The Casio G-Shock line of watches enjoy great popularity among people in military service. We believe that it’s important to understand exactly why military-style gear and accessories are better choices for durability, performance and expanded uses.
We also believe that the Casio G-Shock is the best military watch available for the price.
Shown here is the Casio Men's G-shock DW5600E-1V (Buy on Amazon).
Looks simple doesn’t it?
Simple, reliable, and works when you need it.
No bells and whistles.
And battery life of weeks or months.
That’s the whole point.
We’re going to look at some other options too, here they are:
What Is a Military Watch?
The definition of military watches varies, but one of the most common interpretations is that military watches are highly functional timepieces without a bling factor.
Jewels, gold and other eye-catching features are worthless to soldiers deployed in the field. Watches with dazzling features can be a danger because the flash can attract unwanted attention and even compromise your attention and performance if the watch is damaged.
You might fail to take the safest course if it puts your fancy and expensive watch in danger. The same applies to many civilian tasks.
Simple reliability is an important factor because military personnel don’t have time to translate Roman numerals or interpret special designs on a watch’s dial and face. The same is true for members of law enforcement, firefighters, federal agents and government employees at all levels. Military watches can benefit case workers, SWAT teams, FBI agents, police officers, probation and parole officers and anyone who needs reliable timekeeping that’s easy to read in any situation.
Most military watches have the following features and design characteristics:
- Reliability because of being shockproof and quartz-powered
- Long battery life
- Black matte finish and electro-luminescence or high-contrast digital displays for easy readability
- Resistance to water damage
- 24-hour display mode for active service members
- Wider faces and bigger numerals for easy reading
Additional features that might be important to you include GPS technology and ABC, or altimeter, barometer and compass, features. Casio G-Shock watches have these features available in many models.
But, to be honest – all those features usually mean a big decrease in battery life.
The best military watch will run for weeks on the same battery.
We won’t be reviewing the super-fancy sport GPS watches and smart watches for that reason. Some of those have battery life counted in hours rather than weeks or months.
Cassio G-Shock – A Military Watch Classic
The creator of the Casio G-Shock line of watches, Kikuo Ibe, focused on one critical quality in his original designs: He wanted to create “a timepiece that will not break even if dropped.” 
Ibe’s success is clearly demonstrated by the longevity of this line of watches, which often last for 20 to 30 years or longer, and their high rankings among respected review sites.
One source rated the Casio G-Shock as the top choice for meeting the needs of military personnel. The reasons for this rating include triple sensors for measuring altitude, barometric pressure, direction and temperature. The rugged designs stand up to conditions in the most extreme environments in the world. Other features include one-touch time recording, resistance to sand, dust, mud and water, an oversized dial, luminous coatings, LED lights for increased visibility in the dark and a super-strong crystal made from mineral glass to resist scratches and cracks. 
- Shock Resistant, 200 Meter Water Resistant. Case diameter : 45 mm
- EL Backlight with Afterglow, Multi-function Alarm, 1/100 second stopwatch. TO set time and Date:1.Press A while in the Timekeeping Mode. The seconds digits flash on the display because they are selected 2. Press C to change the selection in the following sequence
- Countdown Timer, Auto-repeat function, Hourly Time Signal, Auto Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2039)
- If you do not operate any button for a few minutes while a selection is flashing. the flashing stops and the watch goes back to the timekeeping mode automatically
- In an effort to avoid the navigation buttons being pushed accidentally they are purposely designed to be a bit harder to push in. This is not a defect or flaw.
Casio’s G-Shock resistance is the most obvious benefit because it’s mentioned in the brand’s name, and Ibe tested more than 200 handmade samples for shock resistance before marketing the first G-Shock in 1983. 
Timex Ironman Triathlon Watch
The Timex Full-Size Ironman Rugged 30 Watch (Buy on Amazon) is another solid choice for a robust, reliable digital watch.
This was watch was more or less Timex’s response to Casio’s G-Shock.
Super-rugged, waterproof (to a reasonable depth – this is not a diving watch), and will run for weeks or months on the same battery.
“Indiglo” lets you see the face at night.
And because it is a Triathlon training watch – it is meant for sports – or other active endeavors.
There are lap timers, alarms, and more.
Many people are in fact buying these to reduce their reliance on their smart phones.
They are simple and get the job done, without giving you an endless stream of distractions.
- Adjustable black 20mm resin strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
- 100-hour chronograph with 30-lap memory; 24-hour countdown timer
- 3 daily, weekday or weekend alarms; 24-hour military time mode; 2 time zones; day, date and month calendar
- Black 44mm resin case with acrylic lens; black digital display; Indiglo light-up watch dial
- Water resistant to 100m (330ft): in general, suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving
Casio G-Shock vs Timex Ironman
Casio G-Shock or Timex Ironmane?
It’s a toss up.
Both are rugged designs that have evolved over decades.
Pick one that is in the right price range for you.
Tactical Watch with No Battery – Solar Watch
Sometimes, you don’t want to have to mess with batteries.
And if you are in the military, or using the watch outdoors – solar power is a viable option.
The Casio Men's GW-M5610 G-Shock Solar Digital Watch (Buy on Amazon) is a great choice.
It’s tough, batteryless, waterproof, shockproof, and has a calendar.
It’s on the more expensive side, but it is a great watch.
SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch
Here’s another military style watch option.
The SUUNTO Core Military Watch (Buy on Amazon) is mid-range in price, but has a lot of great features – and it’s tough.
It has an Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass.
- An altimeter tracks your vertical movement, a barometer tells the Trend in air pressure, and a compass points the way
- Suunto core tracks both the weather and the sun for you; Operating temperature: 20° C to +60° C / 5° F to +140° F; Storage temperature: 30° C to +60° C / 22° F to +140° F
- A weather Trend graph and storm alarm along with preset sunrise/sunset times for over 400 locations help you stay safe and plan your activities
- With stylish designs in more than a handful of variations, you are sure to find just the right Suunto core for your style
- Wrist top computer watch with altimeter, barometer, compass and weather indicator
What is an Atomic Watch?
You’ll hear some watches called “Atomic” watches.
They aren’t nuclear powered – they use a transmitted radio signal to ensure the time is set correct and very precise at all times.
The “multi-band” atomic watches can source the radio signal from a variety of sources.
What Is an ABC Watch?
An ABC watch is one with sensors that measure altitude, atmospheric pressure and direction using Altimeter, Barometer and Compass technology (hence the acronym – ABC). These features could be critical if you’re hiking outdoors or trying to find a cave in the mountains where enemies are hiding.
The Casio Pathfinder Triple Sensor Sport Watch (Buy on Amazon) has an Altimeter, Barometer, and a Compass. And it also has a Thermometer.
It is a sport watch – so it is rugged.
Wrist watches were originally designed as bracelets for women, but the military’s influence changed that dynamic during World War I when aviators and soldiers began strapping on wrist watches in unprecedented numbers. 
Expanded functions like ABC technology make watches even more useful for navigation, search missions and emergency situations where getting precise information is critical to your mission’s success.
It doesn’t matter if you’re on a classified military mission or managing your vacation itinerary.
- Solar-power sport watch featuring triple sensor that provides altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and compass information
- Features Sunrise Sunset Data, low-temperature resistance, backlight with after-glow, world time (31 time zones, 48 cities), city code display, daylight saving on/off, five daily alarms, hourly time signal, 1/100-second stopwatch, full auto calendar, countdown timer, 12/24-hour formats, battery power indicator, and power-saving function
- 51 mm stainless steel case with mineral dial window
- Quartz movement with digital display
- Blue Nylon Strap
What Is a GPS Watch?
A GPS watch uses the Global Positioning System, which is a network of about 30 satellites orbiting the Earth. The system was actually developed by the U.S. government for military use, and it’s even more beneficial than a compass for finding areas in unfamiliar territory by providing a map display and even step-by-step directions to your target. 
Having GPS built in to your watch means you don’t have to lug around a separate handheld GPS device.
The Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPS Watch (Buy on Amazon) is an example of a GPS Watch.
This watch does a lot – it has the GPS functionality, of course, but also the Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass functions of the other watches.
It can recharge via solar.
And it tells time.
- 200-meter water-resistant
- Bluetooth: Low Energy, up to 2-meter range
- World Time: 39 cities (39 time zones, daylight saving on/off) and UTC, auto DST
- Countdown Timer (up to 24 hours)
GPS uses triangulation technology to determine your location. Your GPS-enabled watch sends signals to satellites orbiting at 20,000 kilometers above the Earth. There are always at least four “visible” satellites overhead in any location, and the signals are bounced off these satellites and returned to your watch. Triangulation technology enables your watch to determine how far away each satellite is by determining distance based on how long the process takes.  Readings from three satellites enable automated calculations of your position and its distance from targeted locations by using a simple geometric triangulation formula.
The signals travel at the speed of light, so you get real-time information about your location. General and Special Relativity, as theorized by Einstein, predicts that clocks will run faster in orbit because of reduced gravity. That’s why satellites use atomic clocks to compensate for this anomaly. 
The benefits of the GRAVITYMASTER GPW 1000 1-A, for example, include atomic accuracy and these advantages for precision work and calculations:
- GPS reception of critical time and positioning information
- Multi-band atomic timekeeping
- Solar power
- Shock- and water-resistant engineering
- Super Illuminator LED lighting
- Countdown timer
This hybrid atomic and solar watch is ideal for scientific and engineering functions where precision is critical. The GRAVITYMASTER is one of the high-end Casio G-Shock models, but cheaper models provide GPS technology that is accurate enough for most tasks where fractions of a second won’t affect your outcome.
The downside – this watch is really, really expensive.
- Tough Solar Power
- Auto hand home position correction
- LED Super Illuminator Light
- Neo-brite Luminous Hands and Markers
- Beeper Alarm
Watch vs Smartphone
OK, now we’re talking about an $800 watch. That’s crazy.
Doesn’t your smartphone do all the things that watch does?
Well – maybe the only exception is using solar power – and the relatively miserable battery life.
But smartphones bring something to the equation a watch can’t – immense processing (CPU) power.
For example, US special forces have made extensive use of something called ATAK – the Android Tactical Assault Kit.
This is a super-powered smartphone app that was built for tactical missions.
So, that’s a consideration – maybe ATAK paired with your smartphone and a super-tough phone case.
Casio-G Shock Has Your Six
In military parlance, covering your “six” is the same as having your back in any situation. That’s a concept that many people keep in mind when buying popular military gear. Military products offer extended value and performance, and millions of people look for products that military personnel use to get the greatest value.
Casio G-Shock watches tick all the boxes of a highly functional military watch by resisting damage from common physical perils, lasting for 20 or 30 years and offering many critical features for multitasking such as ABC and GPS technologies.
In Summary – G-Shock Military Watch
If military watches can help you survive in combat situations, they can easily perform effectively when you work at labor-intensive jobs in construction and other industries and personal activities. Many people find simple military watch more stylish or simply cooler than high-bling watches. Military timepieces can provide you with solidarity and a connection to the companies of service men and women who risk their lives to serve their country.
If you need a stand-alone GPS unit – see our article Handheld GPS Devices.
1. Gshock.com: “UNBREAKABLE” WATCH https://www.gshock.com/technology/story
2. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com: Cool military watches for men https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/best-products/fashion/accessories/top-military-watches-for-men-who-live-on-the-edge/articleshow/67608348.cms
3. Gshock.com: Casio G-SHOCK Unveils Men’s Clean Military Series https://www.gshock.com/g-latest/news/casio-gshock-unveils-mens-clean-military-series
4. Theatlantic.com: A Brief History of the Wristwatch https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/05/history-wristwatch-apple-watch/391424/
5. Physics.org: How does GPS work? http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=55
Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API