TACTICAL GEAR: Watches for the International Operator

Contrary to popular belief Tactical watches don’t have to be rubber, plastic or digital

Several weeks ago James asked me to write an article on tactical watches. I apologize for the delay but every time I sat down to write on it, I found an excuse to procrastinate: too much information, too many choices!

Part 1 of this series will cover: Rolex, Panerai, Bell & Ross, and Sinn. Part 2: 5.11, Luminox, G-Shock, and MTM. Part 3: will look into some interesting brands most of us haven’t even heard of. The jewelry market is too big to cover every brand so I will not discuss AP, Blancpain, Breitling, Citizen, JLC, Omega, Seiko, etc. I do not want to write a Wikipedia article here.

In addition it does not make sense to review the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Survivor, adding it to the list of tactical watches, as not many DVM readers might be able to afford one. It reminds me of a recent letter from a Cigar Aficionada reader complaining that reviewers only review gadgets way out of reach for the average cigar smoker. We at DVM don’t do that!

Now, be careful though: buying a cheap time-piece it may cost you over the years – you might want to invest into an “expensive” watch once in your life and keep it as long as possible… I made a lot of stupid investments with knives, thankfully less with flashlights, and basically none with my watches: don’t spend your money on too many cheap ones instead of getting a better one for the same amount!

The tactical watch

There is no real definition as with all tactical stuff. I’d define the average tactical watch with attributes as:

• Scratch-resistant with a Sapphire glass
• Easy to read with glowing numbers in the dark
• Stainless or black case
• Quartz or automatic (self-winding) mechanism = trouble free operation
• Rubber wrist-bands or NATO-strap compatible
• No fancy design: simple as a tool-watch should be

Most of us will immediately think of diver’s watches: the grandfather of tactical watches. So, let’s jump right into the topic…

ROLEX

I always have fun when people start bashing Rolex for having the image of Paris Hilton wearing one while holding Tinkerbell or some other celeb back from rehab. Nevertheless Rolex is selling more steel-versions than golden ones encrusted in diamonds. I met a lot of people in our industry and most of them acknowledge the role of Rolex watches in the tactical community or even carry/own one themselves.

Rolex basically invented everything we know of the modern watch: the self-winding (automatic) wrist-watch, waterproof and shockproof, multiple models for different activities – “tool watches”, and external certification. While Rolex may not have invented the diving watch (that one goes to Omega: model “Marine” introduced in 1932; though I always thought it was the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms): they perfected them like a lot of other things.

Rolex Submariners

Rolex Submariners that were issued to combat divers and soldiers (the famous “T” models with the radio-activity warning for the tritium) are worth a fortune with collectors, Pan-Am had Rolex come up with the GMT watch (two time-zones) for its pilots flying Boeing 707s over the Atlantic, and COMEX had them issued to its highly-specialized deep-sea divers and was instrumental in the development of the Submariner version that later became the Sea-Dweller.

In addition several companies and royal families gave them away as presents. My personal “holy-grail” is a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Space-Dweller – one of a few rare NASA prototypes – though the watch is nothing fancy.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner – Photo Credit: Mike Wood, a famous collector and Rolex guru

A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner is an automatic watch you’ll never need to worry about. No change of batteries, possibly one of the most precise watches due to the Oyster Perpetual movement, and built like a tank. No fancy features except a date (or not; depending on the model), glowing numbers, and simply the best steel wrist-band you’ll ever wear. (It can adjust for wearing gloves with a quick snap.)

The only issue with Rolex watches as a “tactical” watch is that they are not available in all-black versions. (Which can be done as an after-market PVD-job violating your warranty of course.) If you plan to save money and troubles by owning only one watch, I’d absolutely recommend either a Submariner or the bigger Sea-Dweller DEEPSEA to you. In addition you can always “flip it” as an insurance, because the resale-value is very high.

Panerai (or “PAM” as used as nick-name in forums)

The Italian “god-father” of combat diving watches. And, yes, the first models even used Rolex “engines” before Panerai started making its own movements. (A movement is the “engine” of watch). The most famous 3rd-party producer is ETA, a Swiss company making movements for basically all modern watch producers. You can basically buy a movement and design your own case around it.)

Panerai was an insider-tip that became famous in recent years and mostly due to Sylvester “Sly” Stallone and later his Austrian buddy Arnold. Sly once posted a great reply, how he became aware of this brand:

Sly on wearing Panerai watches in the expendables

Of course the company later designed a “Sly-edition” and due to its size it became a cult, with people who prefer watches over 46mm. My problem with Panerai is that my wrists are too small for one. Else, they are damn fine watches making you look like Jason Statham in the Expandables – unless you want them for real duty.

Black (PVD) versions are available, but for a super-premium only. If you are shopping for a “cool” watch with some serious tactical background, take a look at a jewelry store offering possibly both brands: Panerai and Rolex. I seriously would prefer a Rolex over a Panerai as it is the more robust watch – but that is me talking never having worn a PAM… In addition you should know that most PAMs like the Luminor Marina are hand-wound mechanical ones. Therefore PAMs take a bit more attention and care from your side.

Panerai – desert pimp

Additional comment: I would never, ever buy a new watch from such a brand. It’s like buying a new luxury car: you’ll automatically lose 25% of the value after leaving the store. Check out special watch-stores and forums like www.watchuseek.com, speak with friends, and ask around. (E.g. I know several high-end, second-hand dealers.)

Like with other collectables some people just buy a model, put them into the safe, and flip it later for another better/newer one. I also know a few people having owned every Rolex model – by selling the old one and getting the newer afterwards.

Bell & Ross

What Panerai is in Italy, Bell & Ross could be for France, though Panerai has a real history compared to the relatively young Bell & Ross. The brand was launched in 1992 and in the beginning made by the German watchmaker Sinn. The two Bell & Ross founders decided to convert their love of military-style time-instruments into watches.

Today it is well-known for the “01″ instrument watches, which looks like a cockpit watch on your wrist. The “03″ is the smaller version with 42 instead of 46mm. I am a big fan, though only a few models have been issued to the tactical community: a 01 GIGN (French anti-terror unit) version, the “Demineur” – a Quartz watch with magnetic field protection for French EOD teams, and the Quartz BR03-88 selected by the French Air Force for its pilots. The 02 is the equivalent of the Rolex Submariner, as every good watch company has at least one diving model in its portfolio.

Bell & Ross Urban Tactical pimp

The company uses ETA movements for most of its models, which explains the attractive price. The tactical factor is quite high with Bell & Ross, which might surprise people based on how young the company is. I am a big fan, as it somehow suits my style. Mentioned BR03-88 uses the same ETA movement as the Breitling Emergency-One; of course without the RF beacon and therefore smaller but with a similar coolness factor.

Black (PVD) versions are available of most models and usually cost only a few hundred bucks more. Most B&R models include more than one strap, with tools for changing straps included.

Both B&R and Panerai have a cult of its owners changing wrist-bands. If you are into changing your wrist-band from tactical black rubber to exotic leather, you can find lots of 3rd parties offering those.

Sinn

Sinn is a German manufacturer of automatic watches and has a huge portfolio of models. One of the most well-known watches in the tactical community is the Sinn U-series based on the “EZM: Einsatz-Zeitmesser” – kind of the Heckler+Koch of “tool-watches.”

The cases for the UX, U1, U2, and U1000 are all made out of German U-Boot steel. Not some recycled steel from tanks as with some limited edition knives but current steel as used by ThyssenKrupp for submarines. The EZMs were used by several German Special Forces units like the GSG9. The U-series is basically the commercial version.

The U1 is an automatic watch while the UX is a Quartz watch. The whole movement of the UX is swimming in a liquid allowing an underwater pressure up to 500 bar for the movement. The commercially available EZM 3 is watch with magnetic field protection – very similar to the Bell & Ross “Demineur”. I do not own a Sinn (U1 yet!) and all my friends owning one are highly recommending it. It’s a no-nonsense tool-watch and nothing fancy.

More in part 2.

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~Lorenz “Lo” Szabo
Contributing Correspondent

Lorenz “Lo” Szabo is an Austrian citizen and tactical gear-head, helping US companies locate customers in Europe and parts of Middle East. His areas of expertise are body-armor, less-lethal, and low-light. He also consults end-users on special equipment and training. He loves coffee, cigars, and all kind of bling made from Titanium. He has a dislike for people using political correctness as a defense for their own stupidity. As he has written this all himself, it might not be true at all…

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54 thoughts on “TACTICAL GEAR: Watches for the International Operator”

  1. The Bell & Ross is my choice for a Tactical Low-Light Watch, I wore one in Iraq for 3 years. The reason I chose it was because I was moving by land and air at night allot at the time so I needed a watch with a huge face.

    I think I read an article about them being used by CIA Paramilitary guys or something so that’s what pointed me to the Bell & Ross – before then I had never heard of them. I used to get daily complements for that watch, 80% from gals in the chow line.

    Fucking great Article Lo!

    ~James G

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  2. Those are nice, but Seikos rock. Especially for the poor man. Great article.

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  3. Toughest by far for me is Rolex. Had a Submariner that caught a 5 ton die when a press let loose. There was a tiny chip out of the edge of the crystal. Sold it for more than I paid. Bought a Luminox and the pins holding the band on wore through the plastic watch case. Got a GMT Master II and beat it to death. Rolexes are like a savings account that you wear. Badly needed money and sold the GMT for what I paid for it.

    Bought the ubiquitous Casio G-Shock. It’s in a drawer after I broke it. I don’t know, maybe $75 or $80 per Casio and just buy a pile of them beats spending the now close to $7,000 for a GMT II with the ceramic bezel. But if ever I am again in a position to be able to buy another Rolex, I sure will. And as Hunter Thompson (the crazy journalist) said, Rolexes are heavy, so they work great to beat people off your truck mirror….

    Great article, look forward to part 2!

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    1. I’ve been looking for a watch that is good for beating people off.

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      1. Not so tough .. they break easier than some think.
        Most of the people who wear them probably can\’t even swim .. let alone dive.
        Reminds me of the song .. I wanabeea soldier some day !
        LOL !

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      2. We fully appreciate your blog post. Youll find lots of apropaches we could put it to really good use while having no effort in time and capital. Thank you very much regarding helping have the post reply many problems we have had before now.

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  4. This might sound lame but I’ve had the same black Casio “G-Shock” since 2002. It’s no longer pretty, not that it ever was, but I’ve had it on my wrist through numerous times in Iraq, as well as other middle-eastern and eastern countries. It gives me everything I want/need to include the use of numerous time-zones which are important to keep track, precise times to include seconds which are very important when dealing with TOTs. Although, I must note that it sure as hell isn’t as sexy as some of these you’ve written about. Good article.

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  5. I have collected a few watches over the years. Mostly as gifts. But some that I sought after. My first no nonsense watch was a Doxa 300t, Growing up I was a huge Clive Cussler fan especially of the Dirk Pitt Novels. And that was the watch that I coveted. I have had it ever since and it is constantly in my rotation. I have also received a couple of Marathons, and MTM Seal. I like al of them, though I would have to say that despite the orange face the Doxa seems to be the less conspicuous. It screams diver, rather than tactical. All good watches though I would recommend them to anyone.

    But great info here Lo, can’t wait for part 2. And that Sinn U1 you have pictured there. That looks all kinds of nice. I like the simple no flashy design. I have one already being shipped as we speak. Thanks for the tip on that one.

    Oh and with the pic. It looks like it has a maratac strap on it. With any of these watches and with the ones that I have that can fit them, that is the strap to go with. The four buckle strap has saved my Marathons from being lost a couple times. It may look cheesy and cheap but it will keep your $1000 + watch on your wrist.

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    1. Hey Eugene,

      The Sinn U1 pictured is actually my watch (used by permission). I was really happy Lorenz mentioned the U1′s in his review…they’re awesome watches! Not many people know about them, but those that do have nothing but good things to say. I bought mine because they can really take a beating and don’t look it when they do because the tegimented steel is scratch proof. The strap in the picture is a combat diver’s or 4 ring Zulu that I got from TAD gear. I spoke with Patrick Ma (founder of TAD gear) and he has a U1 as well and he told me he loves it.

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  6. Up there in my book with Rolex is Fortis(this is the brand Cosmonauts wear) I still prefer Timex or Casio though, for toughness and cost they cannot be beat. That way when a mugger takes your watch you’re only out $100 instead of several thousand.

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  7. Thanks for all the nice feedback. James, we need to have a talk about my pictures! :)

    Don’t worry, I am not ignoring the Casio G-Shock or Seiko users out there. I also plan to write about a lot more brands we all like and use.

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  8. Thanks for all the nice feedback. James, we need to have a talk about my pictures!
    Don’t worry, I am not ignoring the Casio G-Shock or Seiko users out there. I also plan to write about a lot more brands we all like and use.  

    No problem. I wasn’t complaining about the lack of “G-Shock” coverage. Personally, I’d like to have a real expensive watch. But i’d rather have other things more as long as the Casio is ticking.

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  9. Nice review. I’ve got a few watches. For tough, I personally like the Marathon. It’s a small company in Canada. They build their watches like tanks. There’s even a video on youtube of a firefighter putting it side by side with a Rolex and running it over with a fire truck a few times. Stainless case, tritium powered lume, I really like mine. +1 also for the Casios. I’ve got a pathfinder and it travels pretty well, though not tank tough.

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  10. SIGH… I hate u. Now I have a feeling I’ll be spending more money on a nice watch. I have a Suunto vector at the moment but I have beat it up pretty good as the face is scratched up and all the writing has been rubbed off.

    Great article. I cant wait for the next one.

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  11. Great article on great watches. Still love my old school Seiko Automatic Scuba Diver. I think it weighs as much as a small child, but it’s gone way down and into lots of dirt and still works great.

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  12. I gave my Rolex GMT Master II to my son for his graduation & Commissioning. It is a nice watch but you can’t see the hands at night & like all Rolex, kept lousy time. My other son now has my Marathon Canadian S&R dive watch. Like the Rolex it kept lousy time but you could see the hands in the dark. I actually preferred it over the Dive Master from Rolex.
    I now use a Luminox with a quartz movement. Keeps excellent time & I can see the hands in the dark.

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  13. Damn you Lo. By introducing me to Bell & Ross you have created a need for a watch I’ve never felt before. I am in love with every single watch in the aviation collection. But that price is somewhat out of my range I think. But the beauty of those watches. That site is watch porn for sure.

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  14. Great article and looking forward to the next one in the series! Btw, most PAMs are automatics, not handwound, especially the Luminor series. Several historics and some of the new calibers are handwound.

    like all Rolex, kept lousy time… I actually preferred it over the Dive Master from Rolex.

    Can’t speak to your experience but every Rolex I’ve ever owned has kept excellent time. Not sure what a Rolex “DiveMaster” is though…

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  15. I already some great “other” brands mentioned here. I think part III will be a summary of those as I cannot own all those watches technically.

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  16. Nice article Lorenz! I’m happy you included the Sinn and their U1 in your review. The U1 watch pictured is actually mine (used by permission) and it’s on a TAD gear Combat Diver’s Strap or 4 ring Zulu as they’re otherwise known. I had a Tag Heuer for a while, but like other stainless steel watches, as soon as you start throwing them some abuse, they get all scratched up and look like sh*# after a few months. With the german Uboat submarine tegimented steel, they’re scratch proof…the watch pictured is 4 years old and I have yet to find a scratch or nik anywhere on the watch. Patrick Ma of TAD gear has been running one for a while and he loves his as well.

    The luminosity is second to none…as good as Panari and not nearly as expensive. Everything white glows…including the entire minute & hour hands, so even after ambiant light is gone and it’s hours later, you can still read it. A lot of watches with tritium are pretty great…for a few years, but once the tritium fades, the markers are almost impossible to read.

    A lot of you mentioned that spending this kind of coin on a watch seems crazy, but it’s worth saving up and getting one. I second the recommendation to purchase one either second hand or from a discounted source – just make sure you’re careful and don’t get a knockoff.

    Another up-and-coming company that offers good tactical timepieces with excellent luminosity at more affordable prices is Lum Tec see http://www.lum-tec.com

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  17. Here’s a pic of the Sinn U1 Luminosity I was referring to.

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  18. Don’t worry, I am not ignoring the Casio G-Shock or Seiko users out there. I also plan to write about a lot more brands we all like and use.  

    Lo, nice article. If you get the chance to check out a Bertucci Field watch, you might like them. Titanium case, backlit face with glowing hands and no bells or whistles. Looking forward to Part 2…

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  19. Those are nice, but Seikos rock.Especially for the poor man.Great article.  

    Thanks, George! Your comment means a lot to me…

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  20. Here’s a picture of the Marathon TSAR, they make a variety: automatic or quartz, chrono or non, tritium or regular lume… at about $600 I think they’re good value. Here’s a picture of mine. Got mine at countycomm.

    Thanks, guys for that extra info on the Sinn. I never heard of them before but that U-Boat steel makes me want to save up for one :D

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  21. (I put the pictures in as html and they didn’t take. uploading via attachments)

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  22. Okay, overall this is a good article. Having said that, I do have some thoughts.

    The first thing that must be said is that a man should not wear a watch that a Russian oligarch would wear. Bulgari, Gucci, Hublot, Cartier (sadly), Breitling, Corum, Longines, etc.

    Second, no man who is a man wears Panerai. A Panerai is a toy worn by dousche-bags and Italians with no taste. Big and flashy = Dousche-bag.

    Bell & Ross has some nice watches and can be worn by men. However, since they use of the shelf ETA movements, a person who does not want to become a joke pays no more than $2000 on anything with a B&R label.

    The Rolex Deepsea is a disgrace. Its size insults the wonderful heritage of its maker. For dousche-bags only. The Rolex Submariner, GMT-Master, Explorer, etc. are definitely the smartest watches to buy. In 30 years, a Bell & Ross, Panerai, or pretty much anything else will be scrap metal. Rolex will still be valuable.

    Aside from Rolex, I would highly recommend Bremont watches. Their MBI will go to hell and back and the Supermarine is one of the best dive watches available today. It’s a young company, but I think they have a good future.

    IWC should not be overlooked as well as Jaeger LeCoultre. JLC is an outstanding company (one of the top five, i’d say) and their lower-end watches are really well priced. You can get a new Reverso Stainless Classic for under $4000 (a much more interesting alternative to a Submariner). A Master Compressor can be had for about $8000. If you buy either of these, I will fucking love you.

    Though they are a little pricey, I would certainly have recommended Audemars Piguet. This is one of the best watch companies ever and, like Rolex, will be valuable forever. These are well above even the honored “Pimp” status. I would proudly wear a Royal Oak Offshore anywhere, any time.

    For budget watches, Orient has some nice watches. My daily beater is an Orient diver. It is nicely made, has a very accurate movement, the lume sucks out loud, but it seems like it should last well and prevents me from descending into douche-baggery.

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    1. Mostly well stated. Panerai = possible fad. B&R blows. IWC is easily in top 5. JLC = great movement, master compressor…um….not interested. Orient = laughable/garbage. Your dead wrong on the Deepsea…if your 200lbs and over 6 feet tall, you can carry it well….AND…..smack the hell out of anyone who calls you a d-bag ;)

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  23. Second, no man who is a man wears Panerai. A Panerai is a toy worn by dousche-bags and Italians with no taste.Big and flashy = Dousche-bag.
    Bell & Ross has some nice watches and can be worn by men. However, since they use of the shelf ETA movements, a person who does not want to become a joke pays no more than $2000 on anything with a B&R label.

    Seriously…?

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    1. Yes, sir. Seriously.

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  24. Any reason why Tag Heuer is not on the list? The old 1000 Professional models can be had for a song, and are great looking, tough watches. My EDC is a 2000 classic, and I’m on the market for an old 1000 to mod to my specific needs.

    I’m surprised no one else mentioned Tags…

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    1. I agree David. Before I bought my Sinn U1, my EDC was a Tag Heuer 2000 Exclusive. I still have it, but rarely wear it now. I mentioned it in my previous comment that I liked it, but my U1 is much more robust and easier to read at night. Tag makes great watches and you’re right, you can jump on Ebay right now and nab them for a fairly decent price. Definitely worth considering.

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  25. Should be getting mine sometime next week. For me the seller is just the simplicity of it. I am a KISS kind of guy and I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles for my watch. Which is why I like my Marathons. And my MTM SEAL for the most part, save for the whole “Extreme Ops” emblazoned on the watch face letting everyone know that you are a “tactical guy.” So that gets a little less rotation. So that is a TAD Diver’s strap. How are you liking that in comparison to a maratac. I have always used them, and well I think it is well known that I am a big fan of the TAD. So I presume you have knowledge of both, which do you like prefer?

    But love the looks of the watch and what I have seen in researching them. Good choice. Can’t wait for it to get here.

    Hey Eugene,The Sinn U1 pictured is actually my watch (used by permission). I was really happy Lorenz mentioned the U1′s in his review…they’re awesome watches! Not many people know about them, but those that do have nothing but good things to say. I bought mine because they can really take a beating and don’t look it when they do because the tegimented steel is scratch proof. The strap in the picture is a combat diver’s or 4 ring Zulu that I got from TAD gear. I spoke with Patrick Ma (founder of TAD gear) and he has a U1 as well and he told me he loves it.  

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    1. That was the first thing that attracted me to the U1 as well…it’s rugged simplicity. It’s a good looking watch to be sure, but I really like how it literally looks like a aircraft or submarine gauge – very easy to read white and red hands and markers.

      As far as the straps go, I’ve been very happy with my TAD straps…I have several. I also have some other ZULU and Maratac bands. From what Patrick Ma said, the TAD straps are made in the same factory as the Zulu straps, but under the TAD label. I’ve purchased a few “other” brand straps, and they’re really flimsy in comparison. The TAD and Maratac hardware is top notch and the webbing is stiff which is perfect as the the U1 is not a light watch.

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  26. I must be in the wrong forum. People are discussing watches with far too many zeros on their price tag that do exactly the same job than a swatch.

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  27. There is no reason that XYZ is not on the list is because I have not finished the three part article yet!

    Again, more brands are going to be mentioned in part 2 & 3. As I said before it is impossible to list every brand/type as I do not want to write a list of watch brands… And, sadly, TAG Heuer is one I can’t “review”, as I do not own any or do not have friends be able to give feedback, etc. Swatch, too. This forum allows us to follow the industry-hype of “tacticool” watches, so let’s stay with them that come close as possible.

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  28. I have a citizen Promaster for about 6 years now.
    Stainless steel, automatic diving watch, rock solid and dirt cheap!
    I´m really happy with it and because of the price you won´t start to cry if it get´s lost or stolen.
    http://www.christophlorenz.de/img/watch/reviews/promaster.jpg

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  29. Typically great article and I am much anticipating the following articles!
    You probbaly cover this in upcoming parts, but if I may offer a thought or two -
    first, I think that the choice of watch may also have to consider the AO. Back in the Nam days, some guys – who were not, officially speaking, combatants but advisers, although the 1911 Colt on the side and the rifle close at hand may have conveyed that idea – were able to wear a Rolex for the toughness and of couorse, there were no G-Shocks back then… BUT in Southeast Asia, back then, not many had to worry about an indigenous person wanting to ambush and robe then or cut their throat, for the fancy watch. But now, it seems, from my friends in different hell-holes of the world, wearing any kind of flash or bling attracts very unwanted attention and marks the wearer as either a rich Westerner with $$$, or possibly a good person to kidnap for ransom. One of the guys said to me that the Janja would, if given the chance, split your skull with a machete to get your boots, and God knows that they would do for a shiny expensive watch. I, too, use a G-Shock these days… I have a couple of ‘dress’ types, an Invicta which is a knockoff of a Submariner ( works great, thought) and a Seiko… but the G-Shock is invisible and can take any beating I hand it without complaint.

    Are you any relation to the Szabo of knife design and expertise? Just wondered.
    Keep up the good work.

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  30. And, sadly, TAG Heuer is one I can’t “review”, as I do not own any or do not have friends be able to give feedback, etc.

    It takes a bit of practice and trial and error to distinguish the fakes from the real ones, but it’s worth it: I just picked up another Professional 1000 for $180 at the local Pawn ‘N Rob. It’s a bit rough, but perfect for what I want.

    For what they cost if you take your time and look around, they are great utilitarian every day carry timepieces that don’t scream either “Please cut my arm off. My watch will feed your village for the next 5 years” or “I drink Natty Light, sleep with my cousin, and live in a trailer”.

    No offense to any Natty Light drinkers.

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    1. What the fuck is wring with my cousin, city-boy? Get down my porch or my brothers and I will hunt ya like a pig!

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  31. Wrong… Red-necks and iPhones!

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  32. At the end of some recent Southeast Asian soiree, I was a very young officer assigned to “lead” a group of very salty NCOs. During my initial meeting, I noticed and commented on how each and everyone of them wore Rolex watches and large chain-link gold bracelets. “Kinda overdressed aren’t we?” I asked.

    One NCO replied, “Well, sir, have you ever tried to buy, bargain or bribe your way out of shithole with your Timex? Would you be willing to bet your life on that watch getting the last seat on the last flight out of a shithole with your watch, and no gold bracelet?”

    Lesson learned. The next day I went downrange to be introduced to get my Rolex Submariner, locally-made jumpboots, a large gold ID bracelet and a Walther TPH .22 caliber pistol. I still have all of these items and all of those old farts are dearly loved friends.

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  33. It’s interesting how somethings stay the same even as far back as the middle ages.

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  34. Er… Some things. Even from as far back. Sorry typing on the iPhone.

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  35. Mostly well stated. Panerai = possible fad.B&R blows. IWC is easily in top 5. JLC = great movement, master compressor…um….not interested.Orient = laughable/garbage.Your dead wrong on the Deepsea…if your 200lbs and over 6 feet tall, you can carry it well….AND…..smack the hell out of anyone who calls you a d-bag   

    It would be kind to say that Panerai is only a fad. It is, but that’s not all. Panerai watches were used on the wrists of Italian fascists during WWII to sink Allied vessels and kill the dudes on our side. If anyone wears something with this legacy, they get nothing more than a “Fuck You!” from me.

    Okay, I guess it’s time to explain the male-insecurity product that is the Rolex Deepsea. The future Rolex owner is strolling through his favorite watch shop. He is decided that he wants a Rolex and is well justified in the purchase. He walks along the display case examining the gorgeous timepieces. “Datejust? Too delicate. Submariner? Very nice, but… Sea Dweller? Excellent. Yachtmaster? Too ‘country club.’ What’s this? ‘Deepsea’ WOW it’s big! This is exactly what I need so that people think that I am more of a man. I can even spit in the face of the person who wears that Submariner because my watch costs $8200. And that Sea Dweller guy is a total idiot because his watch does not boldly advertise the ‘Original Gas Escape Valve’ directly on the face. 12,800 ft? Yeah, get some, bitch!”

    The future Rolex owner lifts his eyes from the display case, catches the salesman’s attention and says, “Excuse me, sir. Have you ever sold one of these to a homosexual? I have to advertise that I am not a fag, and I think that this will do the job.” After getting totally fucked on the price (because it will sell ever-so-slightly used for $5000) the Deepsea owner actually has ‘Ring Lock System” tattooed around his asshole.

    This may not always be the case, of course, but unless the Deepsea owner has absolutely no idea what a watch is all about, it is what I am forced to assume. I am not saying that a big man cannot wear a big watch. I will say that a big watch does not make a big man. Rolex should never have made the Deepsea only because of it.

    There is one and only one situation where a big watch proves a big and important man…That is if your name is Shaquille and Audemars Piguet is all too happy to make a 48 MM case for the Royal Oak Offshore and name it after you. Understand?

    David Beckham is definitely a douche-bag….And he wears a Deepsea even though he could afford any watch in the world.

    Next on the list of douche-bag timepieces…U-Boat and Welder…

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    1. Now that’s fuckin funny I dont care who you are…

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  36. It would be kind to say that Panerai is only a fad.It is, but that’s not all.Panerai watches were used on the wrists of Italian fascists during WWII to sink Allied vessels and kill the dudes on our side.If anyone wears something with this legacy, they get nothing more than a “Fuck You!” from me.…  

    Good call, one more reason I’m not interested in Panerai.

    Dissent on your opinion on the DSSD. What’s the toughest (could withstand the meanest beating) watch Rolex produces? The Deepsea. Find one around the 7k mark (same price or less than the new sub) on a watch forum/auction site/craigslist and it’s a no-brainer….decision made.

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  37. Panerai has been around officially since the 1890s, when they started supplying the Italian royal navy with time pieces. That is one hell of a fad! Just for history sake Rolex was about 18 years latter in 1908 officially.

    If your the type to not like something that is currently trendy I get that. Are they over hyped at the moment, sure. But never the less they build one hell of a robust durable watch and regardless of what the prices do (currently sky rocking) its a good piece.

    Some of us are not 5’6″ and 125lbs. Bigger men tend to look a little odd with a 25mm watch on. If I want to look like I borrowed my wife’s watch I will put on a standard sub. I do have a deep sea and for someone 6’2 and 235 it looks perfect. Glad Rolex stepped it up to the modern age and started putting out a watch I can wear.

    If you don’t want to wear something based on if someone in WWII wore it that’s fine. Considering most modern goods are made/assembled or contain parts from places like China or Vietnam or somewhere else we have been in conflict with at one time or another. I have seen quite a few IEDs early on using Timex or G shock triggers so your options shopping must be limited to say the least!

    And no I do not even own a Pam.

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  38. Great article, although something that has always baffled me is the need for a “Tacticool” Black PVD watch with Lume which is as bright as a small sun?

    Now don’t get me wrong, I like PVD watches, sexy little black covert number, but they kind of defeat the object really.

    I’m a watch fan, I like all types of watches, I’ve had/got Tag’s, Rolex’s, B&R, Omega’s etc and I’ve got some very nice Cartiers (for special occasions) but not liking a Panerai because they were worn by an European Army? really, come on, it’s a *watch* and a good watch at that.
    And if you can’t differentiate between a *watch* and an opposing military force, you probably need to ‘up’ your meds.
    Besides, we won, we kicked their arses, what better reason do you need to wear one of ‘their’ watches?

    I’m currently wearing a Helson Sharkdiver, big watch with big Lume and a spec list to put other, more expensive watches to shame.


    Helson Lume shot.

    I appreciate you can’t include all manufacturers so I thought I’d add that one in. Mine has the ETA 2824-2 Movement, helium escape valve,
    2000m depth rating, Antimagnetic to 70.000 A/m and 4mm Sapphire crystal. I didn’t care for the mesh strap, although it came with a spare rubber one, I swapped it out for orange leather with a PVD buckle.

    Yes, I know it’s a kit watch, but try finding a build sheet like that on anything close to that price and next to my others it makes the Sub look like a kiddies toy.

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  39. I only use Timex either an Exoedition or clone US Gov model! 30 Dollars at the PX !

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  40. …I thought I was the only lost one…I usually don’t wear my big dollar watches in 3rd world countries. Seiko 7309 dive watch….self-winder, keeps good time, easy to see at night, been in several…entanglements…unscathed. Only a couple hundred bucks on the internet. Heard of guys getting into fights, using them like brass knuckles…

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  41. nice blog.

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  42. fuck all this metrosexual dick waxing…my marathon navigator has yet to let me down. Just gotta get a few new compass clips every now and again.

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  43. Hi,
    Great article thanks, but where is part 2 ??

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  44. I was once in the Navy. Not particularly bad-ass, but I knew a few. I wore my G-shock down to 200ft in open water. Folks who go deeper don\’t wear watches when they do it.
    Also worked with DEVGRU and CAG (not claiming to be a member). The DEVGRU guys were all issued Suunto Cores, and wore G-shocks. My CAG friend wore a G-shock.
    I have a faux-mega from Bahrain. If I need to bribe my way out of someplace, I\’ll pawn that off on some poor slob.

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