Two Terrific Tactical Timepieces
By Will Dabbs MD
Photos: Sarah Dabb
We dump half a grand on a new tactical handgun and feel like we got a good deal. Keeping a pile of spare magazines for our favorite black rifle and the means to tote them comfortably are legitimate priorities in our lives. As our long-suffering brides can attest, we gun nerds can be well and truly addicted to our toys. In addition to a tuned 1911, a tricked out black rifle and a favorite range hat that is simultaneously cool, clever and funny, every proper gun guy really ought to consider a massive tactical wristwatch.
Even in these days of iPhones and ubiquitous personal electronic devices, there remains a real niche for a proper watch. When I was a soldier it put me in the right place at the right time and therefore helped keep me alive day or night. Nowadays it lets me keep a date with my gorgeous bride of 28 years and look sharp doing it. An effective tactical wristwatch should be robust, heavy, reliable and fully night capable. It also rides on the inside of your wrist so the glowing bits face you instead of the Bad Guys. A proper combat wristwatch is equal parts fashion accessory and tactical tool.
Each of these high-end sports watches will set you back about the cost of
a Glock handgun. However, both the Reactor Titan and the BCM Gunfighter
are functional and attractive additions to your daily load-out.
The Nuclear Reactor
Jimmy Olmes is the human rocket fuel behind Reactor watches. He has been making sport performance watches for 35 years and it shows. The Reactor Titan Sport Watch is water resistant to 200 meters and features a 10-year battery along with a reinforced nitromid polymer chassis. The 316L stainless steel core is encased in ballistic plastic. This 30 percent fiberglass reinforced polymer is the same monkey-nuts tough stuff GLOCK uses in their handgun frames. The Titan has radioactive tritium vials at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions as well as the hour, minute and second hands. There are separate internal and external bezel rings used to keep track of stuff like when your air runs out while scuba diving. The tritium vials on the bezel rings are different colors so it’s easy to differentiate the details even in hard dark.
There’s a secondary illumination material incorporated into the watch face called super luminova. Contrived from a highly refined aluminum oxide, this remarkable substance is luminescent, doesn’t degrade over time, and costs $11,500 a pound. A typical high-end Swiss watch incorporates three layers of this material. The Reactor Titan sports eight.
Luminova charges when exposed to light and tritium glows all the time to render a synergistic illumination. For example, move from bright desert into a dark cave and the luminova tells you when to expect the drone strike. Glance at the tritium at 0200 in your crappy Serbian hotel and you realize you have three more hours of rack time before you have to head downstairs and meet the rest of your team. Out here where Real People live, however, this holy union just lets you reliably keep track of the time, even in the dark.
The band actually required more developmental time than the watch itself and is built around a 1,400-pound tensile strength nylon strap. This strap is encased in a proprietary soft rubber material before being laser cut to keep the nylon from fraying. The band is then secured to the chassis via a pair of honking steel rods. The resulting interface is rated for at least four hundred pounds.
The Reactor Titan is marketed as the toughest sport performance watch in
the world. Built upon 35 years’ worth of watch-building experience, the
Titan is ruggedly over-engineered in every aspect of its design.
The Reactor Titan’s controls are waterproof, and the band is secured in place
via a pair of big honking steel rods.
The shipping container carrying the Reactor Titan to its new owner doubles
as the world’s most rugged cold drink holder.
Testing the Manliest Watch on the Planet
For starters you rig the Reactor Titan between a saltwater fishing rod and a big steel fishhook charged with a dead mackerel, chum up the water, and use it to land a 400-pound bull shark. Then you fasten the watch between a ski rope and handle and spend the day wakeboarding behind a powerboat. After that you take the watch to a 33-foot overpass on the Pacific Coast Highway and drop it onto the concrete below. The Reactor guys did all this to their Titan and it just kept chugging along. The Reactor Titan lands sharks, pulls skiers, bounces off of concrete and still leaves you looking sharp for your hot girl.
The BCM Gunfighter Mk15 EDC watch is both massive and gorgeous. Tipping the
scales at more than half a pound when encased in its steel band, the Gunfighter
is as manly as it is cool. In a pinch you could always club somebody over the
head with it.
Bravo Company Gunfighter Mk15 Everyday Carry Tactical Timepiece
Bravo Company Manufacturing was founded in 2005 by guys who have been downrange and seen the elephant. Weapons and sundry support gear that can all be counted on to perform in the suck have cemented BCM’s reputation for general all-around awesomeness. Building upon that foundation, BCM recently designed the Mother of All Tactical Wristwatches. Heavy, robust and manly, the BCM Gunfighter Mk15 Everyday Carry (EDC) is, additionally, simply drop-dead gorgeous.
The stem on the BCM Gunfighter is red anodized and the watch is
water resistant to 200 meters.
BCM Gunfighter Mk15 Vital Statistics
The BCM Mk15 EDC watch is built around a 316L Stainless Steel case with a PVD brushed black environmentally resistant finish. The Mk15 is also water resistant to 200 meters or 20 atmospheres and sports a 13-jewel, gold-plated Swiss movement. The face of the watch is framed with a ratcheting unidirectional bezel. The crown is anodized red and screws in for water resistance and security.
The minute, hour, and second hands are all tritium illuminated and the dial sports a carbon fiber background rendering a nifty 3-D effect. The sapphire scratch-resistant crystal sports two layers of glare-resistant coating on the inside aspect. When mounted on its monstrous PVD brushed stainless steel band the Mk15 actually weighs more than half a pound. When equipped with the included rubber dive band the Mk15 tips the scales at about half that.