Seiko’s new SPB151 and SPB153 are updated takes on the iconic Seiko 6105-8110 diver’s watch made famous on Captain Willard’s wrist (well, actually Martin Sheen’s) in Apocalypse Now. With a visual design that doesn’t stray much from the original watch, Seiko has updated the new SPB151 and SPB153 with a sapphire crystal, 6R35 automatic movement with an impressive 70 hours of power reserve, and a moderate-yet-significant downsize from the original watch’s hefty build. Available either with a black dial and bezel insert on an excellent bracelet or a more mission-ready olive green dial and bezel-insert combination on a rubber strap, the Seiko SPB151 and SPB153 are more than capable of accompanying the waterborne service member on missions both on duty and off.

Given the wide variety of environments in which service members operate, this list is divided into watches intended for use at sea, in the air, and on land. In addition, special attention is paid to watches on the more affordable side of the spectrum (with a few exceptions), because why drop $10k on something you know you’ll beat up?

While not explicitly tactical, Seiko’s venerable SKX belongs on this list due to its more-than-reasonable retail price, reliable-yet-simple automatic movement, straightforward diver design, modest size, and category leading lume. For aquatic military members, the SKX represents a trustworthy ISO-rated automatic diver’s replica rolex daytona in a less aggressive, more refined package which pairs well with a military uniform on the stock rubber strap or a 22mm nato, but can also easily be classed up with one the many OEM or aftermarket bracelet options. If you’re shooting for the mustache-toting 1990s Navy SEAL look, and you should be, it’s right here. This classic is also on its way out of production, so make moves if you have interest.
Still, the military remains a calling in which early is on time and on time is late, so watches are essential gear and, in many cases, a required uniform item. So, what watches do military members wear? To be frank, our evidence would seem to indicate that the overwhelming majority of military members wear inexpensive quartz digital watches like the ubiquitous Casio G-Shock and Timex Ironman. While both are fine watches in their utilitarian category, some service members want something a bit more elevated, combining the classic aesthetic and function of an analog rolex quartz replica with some military flavor and toughness. Military watches have, of course, transcended the military itself, becoming a popular style for watch collectors thanks to their utility and purpose-oriented designs. Luckily, there are a ton of incredible military watch options out there suitable both for service members and civilians alike. Wanting a refined aesthetic doesn’t mean you can’t also have “mil-spec” levels of durability, legibility, and reliability. You just have to know where to look. Here we showcase 40 watches that combine a tacti-cool aesthetic with functionality for surviving life’s daily ops as well as the extremes of military service.