For the toughest, most intense activities, you need to get your wrist on the best field watch available. Inspired by pure military badassery, these watches are durable, tough, rugged, and ultra-manly, and will get you out of a few sticky situations without even breaking a sweat.
From treks into the wilderness to conquering mountains or diving deep to battle giant squid or taking long, thirsty journeys across the desert, if there’s one thing you can rely on to have your back, it’s a field watch which is functional, easy to read, and always equipped to keep you looking the part, and it’s always good to know something has your back.
The Best Field Watch
Our top pick for the best field watch is the Timex Weekender Chronograph 40mm Watch which not only looks good but works even better. The 3 chronograph subdials offer numerous functions, displaying seconds and minutes, while the at-a-glance readability of the date number means you’ll never feel embarrassed when someone if it’s the fourth or the fifth again.
Crafted with high-quality materials, both in the strap and the scratch-resistant mineral glass so you can enjoy tough days out without fretting over your watch for the duration, making it a watch you can rely on. The Indiglo function also makes it versatile enough to wear throughout the day without struggling to read it. If you need waterproof watches, check out our guide to the best dive watches.
3 chronograph subdials
Full Arabic numerals with the
24-hour outer rim
Water Resistant: 30 meters (100 feet)
- Weight4 ounces
Our second field watch for you to choose from is the Citizen Eco-Drive Stainless Steel option, which charges both indoors and outdoors, regardless of the light you encounter. This eliminates the need for a battery and will keep your watch ticking for as long as you need it.
The canvas strap makes it perfect for dusty, dirty, all-day wear, while the stainless steel construction is both elegant but efficient, which gives it the chance to work as both a formal and casual watch. It’s also lightweight enough not to bother you on long treks, especially when the weather ramps up a bit.
Charges in both natural and indoor light
Date and day window
Buckle closure, luminosity, and textured crown
Water Resistant: 330 feet (100 meters)
- Weight11.2 ounces
The Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch comes with 40 hours of power reserve and operates on precise 21-jewel automatic movement which you can activate by swinging the timepiece side to side when taking it out the box. The face is easy to read, with digits and indices being clear, while also having a useful day and date window.
The Hardlex mineral dial is tough enough, and the canvas strap won’t suffocate your wrist like leather has a habit of doing, further ensuring excellent comfort right there with great functionality for an excellent price. Whether you’re off to work, wading through swamps, or jumping out of planes, you can trust the Seiko 5. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best sports watches.
40 hours of power reserve
Hours on the inner circle, minutes on the outer circle
Day and date window
Water Resistant: 30 meters
- Weight7.8 ounces
A mechanical field watch that matches the purpose but also sits a variety of outfits and attires, the Hamilton Khaki Green Field Watch is ideal for dudes on-the-go and venturing onto trickier terrains than your average main street sidewalk. The canvas band is secured with a tough buckle closure while luminous hands and magnified date window make the hands and numerals easy to read in a pinch.
Its mechanical hand movement is simple but effective and holds time just as you need it to. Sometimes with analog watches, you risk losing seconds and eventually minutes with lax construction, luckily, this isn’t the case with the Hamilton.
Luminous hands and magnified date window
Mechanical hand-wind movement
A canvas band and buckle closure
Water Resistant: 50 meters (165 feet)
- Weight1.76 Ounces
Despite being one of the cheaper watches in our selection, the Timex Expedition Scout 40 still offers excellent, reliable results for both boy scouts, scoutmasters, and even army generals. The 12 and 24-hour time options make it versatile for a variety of activities, and this is enhanced by the strong Indiglo backlight for low-light environments.
The buckle strap ensures it will fit as many wrists as possible, while also offering a wholly utilitarian feel that offers a range of purposes for everyone from your average dude on the street, to the leader of a top-secret task force. It’s only water resistant up to 50 meters, but that’s more than enough to go for a quick dip at the watering hole if need be.
12 and 24-hour time settings
Buckle strap for a utilitarian feel
Water Resistant: 50 meters
- Weight3.2 ounces
The awesomely named Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision Watch comes with trusty triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal for guaranteed durability and long life while also offering stylish, modern features which help it blend in with business attire as much as it would combat fatigues.
The luminous hands, numerals, and indices are clear but not too obvious that they distract from the style, which is further confirmed with the smart and effortlessly cool metal link strap. It may not completely look like it to some people, but it’s a military field watch which does everything you could ever want it to do out there and a little more too, you know, just in case
Triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal
Luminous hands, numerals, and indices
Military time rounding face
Water Resistant: 50 meters
- Weight9.6 ounces
Typically, our premium choice is still somewhere within the realm of affordability for almost everyone. Not this time though. The Tudor Heritage Ranger Automatic Leather Watch is up there as one of the most expensive items we’ve ever found, but don’t move on just yet.
If you can afford it (or have no sense of monetary value), you’ll get an incredible self-winding and waterproof field watch. The luminous capabilities make it easy for low-light reading and contribute to its smart, elegant design that almost convinces you that the near-$3000 price is totally worth it. Hey, it might be. If you need a little more convincing buy it and you’ll be gifted free shipping, so lucky you.
Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12
Luminous features for easy low-light reading
Self-winding automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve
Water Resistant: 150 meters (500 feet)
- Weight2.3 pounds
Sick of watch wearers who spend more time messing around with the bezel and twisting it back and forth, the Casio Analog Anti-Reverse Bezel Watch is designed to keep you focused on whatever task is before you, and not what’s happening on your wrist.
Once you get past this, though, it’s actually a marvelously functional timepiece which comes with water resistance up to 200 meters, and looks just as good as it operates. The rubber strap is comfortable and flexible, keeping you cool in hot climates, and its adjustability makes it a great watch for all ages to fit them comfortably. More famed for their digital watches, Casio bring something to the table that’s unassuming, but also suitable for either casual or formal occasions.
One-way rotating bezel
3-hand analog display
Flexible band with adjustable buckle closure
Water Resistant: 200 meters (660 feet)
- Weight5.3 ounces
You’ve got to expect something called the Defender to be up there as one of the coolest, most badass watches around, and the Orient Defender Multi-Eye Function Field Watch is just that, or it’s close enough at least. The Japanese automatic movement helps keep precise time while its screwed-down crown ensures better water resistance than other watches.
The leather strap is smart but not too smart it could distract from the rest of your outfit nor look out of place, and the large face is easy to read, but again won’t look like it’s intruding. Sure, it doesn’t come with hidden gadgets and a handy little death ray to truly defend, but it’s good enough, and that’s fine by us.
Japanese automatic movement with analog display
Screwed down crown
Date and day display
Water Resistant: 100 meters
- Weight2.4 ounces
If you’re looking for a watch to show off our personality while also finding a watch which does a good job, the Nixon The Ranger 45 Leather Watch could be the watch for you. It boasts a unique number design, going against the traditional 3, 6, 9, 12, in favor of the less conventional 2, 4, (6), 8, 10. This isn’t a massive deal but could catch the eyes of anyone who’s tired of the same old designs on the same old watches. It’s time (ha) for a change.
If numbers aren’t enough, then the scratch-resistant mineral may convince you, while the quartz movement with a grey dial combines beautifully with the leather strap and makes it smart enough to pass as office attire as much as it is a field watch.
Unique number design
Grey dial with quartz movement
Water Resistant: 100 meters
- Weight10.4 ounces
Much like it’s the green-colored cousin, the Hamilton Khaki Field Black Dial Watch is a triumph of watchmaking that’ll be sure to wow superiors and subordinates whenever you give them that cheeky flick of the wrist. Using Swiss automatic movement, it’s incredibly accurate, and the durable sapphire crystal ensures protection from abrasions, scratches and general human clumsiness.
With a fixed black PVD titanium bezel, you’re not only gifted a smart-looking watch but also something you can rely on to last you through missions, meetings, and as many fun days out with the family as you need. Go swimming, go running, go trekking through the wild, you’ll always know what time it is and get home safe and sound.
Swiss automatic movement
A durable sapphire crystal protects from scratches
Fixed black PVD titanium bezel
Water Resistant: 100 meters
- Weight1.45 pounds
With high-accuracy Argonite quartz movement, this Shinola Runwell Chrono 47mm Watch would be a sophisticated and much-sought-after addition to your everyday outfit. It’s stylish, it’s sophisticated, and it offers everything you could need from a watch without feeling like it’s going overboard.
Our favorite feature is that, unlike other watches we’ve selected, it comes with a cool and highly useful stopwatch function, so you can time those maggots to the nearest millisecond and get the unlucky stragglers to drop and give you twenty, fifty, or a hundred if you’re feeling particularly cruel. Not that we judge or anything, sir, no, sir.
Argonite high-accuracy quartz movement
Stylish, sophisticated leather strap
Water Resistant: 100 meters
The Stuhrling Original Analog Stainless Steel Sport Aviator Watch is not just an awesomely rugged watch for men, it might also be the best field watch on the market if you’re after something that offers great value all under $100. Sure, it’s not the cheapest option we’ve found, but we believe the extra money will be put to excellent use that’ll come in useful for you more than once or twice.
It’s masculine, eye-catching design is almost enough for us to wax lyrical, but it goes further than this. The dial is easy to read, and it has the current day illuminated with a helpful little red light for keeping track of your week when everything’s moving around like a whirlwind. To top it all off, the supple leather band comes with stainless steel rivets that ensure durability.
A masculine, eye-catching style is both impressive and functional
Easy to read dial with illuminated daylights
Genuine, supple leather band with stainless steel rivets
Water Resistant: 100 meters
- BrandStuhrling Original
- Weight12 ounces
Even though it’s mainly purposed for deep diving, the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch doesn’t look at all out of place on dry land. In fact, it may even work better, as it’s powered by light with no need for a battery which ensures you’re always precisely on time no matter where you are.
The non-abrasive rubber strap is extra-comfortable, while the mineral crystal prevents scratches and other cosmetic damage that other, lesser watches could suffer from. It’s smart enough to rock on your wrist for all occasions, and, while heavy, doesn’t distract you from your day. Of course, it’s water resistant to 200 meters, but you already knew that, we’re sure.
Powered by light with no need for a battery
Japanese Quartz style movement
Non-abrasive rubber strap
Water Resistant: 200 meters
- Weight1.43 pounds
There’s something we really love about military style watches and the Szanto 1000 Series Vintage Inspired Military Field Watch is our final but no less adored product. The white indices make the face simplistic and highly readable, which contrasts with the majestic sword-esque hands that remind you there’s a battle brewing.
Its black dial is no-nonsense while the canvas buckle band suits the desert as much as it does the jungle. With 100 meters of water resistance, you can rely on it to survive a quick dive into the river, especially if an enemy gets a little too close, but don’t stay too long submerged, we don’t want this watch damaged at all.
Vintage-inspired round watch
Black dial with canvas buckle band closure
White indices and sword hands with subdial
Water Resistant: 100 meters
- ModelSZ 1003
- Weight12 ounces
Field Watch Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Choose Our Selection Of Field Watches
Brand - There are many high-quality watch brands which are all aching to be considered the number one for all kinds of activities. We’re not here to play favorites, so instead, we looked for a variety of both recognizable and not-so-recognizable brands to find as broad of a range of options as possible.
Reviews - We don’t have time to test these watches out in the field, but thankfully, we do have time to read reviews from those who’ve been out there and experienced these watches first hand. Through these reviews, we learned about comfort, weight, accuracy, and longevity, which are the most important factors when choosing a watch.
Quality - Being out in the wilderness requires your accessories and hardware to withstand whatever is thrown at them, and so they require the best quality construction. This factor is closely related to both brand and price, so while some watches may seem a little pricey or come from brands you’ve never heard of, it’s because we’ve deemed the quality good enough to include them.
Price - No one should go bankrupt buying anything, and we keep that in mind when making our selection. Unfortunately, field watches cost a little more on average than other products might - it’s what you get when you want specialist products. Still, we searched high and low (and somewhere in between that) to find a wide range of products so that everyone can find something for them.
Features To Look For In Field Watch
Size & Weight - A field watch should be large enough to read in all conditions but not too large it gets in the way nor so large and heavy it weighs you down during your activities as this can lead to fatigue and affect performance
Durability - Everyone wants a rugged watch to last the rest of their lives, and a field watch is one of the most durable and rugged watches you can buy. When buying your field watch, take note of the casing material (stainless steel or titanium are the best options) and the scratch-proof mineral crystal covering the face. This is the least your watch should have, and anything less isn’t worth it.
Strap - The best field watch straps are made from either canvas or leather, as these are materials which are flexible, tough, and easy to clean. Canvas straps are more breathable than leather, so if you’re in hot climates you may be better with that, but these same canvas straps will stain easier than leather will.
You can also wear a rubber-strapped watch, but this may get uncomfortable if you sweat too much and may also not stay secure on your wrist, leading to it slipping around.
Features - While extra features are not essential for making your watch the best watch ever, these features may still come in useful depending on where you are while wearing it. One of the most important features is its luminosity, which helps you see the time in low-light situations. This luminosity should be on the hands, indices, and numbers to give you the clearest reading possible.
Other features include the aforementioned waterproofness. The best field watches will be waterproof by default, but the level of waterproofness will vary depending on construction and style, and will range anywhere from 50 meters to 500 meters - although you must pay a premium price for something like that.
With this waterproofness, you can swim, dive, and wear your watch in other water-based activities without worrying about damaging the watch.
Finally, consider stopwatch features. Few field watches have this, and again it isn’t crucial, but it’s definitely useful to have in certain situations and saves you getting distracted when using the second's hand to keep track of something.
The History Of The Field Watch
It’s always cool to learn about how anything became the popular product it is today and field watches are no different. Here’s a short timeline of the history of the field watch.
1880 - Where it all began. The first wristwatch is invented although it wouldn’t gain popularity for some time. Unlike the watches of today, the face was protected with mesh.
1914 - Tired of the inconvenience of pocket watches, soldiers from WWI wore wrist watches and painted the numbers and hands with Radium so they could read them in the dark.
1919 - Hamilton develops its first wristwatches primarily for soldiers, Navy officers, pilots, engineers, and drivers so they could check the time hands-free.
1938 - The first instance of stainless steel cases is sold by Longines. These watches had contrasting numbers on a black face for easy reading.
1941 -Montreal’s Marathon Watch manufactures watches for the Allied Forces and the famous A-11 field watch is used by the US military.
1953 - Edmund Hillary conquers Everest wearing an early version of Rolex Explorer, which while not a field watch per se shares many features and functions with one.
1968 - Seiko kits out the US troops in Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia with the 6105-8110 watch. Yes, the same one was worn by Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.
1973 - The British Military stocks fabric straps at supply depots. The name G1098 evolved into G10, which is what they’re known by today, although you may have also heard them called the NATO strap.
2014 - Even though it was only five years ago, 2014 feels so much further. This was the year Tudor upgraded their 60s model of the Heritage Ranger and in doing so released what is arguably the best-rugged watch ever.
Field Watch FAQ
Q: What makes a Field Watch?
A: The key components of a field watch include:
- Canvas or Leather band
- Stainless steel, Titanium, or PVD-Coated Casing
- High contrast black dial
- Glare proof crystal
- White numbering, hands (second, minute, and hour), and indices
- Luminous features
- Between 36mm and 50mm wide (although this varies between brands)
A day and date counter and a stopwatch is also useful but not essential as long as you keep on top of things. It should also be analog over digital.
Q: Why do I need a Field Watch?
A: You need a field watch because we say so that’s why! But seriously, unless you’re working in a profession or do a hobby that requires a field watch to make life easier, you don’t really need a field watch. Typically, these jobs or hobbies include military, hunting, and anything that happens outside in a variety of visibilities, conditions, and environments.
However, part of the charm of these watches is that they’re durable while also being stylish. With this in mind, you can invest in a field watch having no intention of using it in the field. This ensures you get a stylish, long-lasting watch that will be the envy of your (wannabe) macho co-workers and have them chasing you down the corridor wondering where you go that fine timepiece from.
Q: How much should I spend on a Field Watch?
A: Only pay what you can afford for a field watch, but remember that the top field watches will cost decidedly more than your average, basic function model. Really, the price you pay should depend on several factors including what features you need it to have, and the time and frequency you’ll need it for - wear a watch once a week will ensure it lasts longer than one you wear every day.
If you plan on wearing it as an everyday watch, it may be worth it to splash out on more expensive models, just so you get your money’s worth. Less frequent wearers might start at low-range models and then only graduate to better field watches as their experience and need grow.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Watch - New Atlas
- Infographic: The Complete History of the Military Field Watch - Sharp Magazine
- Man’s Guide to Field Watches - Real Men Real Style