Best Field Watches Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Field watches are for those who want something simple out of their watch. They might have a few small features, but most importantly, they will tell the time with precision and clarity. They are often designed to be used in the outdoors so they are also built with strength and durability in mind. Although they are stated to be built for the outdoors, there is no denying that there is an element of superior style when faced with a watch that is simple and elegant, rather than one that is weighed down by all of those extra features.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Can choose from a variety of looks
Top 10 Picks
1. Timex Field Chronograph
Can choose from a variety of looks
Tachymeter is mostly unnecessary
The Timex Expedition is a great watch for someone who wants a field watch for its stated purpose, to go out in the field. It has extra features, but only the ones that you would need.
The Expedition has some extra features that make it incredibly useful for timing in any situation you may need it. It comes with a light up watch face so you can continue to check the time, even in low light situations. However, the main feature of the Expedition is its specialty as a chronograph. This Timex is so finely tuned that it can record time up to the twentieth of the second. This is a great choice for a comfortable, but stylish, timekeeper.
The Expedition has been designed with durability in mind. Timex is well known for their commitment to durability. This watch is waterproof up to a depth of one hundred meters. On top of that, you can choose the style of band to go along with it. There's leather for if you want to emphasize the Expedition's style, or fabric if you want don't want to worry about scuffing your watch when you take it outdoors.
Cost and Value
The Expedition is a top of the line watch, and does it all at a very reasonable price point. It will last you a long time and it can be taken anywhere. This is the watch to take if you are an outdoorsman or need a watch that can be taken anywhere.
2. Bertucci A-2T
Strong titanium construction
Comfortable and durable band
Good price for materials
The face is a little smaller than other field watches
The Bertucci is an exemplary example of keeping it simple. What sets the A-2T apart is the thoughtful and high quality construction that goes into its individual parts.
The face of the watch is built out of titanium and mineral glass crystal. The titanium is comfortable and durable. Even the clasps holding the watch to the band are made of titanium. Titanium is strong and light weight. It won't scratch of dent even in the roughest conditions. The glass covering the watch face is scratch proof and strong as well.
The Bertucci's band is made of reinforced nylon that is comfortable and strong,. It is made by layering the nylon for extra strength. The clasps holding the band together are also made of titanium so that there is no chance of damage occurring against the watch.
Cost and Value
The Bertucci is another affordable watch. It is more expensive than some more low-end watches, but that is well made up for by the thoughtfulness put into its construction. It doesn't bear any extra fancy features, but this only makes for a mark in the Bertucci's favor. This is a great watch for someone who wants something that will last.
3. Seiko 5 SNK807
Looks more expensive than its price
Clear and legible
Keeps time up to the day of the month
Might want to replace the band
The Seiko 5 is a very stylish looking watch that keeps it very simple by focusing on telling the time. It is also convenient because it uses your natural motion to keep itself wound.
The Seiko 5 is an automatic watch. That means that it uses your movement throughout the day to keep propelling itself forward. As long as you move around every couple days or so, you should never have to worry about it losing power. This is great for keeping in line with the simplicity that makes up the rest of its style.
The Seiko 5 keeps itself in simple style by focusing on what is important. It prioritizes comfort with a canvas band that hangs well on the wrist. The durability of the watch face is achieved with a stainless steel case and hardlex glass face. The watch tells time up to the month and day with a clear style.
Cost and Value
The Seiko is simple like the Bertucci, and a little cheaper as well. It is made of slightly cheaper material. This is a very stylish field watch. The watch face is especially stylish and looks better than its cheap price tag implies. This watch wouldn't look out of place in the outdoors or in the office.
4. Marathon WW194003
High quality construction
Self-wind and automatic
Some consider it too small
This Marathon watch takes its military pedigree seriously. It is designed to live up to the quality expected from military personnel and is rated by their standards of quality.
High Standard of Quality
The Marathon is built to stand up to the standards expected of military personnel. The case is built of fibreshell, which is very durable while staying light weight. You won't even feel this one on your arm. The crystal is made of sapphire for unrivalled clarity and hardness. The lume of the watch hands is provided by tritium tubes, which is a phosphorescent isotope that self-illuminates for years.
The Marathon uses two types of motion to keep itself wound. You won't need a battery with this one, and more often than not you won't have to wind it either. It is an automatic watch that uses your daily motions to keep itself wound. The makers are aware that sometimes your watch will be sitting on a bedside table for a few days. If the self-wind fails and your watch stops. It can be manually wound as well.
Cost and Value
The Marathon Military Field Watch is closer to a luxury watch than the previous items on this list. The pieces that make it up, and the construction of its mechanism is quite high quality. If you are willing to spend a little more for your watch, the marathon is a great pick.
5. Hamilton Men's H70455733
Nice contrast between display and case
Band might be a little small for larger wrists
This is another popular luxury watch with high quality construction. The high quality construction of this watch extends onto the great band that this one has as well its well made face.
The Hamilton Khaki supplies a clean look made up of high quality parts and construction. It has a stainless steel case that contrasts nicely with the black dial and white numerals. The crystal is made of sapphire glass. The band is made of calfskin and is very comfortable and lightweight.
The Khaki Field Watch has all the information you might need in a very easy to read display. It uses a dual display to show both the hours, minutes, and seconds in one place. No having to do multiplication to find out what time it is. The illuminated hands of the watch will point to exactly what time it is because of the second, smaller display of the seconds and minutes beside the hour markers.
Cost and Value
The Hamilton Khaki Field Watch is another watch that is in the higher price range. You won't feel like it was a bad deal once you've bought it. This is a very popular choice for those looking to expand into the more luxurious side of the watch market.
6. Luminox Atacama Field
Larger watch face
Might be too large in the band
The Atacama is another watch on the more expensive end. It has a very classic look that remains stylish to this day and well into the future.
The Luminox uses a quartz construction to keep the time so it uses a battery. It has a carbon fiber shell for maximum durability and lightness. The band is made of a faux-leather that looks and feels as good as the real thing. The dial is made of sapphire glass that eliminates glare to make the watch even more easily read.
The Luminox Atacama Field Watch sports a look that reminds one of the century past. It has an off-white face and a nostalgic brown color to the band and time markers. This sort of style gives off a classic feel that is timeless. This watch would be great for everyday use at work if you want to look good.
Cost and Value
The Atacama is another field watch in the higher price range. Between this, the Hamilton, and the Marathon, a lot of your choice is going to be based on the specific look that you want to go for. This watch has a larger face and a more classic appearance.
7. Citizen Eco-Drive
Battery charges itself
Can be difficult to read
Many who are in the market looking for a field watch prefer the more classic style from which they came, but if you are looking for something a little more modern, then give the Eco-Drive a shot.
The Eco-Drive runs on a quartz and battery system, but unlike other watches with this system where you need to replace the battery after a few years, the Eco-Drive is rechargeable by light so that it sustains itself. This is great because you won't have to worry about maintenance with this watch, unlike many others.
The Eco-Drive is also unique in its more modern styling. This can be seen from the very contemporary font of the watch face, that uses roman numerals, instead of the Arabic, and also the stark black on silver look. The band is also quite modern, foregoing leather for a more futuristic polyurethane material.
Cost and Value
This is a great watch with a unique style among field watches. It will make a statement when compared to its brethren. It also requires less maintenance than other field watches. It does cost more than some of the higher ranked field watches on this list.
8. Szanto Men's SZ 1001
Easy to read
Sub-dial for seconds
No setting for night time
The Szanto is an affordable choice for someone looking for a vintage styled field watch that still maintains high quality construction.
The Szanto has been built with a bygone time in mind. The company says it has been inspired by a time when people took long ocean voyages to far off parts of the world. The rounded font of the watch face coupled with the rough, but stylish, band makes one think of adventure.
The Szanto uses the quartz style for its timing, so you will have to replace the batteries once in a while. The case is made of black stainless steel with a mineral crystal glass. It sports a subdial for counting seconds which reduces the clutter of your watch face. The band is made of canvas on the outside and faux leather on the inside. The canvas encloses the buckle for increased comfort.
Cost and Value
The Szanto is a cheap, no frills watch with a good style. It is more of an outdoorsy or travel watch that is great for a more casual setting.
9. Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry
Great value for price
Real leather band
Band is stiff at first
This is a mid-range watch from one of the most recognizable companies around. Victorinox's penchant for quality comes through on this classic watch.
Well-Made Swiss Watches
Switzerland is known for the watches that they make, and Victorinox's Swiss Army brand has become the poster child of their high quality construction. This watch is no exception and will treat you reliably for the entire time you own it.
The Victorinox has the look of a wealthy person's watch. The gold case contrasts nicely with the dark brown of the watch face. The band is made of real leather that needs to be worked in, but will fit you extremely comfortably after some use. The font of the watch face has a bit of a royal tinge as well.
Cost and Value
The Victorinox is a watch that looks like it is more expensive than it is. When you get it, you'll feel like you have got a great deal. This is due to its great look of gold on brown and its high quality construction.
10. Nixon Corporal SS A346
Multiple styles to choose from
A bit on the heavier side
The Nixon Corporal is strong, all metal watch that's focus is on simplicity and durability.
The Nixon is has a strong construction made of extra hardy materials. The band is made of mobile stainless steels bands. The case is made of enamel. The window is made of mineral glass. It uses a quartz battery. This is a good watch for people who are extra active.
The Nixon Corporal comes in many different styles that you can choose from. What they all have in common is a modern, eye-catching flair. The strong construction of the Nixon watch is reflected in its powerful look.
Cost and Value
The Nixon Corporal is good value because of how long it will last you. This is a watch that you can take anywhere and it complements an active lifestyle very well.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Having the ability to take your field watch anywhere is very important, and having a stylish watch is what makes that possible when you wear it at work or out and about. In most cases you don't really need a watch anymore, so its ability to function as an accessory is as important as its functionality. When buying a stylish field watch it is important to look for something simple and unadorned. A lack of gaudy colors or an overemphasis on decoration also don't fit the style of a field watch. Field watches are based on the simple timepieces used by military men in the first and second world wars so that is a good frame of reference when looking for a good-looking timepiece. Many field watches try to match the style of that bygone era, while others keep the simplicity of those watches, while updating the look of the watch face. Vintage styled watches usually stick to a brown and white motif with clear, Arabic styled numbering. Roman numerals and shining metal are more in line with modern field watches.
The look of the watch face of a field watch is what signifies if it is a field watch or not. It should be simple and clear. A quick glance should be enough to tell the relevant information that you may need. Most field watches stick to having a single dial that tells the time. There will often be a record of the month and day. Some watches will have sub-dials of some kind, or some minor features, but the less intrusive they are, the better. The contrast between the hands, the face, and the numerals will help you understand read your watch. The materials of the watch face should be durable enough that they can be taken into any situation you may need. A watch that can survive the elements, while also fitting in at the office would be best.
There is a wide variety of bands among field watches. The choice you make when buying yours will mostly depend on what suits you best. There are bands made of stainless steel, canvas, nylon, faux leather, and leather. Each of these are good for something a little different. A leather band is comfortable and looks the best, but may get damaged and scuffed when engaged in more demanding activity. The nylon and canvas bands are probably the best for outdoor use, but they also stand out a little more in an urban setting, and they also will usually have less comfortable metal bands keeping some of their pieces in place. The metal bands are quite heavy-duty as well, but they weigh considerably more than the other styles of band, and might be too noticeable feeling on your wrist. The best bands will have a construction that is stylish and durable.
The stated purpose of a field watch is to be able to be taken anywhere and still be legible and working. In this way, the best field watches are the most durable. You need a watch that will never let you down, especially if you're working in a rough trade, or go on long outdoors excursions. Durable watches have solid construction in the watch face, in the band, and also in the connections between the two. The most common problem most people face when using a watch is having the band break away from watch face. Look for clasps that are made of metal, or that are well-sewn onto the watch face. The specific parts of the watch should be durable too, so look out for cases that are made of carbon materials, titanium or stainless steel. The crystals should be made of mineral or sapphire.
Comfort is another important part of owning a field watch. Seeing as how it should be easy to take it anywhere, how it feels on your wrist is of the utmost importance. The foremost element of a comfortable watch is getting one that fits to your size. When buying watches online, it is often hard to tell what size the watch actually is. Try to get an idea of how large your wrist is, because you will often be surprised by what you get compared to what you thought you were getting. Another thing that will help with wearing your watch comfortably will be the weight of the watch. Look for materials that are lighter and less noitceable on your wrist. Carbon materials often weigh less than metal materials in the watch face. Cloth materials usually weigh less than leather or metal on the band.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
In the pursuit of durability it is always good to try to find a field watch that is also waterproof. This is most often portrayed on the face of the watch as WR, followed by a number. Most watches are waterproofed to about 100 meters of depth, but that can be misleading. For your own comfort of mind look for a watch rated for WR 100, but remember that it is not suggested taking a field watch diving, there is a specific kind of watch for that. On the other hand, it is totally okay to take a properly waterproofed field watch swimming or snorkeling. It is actually preferable to find a watch that you don't need to remove from your wrist every time you find yourself near some water.
Field watches are so named because they hearken back to the days of war where they first became popularized. The field in field watch is referring to the field of battle. Other common names for the field watch are the officer's watch or the military watch. What people think of when they think of a wristwatch actually comes from the first and second world wars. Wristwatches slowly pushed out pocket watches because of the convenience in being able to check the time hands free. This made them much more useful for jobs where people had to use both of their hands.
The modern field watch is so named because they more closely resemble those watches of old. As time moved on from world war two, the technology also moved on as well. Watches slowly became more and more specialized and took on more and more complex features. Field watches are distinct among modern watches for their stripped back design and appearance.
Other Factors to Consider
Just because field watches are known for their distinct lack of features, doesn't mean that they never have any. What makes for a successful field watch is the legibility of the watch, rather than the simplicity of it. There are a few features that can seen among the watches on this list that you might find useful.
Some watches may have a chronograph, or a stopwatch. The amount of timers on a watch may vary, but the more minute the timer, the better. Having a chronograph can be useful for people who are into sports like sprinting. Coupled with a comfortable band, having a field watch can be as useful as having an armband that carries your music player.
A common feature on a field watch is the ability to also tell the month and day that it currently is. This is useful for those of us who sometimes forget what day of the week it is. This could be useful for someone who works with many deadlines.
One of the most common things that those who buy field watches do is change the band on them. Many who buy field watches do it for the style. For those who are doing that, it is nice to have the option of fitting the watch face that you would like to the band you would like. Many switch their cloth or nylon bands to a more elegant leather band. Another reason to do this is that many of the stock bands that come with watches are less comfortable than the ones you can find on the market. Another good strap to look into buying for yourself is a NATO strap. Buying yourself a custom band to fit on your field watch could be the difference between a comfortable fit, and the perfect fit.
Field watches come at many different prices. They can range from the double digits to the triple digits. The differences between them are mostly in the materials that make up the watch, and the power source that keeps them running.
Cheaper field watches will probably be made with a band that is made up of cloth or faux leather. Their watch faces will usually be made of stainless steel or some other kind of metal. The engines thatv power them will probably be made of quartz.
The more expensive the field watch you plan buying gets, the more fancy those materials will become. Faux leather becomes hardier leather. Quartz batteries become intricate mechanical watches, or watches with automatic winding mechanisms. The watch faces move from steel to carbon fiber.
Of course, all of the watches on this list are great deals at their price.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is the difference between a quartz and a mechanical watch?
Watches can keep themselves wound in different ways. There isn't a lot of space inside a watch, which is why watch makers are held in such high esteem for their very particular work. Those mechanisms inside a watch need to keep a constant source of power so that they can remain ticking at such a regular rate. The two major power sources that keep watches wound are through quartz crystals that power batteries, and mechanical watches that use the power of winding to keep moving.
Quartz watches use a quartz crystal that is powered by an electric battery to time themselves. The quartz rocks back and forth at a very precise rate that allows the watch to time itself perfectly. An electric circuit counts the vibrations of the quartz, which is the same every time, and every time it counts enough of them the second hand will move one second ahead. Quartz is a very easy mineral to find, and it doesn't take very much to create enough power for a moving watch. You won't have to replace the battery of your watch for a few years at a time, which makes owning a quartz watch a pretty painless affair.
A mechanical watch uses a wound spring to move many tiny gears that are perfectly timed to take exactly a second to move the watch forward one notch. The moving of the gears is what creates the characteristic ticking sound of mechanical watches. More advanced watches that belong under the umbrella of mechanical watches are automatic watches. Automatic watches use the natural movement of the user's wrist and arm to wind the watch itself. Most mechanical watches will last around forty or so hours without needing to be wound. Automatic watches are very useful as long as you move them around every few days. Mechanical watches are perceived to have some more prestige than quartz watches, due mostly in part to the amount of workmanship that it takes to create one.
q: What do different watch sizes mean?
There are four major elements when looking at the size of a watch. They are case diameter, case thickness, band diameter and band thickness. The most important thing when choosing a watch size is to find one that suits the size of your wrist. Too large will look somewhat flashy, while too small will look less rugged.
Case diameter refers to size of your watch face when looking straight at it. It's important to try to find a watch face that doesn't look too large or too small on your wrist. Professional looking watch face diameters range from 45 mm to 38 mm. A 38 mm watch face looks best on a 6-inch wrist, while a 45 mm watch face is more suited to an 8-inch wrist.
Case thickness refers to height of your watch face when looking at it from the side. These usually range from 6 mm to 10 mm. The most important aspect in choosing your case thickness is to make sure it looks proportional to the case diameter.
Band width is self-explanatory, but there is a useful rule when choosing the band for your watch. The band should be half the case diameter. This is especially important to remember if you plan on finding yourself a custom band.
Finding your band length is as easy as measuring your wrist. It is easiest to use some thread wrapped loosely around the wrist and then measure it from there. Most wrists will fall under the standard length of band of six to eight inches.
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- Infographic: The Complete History of the Military Field Watch, Article ,
- Quartz clocks and watches, Article ,