Top 10 best military watches

Reviews by Alexander – Founder and Owner of

The Top 10 Best Military Watches Of All Time

Down below: the Rolex Submariner. Quite possibly the most iconic military watch of all time.

Rolex Submariner Top 10 Military Watches(Image By hypo.physe)

What all 10 selected watches have in common: some of them are standard equipment of today’s military forces, some were used decades ago, and some could potentially be used as military watches.

7 of them are Swiss Made divers watches, 1 is a Japanese divers watch, 1 is a Japanese sports watch, and 1 is a Russian divers watch.

Before we start, we need a proper definition of what exactly constitutes a military watch:

  • Accurate movement. Might either be quartz or automatic.
  • Good internal and external build quality.
  • Water resistant to a minimum of 100 meters/330 feet.
  • Anti-magnetic.
  • Shock resistant.
  • Easily readable and luminescent dial.
  • Excellent steel grade (or strong exterior plastic case).
  • Usability and versatility.

The list down below of the 10 most iconic or ultimate military watches isn’t a ranking at all. This article mentions the iconic timepieces neither in an ascending nor a descending order. The list is an enumeration of 10 specific timepieces that in my mind deserve to be ranked among the top 10 military watches.

Some of these watches are indeed used today by several militaries around the world. Some of them were used decades ago. And some of them are not necessarily considered to be “offial military timepieces” but may indeed have several desirable features and functions that still might make them useful.

The Top 10 Best And Most Iconic Military Watches:

The list below ranks the most iconic military watches of all time, starting with the most reputable ones and ending with the least famous ones.

  1. Rolex Submariner (Swiss)
  2. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (Swiss)
  3. Omega Seamaster Ploprof (Swiss)
  4. Breitling Chronomat 44 (Swiss)
  5. Breitling Avenger II Seawolf (Swiss)
  6. Panerai Radiomir (Swiss/Italian)
  7. Panerai Luminor Marina (Swiss/Italian)
  8. Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 (Japanese)
  9. Casio G-Shock (Japanese)
  10. Vostok Amphibian (Russian)

The Top 10 Best Military Watches According To Affordability

The exact same 10 military watches listed above, but here they are listed according to affordability.

  1. Vostok Amphibian (Below $100)
  2. Casio G-Shock ($50 – $1,000)
  3. Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 ($100 – $400)
  4. Breitling Avenger II Seawolf ($2,500 – $4,000)
  5. Panerai Luminor Marina ($4,900 – $10,000)
  6. Breitling Chronomat 44 ($5,000 – $8,500)
  7. Panerai Radiomir ($5,500 – $9,000)
  8. Omega Seamaster Ploprof ($7,000 – $10,000)
  9. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms ($10,000 – $15,000)
  10. Rolex Submariner ($6,800 – $30,000)

Best Military Watches:

1) Rolex Submariner – a Swiss Made military watch

Category of watches: Swiss Made divers watches.

The legendary Rolex Submariner – the world’s most iconic luxury wristwatch.

The Rolex Submariner was released in 1953 and is Rolex’s very first divers watch.

The Submariner was designed for recreational diving back in the 1950s and the 1960s. Despite being the most famous and iconic luxury watch ever made to date, it was originally designed to be nothing more but a discrete and reliable tool watch used for diving.

The Submariner is usually referred to as “the mother of all divers watches”, and this shouldn’t surprise anyone since almost every single divers watch, regardless of its brand and name, has taken its design cues from the Rolex Submariner.

The Military Submariner, reference number 5517 was ordered by the British Ministry of Defense and was issued to the divers of the Royal Navy back in the 1950s. Back then, the Submariner was standard equipment of the frogmen of the British navy.

The original Submariners used by the British Royal Navy are vintage limited edition watches. The military edition of the Submariner (ref. nr 5517) were used only by the navy. They were not available for civilian use.

The modern Submariner displayed above is vastly superior to the original one from the 1950s. The original Submariner used 316L stainless steel, was water resistant down to 100 meters/330 feet and had a flimsy metal bracelet made of folded metal. The modern Submariner uses the 904L stainless steel (the best steel grade in the luxury watch industry), is water resistant down to 300 meters/1000 feet, uses solid and tapered metal bracelets with probably the best clasp in the industry.

The Submariner uses chronometer certified Rolex in-house movements 3135 (Date-version) and 3130 (No-Date version), and the Rolex’s accuracy rate is equivalent to 99.998%.

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Best Military Watches:

2) Blancpain Fifty Fathoms – a Swiss Made military watch

Category of watches: Swiss Made divers watches.

The legendary Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is the world’s very first modern divers watch.

It was released slightly before the Rolex Submariner in the same year of 1953.

Alongside the Rolex Submariner, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is the divers watch that all other modern divers watches are modelled after. This is the “holy grail” among divers watch enthusiasts across the world. It was the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms that spearheaded the concept of the modern divers watch.

In 1953, the French navy’s “Combat Swimmers” needed a good and reliable divers watch for their operations, and the co-founders of the unit – Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud, approached, and requested the then CEO of Blancpain – Jean-Jacques Fiechter, to produce a divers watch for them. Blancpain’s CEO Jean-Jaques Fiechter accepted their challenge, and in 1953, the legendary Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, was produced.

Ever since 1953, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms has been a benchmark or reference for divers watches.

In similarity to the Rolex Submariner, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms too is anti-magnetic.

Water resistance is 300 meters/1000 feet.

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Best Military Watches:

3) Omega Seamaster Ploprof – a Swiss Made military watch

Category of watches: Swiss Made divers watches.

Omega Seamaster Ploprof is Omega’s most extreme divers watch available on the market today.

PLOPROF is derived from Plongeur Professionnel. Plongeur Professionnel means Professional Diver in French.

In 1970, the legendary French naval officer, Commander, oceanographer, scientist, photographer and movie maker Jacques Cousteau requested a divers watch. Omega created the Seamaster 600Plongeur Professionnel (PLOPROF). That year, this watch won the record for deep-sea diving – another accomplishment of the Omega brand.

With a water resistance of 1,200 meters/3,940 feet, the Omega Seamaster Ploprof is the most extreme divers watch that Omega can offer you today.

The basic movement of the Omega Ploprof is the Omega Co-Axial 8500 movement, which is highly accurate and within the chronometer requirements, and is indeed anti-magnetic.

Being an extreme divers watch, of quite massive proportions, built in stainless steel, this watch is primarily meant to be a tool watch or a professional divers watch.

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Best Military Watches:

4) Breitling Chronomat 44 – a Swiss Made military watch

Category of watches: Swiss Made combined pilot & divers watches.

Breitling Chronomat 44 – Master of the Heavens and Master of the Seas.

In a true Chronomat tradition, the Breitling Chronomat 44 is a 316L stainless steel chronograph watch, which can both be considered to be a pilot watch and a divers watch.

Breitling Chronomat, alongside the Breitling Navitimer, is the flagship of Breitling – the pride and crown jewel of the brand. It’s the Chronomat Collection that ultimately defines Breitling as a brand.

There aren’t many watches on the market today that are chronographs, chronometers (chronometer certified watches), combined pilot watches and divers watches, and on top of that offer you a few models equipped with a GMT function, which allows you to keep time in a 2nd time zone.

The chronograph version without the GMT (without a 2nd time zone feature) has a water resistance of 500 meters/1,650 feet.

The GMT version offers you a water resistance of 200 meters/660 feet.

In 2009, Breitling produced and released their very first in-house made mechanical/automatic chronograph movements. The Chronomat Collection is special for two reasons: it employs Breitling’s in-house made movements, and it’s a combined pilot watch and divers watch.

Breitling typically makes sporty looking, large, hefty, masculine professional tool watches with an instrumental look to them, and the Breitling Chronomat is the very embodiment of Breitling’s philosophy and approach to watchmaking.

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Best Military Watches:

5) Breitling Avenger II Seawolf – a Swiss Made military watch

Category of watches: Swiss Made divers watches.

Breitling Avenger II Seawolf – Breitling’s most extreme divers watch.

This is Breitling’s heaviest artillery as far as water resistance is concerned. With a water resistance of 3,000 meters/9,843 feet, it’s difficult to beat this water resistance performance of Breitling Avenger II Seawolf.

As far as water resistance is concerned, very few quality brands can match Breitling. The other brands would be Rolex, Omega, Bell & Ross and Oris – these brands can indeed can offer you heavy duty divers watches.

Made of 316L stainless steel, a chronometer certified automatic movement, and a robust case and bracelet, this timepiece is most definitely a tool watch which you can depend on.

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Best Military Watches:

6) Panerai Radiomir – a Swiss Made military watch – Italian origins

Category of watches: Swiss Made divers watches of Italian origins.

Panerai Radiomir – the Italian Navy’s official watch supplier in the 20th century.

Panerai Radiomir’s history started as early as the 1930s. The Panerai Radiomir is considered to be the world’s very first military underwater watch.

In 1916, Panerai filed a patent on its Radiomir invention – a powder, based on radium, used for the purpose of creating luminescent dials on instruments and devices, used by the Italian Navy.

In 1936, the legendary Italian luxury watch manufacturer, developed the first Radiomir wristwatch prototype – a watch with a minimalistic black dial and a brown leather strap. This watch was made for the frogmen of the Royal Italian Navy.

In 1938, Panerai started the production of its Panerai Radiomir watches. They used Rolex movements.

In 1940, the brand improved its Panerai Radiomor Collection because the Italian Navy had very specific requirements. Panerai improved the water resistance of the watch and made it more robust.

The Panerai Radiomir is the oldest family or collection within the Panerai brand dating back to the 1930s, and it was the Panerai Radiomir that functioned as the Italian navy’s original military water resistant wristwatch.

What sets Panerai Radiomir apart from Panerai Luminor Marina, and Panerai Luminor Submersible, is that Panerai Radiomir lack’s Panerai’s characteristic crown protector, and has a more delicate build. The original Panerais that were used by the Italian frogmen, had no crown protector.

It’s true that Panerai Luminor Marina (and Submersible) are more famous and prestigious than Radiomir, but it’s really the Panerai Radiomir that is the real action hero of the Panerai brand. The frogmen of the Italian navy of the 1930s and 1940s used the Panerai Radiomir on their underwater missions.

Panerai Radiomir is water resistant down to 100 meters/330 feet.

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Best Military Watches:

7) Panerai Luminor Marina – a Swiss Made military watch – Italian origins

Category of watches: Swiss Made divers watches of Italian origins.

Panerai Luminor Marina – the military watch that replaced the Panerai Radiomir.

Panerai Luminor Marina is the improved and modernized version of the original Panerai Radiomir.

Panerai Radiomir was used by the Italian Navy primarily in the 1930s and the 1940s, while the Panerai Luminor Marina was used primarily in the 1950s.

In 1949, the watch manufacturer released a new line of watches which would replace Radiomir – the Luminor collection which used another kind of self-luminous substance.

In 1950, the watch producer equipped its Panerai Luminor watches with the characteristic crown-protector unique to Panerai Luminor. Panerai is probably the only brand in the world that uses this crown-protecting bridge.

Several iconic Hollywood actors and movie heroes have worn the Panerai Luminor Marina both in their movies and in real life: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren.

Panerai Luminor Marina is water resistant down to a minimum of 100 meters/330 feet, while the more water resistant models are water resistant down to 300 meters/1,000 feet.

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Best Military Watches:

8) Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 – a Japanese Made military watch

Category of watches: Japanese Made divers watches.

Seiko Diver

(Image By Calgary Reviews)

Seiko SKX007

Seiko SKX 009

Seiko SKX – a world famous affordable divers watch

Seiko is an expert on tool watches and divers watches, and the SKX series is no exception to this rule. The Seiko SKX family is a collection of highly affordable divers and tool watches with a robust build quality and a highly accurate movement.

Water resistant down to 200 meters/660 feet, with an in-house made Seiko automatic movement, readable and luminescent dial, this is ideal for people who want a reliable and sturdy tool watch for daily wear.

You might ask: “What’s the difference between SKX007 and SKX009?”

SKX007 and SKX009 use the identical in-house Seiko automatic movement, and they are both water resistant down to 200 meters/660 feet. The only difference is that the SKX007 has a black bezel while the SKX009 has a “pepsi” dial – a blue and red dial.

None other than General H. Norman Schwarzkopf of the US Army wore a Seiko SKX009 in the first Gulf War in 1990, and if it’s good enough for General Schwarzkopf I guess it’s good enough for most military personnel.

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Best Military Watches:

9) Casio G-SHOCK – a Japanese Made military watch

Category of watches: Japanese Made sports – and tool watches.

Casio G-Shock – the ultimate military tool watch?

Casio is a Japanese wristwatch brand specialized in usable and versatile sports watches, tool watches and divers watches, with a multitude of features and functions.

Casio G-Shock is the very epitome of what Casio as a brand represents. Tough, sturdy, extremely shock resistant, water resistant down to 200 meters/660 feet, equipped with an alarm function, has luminescent and readable dials, a chronograph and a strong outer exterior case.

The Casio G-Shock is a clear favorite in the US and Israeli defense forces.

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Best Military Watches:

10) Vostok Amphibian – a Russian Made military watch

Category of watches: Russian Made military divers watches.

Vostok Amphibian(Image By Dominic Lockyer)

Vostok Amphibian – Metal Bracelet or Rubber Strap.

Vostok Amphibian – Shark Mesh Bracelet.

Vostok Amphibian – a true legend and an icon of the Soviet Russian Navy

I can only think of one true quality divers watch under $100, which is in fact very accurate, keeps excellent time, provides you with an automatic movement, is truly water resistant and is built like a tank, and that’s the Vostok Amphibian. Automatic watches are usually not sold under $100, but this Russian legend is.

This is in fact a true classic and favorite amongst watch enthusiasts across the world. Granted it’s not Swiss, it’s not a luxury watch, and it’s not Rolex, Omega or Breitling, but it evokes nonetheless enthusiasm amongst watch aficionados all over the world.

In 1967, the Soviet Russian leadership requested the designers at the Christopol watch factory to design and build a divers watch specifically made to meet the Soviet-Russian Navy’s technical standards and specifications. The divers watch had to be water resistant down to 200 meters/660 feet and had to withstand the changing pressure and temperature which is an inescapable fact as the diver descends deeper into the sea.

Switzerland obviously already had divers watches to meet these specific technical specifications, but since the Soviet Union wanted to manufacture their own divers watches, and since the Soviet Union lacked the equipment to provide the required and necessary accuracy for the manufacturing process, they could not copy or emulate the Swiss design.

The task was given to Mikhail Novikov and Vera Belov to design a divers watch for the Soviet-Russian navy. They named it Vostok Amphibian because the name Amphibian would evoke a watch equally home on land and underwater.

The Vostok Amphibian, internally and externally does not even resemble the classic or conventional Swiss design. It’s completely unique.

The system of sealing the case and the internal movement against seawater, is vastly different from the Swiss technology, but has proven to be extremely effective nonetheless.

Vostok Amphibian keeps accurate time, is robust and built like a tank. It can withstand almost any punishment or brutal treatment. The movement is an in-house made Russian automatic movement with 31 ruby jewels and a minimum of 31 hours of power reserve.

Personal recommendation: if you do decide to get a Vostok Amphibian on an ordinary metal bracelet (the ones in the upper shopping window), make sure you replace the rather cheap and flimsy standard bracelet (you might get disappointed with the standard bracelet) and replace it with say a shark mesh bracelet. You can purchase shark mesh bracelets at, or you can opt for the Vostok Amphibian which is already equipped with a shark mesh bracelet, in the lower shopping window.

A small surprising element of the Vostok Amphibian: When you purchase the watch you’ll notice that once you pull out the crown, the winding crown is wobbly. Don’t worry. It isn’t broken or damaged. The winding crown is supposed to be wobbly. The winding crown of the Vostok Amphibian is designed to be detached from the internal winding mechanism inside the movement, so even if you accidentally knock the crown, it won’t damage the internal mechanism.

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Rolex Submariner(Image By hypo.physe)

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please post them down below and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Article written by Alexander – Founder and Owner of

Founder of Swiss Divers Watches5











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