When it comes to a Special Ops Watch and the Navy SEALS, they used to be issued with a Rolex. Legend has that it was so they could use it to barter or negotiate if they got into sticky situations, but I think that was a bit of an old Navy story. But therein lays the inherent problem of the Rolex as a military issued watch. They are expensive to buy, with pressures on NAVY budgets, and expensive to maintain, and you can be sure as hell that the watch was going to get some rough treatment.
Until the early Eighties, Navy rules stated that “ Divers Watch must have a sweep second hand”. The problem with this is that it of course meant digital watches were excluded. However, the point of a sweep second hand was to measure time passing. Since a digital watch could do this, and some might say better, the rule was changed. The door was open to digital watches. Enter the CASIO G-Shock. Cheaper, tougher and with extra timing features, this was of great benefit to Navy budgets, and provided a tough, reliable time keeper for NAVY Seals. Don’t take my word for it – here is a quote from the guy who helped get the NAVY to reverse their decision on not having digital watches.
“When a Casio watch was lost or damaged, the costs to replace was minimum and compared to the costs to repair a Rolex and the time it took to get the Rolex back, made all the difference. By the way, the Casio G-shock watch did more than just measured lapsed time. Stopwatch, countdown timer..etc “
Lieutenant Commander, USN (Retired) Navy SEAL” -frogman80
Since then the G-Shock has really established itself as a military wristwatch, for all the reasons above. Rugged, tough, reliable and cheap to replace. Essential requirements in today’s military.