When referring to the “Green Beret Rolex,” most people are referencing the Rolex Submariner with a green dial and green bezel. These watches have various nicknames among watch communities, such as the “Hulk” (for its all-green look referring to the Marvel superhero) or the “Kermit” (for models with a green bezel and black dial referring to Kermit the Frog).
Also, “Green Berets” is another name for the U.S. Army Special Forces, and they wear resilient watches and Rolex Submariner is one of them. Today at Saatsaz Watch, we are going to review these green beret Rolex watches that are both green and worn by US Green Berets.
History of Rolex and Green Berets
In the tumultuous eras of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Rolex watches carved a niche among various military branches, particularly with the Green Berets. Back then, a Rolex could be acquired for roughly the equivalent of a month’s salary. Anecdotal tales from Vietnam suggest that certain operators were so enamored with their Rolex watches that they’d incessantly praise their robustness and reliability, leading fellow team members to purchase their own during leaves. This chain of admiration saw the Rolex reputation flourish among servicemen.
Indeed, during those times, few watches could rival the resilience and dependability that Rolex offered, cementing its esteemed position. Fast forward to the present, and while the watch market has evolved with countless durable options sans the Rolex price tag, one cannot erase the historical significance Rolex has in military circles.
The GMT-Master, with its distinctive design rooted in the Cold War era, holds a particular allure for the Green Berets. For those who served during those times, this Rolex model is a poignant reminder of camaraderie and shared experiences, as many recall spotting it on the wrists of fellow operators and even Navy SEALs during various operations.
Do Green Berets still wear Rolex?
In the contemporary military landscape, the practicality of donning a Rolex is debatable. While the watches are undoubtedly robust, they might not withstand the extreme conditions that modern Special Forces operators frequently encounter. Yet, the allure of the Rolex goes beyond mere functionality. Its aesthetic appeal, reliability, and potential as a treasured heirloom — not to mention its appreciation in value — keep it firmly ensconced in the annals of military lore.
Rolex watches have many features and qualities, but they are not favored by most of the special forces in the today’s world. So, if Rolex is not a good military watch now, then what makes a good military and special force watch?
Special Force wristwatch’s important features
Watches worn by special forces or military personnel are designed to meet the demanding and rugged environments these units operate in. Here are some essential features these watches typically possess:
- Durability: Made from tough materials like stainless steel, titanium, or reinforced polymers to withstand the rigors of combat and demanding physical activities.
- Water Resistance: Essential for operations near or underwater. Many military watches have a water resistance of at least 100 meters, with dive watches offering even greater depths.
- Luminosity: Hands and hour markers often have luminescent paint or tritium inserts, allowing for easy reading in low-light or nighttime scenarios.
- Accuracy: Reliable and precise timekeeping is vital. Quartz movements are common due to their accuracy and low maintenance, though automatic and manual movements are also used.
- Battery Life: For quartz watches, long battery life is preferred. Some solar-powered watches can run indefinitely in optimal conditions.
- Shock Resistance: The ability to withstand impacts, which is especially important in combat situations.
- Scratch-Resistant Crystal: Sapphire or hardened mineral crystals are often used due to their resistance to scratching and shattering.
- Anti-Reflective Coating: Reduces the chance of the watch reflecting light and giving away the wearer’s position.
- Simple Design: A cluttered watch face can be challenging to read quickly. High contrast between the watch hands and the dial also aids visibility.
- Bezel Functionality: Rotating bezels, especially on dive watches, allow for tracking elapsed time.
- NATO Strap: These are durable, easy to replace, and ensure the watch remains on the wrist even if one spring bar fails.
- Complications: While simplicity is often preferred, certain complications like a chronograph (stopwatch function), GMT hand (second time zone), or compass can be beneficial in specific scenarios.
- Stealth/Non-Reflective: Some watches come with a matte finish and non-reflective surfaces to minimize visibility, especially useful for night operations or covert missions.
- Altitude/Barometric Pressure: Some advanced watches, particularly digital ones, come with sensors to measure altitude and barometric pressure, assisting in navigation and forecasting weather changes.
- GPS Function: For navigation and location tracking, some modern watches include GPS functionality.
- Digital Compass: Helps in navigation and orientation.
When choosing a watch for special forces or military operations, the specific requirements of the mission or environment dictate the best choice. As a result, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but the features listed above are commonly sought after in such watches.