Modern Navy SEAL Watch Culture - GBRS Group

Modern Navy SEAL Watch Culture - GBRS Group

Travel Pouch And Challenge Coin - Third Option Foundation Fundraise

Modern Navy SEAL Watch Culture - GBRS Group and Watches of Espionage Collaboration 

We have written extensively about the history of Navy SEALs and watches.  From Tudor Submariner 7928’s issued in Vietnam and Seiko 6309-7049’s during the Cold War days to the modern day Digital Tool Watches of the legendary G-Shock.  In present day Naval Special Warfare, watch culture is strong and many “Team Guys” have high end tool watches, including Rolex, Breitling, Panerai, Tudor, Omega, Bremont and various other timepieces.

The reason is simple.  Many of the modern day “tool watches” were originally designed for maritime use, and specifically as military dive watches.  The predecessors of the modern Frogmen were the intended end user for the tool watches of the mid-20th century. Wearing these pieces in the present day is a nod to those who came before, the forefathers who developed the fieldcraft and tactics employed today. In the culture of Intelligence and Special Operations heritage and history is important.  We honor those who paved the way for our trade.

Tudor Sub 7928 Navy SEAL
Original UDT/SEAL issued Tudor Submariner ref. 7928 (James Rupley)

To the outsider, modern day SEAL watch culture can be difficult to comprehend.  Why would a SEAL with a limited government salary spend that much money on a watch?  The idea seems to contradict the practical nature of SOF, which favors function over everything else. 

In preparation for the GBRS-W.O.E. fundraiser for Third Option Foundation, we asked former Navy SEALs Cole Fackler and DJ Shipley to give a Rundown of their personal experience with watches and watch culture in the SEAL Teams.

As stated by former Navy SEAL and co-founder of GBRS Group: 

It’s a part of the culture and tells a lot about the wearer of that particular piece.  The cost isn’t as important as the backstory or the sentimental value of a piece and the story you both share together.

In the military you are issued particular watches, most get a standard watch like a G-Shock, easy to operate and can withstand almost anything that the user can.  As we got older it became custom to upgrade your issued watch for a more luxury watch as a statement piece.

As you hit certain goals and milestones in life, you would add a timepiece to remember the occasion or that period in your life.  It was customary in the SEAL Teams to wear a Rolex at a certain stage in your career, you treated that watch just like it was a hundred dollar G-Shock, you did everything in it.

It was always a funny sight in a chow hall overseas, all the guys have long hair and beards, covered in dust from the helicopters, absolutely filthy and still have on a Rolex. There is a cult following around watches that plagues a lot of us.”

W.O.E.-GBRS Group Collaboration - Third Option Foundation Fundraise

Earlier this year we approached GBRS Group about a possible collaboration for charity.  Cole and DJ agreed without hesitation and were eager to support Third Option Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting the CIA’s paramilitary officers of the Special Activities Center (SAC). 

GBRS Group Rolex

The relationship between Naval Special Warfare and the CIA is close, particularly for the paramilitary officers who recruit heavily from the SEAL Teams.

Navy Seals Vietnam Tudor Submariner

“TOF provides funding to the Agencies Paramilitary officers, a lot are former colleagues, and suffer severe injuries while working with that organization.  The Third Option Foundation bridges the gap and supports those still in the shadows that never receive recognition for their sacrifices.  As a small way to say thank you, we donated the last of our AOR1 uniforms to be used in making these travel cases.  The funds raised support a fantastic group of people who truly deserve it. If you’re a watch enthusiast, you’re gonna want this for your collection.”

Thank you to everyone who made this possible.  Please consider a donation to Third Option Foundation to support the men and women at the tip of the spear.

For additional information on Navy SEAL Watches:

A Navy SEAL’s Rolex Submariner On The Osama Bin Laden Raid

Navy SEAL Rolex Submariner

SEAL Team Six And A U.S. Navy-Issued Seiko Turtle

Red Squadron Seiko Navy Seal Team Six

The History Of Casio G-Shocks And The US Military

Navy SEALS G-Shock

The Pragmatic Journey Of A SEAL Through Watch Collecting

Navy SEAL Tudor Submariner


LOL all the ones I know either wear Suunto, or Garmin Tactix watches as they are issued at the command. None of these listed….this just an advertisement for specific sales?

Chris Smith

i really appreciate the guys at GBRS and how they open up about some of the less macho topics like ptsd and the stress of combat, i really enjoy the insight from this video


This website is the best thing that has happened to the watch community in a long time. Thank you WoE


Amazing work gents, great project for a worthy cause.


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