A wristwatch is one of very few accessories that are authorized to be worn along with a U.S. military uniform. The U.S. government does occasionally issue watches, but service members have the option to purchase and wear any watch they would like. The wristwatch should also be water resistant, comfortable and air tight so that your mission and daily activities will not affect the functionality of the timepiece.
History and Uniform Regulation
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the U.S. military issued watches to all service members. The watches were black and had basic features. Although they were issued, the watches were not mandatory. No allowance is issued for the purchase of any watch other than the standard-issue wristwatch. A U.S. service member may wear no more than one wristwatch while in military uniform. The watch may be worn on either wrist, according to the Air Force Instruction 36-2903. The single watch may be worn with any official uniform to include Class As, utility and physical training uniforms.
U.S. service members prefer wristwatches that are made from non-reflective metals and plastics because a reflection could compromise a tactical situation. Although some military members wear metal watches while serving at home station, they typically deploy with non-metal watches due to the extreme heat in many arena.
U.S. service member uniforms range in color from black, navy blue, green, tan and white. Typically, military members select accessories for their uniforms that are conservative, due to the overall tone of the language in their multipage uniform handbook guide. A natural-color watch goes well with any U.S. military uniform.
Pilots, divers and other occupational specialties within the U.S. military continue to receive specialty watches issued by the U.S. government that have tools the service members can use to help them accomplish their jobs, according to Olive-Drab. Some wristwatch functions that U.S. service members look for include a luminous dial, tachymeter, chronograph, date, GPS, timing bezel, GMT indicator and a circular slide rule.
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