The 18 Best Field Watches

Calling back to their military roots, field watches can be defined as simple, durable wristwatches built for everyday outdoor use. Field watches are not as fancy as luxury watches and normally don’t include a lot of extra features such as a compass or a lunar phase indicator. In other words, field watches are straightforward timekeeping tools, with legibility and durability being their main selling points.

Sadly, shopping for a field watch is not as straightforward. There are dozens of products on the market, each hoping to be strapped on your wrist. Seiko alone offers at least 10 good field watches. For watch enthusiasts, shopping for a field watch is easy. But for most regular folks, the ones who are not even aware there is more than one type of wristwatch, the shopping experience can be confusing. If that last sentence made you nod in agreement, then this field watch guide is for you.

Timex Expedition Scout TW4B12500Timex Expedition Scout TW4B12500

A part of the Expedition Scout Collection, the Timex TW4B12500 is a quartz field watch that offers a simple, no-frills setup, making it a perfect accessory for casual use. It has a clean dial with large numbers, including a 24-hour military time format, and a date window at the 3 o’clock mark. The hands are luminous, ensuring visibility at all times. Timex offers different color configurations for the case and dial, along with the option to choose between a genuine leather strap and a nylon strap.


Timex Expedition Field Chronograph T49905Timex Expedition Field Chronograph T49905

The Timex Expedition Field Chronograph T49905 is designed for both business use and outdoor excursions such as camping and hiking, with its nature-inspired brown color adding to its rugged look. A quartz watch with a strap made of calfskin and a 330-feet water resistance, the T49905 is both durable and easy to read. It has a 30-minute chronograph, with the three sub-dials tracking minutes, seconds, and 1/20th of a second. A date window is also present on the dial, at the 4 o’clock.


Seiko 5 SNK807Seiko 5 SNK807

The Seiko 5 SNK807 is a field watch that screams masculinity. Everything about it is manly, from the durable blue strap right down to the sword-shaped luminous hands. The SNK807 is a self-winding field watch with a 40-hour power reserve. It has a 37-millimeter case made of stainless steel, a textured crown, and a scratch-resistant Hardlex dial window. On the dial, the SNK807 has clear Arabic numerals for both minutes and hours, with the former being the more prominent, and a day and date window at the 3 o’clock.


Szanto Military Field Watch SZ 1001Szanto Military Field Watch SZ 1001

The Szanto Military Field Watch SZ 1001 is one of the most no-nonsense field watches on this list, featuring a simple black dial with large numbers and a second sub-dial above the 6 o’clock. An analog watch with a Japanese quartz movement, the SZ 1001 has a 40-millimeter black ion-plated stainless steel case connected to a black canvas strap with a black PVD buckle. It has a mineral crystal, which makes it scratch-resistant, and black-outlined luminous hands, which ensure legibility at all times.


Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03ECitizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E

The Citizen Eco-Drive BM8180-03E is a lot like the Szanto Military Filed Watch SZ 1001 in that it is military-inspired, featuring a rugged and comfortable design. Enclosed in the stainless steel case with a mineral crystal is an all-business black dial, with luminous hands, clear numbers, and a day and date window at the 3 o’clock. The dial includes markings for both hours and minutes, with the latter placed at the outer rim of the dial. The BM8180-03E has a Japanese quartz movement, a 330-feet water resistance, and a durable canvas band with a buckle clasp.


Nixon Corporal SS A346Nixon Corporal SS A346

The Nixon Corporal SS A346 is as basic a wristwatch can get, featuring a stripped-down design with a dial that only includes four double-digit Arabic numerals. It’s the perfect field watch for minimalists and those who don’t give a damn about extra features.

A field watch with a Japanese quartz movement, the Corporal SS A346 has a 48-millimeter stainless steel case, which makes it one of the larger field watches on this list, and comes with a three-link stainless steel band with a fold-over clasp. It’s available in different color configurations, including one with a gold dial and a black strap and one with an all-white color scheme.


Seiko Solar Dress Watch SNE331Seiko Solar Dress Watch SNE331

Whether in the office or at fancy evening events, the Seiko Solar Dress Watch SNE331 is a watch that you can always count on to make your wrist look good. It’s a field watch in the same mold as the Nixon Corporal SS A346 in that it comes with just the essentials.

Covered with a Hardlex window, the black dial has large numbers and a small day and date window at the 3 o’clock. The stainless steel case connects to a durable nylon strap with a buckle closure. As the model name suggests, the SNE331 is a solar-powered watch with a Japanese quartz movement. Once fully charged, it boasts a 10-month power reserve.


Bertucci A-2T Original Classics 12022Bertucci A-2T Original Classics 12022

When it comes to durability, the Bertucci A-2T Original Classics 12022 is one of the best quartz field watches on the market. It’s got a 40-millimeter titanium case with a sandblasted matte finish, which connects to a durable double-ply nylon strap with an all-metal buckle. It has an off-center crown for a more ergonomic design and offers water resistance up to 330 feet. The black dial has luminous hands and numerals, with a 24-hour military time tracker in the inner rim, and a date window at the 4 o’clock.


Seiko 5 SNZG13Seiko 5 SNZG13

The Seiko 5 SNZG13 is an automatic or self-winding mechanical watch with a handsome low-key design, featuring a silver-and-black color scheme that will look great on your wrist. It has a stainless steel case with a stationary bezel and a textured crown. The strap with a three-fold clasp is also made of stainless steel. Under the Hardlex window is a black dial with 12-hour and 24-hour numerals, along with a day and date window at the 3 o’clock.


Orient DefenderOrient Defender

In design, the Orient Defender is one of the more sophisticated among the products included here in our guide to the best field watches. It’s an automatic watch with a 40-hour power reserve. It has a stainless steel case and bezel and a screwed-down crown for water protection. The dial includes raised hour markers, a 24-hour military time sub-dial, a day sub-dial, a date window at the 6 o’clock, and an outer rim that features markers for minutes, seconds, and 1/5th of a second. But despite all the information, the dial doesn’t look as cluttered as a tactical watch dial.


Victorinox Swiss Army INOX WatchVictorinox Swiss Army INOX Watch

The Victorinox Swiss Army INOX Watch comes from one of the biggest pocket knife manufacturers in the world. It’s a quartz field watch capable of surviving some of the most extreme conditions, including being submerged up to 660 feet in the water and getting driven over by a goddamn tank. Available in different dial colors and straps, the INOX watch has a stainless steel case with a scratch-resistant, anti-reflective sapphire crystal. The gorgeous dial has luminous hands, along with raised hour markers, a series of small markers around the outer rim, and a date window between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock.


Luminox Atacama Field Watch XL.1925Luminox Atacama Field Watch XL.1925

The Luminox Atacama Field Watch XL.1925 is a field watch with a simple yet eye-catching design that is sure to turn heads. It’s got a brushed black ion-plated stainless steel case with a textured crown, a sapphire crystal, and a black dial. The brown strap is made of leather, making it both durable and comfortable. The dial has luminous hands and hour numeral markers, which means you get 100 percent visibility even at night. It can tell time in both 12-hour and 24-hour formats and includes separate windows for the day and date: one is at the 9 o’clock while the other is at the 3 o’clock.


Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision WatchVictorinox Swiss Army Night Vision Watch

Most field watches come with night visibility, allowing you to read the time even in zero-light conditions. The Victorinox Swiss Army Night Vision Watch takes that to a whole new level. It’s a Swiss quartz watch that includes a series of lighting features, the most notable of which is the LED flashlight, which can also send an SOS in Morse code. It has an illuminated dial and a red light at the 6 o’clock that serves as both a locator and an indicator if the battery needs to be changed.

In regard to construction, the Night Vision Watch, which is available in different colors and strap configurations, has a 42-millimeter titanium case with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. It tracks time in both 12-hour and 24-hour formats and comes with a date window at the 6 o’clock.


Marathon GPM Military Field WatchMarathon GPM Military Field Watch

Any field watch designed specifically for military use is a solid option. The Marathon GPM Military Field Watch is a Swiss-made automatic watch that has a durable and lightweight construction. It boasts an impressive 41-hour power reserve once fully wound. The case is made of resin, with a sapphire crystal and an oversized crown, while the strap is nylon. The GPM Military Field Watch has tritium gas tubes on the dial markers and the hour and minute hands, guaranteeing visibility even in low-light conditions.


Hamilton Khaki Field Watch H70455733Hamilton Khaki Field Watch H70455733

The Hamilton Khaki Field Watch H70455733 is a handsome wristwatch with a striking silver-and-black profile. It’s a self-winding mechanical watch with a stainless steel case, a sapphire dial window, and a black calfskin strap with a buckle closure. It’s one of the smallest products on this list, with a 38-millimeter case. It has Arabic numbers on the black dial and a date window at the 3 o’clock.


Bertucci A-5P Field Watch 13503Bertucci A-5P Field Watch 13503

The Bertucci A-5P Field Watch 13503 is a rugged Swiss quartz watch that embraces its military roots, not only in exterior appearance but also in overall durability and functionality. It’s got a carbon fiber-reinforced polycarbonate unibody case with a black ion finish and has an off-center screwed-down crown and a scratch-resistant mineral crystal. The illuminated dial has large Arabic numbers, along with minute markers on the outer rim and a date window at the 4 o’clock.


Shinola The RunwellShinola The Runwell

The Runwell from Shinola is a high-end quartz field watch with a classic profile. It has a 47-millimeter stainless steel case with a shiny finish and is equipped with a double curve sapphire crystal, making it extremely resistant to scratches. The strap with contrast stitches is made of leather and has a buckle closure. The black dial has large Arabic numbers and includes a sub-dial that tracks seconds. Shinola’s flagship watch, the Runwell is an accurate timepiece built to last for years.


Hamilton Khaki Field Watch H70575733Hamilton Khaki Field Watch H70575733

Capping off our guide to the best field watches is another model from the Hamilton Khaki series. Compared to all the other products included here, the Hamilton Khaki Field Watch H70575733 is arguably the best-looking, courtesy of its all-black design. It’s a field watch that will match up well with both casual wear and business attire.

An automatic watch, the H70575733 has a 42-millimeter titanium case, with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a black dial. Its black strap is made of canvas and has a buckle closure. Equipped with luminous hands, the H70575733 tells time in both 12-hour and 24-hour formats and includes a date window at the 3 o’clock, along with Arabic numeral minute markers on the outer rim.




Different Types of Watch Movements

On the surface, field watches all seem to have identical mechanisms. In fact, most people will judge a field watch based solely on its exterior design. Take the Bertucci A-2T and the Hamilton Khaki Field Watch, for example. Set aside their obvious difference in appearance and what you’ll see is just a pair of watches with a 12-hour and 24-hour format and a date window on the dial. What sets them apart is the caliber or the watch movement.

The watch movement is one of the most important things you need to consider before you spend money on a field watch. Modern field watches come in three configurations: quartz, mechanical, and automatic – an automatic field watch is also mechanical, but it uses a different mechanism.

  1. Quartz movement is the most common movement among field watches. The easiest way to identify a watch with a quartz movement is to look at the second hand. If the second hand has individual ticks, then the watch is 100 percent a quartz watch. A quartz watch is powered by a battery, which sends an electric current through a quartz crystal, creating vibrations that keep the watch hands moving in a consistent manner.

A quartz watch offers a number of benefits. It’s extremely accurate and easy to use, with no need for regular manual labor to keep it going. The only thing you need to worry about is the battery, which needs to be replaced as soon as it drains out. A quartz timepiece is also more affordable than a mechanical watch due to its unsophisticated mechanism, which doesn’t require a lot of watchmaking craftsmanship. That’s why collectors, who know how to appreciate the labor put into the intricacies of mechanical watches, often eschew quartz watches.

  1. Mechanical movement is preferred by collectors and aficionados and is often the movement type of luxury watches. A mechanical watch’s second hand moves in a sweeping motion. Unlike a quartz watch, a mechanical watch relies on manual labor for power. It relies on a wound spring, often called the mainspring, which transfers stored energy to a series of gears and springs, powering the watch.

Owners need to manually turn the crown to wind the mainspring and store energy. After being wound, the mainspring will slowly unwind, doing so until the stored energy runs out. A mechanical or manual-wind watch relies on regular winding to keep going. Some models require daily winding while others only require a couple of times per week.

The most obvious advantage of mechanical watches over quartz watches is that you don’t need to worry about replacing the battery. Longevity is also a key selling point. Given the proper care, mechanical watches can last for a very long time. On the other hand, manual-wind watches are more expensive than quartz watches because of their more complex mechanism.

  1. Automatic movement is a form of mechanical movement. It relies on the natural motion of the wearer’s wrist to store energy, with no need for regular manual winding. An automatic or self-winding watch has largely the same mechanism as a manual-wind watch. The difference is that it includes a metal weight, which is connected to the movement. The metal weight, called a rotor, rotates with each movement of the wrist, and in doing so, it transfers energy to the mainspring, automatically winding it.

With an automatic watch, daily manual winding is not required. As long as you wear it every day, it will never run out of power. The only time you need to put in manual labor is when the watch has been on the shelf for a long time, which caused it to stop.

When it comes to movements, everyone has different preferences. People who want an accurate and low-cost watch for everyday use will want a quartz watch while those who appreciate the craftsmanship and engineering involved in watchmaking will want a mechanical watch. When shopping for the best field watches, make sure you have your priorities straight so you can narrow down your choices.