When we talk about functional watches, the specifications are pretty neat. You expect the dive watch to handle water pressure, whereas a chronograph watch for a racer should record time. All pilots need a watch that comes with a second-time zone, while a hiking watch should come with GPS, among other things.
What is a field watch?
The field watch is a rather simple military watch, and many used to call it “trench watch.” It was designed for soldiers, and its primary purpose remains, to this day, to tell time accurately.
Is the field watch new?
Field watches were created for battles (during the war WWII), and their history goes back in time. The style has gone through several changes over the years, but field watches are always going to stand out with the toughness and reliability.
How to describe the field watch briefly?
Most of the time, a good field watch should feature a stainless steel case, a high-quality movement, and a leather/canvas band.
It should have a glare-proof crystal for easy reading in all sorts of conditions, with a high-contrast on the dial, large numbers, and even luminous hands.
The most important feature of the field watch is the rugged build, as this watch has to face challenging and harsh environments. It’s supposed to be dust and waterproof, and a long-lasting strap to take the difficulties in a battle.
Newer models come in all sorts of styles, but they all have one thing in common: they’re rugged so that they take the possible field conditions.
One of the most representative models within the category is the A-11, and still is a classic watch to get. The watch only gained/lost 30 seconds a day, which seems so much for modern watches.
What features give a good field watch?
When it comes to any military gear, some specific standards are always issued, and it’s the same for the field watches. Accuracy and physical durability are fundamental for the field watches.
Let’s list the main features to look for in a field watch:
- Tough body and build
A dependable field watch needs to be dust and waterproof, but also able of taking extreme temperature conditions. Both its shape and the strap have to withstand the heavy-duty use, without sacrificing on the accuracy.
- The case, strap& dial
Most field watches come with a stainless steel casing, which is tough enough for harshest environments. The case is large but not as large as in the case of a pilot watch.
The straps are made of leather or canvas, taking the use for many years to come. It also has to be comfortable.
The display has to be clear, clutter-free, for allowing straightforward reading in all conditions. The contrast has to be high, with large numerals (typically white) on a black background.
The last thing to do before shopping
The impressive life span and total immunity to continually changing fashion are some of the best parts about the field watches. Some things change, whereas some others don’t. The field watches may never know a complete change in style, which isn’t a bad thing, after all.
Top 10 Best Field Watches
1. Timex Men’s Expedition Metal Field Watch
As we stated previously, shopping on a tight budget shouldn’t be a tragedy when it comes to field watches. The market gives you a lot of affordable options that impress with overall performance and value.
It’s the case of the Timex Men’s Expedition Metal Field Watch which is low-priced and dependable too.
The watch has the classic field watch design and comes with a genuine leather strap. The strap feels comfortable, taking the use for a reasonable amount of time.
The round silver brass case has a flat and brushed bezel, framing large black Arabic numbers. The dial has inset 24-hour notations and date display at 3 o’clock. They are all black and make a good contrast with the white back screen, for easier reading. The Indiglo Light-Up feature on the dial allows visibility for the dial even in dim lit conditions.
You may safely wear the watch for short sessions of swimming as the watch is water-resistant. However, you cannot wear the timepiece when diving or snorkeling.
The mineral glass is scratch-resistant, increasing the toughness of the watch.
The leather strap gives the watch a formal feel, and the battery is supposed to last for ten years.
Let’s have another look at the good things:
- It has a classic and formal appearance
- It features an Indiglo Light-Up feature for better visibility
- It’s well made, comfortable, and water-resistant
- It’s precise and comfortable to read
The cons aren’t major:
- The leather strap may not handle water exposure for a long time
- It runs a bit loud
Beggars cannot be choosers, and the watch still makes it as a dependable and classic option for one’s field activities.
2. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
The first thing you’re going to notice on Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch is its appearance. Black and featuring yellow numbers and hands, the watch resembles the 30’s military watches. It has a beautiful retro feel, and its layout is an eye-catcher for sure.
The watch is comfortable to wear since it comes with an easy to adjust 20mm genuine leather strap. The black dial has date window (at 4 o’clock) and Arabic numerals in increments of 5 (up to 60). It’s a black brass case for the watch, with a mineral glass crystal that is scratch-resistant.
For the low light conditions, you can use the Indiglo light-up feature. The Chronograph may find its use; it’s a 30-minute chronograph measuring to 1/20th second.
The watch doesn’t need much power for accurate operation, which is why the battery may last up to 10 years.
The build is excellent, and the watch comes with water resistance up to 330ft. It has a good weight and feel to it, running pretty quietly.
Listing the essential functional aspects:
- It comes with Chronograph function
- It has a military design and a retro feel
- It’s water-resistant and has a good build
- It runs quietly and comes with Indiglo light-up function
The downsides aren’t many:
- The backlight may be activated by accident
- The clasp has a flimsy feel to it
Regardless of the issues, the watch stands out with its amazing looks, reliability, and list of functions.
3. Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch
The military-inspired Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch is everything one some may want in a field watch.
The green nylon strap with buckle closure combines perfectly with the green dial. The watch includes day and date functions, and it’s easy to set it. The automatic movement makes it accurate and isn’t loud. The more you move your arm, the more power your watch is going to have.
The analog display is easy to read as the Arabic hour and minute markers are relatively large. The dial also comes with silver-toned hands.
The watch is well made and has a stainless steel case and mineral crystal window. It’s also water-resistant to 99ft.
You want to maintain the precision for the watch, so you should wear it for 8 hours at least. You may also wind the mainspring manually.
Here’s the shortlist of positive things:
- It has a green nylon strap and a green dial
- It includes luminous accents, and day/date functions
- It runs on automatic movement
- It’s well made and has a good heft to it
The parts we like less are only a few:
- The crystal seems a bit fragile
- Some expected it to be larger
The watch is a reliable choice within the field watches category and quite a charming looker.
4. Victorinox Men’s 249087 Original Watch
If you like a bit of color on your watch, you should take a look at the Victorinox Men’s 249087 Original XL Black Stainless Steel Watch.
The round watch comes with red enamel top ring, matching the Victorinox label on the dial perfectly. It’s a white dial for the watch. The logo at 12 o’clock, the date window, and the 12/24-hour timekeeping don’t impact the straightforward reading in any way. It’s a clutter-free dial with luminescent hands for more comfortable reading in low light conditions. There are hour markers, date display window, minute track, and brand details, but they all look so lovely together.
It’s a NATO inspired style for the watch that also has 10ATM water resistance. It features a woven nylon band that provides a comfortable fit and feel. The strap has a buckle for closure.
The color combinations (black, white, and red accents) turn the watch into an attractive field watch that doesn’t disappoint on the functions or build either.
Here’s our take on the pros:
- It has an attractive design
- It comes with date window and logo
- It’s water-resistant and runs on Swiss quartz movement
- It’s easy to read and durable
We’re not changing our mind over some minor problems:
- The strap is a bit thin
- Some think that the hands are a tad short
Nice looking, accurate, and reliable, the watch is a good option on any given day.
5. Seiko Men’s SNZG15 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch
Anyone liking the subtle style for their watches is going to find the Seiko Men’s SNZG15 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch a dependable choice.
It’s a round watch that comes with a black dial and a black nylon strap. The dial is clear, whereas the Arabic numeral indices are white for better contrast and more natural reading of the watch. There are also luminous hands for straightforward use in poor light conditions. The day/date window at 3 o’clock doesn’t make the dial busy in any way but slightly increases the utility of the watch.
The automatic-self-wind movement provides accuracy for the watch. The build is excellent, and the clock is ready to take a beat thanks to its stainless steel case and water resistance (up to 330ft). You may safely wear it when snorkeling or swimming, but you shouldn’t take it for a scuba dive session.
Some may find the nylon band a bit stiff in the beginning, but it gets softer and more comfortable after some time. The buckle closure allows an easy adjustment and use.
Well made, the watch’s look never goes out of style, especially when you’re in the military.
The things we like the most about the watch are:
- It has a classic design, and it’s subtle
- Reading and adjusting it is straightforward
- It’s water-resistant and well made
- It has automatic self-wind movement
We’re not concerned about the inherent problems:
- The band is a tad stiff at first
- The accuracy is questionable, according to some
The good outweighs the bad, and the watch is a field model to get.
6. Citizen Watches Men’s BM8180-03E
In all fairness, hands down to Citizen for creating yet another long-lasting and impressive watch like Citizen Watches Men’s BM8180-03E. The craftsmanship is something to talk about, and the clock is ready for a long time use in the field.
The stainless steel watches rocks a round black dial and date window. The stitched canvas band feels rugged and provides a secure yet comfortable fit.
The Japanese-quartz movement is charging in both indoor and natural light, so you don’t need to stress about the watch running out of juice. In addition, the clock is accurate.
The military-inspired watch has luminous hands and simple Arabic numerals for easier reading. The second hand is red, making a nice contrast with the green strap and black dial. The digits are white, and so are the minute/hour hands.
The build recommends the watch for the military activities, with the water resistance (to 330ft) completing the list of features.
The minimalistic dial and the reliability are excellent, whereas the lightweight body and feel may seal the deal.
Let’s check the best things once more:
- It has a minimalist design and a sturdy build
- It features Japanese-quartz movement
- It’s lightweight, yet rugged and long-lasting
- It’s accurate and effortless to read
The flaws shouldn’t make you back down:
- Some expected it to be larger
- The strap feels stiff out of the box
Since it stands out as a classic and sturdy option, the watch is a sure buy anytime.
7. Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch
The popularity of the Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch speaks for itself, but you may want to look at the details too. It’s going to help you understand why the watch is praised so much.
The style recommends it for the field operations, and many stated that it handles mud, sweater, water, and even tears with no problem whatsoever.
The watch comes with a stainless steel case and Hardlex mineral dial window (scratch resistant), presenting water resistance (330ft). You can’t take it when diving, but you can wear it when swimming or snorkeling.
The list of details continues with the fixed stainless steel bezel and the accurate 21-jewel automatic movement. The dial is black with white Arabic numeral hour markers, and luminous hands. There are also minute markers around the outer rim and day/date display at 3 o’clock position. The skeleton case back is a great detail too.
The Seiko Caliber 7S26 automatic movement ensures the precision but also gives the watch around 40 hours of power reserve.
The watch is quiet and has a rugged build. The band is comfortable, sustaining the toughness of the watch.
The black looks, with white numerals and red accents, turn the watch into a nice-looking, always reliable field watch.
Here’s what we have to say about its best parts:
- It’s sturdy, durable, and dependable
- It looks rugged and classic
- It features a stainless steel case and bezel
- It takes the heavy-duty use
Bells and whistles aside, here are the shortcomings:
- Some may feel that the dial is a tad busy
- Strapping it on isn’t as easy as expected
When you don’t know which field watch to get, take the leap of faith with one of the most popular and reliable models within the category. It’s worth every single penny.
8. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch
Almost any timepiece frenzy is going to admit it: a mechanical watch is a fundamental piece in anyone’s collection. If you like a subtle watch that takes both the casual and challenging wear, take a look at the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch H69429931.
The watch has a low-key profile, which shouldn’t mislead you in terms of build or performance. It’s a rugged and rough watch that you can wear it both in the field or in any casual day. Its bold design is a reminder of the original 1969 “Hack” watch.
The green NATO strap with brown calfskin loops and sandblasted case turn it into an elegant, yet so subtle watch. The “old radium” style superluminova hands ease out the reading in low light, but look nice too.
The watch has a 42-hour power reserve, and anyone winding the watch is going to enjoy the use. The stem presents only some resistance when turning, feeling rather smooth and stable. The drilled lugs are a beautiful detail too.
The stainless steel case and sapphire crystal dial recommend it for the heavy-duty use. The watch presents water resistance up to 164ft.
Some may miss the date/day function, but let’s not forget that simplicity is what makes a field watch never lose its charms.
We’ve shortened the functional aspects to the following:
- It has a classic and minimalistic design
- It’s made with high-quality materials
- It’s precise and reliable
- Winding it is a pleasure
You’re always going to find some minor issues, and this one makes no exception:
- Some may expect the case to be larger
- It seems that it doesn’t come with over-wind protection
As long as you love the mechanical watches, you should never sit on the fence about whether you should buy it or not. It’s always a wise investment to make.
9. Hamilton Men’s Khaki Field Black Dial Watch
When you’re paying the high dollar, high-quality materials and impressive performance are to be expected. You’re going to have all that with Hamilton Men’s HML-H70575733 Khaki Field Black Dial Watch which falls in the high top options.
Truth be told, the price is going to throw off some, but true timepiece aficionados know that you have to pay the big buck for the high-end watches.
The Swiss Automatic movement ensures the accuracy of the watch, whereas the sapphire crystal and the titanium case provide its durability and toughness. The crystal is scratch protected, whereas the titanium case handles the harsh environments. On top of everything else, the watch is also water-resistant up to 330ft.
The black PVD titanium case is combined with fixed black PVD titanium bezel and black textile bracelet. The watch isn’t just rugged, but also subtle and cool looking. The skeleton case back completes the tough vibe for the watch. It is rough, and it looks rough.
The black dial features luminous hands and Arabic numeral hour markers, for straightforward reading. The date displays at 3 o’clock position doesn’t render it to be busy.
Tough and rough, the watch is one of the best investment to make.
Here are the best things:
- It’s made with high-quality materials
- It’s water-resistant and has titanium case and bezel
- It’s accurate and long-lasting
- It’s simple and dependable
The shortcomings don’t make it as deal breakers:
- There’s a risk for the glare in some situations
- The clasp isn’t titanium
Even if the watch isn’t all roses and rainbows, it’s still one fantastic choice to have in mind when the price is the last thing you check on a clock.
10. Oris Big Crown ProPilot Date
If you’re looking for a pilot watch and don’t mind paying the extra buck, you should make the splurge with the Oris Big Crown ProPilot Date.
The watch has just the right size, looking great on any wrist. The looks are amazing since it rocks a military green strap (it’s textile fabric), black dial and white numerals. There’s only a touch of red on the second hand, making a lovely contrast with the black dial and white numerals. The luminous hands ease out the reading in low light situations.
The brushed steel case is going to handle excessive use for a reasonable amount of time, whereas the sapphire crystal is resistant to scratches. There’s 330ft water resistance for the watch, which only recommends it for water-related activities.
There are 26 Jewels for the self-winding automatic movement, ensuring the accuracy for the watch. The screw-down crown counts for easy use.
The fabric strap feels comfortable and has a durability feel to it. It’s easy to adjust it thanks to the deployment buckle.
The watch includes a Certificate of Authenticity.
Here’s what we like a lot about the watch:
- It’s made with high-quality materials
- It features self-winding automatic movement
- It’s precise and you can rely on it
- It’s water-resistant and handles the intense use
The downsides are minor:
- Some may not find the fabric strap the right choice
- The price is steep, so check your wallet before buying
No matter the problems, the watch isn’t going to let you down, and you may never have to buy another watch ever again.
FAQs on field watches
Q: Does the watch movement count?
A: Even if the field watches may look the same to you, they may not have the same mechanism. It’s a rookie mistake to make an opinion on a watch only by considering its looks. The watch movement makes the difference between the field watches, rending some to be more expensive than others.
Q: Is the quartz movement the best option for a field watch?
A: Quartz movement is the most natural movement within the field watch category. You only need to check the second hand to see if your watch has quartz movement or not. It’s quartz movement when the second hand presents individual ticks. A battery powers the quartz watch, which makes it highly accurate and easy to use. You only have to replace the battery any now and then.
Q: Is the mechanical movement any better?
A: Collectors and timepiece aficionados fancy the mechanical watches. The second hand has a sweeping motion, and the mechanical watch needs manual labor for power. You may have to wind the clock every single day, or several times per week. No need for changing the battery, but check your wallet before buying as the mechanical watches are always expensive.
Q: What’s to say about the automatic movement?
A: The automatic movement is another type of mechanical movement, and it uses the wearer’s wrist motion for storing energy. You don’t need to wind the watch manually, and you may never worry about power when you’re wearing it daily.
Q: Can you find sophisticated field watches?
A: It’s pretty incredible, but the field watches have kept their popularity even if the smartwatches hit the market. Any field watch owner is going to agree when we say that the beauty of these watches comes from their simple design.
The field watch didn’t have to go through changes to remain on top since it’s the simplicity that helps it stand out.
Q: Are the field watches expensive?
A: Since they’re not very complicated, you may find great field watches for an attractive price. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the plunge with a Rolex if you feel like it (it’s around $6,500), but you may find an incredible field watch for less than $100.
Q: Are we going to use the field watches in the future too?
A: In all fairness, we all fall for the engineering feats and bejeweled watches, but it doesn’t mean that the design of field watches is ordinary in any way.
It may come as a surprise to you, but timepiece collectors out there are expecting the new collections every single year. The evolution of the field watches isn’t high-speed, but that may be the exact reason for which the field watches still own a good place in the high top of watches.