Find the best field watches at the best prices with our thorough selection of reviews and our detailed field watch shopping guide. The origins of a field watch are incredibly simple. Soldiers needed the ability to accurately tell time in the field of battle, and the original field watches combined durable and rugged designs with exceptionally reliable timekeeping movements. Over the years, that definition hasn’t changed much. As watches have become overburdened with complex chronographs and smart features, these military style watches have retained their commitment to simplicity.
And while some of today’s field watches offer more features for use in the great outdoors, that commitment to reliability has remained. But it can be hard to identify a rugged looking watch from an actually sturdy model. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 15 of the best field watches and a helpful guide for navigating your choices.
TD;LR - Best Field Watches:
- Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
- Luminox Atacama Field Day Watch
- Casio Men’s Sport Analog Dive Watch
- Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Watch
- Victorinox 249087 Original XL Watch
- Bertucci 12022 A-2T Titanium Field Watch
- Orient Men’s “Defender Field Watch
- Marathon Military Field Watch
- Wenger Roadster Black Night watch
- 5.11 Tactical Water Resistant Field Watch
- Citizen BM8180-03E Watch
- Seiko Solar Blue Dial Watch
- Timex Men’s Expedition Scout 40 Watch
- Citizen AT0200-05E Chronograph Canvas Watch
- GPW Military Titanium Watch
1. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
The Timex Expedition is a little more complicated than the traditional men's field watch, but they've done a great job of making everything clean to read without cluttering up the face. The light-up dial makes reading the time at night stress free, and it comes with a mineral quartz face to protect it from scratches and cracks. The 30 minute chronograph can measure time in segments as low as 1/20 of a second. And if you're looking for larger and chunkier watches, this is a good choice for you. It sports a bulky face and a comfortable nylon strap that's adjustable to suit a variety of wrist sizes.
2. Luminox Atacama Field Day Watch
If you're looking for something a little more no frills and in the classic style of the original field adventure watches, the Luminox Atacama is a fantastic - if somewhat expensive - vintage field watch. Its tactical design is pragmatic above all else with easy to read numbers, glow in the dark time markers, and clear windows for the day and date. You won't find a number of unnecessary features here, but that's the point. Instead, it's a solidly made and very comfortable timepiece that takes its homage to the combat field watch design seriously and employs a sturdy but comfortable band.
3. Casio Men’s Sport Analog Dive Watch
Casio's model may technically be a diving watch, but the combination of durable materials and a streamlined interface allows for it to effectively double as a fieldwatch. The rotating bezel is a nice function that may get usage from people looking for more precise timekeeping, but apart from that, its only notable features are a day and date function. And since this is a Casio watch, you can expect an incredible amount of value for your dollar. This is a remarkably cheap field watch with a ticket price of just about $20 in total.
4. Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Watch
Hamilton is known for creating some of the best mid-range automatic watches around, and the H70555533 is par for the course for what aficionados can expect from this celebrated brand. The build on this automatic field watch is phenomenal across the board. The leather band offers fine stitching to improve its durability, and the stainless steel case is resistant to damage and scratching. And it offers some of the best face protection around with its glare resistant sapphire glass surface. The face may be a bit cluttered with numbers, but it's a largely minimalist choice that evokes the look of classic military field watches.
5. Victorinox 249087 Original XL Watch
Victorinox is a name that might not be familiar to you, but you've almost certainly heard of their most popular branding: Swiss Army. These watches and knives are known for their quality reputation, but they don't have to cost you a fortune. Case in point: this roughly $100 model. It's a simple watch through and through, employing a simple black and white design that extends from the case to the band. But the real magic is underneath the surface. Victorinox makes use of some of the best Swiss automatic movements in the business, and that means that you can expect this watch to last you a while.
6. Bertucci 12022 A-2T Titanium Field Watch
Stainless steel field watches are exceptionally common. Titanium alternatives are far less so. That's why it's refreshing to see this model for Bertucci for a price clocking in at less than $150. If you're looking for a timepiece that can survive just about anything, you'll find it here. The titanium case has been affixed to a low maintenance nylon band, and the markers and Arabic numbers read nice and clearly even without the ultra bright luminous dots that decorate the hour markers. The use of titanium extends to the screw-down crown and lug bars as well.
7. Orient Men’s “Defender Field Watch
The Defender by Orient is a little more complex in design than many other automatic field watches, but it's a stylish take on a classical look that will look as good on you in the board room as it will out on the trail. Bright and legible hour markers and hands are accompanied by a two subdial chronograph that offers you tracking in military time while reminding you the day of the week. It's a luxurious way to convey some fairly basic information, but it makes for a mechanical field watch that can also serve as a great conversation piece.
8. Marathon Military Field Watch
Finding a women's field watch can be a difficult task. These may be durable watches, but they also have a tendency to be heavy and chunky in design. The Marathon isn't exactly built for women, but it's one of the closest things you'll find to a field watch not explicitly built for men. But that doesn't mean sacrifices have been made in the build quality. It sports a slimmer frame and is made of a high-impact fibershell that keeps the weight low while retaining durability. The face is protected by an above average sapphire glass cover, and it utilizes a satisfying dual winding movement.
9. Wenger Roadster Black Night watch
Wenger offers a diverse variety of Black Night watches, but we picked the Roadster model due to the simplicity of its design. Any unnecessary flourishes like chronographs have been stripped out in favor of a streamlined quartz outdoorsman watch design that opts for just a simple rotating bezel. That makes it great for tracking your trail times or keeping an eye on the time while hiking, but the mid-range water resistance means that you shouldn't be using this as a diving watch. Adding a little bit of depth to the design is a textured background that creates a very nice sense of contrast to an otherwise simple aesthetic.
10. 5.11 Tactical Water Resistant Field Watch
The 5.11 is another model that can work ably as a women's field watch. It's similar to the Marathon in its slimmer design and its use of a lightweight but still sturdy resin surface for the case, but it has a stripped down design all its own. The vertically lined texture of the face creates some depth to a pure black surface design that might otherwise be boring, and it tracks the hour in military time without the need for any additional chronograph subdials. A unidirectional ratcheting diving bezel rounds out the package, but it's not equipped for full-on scuba diving.
11. Citizen BM8180-03E Watch
Citizen's BM8180-03E is a relatively inexpensive self winding watch that doesn't sacrifice the core values that you should expect from a high-quality tactical watch. If anything, it brings something new to the table with Citizen's original and acclaimed Eco-Drive technology. Since it's powered by solar energy, you don't need to worry about your battery going bad, and it's a nice choice if you're trying to minimize your negative footprint on the environment. Simple Arabic numerals outline the hour and five minute markers, and Citizen has employed luminescent paint to ensure that you can easily read the time even at night.
12. Seiko Solar Blue Dial Watch
This Seiko model watch is distinct in the simplicity of its design. The bold and exceedingly large Arabic numerals only occupy the four quadrants of the watch, and they sport a bright white design that's evocative while also being practical. Set against the untextured black background, it's a bold approach to a streamlined aesthetic. And while it may not employ the acclaimed Eco-Drive technology that Citizen is known for, it's still a solar watch that can run well without having to worry about ever replacing your battery. The Hardlex dial is proprietary to Seiko and a nice step up from traditional mineral glass.
13. Timex Men’s Expedition Scout 40 Watch
If you're working on a tight budget but you still want a timepiece that can meet the rigorous standards field watches are known for Timex has a model that can fit your demands. The Expedition Scout 40 is available for well under $50, and it doesn't sacrifice quality in the process. Its water resistance may be below average, but it promises a quality build and a comfortable nylon band that's easy to maintain. The simple black face tracks time in both military and standard measurements, and it even comes with a dedicated date window located at the 3 o'clock marker.
14. Citizen AT0200-05E Chronograph Canvas Watch
The AT0200-05E is another entry in Citizen's Eco-Drive collection, and for a modest increase in price, it brings a nice new feature to the series: the inclusion of a three subdial chronograph. Whether you're looking to track time in milliseconds, keep tabs on military time measurements, or track your excursions in segments of up to an hour, you have the options right at your fingertips here. The hands are nice and large, and they also come coated in luminescent paint to help visibility underwater or at night. The plain black face prevents the loaded features on this watch from being too overwhelming.
15. GPW Military Titanium Watch
The GPW military watch is made from high-end titanium, so it can survive just about any damage you ditch out. This German watch reserves the minute markers and Arabic numbering to the bezel, and that allows the face to sport a refreshingly minimal design. Expressive hour markers are brightly lit and provide a nice contrast to the plain black face, and the day and date windows are clear and accessible without being obtrusive. If you prefer a stripped down aesthetic that still looks great, this is a watch that will suit you well.
Best Field Watches Buyer’s Guide
By any standards, field watches tend to be pretty simplistic timepieces. That’s actually part of their appeal. But there are a few important metrics that can affect your purchasing decision. These are features that distinguish top field watches from models not worth paying attention to.
What’s the Best Material?
Durability is undoubtedly the biggest selling point of a field watch, but there’s a decent range of flexibility in what these watch cases are made from. While all of the watches listed should serve you well out in the wild, there are distinctions in terms of quality.
- Brass isn’t a commonly used material for a field watch because it’s the softest of the options available. But it’s a fairly prevalent choice for Timex watches. If you aren’t expecting to put your watch through the ringer and are trying to save money, it can be a sensible option.
- Stainless steel is the baseline standard for most field watches. It’s a strong metal that looks great and isn’t prone to scratching. But if you do a lot of swimming, it may require a little more maintenance since it’s relatively prone to corrosion.
- Titanium is incredibly durable, but it’s also more expensive and rarer to find. The Bertucci and GPW models are the only watches we have listed that uses titanium, but they’re sensible choices if you’re really worried about durability.
- Military style watch cases are often made of resin. This high-impact plastic is more lightweight than metal alternatives, and it’s generally very resilient, but the quality of resin can vary a bit more significantly than traditional metals.
Finally, you should consider the glass that’s used to protect the face of your watch. The two main choices here are mineral glass and sapphire glass. Both are very shock resistant, but sapphire is easily the more resistant (and expensive) of the two. Seiko often makes use of a proprietary glass known as Hardlex that sits squarely in the middle in terms of quality.
What’s the Best Movement Type?
Swiss automatic and Japanese quartz are the two types of movements you’ll find in all of our field watch reviews. Japanese quartz is powered by a battery (though this can sometimes be circumvented through solar powered options like the Citizen Eco-Drive), whereas automatic watches are powered by the movement of your wrist. That lends a distinct practical advantage to a quartz field watch. They can continue to provide you with reliable performance even when they aren’t consistently worn, and they tend to be highly accurate.
Since automatic movements require the motion of your wrist to drive the motor, they have a tendency to fall behind on timekeeping if they’re not worn for an extended period of time. That said, the level of craftsmanship that goes into a real Swiss automatic watch is a feat of engineering, and they’re often preferred by watch connoisseurs. You can also expect them to continue to work practically into perpetuity without a battery replacement.
So what about digital watches? While you can find a digital field watch, they tend to be rarer. Accuracy and simplicity are the cornerstones of a good field watch, and digital has a tendency to run contrary to those philosophies. As such, we’ve decided to avoid them for our list.
How Water Resistant Are These Watches?
Almost all of the watches on our list are rated for a water resistance of 100 meters. A waterproof field watch with this rating can be worn for swimming or snorkeling, but it isn’t intended for more serious diving. If you want a field watch you can go scuba diving in, the Luminox Atacama and the GPW are waterproof field watches worth your time. A few of the models only offer a water resistance of 50 meters. While they’ll be resistant to splashes, they shouldn’t be worn underwater for extended periods of time.
The best field watch is one that will continue to provide you with quality timekeeping without much need for maintenance, and all of the models we’ve featured here fit that bill. The more specific features like case quality, the inclusion of chronographs, and style are going to come down to a matter of personal preference, but you can count on every watch here to meet the standards you should expect from a reliable and authentic field watch.If you liked our article on field watches, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.