What Watches Do Special Forces Wear?

Key Takeaways

– Special forces personnel often choose rugged and reliable watches to accompany them on their missions.
– Durability, water resistance, and functionality are key factors when selecting watches for special forces.
– Many special forces units have specific watch requirements and preferences.
– Some popular watch brands that are favored by special forces include Casio G-Shock, Suunto, Garmin, Luminox, and Rolex.

What Watches Do Special Forces Wear?


Special forces operations require individuals to be equipped with the best gear available, and watches are no exception. Special forces personnel often face extreme conditions and demanding situations, so they need timepieces that can withstand these challenges. In this article, we will explore the watches commonly worn by special forces and the factors that make them suitable for these elite units.

Durability and Water Resistance

One of the most crucial features that special forces personnel look for in a watch is durability. Watches must be able to withstand rough handling, impacts, and harsh environmental conditions. They are often exposed to extreme temperatures, high levels of moisture, and even underwater operations. Therefore, water resistance is an essential factor for these timepieces.

Popular watch brands like Casio G-Shock are renowned for their ruggedness and durability. G-Shock watches are designed to withstand shocks, vibrations, and falls, making them a favorite among special forces operators. These watches often include features like shock resistance, water resistance up to a certain depth, and reinforced cases to protect the internal mechanisms.

Functionality and Special Features

In addition to durability, special forces personnel require watches with various functionalities and special features to assist them during missions. Some of these features include:

1. GPS Navigation: Watches equipped with GPS capabilities allow special forces operators to navigate accurately in unfamiliar territories. Brands like Suunto and Garmin offer watches with built-in GPS systems, enabling users to track their movements and plan routes effectively.

2. Compass: A compass feature is incredibly useful for special forces personnel who may find themselves in remote locations without access to modern navigation systems. Many watches, such as those from Suunto, include compass functions to aid in orienteering.

3. Night Vision Compatibility: Special forces often operate in low-light or dark environments, making night vision compatibility a valuable feature. Brands like Luminox offer watches with self-illuminating tritium tubes, ensuring visibility in the dark without relying on an external light source.

4. Chronograph and Timer: Timing is critical in special operations, and watches with chronograph and timer functions help keep track of time accurately. These features allow special forces personnel to time their movements, sync operations, and manage tasks efficiently.

Special Forces Watch Preferences

While there are no universal rules for the watches worn by special forces, some units have specific preferences or requirements. For example:

1. British Special Air Service (SAS): The SAS is known for its preference for the Rolex Submariner. This iconic Swiss watch offers exceptional durability, water resistance, and reliability.

2. United States Navy SEALs: SEAL teams have been seen wearing a range of watches, including Casio G-Shock models and Luminox Navy SEAL watches. These options provide the necessary ruggedness, water resistance, and functionality required by these elite units.

It’s important to note that individual preferences within special forces units may vary, and personal choices often come into play when selecting a watch. Many operators prioritize their specific needs, mission requirements, and personal comfort when making a decision.


Special forces units around the world rely on durable, functional, and reliable watches to support their missions. Brands like Casio, Suunto, Garmin, Luminox, and Rolex are often favored by these elite units due to their superior quality and performance. When selecting a watch for special forces, durability, water resistance, functionality, and special features should be the primary considerations.


1. What are the key factors to consider when choosing a watch for special forces?


Durability, water resistance, and functionality are key factors to consider when choosing a watch for special forces. It should be able to withstand rough handling, impacts, extreme temperatures, and high levels of moisture. GPS navigation, compass, night vision compatibility, and chronograph features are also desirable.

2. Which watch brands are popular among special forces?


Popular watch brands favored by special forces include Casio G-Shock, Suunto, Garmin, Luminox, and Rolex. These brands offer watches known for their durability, water resistance, and functionality.

3. Do different special forces units have specific watch preferences?


Yes, different special forces units may have specific watch preferences or requirements. For example, the British SAS is known for its preference for the Rolex Submariner, while US Navy SEALs have been seen wearing Casio G-Shock and Luminox Navy SEAL watches.

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