Best Watch for Basic Training: The Ultimate Showdown of Tough Watches

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When you’re in for basic training, say military or police training, your watch becomes your companion. With the advanced features, you can keep track of your physical fitness and improve your performance.

That being said, what is the best watch for basic training? And what should you look for in a good basic training watch?

Should it be durability that you need to look for, or should you prioritize functionality?

I know there’re a number of questions bugging your mind! So, I’d take a deep dive into the matter and talk about the best watch for basic training in this article.

But first, let’s take a look at the best watches that the market has to offer!

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS  rating price
Overall Best Croton Watches Review G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
  • Water Resistance: 200 meters (20 ATM)
10
Best for Mac User Croton Watches Review Apple Watch Series 6
  • Water Resistance: 50 meters (5 ATM)
10
Premium OptionCroton Watches Review Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters (10 ATM)
10
The Budget PickCroton Watches Review Suunto Core
  • Water Resistance: 30 meters (3 ATM)
10
Croton Watches Review Suunto Traverse Alpha
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters (10 ATM)
9.5
Croton Watches Review Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch
  • Water Resistance: 200 meters (20 ATM)
9.5
Croton Watches Review CASIO G-SHOCK Watch GG-1000-1A5ER
  • Water Resistance: 200 meters (20 ATM)
9.5

7 Best Watch for Basic Training (2021)

G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 – Overall Best

G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400

Ah, where should I even begin with?!

There’s nothing, I repeat nothing, that comes even close to this watch!

G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is one of the, if not the most durable and functional watch in the market right now. The industry-leading shock and mud resistance makes it durable in every climate condition.

The watch is extremely accurate as it has multi-band atomic timekeeping. So, you’ll never see any gain or a loss in timekeeping.

Then comes the ABC sensors and thermometer. These functionalities help you to keep informed in every kind of critical situation.

The only shortcoming that I can think of is the inability to connect with your other smart devices.

Otherwise, this watch is ‘bullet-proof’ from every angle!

Product Specifications – G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400

  • Movement: Japanese Quartz (Solar)
  • Caliber Number: Casio 3410
  • Display Type: Digital (LCD)
  • Case Diameter: 53mm
  • Case Thickness: 18mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Resin (Stainless Steel Case-Back)
  • Band Material: Resin
  • Weight (Approximate): 93 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 20 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Scratch Resistance Mineral

Special Features

  • Multi-band atomic timekeeping (US, UK, Germany, Japan, China) – receives time calibration radio signals 6x/5x times per day
  • ABC-triple Sensor (altimeter, barometer/thermometer, compass) equipped
  • Full auto-calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
  • Mud resistant case and buttons
  • Solar-powered, battery lasts for up to 7 months without any exposure to light, and battery level indicator
  • Complete chronograph features with 1/100-second stopwatch
  • 5 daily alarms (with 1 snooze alarm) and hourly time signal
  • Sunrise, sunset time display

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Accurate and high functionality
  • Nighttime visibility
  • Comfortable buttons with water, mud, and dust resistance
  • Superior water resistance performance

Cons

  • Very bulky, almost unusable for smaller wrists
  • Can’t be synced with phones or other digital devices

Apple Watch Series 6 – Best Digital Watch

Apple Watch Series 6

In the training sessions, you’re always trying to improve your performance, right?

Now, wouldn’t it be nice if you get a watch that keeps track of all the physical activities, like your heart rate, sleep patterns, running, swimming data, etc.?

If that’s the case, Apple Watch Series 6 is here with the most powerful chipset made for smart wearables. With the right apps and proper synchronization with a smartphone, this watch basically becomes a ‘virtual fitness trainer’ for you.

Apple’s brand value assures the quality of this device. However, durability is a major issue of Apple Series 6!

Product Specifications – Apple Watch Series 6

  • Processor: Apple S6 Dual-Core, 64-bit
  • Display Typ: Retina LTPO OLED, 1000 nits (peak)
  • Screen Resolution: 448×368 pixels (326ppi density)
  • Case Dimension: 44 x 38 mm
  • Case Thickness: 10.4mm
  • Case Material: Aluminum with Ceramic Back
  • Band Material: Silicone
  • Weight (Approximate): 47.1 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 50 ATM
  • Battery Life: Up to 18 Hours
  • Clasp Type: Apple Buckle
  • Glass: Sapphire Crystal

Special Features

  • Apple S6 is the fastest chipset designed for smartwatches.
  • Second-generation optical heart sensor
  • Blood oxygen and ECG sensors (with specialized apps)
  • Always-on display that is 30% larger than the previous generation
  • Activity tracker detects workout patterns – e.g., swimming, cycling, running, hiking, yoga, dancing.  
  • 5GHz Wi-Fi and U1 ultra-wideband chip
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS
  • Sensors include – accelerometer, gyro, barometer, always-on altimeter, compass, SpO2, and VO2max
  • Talking mode utilizes natural language commands and dictations.

Pros

  • One of the most feature-rich smartwatches to date
  • Syncs properly with smartphones (iPhone) and other fitness apps
  • Premium brand value
  • Fashionable and trendy
  • Superior design

Cons

  • Comparatively poorer build quality (when compared to other durable watches)
  • Poor water resistance performance
  • The touch screen is NOT particularly suitable for extreme conditions
  • Very expensive

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar – Premium Option

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar

Garmin is the most well-known brand for outdoor activists. The accuracy and the sheer number of functionalities make Garmin the top choice for advanced users.

Yes, Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar is designed for the advanced users who prioritize functionality over anything else. Durability is also a big strength of this watch.

A casual user would never use all the functionalities. It’s a special watch designed for a specific hardcore userbase.  

The only issue that I can find is the price tag – it’s too expensive!

Product Specifications – Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar

  • MCU: NXP Kinetis K28F (ARM Cortex-M4 based core)
  • Display Type: Transflective Memory-in-Pixel (MIP)
  • Screen Resolution: 240×240 pixels
  • Case Diameter: 42mm
  • Case Thickness: 14.2mm
  • Band Width: 20mm
  • Case Material: Fiber-Reinforced Polymer (Metal Case-Back)
  • Bezel Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Silicone
  • Weight (Approximate): 61 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Battery Life : Up to 9 Days (Up to 59 Days in Battery Saver Mode)
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Power Glass™

Special Features

  • Time and date synchronization with GPS
  • Alarm, timer, stopwatch, and sunrise/sunset features
  • Health monitoring features – e.g., heart rate, respiration rate, Pulse OX, body battery™ energy monitor, and sleep tracking.
  • Sensors include – GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, GARMIN ELEVATE™ wrist heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer, and oxygen saturation monitor with acclimation.
  • Safety and tracking features, like – live tracking and live event sharing
  • Tactical features, like – dual grid coordination
  • Activity and fitness tracker
  • Connectivity with Android and iOS devices

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Dedicated outdoor activity watch with tons of features
  • One of the most advanced activity tracking capabilities
  • Long battery life and solar-powered

Cons

  • The touch screen is NOT particularly suitable for extreme conditions.
  • Very expensive

Suunto Core – The Budget Pick

Suunto Core

The Chinese brand, Suunto, offers a balance between functionality and budget with Suunto Core.

This extremely durable watch comes with ABC sensors and impressive data tracking functionalities. Suunto Core is on par with the best professional watches in the market at a fraction of the price.

Maybe that’s why people are crazy about this particular watch!

Still, Suunto Core disappoints with its lackluster water resistance performance.

Product Specifications – Suunto Core

  • Movement: Quartz (Digital)
  • Display Type: Digital (Matrix)
  • Case Diameter: 49mm
  • Case Thickness: 13mm
  • Band Width: 24mm
  • Case Material: Carbon Fiber Composite
  • Bezel Material: Aluminum
  • Band Material: Elastomer
  • Weight (Approximate): 64 grams
  • Battery Life: 12 months
  • Water-Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Scratch Resistance Mineral

Special Features

  • Comes with ABC navigation (altimeter, barometer, and compass) feature
  • Sunrise and sunset indicator for over 400 locations
  • Gives weather report – shows temperature and storm alerts.

Stopwatch, countdown timer, and alarm

  • Depth meter for snorkeling (Avoid using the watch while snorkeling or diving)
  • Rotating bezel with Compass markers
  • Battery indicator

Pros

  • Fashionable design
  • High durability
  • Great navigational features
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Functions well in extreme weather conditions

Cons

  • Very poor water-resistance performance
  • The silicone strap is not durable enough

Suunto Traverse Alpha – True Military Standard Watch

Suunto Traverse Alpha

Suunto Traverse Alpha is everything that Suunto Core is, but better!

It has the same dot-matrix digital display with similar design aesthetics but comes with a huge number of advanced functionalities.

For example, apart from the ABC sensors, it has GPS and GLONASS sensors. Plus, you can sync this watch with a smart device (phone or tab).

But most importantly, it passes the MIL-STD-810G military standard durability tests with flying colors. It gives an assurance of durability and reliability.

However, the dot-matrix display doesn’t go well with the ‘smart’ features of the watch. In fact, considering the price, there are better options with better display (Suunto 5 or Suunto 7)

Product Specifications – Suunto Traverse Alpha

  • Movement: Quartz (Digital)
  • Display Type: Digital (Matrix)
  • Display Resolution: 128×128
  • Case Diameter: 50mm
  • Case Thickness: 15mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Glass Fiber Composite with Stainless Steel Coating
  • Bezel Material: Stainless Steel
  • Band Material: Nylon Textile
  • Weight (Approximate): 75 grams
  • Battery Life: 14 Days (Up to 100 Hours with GPS)
  • Water-Resistance: 10 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Sapphire Crystal

Special Features

  • Comes with ABC navigation (altimeter, barometer, and compass) feature
  • Passed the MIL-STD-810G military standard durability tests
  • Dedicated hunting, fishing, and hiking modes
  • Sunrise/sunset timers and alerts with moon phases and moonrise/set timers
  • Real-time breadcrumb trail tracking with speed, distance, and height
  • Sensors include – GPS, GLONASS, Altitude (FusedAlti™)
  • Activity tracking with Suunto app that is compatible with Android and iOS

Pros

  • Fashionable design
  • High durability
  • Minimalistic design
  • Advanced features, compared to Suunto Core
  • Functions well in extreme weather conditions

Cons

  • Dot-matrix display feels outdated in a smartwatch

Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch – Best Basic Option

Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch

Let’s talk about a watch that covers all the basics without being too fancy. I’m talking about Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch.

This watch is the epitome of a ‘basic watch for basic training!’

Rather than focusing on stacking a pile of functionalities to confuse you, this watch heavily focuses on durability and minimalism.

Timex also offers a good value proposition – it’s quite hard to find such a great watch in this price range.

More: How Do You Maintain A Leather Watch Strap

Product Specifications – Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch

  • Movement: Quartz
  • Display Type: Digital
  • Case Diameter: 50mm
  • Case Thickness: 17mm
  • Band Width: 18mm
  • Case Material: Resin
  • Band Material: Resin
  • Weight (Approximate): 77 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 20 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Mineral

Special Features

  • ISO standard shock and water resistance
  • Dual-mode alarm offers vibration and/or audible alert
  • 100-hour chronograph with lap and split times and 24-hour countdown timer
  • Fluid intake notifier
  • INDIGLO night-light
  • Alarms and preset reminders with vibration

Pros

  • Minimalistic tough design
  • Excellent durability
  • Extremely budget-friendly
  • Superior water resistance  

Cons

  • Lacks functionality compared to other watches
  • Doesn’t have any navigational functionality

CASIO G-SHOCK Watch GG-1000-1A5ER – Best Dual Display Watch

CASIO G-SHOCK Watch GG-1000-1A5ER

Finally, we’re here – talking about one of the most popular watches in this category – CASIO G-SHOCK ‘MudMaster’ GG-1000-1A5ER.

This watch almost feels indestructible that can survive any environmental challenge. With the presence of analog and digital displays, MudMaster creates an appeal to all kinds of watch lovers.

However, Casio discontinued this specific model and developed a new-generation MudMaster with advanced features (Casio G-Shock GG-B100BA-1AJR MudMaster).  

More: Best Croton Watches Review: Ghost of the Former Self?

Product Specifications – CASIO G-SHOCK Watch GG-1000-1A5ER

  • Movement: Quartz (Japanese)
  • Caliber Number: Casio 5476
  • Display Type: Dual (Digital and Analog)
  • Case Diameter: 53mm
  • Case Thickness: 18mm
  • Band Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: Resin (Stainless Steel Case-Back)
  • Band Material: Resin
  • Weight (Approximate): 93 grams
  • Water-Resistance: 20 ATM
  • Clasp Type: Tang and Buckle
  • Crystal: Scratch Resistance Mineral

Special Features

  • Mud resistant buttons use cylinder type guard structure with gaskets for shafts and cylinders to prevent mud and dust from getting into the watch
  • Digital compass and thermometer (-10°C to 60°C)
  • LED backlight and Neo-Brite luminous hands and markers
  • World time with 31 time zones
  • 5 daily alarms and hourly chimes
  • Full auto-calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
  • Complete chronograph features with 1/100-second stopwatch, elapsed time and split time modes, and countdown timer

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Great nighttime visibility
  • Comfortable buttons with water, mud, and dust resistance
  • Superior water resistance performance

Cons

  • Very bulky, almost unusable for smaller wrists
  • Lacks functionality compared to other watches

Buying Guide – How to Pick the Best Watch for Basic Training

Digital vs. Analog Watch – Consider Your Priority

The first decision that you need to make is about the choice of display. You could either go for the traditional analog option or the newer digital options.

While the analog watches offer a traditional appeal, it gets tough to accurately track time. Also, analog watches might offer less functionality compared to the digital counterparts.

A digital watch is quite reliable in the training fields. You can keep track of crucial training information with less effort (stopwatch timing or countdown timer).

Now, if you have the budget, you can also go for the advanced options that open the gate to a plethora of functionalities.

For example, Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar is a much more superior watch compared to the Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch. Surely, Timex Expedition offers reliability and durability within budget. But Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in a critical situation.

More: Best LAD Weather Watch Review: Should You Get This Budget Outdoor Watch?

Water Resistance – You’ll Get Wet!

As you’re training, the situations will often compel you to jump in a body of water. That’s why you need a watch with good water resistance performance.

These watches will help you keep track of important information even in the water, like – average duration of swim sessions, tracking timer data of your 100-meter freestyle laps.

A decent watch for training should come with 100-meter water resistance. If possible, try to get a watch with a certified water resistance rating.

For example, Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch, despite being a cheaper option, comes with an ISO standard water resistance.

However, the best watch for basic army training should have a 200-meter water resistance rating. In the watch community, the 200-meter water resistance rating is considered to be the gold standard.  

More: Best Watch for Paramedic: Why EMT Paramedic Watches Matter?

Strap – Comfort Matters!

Imagine this – you’re in the middle of completing a physical fitness challenge, and your watch’s metal bracelet is constantly rattling and distracting you!

Would that be a desirable situation?

NO!

A proper training watch should come with a comfortable strap that hugs your wrist firmly. However, it shouldn’t be too tight that it disrupts the natural blood flow as you’d be wearing the watch throughout the day.

Just like the metal bracelets, leather straps also are a bad choice here. It simply can’t take on the pressure!

I’d suggest sticking with the resin, silicone, nylon, or PU straps.

These straps are light, comfortable, will stick to the wrist like glue!

More: Best Affordable Moonphase Watch: What Are the Best Options?

Durability – Toughness Over Everything Else!

When it comes to basic training, a watch must offer you durability. It should be able to handle the extreme conditions and be your reliable partner in the field.

Avoid cheap watches made of brittle plastics!

Shock resistance features are very welcome here. That’s why many people prefer having the Casio G-Shock watches. When it comes to durability, very few watch brands can come close to the build quality of the G-Shock watches.

More: Check our guide to What Is a Deployment Clasp Buckle? How Do You Wear a Deployment Buckle? Here

Conclusion

So, that’s the end of today’s take on the best watch for basic training. You should be looking for three things – functionality, durability, and reliability.

With that in mind, let’s talk about the best of the best watches for basic training.

Without a doubt, G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is the clear winner – it offers you the best of both worlds – functionality, and durability.

Apple Watch Series 6 comes to second place. Very few watches come close to this watch’s functionality. However, durability certainly is an issue here.

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro Solar takes the third spot. Now, if you have the budget, don’t think about anything else and grab a Garmin for yourself. After all, Garmin is the industry leader in outdoor and adventure-centric watches.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments below!

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