. Casio Pro Trek Solar Powered Atomic Digital Watch
This tactical watch is one of the best tactical watches for outdoorsmen. It provides you with sunrise and sunset data. It has a stainless steel bezel that rotates, and it’s solar-powered. This watch also features low-temperature resistance and a digital compass that has bearing memory.
It displays world time and has a backlight. You can set four alarms, and it offers a snooze function. The mineral crystal dial is durable; it puts this watch in the class of unbreakable watches. It offers water-resistant up to 200 meters. Additionally, it gives you a graph of atmospheric pressure tendency.
+ Countdown Timer
+ Power-Saving Function
Why We Liked It – Watches for outdoorsmen are not always created equal. This one offers more features than many others in the same class. Tactical watches should give you a variety of different options and formats. This one will tick all of your boxes.
6. Timex Ironman Rugged Watch
Designed by Timex, men prefer this watch to many others on our list. When you look at it, you can see it’s durable and made from high-quality materials. It offers water resistance up to 100 meters, which makes it suitable for swimming and snorkeling. However, you shouldn’t wear this watch for diving. It offers a 24-hour countdown timer and a 100-hour chronograph. The strap is adjustable and made of resin.
Additionally, the case is made of resin, and it uses an acrylic lens. This is quite durable. The watch does have a backlight, so you will be able to read it at any time of day.
+ Very Affordable
+ 3 Alarms
+ Multiple Calendar Options
Why We Liked It – This watch comes in at a great price. You’ll be able to wear it day and night without worrying about it breaking. If you do run into trouble with it, replacing it will not be a major issue – this is because the price is so reasonable.
7. Timex Expedition Rugged Watch
Any Timex men will tell you this watch made the list for a variety of reasons. The look is simple, and the analog display is easy to read. You’ll be able to keep track of the date and time efficiently. The style isn’t as bulky as other tactical watches. It offers minimal water resistance. The black resin strap is adjustable. The case is also made from black resin, which is very durable.
You’re sure to love the design and look of these tough watches as soon as you put them on. They are well-liked for their simple features and an exceptionally affordable price. When you want a watch that will provide you with a durable design and an easy-to-read display, this one may be the best tactical watch option out there.
+ Luminous Hands
+ Light-Up Dial
+ Trusted Brand
Why We Liked It – Timex men will tell you that as far as a tactical watch goes, this one is very simplistic. Sure, sometimes you need a lot of bells and whistles, but sometimes you just want something simple to wear during the day. This rugged watch is for the simpler moments in life.
8. PALADA Digital Sports Watch
These rugged tactical watch options offer a different and unique style. They are sporty yet also fashionable. This one does provide slight water resistance but should not be worn for snorkeling or diving. The numbers on the display are large, and there is a backlight so you can read it no matter the time of day.
Additionally, it features a stopwatch and gives you access to the date. This is one of the best watches around because of all the features. Tough watches, like this one, can be worn for indoor or outdoor activities without worrying about it getting damaged. You can count on the shock resistance to keep your tactical watch safe during all of life’s adventures.
+ Exceptional Price
+ 12/24 Hour Formats
+ Great Design
Why We Liked It – This tactical watch can keep you on track in a variety of ways. With alarms, a stopwatch, and a calendar, you will be able to stay focused on what you need to accomplish, all while enjoying the look of this sleek design.
9. SUUNTO Core Outdoor Sports Watch
Even if you have never heard of this brand, you’re sure to like the timepiece options they offer. You will be able to see sunrise and sunset times all over the world. Additionally, it provides you with a weather trend graph and a storm alarm so you are aware of what you may be walking into.
There are a few different variations in the design, so you will easily be able to find a style that you love. This tactical watch makes our list because it will provide you with the information you need on any given day. It qualifies among tough watches because it can handle any temperature you decide to wear it in.
+ Includes Altimeter & Barometer
+ Compass Feature
+ Quartz Movement
Why We Liked It – This watch is well-regarded for a variety of reasons. You can wear it in the harshest climates without worrying whether or not it’s going to take damage. Additionally, it is water-resistant and designed to handle a serious impact.
10. Casio G-Shock Master Watch
These tactical watches are a step above the rest. If you are looking for a watch full of features, this one may be the perfect fit. It offers radio frequencies and checks for reception up to 6 times per day. This wild watch comes standard in black, but it’s available in a few different colors as well. The easy push-button system will allow you to flip through the various features with ease.
This rugged watch is water-resistant as well as shock-resistant. The bottom dials of these tactical watches not only tell you the time and date, but they also provide you with tide charts. This is a feature that is well-liked among users that enjoy boating. Even if you don’t enjoy boating, this watch has a little bit of everything to suit your style and watch needs.
+ Solar Powered
+ Black Watch Face
Why We Liked It – We really like the look of this watch. While most people prefer it in straight black, you can also choose one of the other great color options. Finding tactical watches that are also designed to keep you looking great no longer has to be complicated.
Rugged Watches Buyer’s Guide
When searching for the best rugged watches, you need to know what to look for. Understanding that the toughest watches will be shock and water-resistant is a good start. When we discuss shock, we’re talking about drops, falls, and smashes. A rugged watch is not going to crack under pressure. All of the watches on our list are incredibly durable.
While durability is important, it’s not the only piece that you need to consider when looking for the best watches for your situation. You also need to think about the features that will be important for your adventures. This includes things like a compass, thermometer, radio receivers, altimeter, and barometers.
You should also pay attention to whether or not it’s rated for diving. You should also take the time to look into the power source. Many people like solar-powered watches because they don’t have to worry about the battery dying. Last but not least, you’ll need to think about whether or not you want your watch to be able to connect with your phone and other digital accessories.
Tough Watches Vs. Tactical Watches
Many people don’t realize there is a difference between a tough watch and a tactical watch. The main difference is that tactical or military-style watches are going to have a more extensive range of features. These will be best suited to people in the military.
Once you start to look at tough watch features, you will quickly see that they can frequently do exactly what a tactical watch is going to do. However, the design tends to be well suited for everyday use. They are incredibly durable and have a broad range of features, but they also offer an elegant looking timepiece. If you want your watch to handle the adventures you go on across the world, but also need something that can transition into a day to day timepiece, a tough watch is a great way to go.
When you are getting ready to invest in a tactical watch, price is definitely going to play a role. Even if you are willing to make a significant investment, you need to take the time to check out the specs of your perspective timepiece. Making sure you get all of the features you want within a set price range can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Take a look at your budget before you start trying to decide which watch is going to work the best, as there are many options available.
The watches that are on this list range in price from extremely affordable to ones that may take a bit of a toll on your bank account. With great designs and quality features, investing in one of the pricier options ensures you will have one of the best watches available.
Tactical watches can cost hundreds of dollars but know that if you look around, you will be able to find other great a great option at a price that aims to please. Even if you are on an extremely tight budget, there will still be watches on this list that you will like. If the price does not play a major role in your decision, go for one of the design options that provide you with a plethora of features. They are fun to use and can make all of your excursions more pleasant.
The Window of Your Timepiece
There are a variety of different materials that may be used or the window of your timepiece. Some materials are designed to withstand scratches and impact better than others. When you purchase a tactical watch, it is more than likely that the display will be made from sapphire crystal or mineral crystal. However, you may still find options that use plastic or acrylic. Let us take a look at each type of window to promote understanding of what is going to work fast and allow you to see the differences in materials easily.
Plastic: Plastic used to be used frequently in many types of watches. It is relatively soft, so it’s not very durable. However, it is also very inexpensive. Due to the fact that plastic is also flexible, you don’t have to worry about it shattering. It is prone to scratches. If you do have a plastic watch face and it gets crashed, you will likely be able to buff it away, but that won’t keep it in excellent condition forever.
Mineral Glass: Mid-grade tactical watches frequently use mineral glass for their watch face. While it is a bit pricier than plastic, it’s not outrageously expensive. It also offers a decent amount of scratch resistance. A tactical watch that uses mineral glass will stand up to reasonably tough situations.
Nowadays, it’s usually tempered glass that improves scratch resistance and reduces the risk of your watch face splintering. If your mineral crystal face becomes scratched or chipped, you will not be able to repair it. Instead, when it comes down to it, you will need to replace your watch face.
Sapphire: A sapphire crystal display is a hard transparent material made from aluminum oxide. It is exceptionally durable, but it’s also quite expensive. It’s designed to withstand great impact, and it is very hard to scratch. In fact, many consider it to be scratch proof. Many people prefer this type of face because even if it comes into contact with stones or other hard surfaces, you will be able to see through it clearly.
As you probably already know, watch bands come in a variety of different materials. You should be looking for tough materials for rugged watches. Using a leather band is not be the best idea when it comes to this type of watch. Leather has a pretty intense care routine and can easily be damaged by the elements.
Some of the best materials for these types of watches will be silicone or cloth. Silicone watch bands are very common with these types of watches because they are weather resistant and don’t break easily. You should be careful when purchasing a rugged watch to ensure that the band material is going to hold up to the situations that you’ll be facing while wearing it.
Wearing a watchband made of cloth material Tums with advantages and disadvantages. Many people find them to be more comfortable. However, they do hold moisture, so they might end up irritating your skin if you’re wearing them for extended amounts of time.
It is also advantageous to sift through what other consumers have to say when it comes to a cloth material watch band. This will provide you with great insight into whether or not it’s going to be comfortable and how well it will last through your adventurous lifestyle.
Unlike standard watches, rugged watches don’t always offer interchangeable watch bands. So, if you don’t like the appearance of it, you may end up needing to purchase a completely different watch instead of just switching out the band.
Most of the options on our list come in a variety of different styles and looks so that you can find one that is well suited for you. Paying attention to the manufacturer’s specifications will give you the information you need to understand whether or not you can replace the watch band or if it’s unable to be replaced.
Digital or Analog
Many people don’t take into consideration what type of display they’re going to prefer on their watch. Some find that a digital display is the best, while others prefer an analog one. Some of the watch options within our guide will give you both a digital and analog readout of the time. Realistically, this all comes down to personal preference.
Watches with a digital display will frequently give you more features because they involve a screen. This can allow you to cycle through different pieces of information, whereas an analog watch may not do this so easily. Analog watches can provide equal amounts of information, but they can be harder to see because they are packed into the small area of the watch face.
It’s very common to see the words water-resistant attached to a watch. However, you should pay attention to the raiding before you jump into a pool or go diving while wearing your watch. Water-resistance levels can change, so they should be checked.
A tactical watch is going to be more water-resistant than many others. Most of them will be rated for up to 100 meters. This means that you are able to use them while showering, swimming, and also while you snorkel. When it comes to diving, you will not want to wear a tactical watch in this rating. Even if the description says that it’s okay, you will end up causing damage.
If you are into scuba diving, you will want to purchase a tactical watch rated for 200 meters. Many people will tell you that even 200m is not enough for deep diving. This is especially true if you want to see the different features while under the water. If you intend to dive frequently, it’s best to find a tactical watch that is rated for 300 meters of water resistance.
Most tactical watch options are going to be enclosed in a stainless steel case. This offers fantastic durability. Stainless steel works well in pretty much every situation. Even if you are facing drastic climate changes, stainless steel cases work best and keep the components of your watch protected even while in extreme conditions. Most of the watches on our list will provide you with a stainless steel case to ensure that you get great durability while wearing it.
When you purchase a new watch, you want to pay attention to the adjustability and wrist measurement that it can handle. Because most of these watches don’t offer interchangeable bands, sizing is key. Finding one that provides a decent level of adjustability will ensure that you have a comfortable and secure fit every time you wear your watch.
Adjustability plays a fairly significant role in the level of comfort you’re going to have while wearing your watch. This is especially true with a rugged watch, as the watch face of a rugged watch tends to be quite large.
Because the watch face takes up a decent amount of space on your wrist, it can start to feel cumbersome. So, if you have good adjustability in the band, you are sure to find the perfect fit. The perfect fit will improve your comfort levels while you are traveling through life’s adventures, whatever they may be.
There are a variety of different features that come along with a tactical watch. You need to consider things like date and time display. Additionally, you should understand whether you would prefer an analog or a digital display.
You can get so many different features on watches in today’s world. You will not only have access to the date and time, but you can also get information on the weather patterns, and things like altimeters and barometers are also included.
Because technology has come so far, many tough watches also act as smartwatches. This will allow you to see your messages, social media, and other information that is associated with your smartphone. Getting a watch that has Smartwatch features will cost you quite a bit more money, but many people feel as if it’s well worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a watch a rugged or tough watch?
As mentioned, the watch face plays a major role in how tough your watch is going to be. Materials like mineral glass and sapphire glass will ensure that you don’t have to worry about your watch face becoming scratched or breaking easily when dropped or bumped against something.
While the watch face material plays a role, so does the casing and the band. You will want to find a watch with a stainless steel case to ensure that the internal components are well protected. The watchband of tough watches is typically made from silicone as you don’t have to worry about weather harming the material. Leather can easily be damaged and therefore is not frequently used in bands for rugged watches.
What kind of watches are used in the military?
There is not a simple answer to what type of watches are used in the military. In fact, watches of all different brands can be used by military professionals. More often than not, those that are in the armed services will search for rugged watches that can withstand all of the elements, as well as arduous excursions.
If you’re looking for watches that people from the military are using, take a good look at our guide. The majority of them that are listed are used by military personnel. They tend to hunt for watches that are water-resistant, scratch-resistant, and extremely durable. You can find all of these features in a plethora of different watches that are on the market today.
Do all rugged watches cost a lot of money?
While it’s common that you could make a significant investment in a rugged watch, it is not necessary. In today’s world, you can pick up a tough watch for $20. You may not get a lot of features, but you will have a timepiece that can stand up to tough situations. If you are searching for a watch that offers a variety of features, you will need to invest a bit more money.
If you have it in your budget, you could spend a couple of hundred dollars to invest in one that has all the bells and whistles that you can think of. However, several mid-range options will give you a variety of features, yet they won’t break the bank.
Are all rugged watches bulky?
While there was a time that you were unable to find a sleek and stylish looking rugged watch, that time has passed. In today’s market, there is a significant variety of different styles when it comes to rugged timepieces. Not all of them are going to be bulky.
This means that you’ll be able to find a sleek-looking watch that you can use for everyday wear. There is a large variety of bulky options with large watch faces that will provide you with a plethora of information for the adventuring that you decide to go on. However, you can also find slim-fitting options that will transition extremely nicely between your work attire and your play clothes.
Once you have decided on all the features that you are looking for, choosing your watch becomes quite easy. Making a smart watch decision to fit your lifestyle doesn’t have to be a significant burden. You may need to take a bit of time to save up money as some rugged watches are very expensive. However, you will be surprised at how many affordable options are available that are also packed with the features you desire.