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Thread: The Ultimate Military Watch?

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    Default The Ultimate Military Watch?

    I'm a serving infantry soldier and have been extensively researching the best military watch. I have not found a watch that I believe meets 100% the criteria that would, in my opinion at least, be the ultimate true military watch. I think only very vew manufacturers come anywhere near a proper military watch and only two (Casio and Suunto) that come close to the ultimate military watch. My criteria for the accolade of the ultimate military watch is:

    Physical Charcteristics (Stealth and Durability)
    • Black Inverse/ reverse LCD screen for stealth (e.g. Suunto Military/ Suunto Core Black)
    • Red backlight LED to maintain natural night vision (like some casio 'military' versions)
    • Black Titanium or Carbon Fibre case for light weight and durability (like Suunto X-lander Military and Suunto Core)
    • Rubber ribbed strap with screw on hinges (e.g. like Sunnto military strap found on Suunto Core military version)
    • Low Temperature operation for arctic operations (e.g. Casio Protrek series)
    • At least 100M Water resistance (just so there are no doubts if it's dunked or exposed to seriously heavy waterfalls)
    • Large Recessed buttons with textured surface to avoid getting caught in webbing straps (e.g. Casio Protek series)
    • Solar Powered (e.g. Casio Protrek) or at least field/ self change battery (e.g. Suunto Xlander military and Suunto Core)
    • Depth Meter (e.g. Suunto Core Military)
    • Rotating Bezel marked with cardinal compass points
    • Large form factor for using with cloves- small watches will not do.
    • Timing Functions (in addition to standard time, stopwatch and alarm functions)
    • 24 Hour time format (like most sport watches)
    • Countdown timers (found on Protrek, Suunto and many other sport models)
    • Selectable Flashing Alarm mode (since audible alarms can cost lives in a tactical environment- Casio 'Military' versions have this)
    • Selectable vibrating alert/ alarm (overcomes audible and visible issue in a tactical situation- implemented on some Timex watches)
    • World times (Convenient in planning and changing zone when travelling- e.g. Casio protrk & Suunto XLander/ Core )
    • Sunrise/ Sunset times (really important/ essential stuff to know in a military context- e.g. Suunto slander and Suunto Core)
    • Quick Global silent setting- a single option to kill all audible functions on the watch (not found on any watch AFIK)

    Environmental Functions (ABC, navigation, decision and planning support)
    • Electronic Compass (Casio Protrek Protrek PRG-130Y-DR and Suunto X-Lander and Suunto Core)
    • Compass readings in MILS (not found on any watch)
    • Barometric Monitoring (Casio Protrek PRG-130Y-DR and Suunto x-lander/Core)
    • Altimeter (Casio Protrek and Suunto x-lander/Core)
    • Manual or automatic switching between Barometric and Altimeter readings
    • Storm Alert (e.g. Suunto Core)
    • Temperature sensor
    • Wind chill factor indication (Not seen on any watch I have found so far)
    • Moon Phase (really important from time to time to know in a military context)
    • Tide phase/ prediction (really important form time to time to know in a military context)

    GPS Functions (in addition to standard GPS navigation functions)
    • Separate battery to normal watch battery (i.e. two batteries so that if GPS battery dies, the watch continues to function)- not found on any watch

    Using a single battery to power both GPS and watch functions is the single most important reason why any infantry soldier should not leave the FOB relying upon GPS watch for normal watch functions- leave it in your bed space! The size of the Casio Protrek series or the Suunto wathces should not preclude the adoption of two battery compartments. I'm amazed the manufacturers have not implemented a dual battery solution.

    Watches that meet the above criteria?
    The only watches I have found that come anywhere close to meeting the above are the Casio Protrek series (e.g. PRG-130Y-DR)
    ), Suunto X-lander and Suunto Core Black Military watches.

    However, it is the Suunto Core that has most of the above Criteria. I have owned one for three years and have exposed it to withering machine gun operation, hot and arctic environments, bangs, scrapes and encounters with my webbing, numerous dunkings in the sea, rivers, swamps and lakes not to mention my local swimming pool- even after two field battery changes. I never take it off for hot showers either. It's proved amazingly resilient and continues to be so.

    I have used the Suunto Core ABC functions on numerous occasions and have relied on the Sunrise/ Sunset function as input to patrol planning. The barometric functions have helped me to accurately predict on the spot local weather. For this reason, my next watch is another Suunto Core since the current one, although 100% functional, is looking like it's been through the wars and my wife is commenting on it when we go out to smart dinners together!

    The Suunto Core Military does not however have the following features (although it is 30M water resistant). Essential/ must have features in red:
    • Red backlight LED to maintain natural night vision (like some casio 'military' versions)
    • At least 100M Water resistance (just so there are no doubts if it's dunked or exposed to seriously heavy waterfalls)
    • Selectable Flashing Alarm mode (Casio 'Military' versions have this)
    • Selectable vibrating alert/ alarm (overcomes audible and visible issue in a tactical situation- not found on any watch)
    • Compass readings in MILS ( Not found on any watch)
    • Wind chill factor Indication (Not seen on any watch I have found so far)
    • Moon Phase (really important form time to time to know in a military context- Casio pro trek series have this)
    • Tide phase/ prediction (important form time to time to know in a military context- Casio pro trek series have this)
    • GPS with separate/ dedicated battery for GPS functions (not found on any watch)
    • Quick Global silent setting- a single option to kill all audible functions on the watch (e.g. some Casio watches)

    However, I would love to hear from anyone who has found a watch that beats the Suunto Core! I've researched and cannot find anything better.
    In conclusion, IMO, I think the Suunto Core all black Military watch is the Ultimate Military Watch. It also looks the business

    P.S. The above features not found on the Suunto is my list of things for Suunto to add to the Core watch

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    Default This thread looks very familiar . .

    . . I saw an almost identical post elsewhere (TZ-UK?), quite some time ago.

    Almost reads like a Suunto ad!
    cheers,

    Ted

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    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    . . I saw an almost identical post elsewhere (TZ-UK?), quite some time ago.

    Almost reads like a Suunto ad!
    Suunto Core all black is a compelling watch representing a neat set of time, environment and navigation tools unmatched by other watches.

    Also, the accuracy of the Core's altimeter and compass is very impressive. Casio, for example is renown for being inconsistent and inaccurate.

    I want to replace my Suunto because although 100% functional, it's looking like it's been through the wars. Looks like I'm going to replace it with a nice brand new.... Suunto Core All Black Military watch

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    Default And If You Ring Right Now


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    Default Discussion running parallel


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    Order of the Royal Turkey Guarded by Canines Recumbent with Oak Leaf Cluster bjp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopCat View Post
    so, reading that, I get the impression that Specialist isn't really asking a question......he's looking for confirmation of his original post.

    I personally find a negative display to be the absolutely worst form of display.

    Plus, I'd rather have a time/date analog watch with rotating bezel over any other option. But, that's just me. I am not in the military, but I am an active mountaineer/fisherman/runner/climber/woodchopper/dog-wrangler. My choice would be either a mid-sized Seiko diver or the humble plastic-cased Marathon navigator.


    -ben

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    Member xpatUSA's Avatar
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    Default I was in the RAF but had to buy my own watch :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by bjp View Post
    I am not in the military
    -ben
    Judging by the OP and his impressive list of accomplishments, it's doubtful whether he's ever been in the military, IMHO.

    I could be wrong . .
    cheers,

    Ted

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    Quote Originally Posted by xpatUSA View Post
    Judging by the OP and his impressive list of accomplishments, it's doubtful whether he's ever been in the military, IMHO.

    I could be wrong . .
    Quote Originally Posted by bjp View Post
    so, reading that, I get the impression that Specialist isn't really asking a question......he's looking for confirmation of his original post.

    I personally find a negative display to be the absolutely worst form of display.

    Plus, I'd rather have a time/date analog watch with rotating bezel over any other option. But, that's just me. I am not in the military, but I am an active mountaineer/fisherman/runner/climber/woodchopper/dog-wrangler. My choice would be either a mid-sized Seiko diver or the humble plastic-cased Marathon navigator.


    -ben
    In a way I am looking for confirmation but rather than buy another identical watch I would like to get something different and better given that I am sold on ABC watches. I have use the ABC functions on the Suunto and found them to be useful.

    So, is there a better ABC watch than the Suunto? It's a bit boring getting the exact same watch but if there's nothing better.....


    BTW: I have gotten used to the negative display. I think it' something that is an acquired taste. I don't give it any thought now. The watch does have a darker profile which contributes to the military spec IMO. Anything with high visibility and shiny parts is not good to go on a patrol with. I have have seen mates with nice shiny Seikos stick out from a distance. Shape, Shine, Shadow, Silhouette, movement, spacing, sound etc are basics of concealment. A soldiers kit should conform including wrist watch IMHO.
    Last edited by Specialist; 05-22-2012 at 02:59.

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    Order of the Royal Turkey Guarded by Canines Recumbent with Oak Leaf Cluster bjp's Avatar
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    Default

    that's probably a better way to phrase the question so that you'll get the answers you're looking for. I'll bow out of this one, because I have virtually no experience with black plastic digital watches, aside from having owned a basic Gshock for the last 20 years.

    I do have to say that I am surprised how well Suuntos seem to hold up for folks. They're so big that I'd expect them to catch on things (rocks, straps, etc) and I'm not really impressed with certain construction aspects, but everyone I know who has one really likes them and has had good luck.

    I'm sticking with my Navigator for the rough shit, but I'm not saying it's the choice for everyone.


    -ben

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    You're right about the size, it can does catch on my backpack but again it's something that you get used to and compensate to minimise the chances of getting straps caught but I found the same issue with the much small Traser P6500 that the Suunto replaced.

    The large size does however work well when you have gloves. Can't imagine operating a smaller ABC watch with gloves.

    As for rough stuff, the suunto core has taken all the punishment of military ops including operation of heavy recoil weapons, bashed against vehicle sides, tightly caught on heavy bergen straps, dunkings in seawater, lakes and rivers including pretty heavy waterfalls and exposed to extreme hot desert and arctic (-20C) environments. I'm surprised myself at how robust it's proven to be given that it is such a light watch.

    I seem to be selling it to myself again!

  11. #11

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    Get an Ambit, then you won't have to RTI as they can just track-back to your last LUP...

    I was amphibious for five years and I never needed a tide indicator - doubt the boys in 'stan do either

    There is a wrist worn wind speed indicator, but it doesn't tell the time...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_s View Post
    Get an Ambit, then you won't have to RTI as they can just track-back to your last LUP...

    I was amphibious for five years and I never needed a tide indicator - doubt the boys in 'stan do either

    There is a wrist worn wind speed indicator, but it doesn't tell the time...
    I thought about the Ambit as a first alternative to the Core but it does not have the full range of features the the Core has.

    Also, the battery life is measured in days (if using the GPS) as opposed to 12 months for the Core. I prefer to separate the GPS function to best of breed device (i.e. Garmin Fortrex 401) and rely on my watch not to run out of juice. Whenever I go out on patrol I turn on my Garmin. I'd be concerned about doing that with the Ambit because of battery life- I'd end up taking two watches!

    It's for this reason that at the beginning of the thread I cited a dual battery solution for a writ watch -one battery dedicated to GPS and the other dedicated to the watch ABC functions. This feature would genuinely give you the best of both worlds.

    The Foretrex has track bak plus a load of other navigation features.

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    I wouldn't underestimate the ability of plastics to build a strong watch. Heckler & Koch, Glock, Bushmaster, FN and other weapon manufacturers have been using plastic for years.

    Suunto's 'plastic' case is made of some variation that is very tough- it works. I used to wear a steel TAG and would usually notice it on my wrist as a dead weight. With a Suunto or Casio, you forget you've got a wrist watch on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Specialist View Post
    I wouldn't underestimate the ability of plastics to build a strong watch. Heckler & Koch, Glock, Bushmaster, FN and other weapon manufacturers have been using plastic for years.

    Suunto's 'plastic' case is made of some variation that is very tough- it works. I used to wear a steel TAG and would usually notice it on my wrist as a dead weight. With a Suunto or Casio, you forget you've got a wrist watch on.
    which is why I like my navigator so much...

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    honestly, what are you going to do with all those features? Probably be good for a 12 hour guard duty, something to occupy the time. (been there done that)

    $30 G-shock has all the features you need..... the military will provide everything else you need.(maybe)

    US ARMY 1988-1992

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    A Seiko 150 meter quartz analog diver...

    All I ever needed. (later I diverisfied and got a CWC, now I can replace the battery without tools!)

    1989-1999 - USA

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    Okay, not having served in the active Military, but spending the last 31 years in Law Enforcement (most of it working nights), I've always thought a "duty watch" should be extremely durable & easy to read at night. Keep it simple...
    Illegitimus non Carborundum:

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmpass View Post
    honestly, what are you going to do with all those features? Probably be good for a 12 hour guard duty, something to occupy the time. (been there done that)

    $30 G-shock has all the features you need..... the military will provide everything else you need.(maybe)

    US ARMY 1988-1992
    Altimeter- used it occasionbally to check height TAB'd or climbed. Cross check location with map contours (since ref altitude input) in seriously unknown terrain.

    Barometer- use frequently in inclement weather to predict weather

    Themometer- use it occasionally with Barometer and/or when in extreme climates

    Compass- have used ocassionaly to check primary compass. When lead man on a patrol I use it to quickly check bearing every couple of hundred meters.

    Sunrise/ Sunset- use it 100% of the time when preping for a patrol that crosses into night or involves operating pre-dawn.

    World times- use it frequently as I travel a lot and don't want to fiddle with my time settings

    Depth meter- only when snorkling usually when relaxing :-)

    I'm in an infantry regiment and do more TAB'ing with weight than waiting around or operating mechnaised kit. I use all the ABC features occasionally. They are very useful which is why so many servicemen wear ABC watches.

    However, overall I'd say 70% of the time I don't use the features with the possible excepture of the Barometer for weather assessment/ prediction and Sunrise/ sunset features. I rarely climb where I use the Altimeter.

    When we had bows and arrows we did well but we got better at killing with automatic assault rifles with far fewer troops. An ABC watch is a toolset that you take or leave just like a leatherman. You take or leave a leatherman multi-tool but you'll kick yourself when you most need a set of pliers or cutting tool or a screwdriver in the field. Getting advance warning of bad weather is nothing to feel guilty about neither is having the means to check your primary compass or indeed have an accurate back-up as opposed to using the sun-if you get a clear day. With an electronic compass as a backup, you don't need to worry about cloud cover to get an accurate reading.

    Of course the ABC features are not the primary navigation tools. You cam only use the ABC to mist benefit when you have strong navigation and field craft skills.

    Of course, if you're a law enforment professional you will most certainly never need an ABC watch.

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    In today's modern, first world militaries, you don't even need a watch.

    an infantry grunt doesn't "cross check altitude" or "predict weather" or time sunrise and sunset down to the minute, an infantryman just puts on rain gear when it's wet, keeps his rifle clean and keeps his eyes open for whatever is within his effective range.

    He listens to his squad leader, who listens to the platoon sergeant, who listens to the platoon leader that wears the watch

    All those features you "need" are just gadgets to tinker with. On guard duty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmpass View Post
    In today's modern, first world militaries, you don't even need a watch.

    an infantry grunt doesn't "cross check altitude" or "predict weather" or time sunrise and sunset down to the minute, an infantryman just puts on rain gear when it's wet, keeps his rifle clean and keeps his eyes open for whatever is within his effective range.

    He listens to his squad leader, who listens to the platoon sergeant, who listens to the platoon leader that wears the watch

    All those features you "need" are just gadgets to tinker with. On guard duty.
    Seriously mate. If I found you on guard duty tinkering with your watch when you're supposed to be on the lookout for scum wanting to kill you and your mates I'd shoot you myself or failing that that have you charged. Guard duty is about keeping a ......... No I won't even go there since any soldier knows. Don't know sure which army you were or are in but where I serve we don't play or tinker with anything on guard duty.

    It is not a question of need. It's a about having a toolset that can be useful. Few years ago as a 'grunt' I led my small unit back to harbour with a garmin 101 gps that I happened to have with me. We were seriously behind schedule an the patrol commander was struggling with a dodgy compass and completely featureless environment in dead of completely overcast night.

    The point of the thread is not a religious discussion about what soldier needs or does not need! That's altogether a completely separate thread. This thread is about the ultimate military watch.

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