Welcome to our guide on the best field watches in 2024!

Let me give you a very brief introduction to classic field watches, which are rooted in military history and have become indispensable for outdoor enthusiasts and style-conscious men of value.

These timepieces, known for their robustness and utilitarian design, originated during World War I to meet the rigorous demands of the battlefield. Today, they are celebrated for their straightforward elegance, clear displays, and dependable mechanics for performance in the most demanding conditions.

These are our very top picks for the best field watches.

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02/18/2024 05:15 pm GMT

What to consider

Our insights are drawn from extensive research combined with experience to highlight the nuances that set apart the wide range of options in this category of modern field watches.

When selecting military field watches, prioritize legibility, resilience, and simplicity. The ideal field watch features a clear dial design with luminous numerals for visibility in all conditions, a durable case resistant to the elements and impacts, and a design that ditches complexity for ease of use. The movement, whether mechanical or quartz, should offer precise timekeeping, or you might end up with a useless watch.

The Best Field Watches – Comparison Guide

Watch ModelMovement TypeCase MaterialWater ResistanceSpecial FeaturesPrice Range
Timex Expedition ScoutQuartzStainless Steel50 metersINDIGLO night-light$
Bulova Military HeritageAutomaticStainless Steel30 metersLuminous hands/markers, supports veterans$$
Citizen Garrison Eco-DriveQuartz (Eco-Drive)Stainless Steel100 metersEco-Drive technology, luminous hands$$$
Casio Solar Power Field WatchQuartz (Solar)Stainless Steel100 metersSolar-powered, rugged design$$
Timex Expedition Field ChronoQuartzResin100 metersINDIGLO night-light, chronograph$$
SEIKO SRPG37AutomaticStainless Steel100 metersLuminous hands/markers, day/date transition$$$
Hamilton Khaki Field WatchAutomaticStainless Steel50 metersSapphire crystal, luminous hands$$$$
Bulova Military Hack WatchAutomaticStainless Steel30 metersSupports veterans, luminous display$$$
Luminox Atacama AdventurerQuartzStainless Steel200 metersSwiss Quartz movement, luminous display$$$$
Timex Expedition Field WatchQuartzResin/Stainless Steel50 metersINDIGLO night-light, durable construction$$
Hamilton Khaki Field Hand WindMechanical (Handwind)Stainless Steel50 meters80-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal$$$$
Timex Expedition SierraQuartzStainless Steel50 metersLeather strap, quartz movement$$

Note: The price range is indicated with the dollar sign ($) from least to most expensive.

With years of experience navigating the intersections of men’s lifestyle, business, and luxury, founder and creative director Chris Starkhagen guides high-value men and those aspiring to elevate their status. Adhering to stringent editorial guidelines, we ensure our recommendations uphold the highest standards of quality and relevance, and our commitment is to authenticity and delivering content that resonates with what you’re searching for. Discover our ethos and the vision driving us forward on our about page.

We’ve meticulously sifted through the landscape of the best watches, focusing on those that stand out for their quality, functionality, and alignment with what our audience wants to know. Our selection process combines comprehensive watch knowledge, real luxury watch experience, and prioritizing watch brands we personally use or feel confident recommending.

We also get insights from industry experts and customer feedback that form the cornerstone of our reviews. This approach ensures that our recommendations are informed, credible, and beneficial to you.

When purchasing a watch, size plays a role in comfort and style. A watch’s case diameter is typically listed in millimeters and ranges widely. Men’s watches generally span from 38mm to 46mm. Anything under 38mm leans towards a subtler, vintage aesthetic, while over 46mm may be considered bold or oversized.

Wrist Size – Inches (cm)Case Diameter (mm)
6 – 6.5 (15 -16.5 cm)38 – 42
6.5 – 7 (16.5-17.8 cm)40 – 44
7 – 7.5 (16.5-19 cm)42 – 46
7.5+ (19+ cm)44 – 50

Quartz movements often allow for thinner cases, whereas mechanical watches might be thicker due to their more complex internal structures. Strap width is relative to case size. A balanced look is achieved when the strap or bracelet complements the case diameter. For a 40mm case, a standard 20mm strap width works well.

Timex Expedition Scout
$62.00 $39.20

For men seeking a stylish and durable everyday watch at an affordable price. Ideal if you value simplicity but don’t need premium features.

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02/18/2024 05:15 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Resilient construction withstands day-to-day wear
  • INDIGLO night light enhances visibility in low-light conditions
  • Water resistance up to 50 meters suits everyday use

What We Don’t Like

  • The audible ticking may be noticeable in quiet environments
  • The nylon strap may require eventual replacement due to wear

This watch seamlessly blends style and toughness. Its durable build, built-in night light for low-light situations, and decent water resistance make it a versatile everyday companion. However, the nylon strap might need an upgrade over time, and the ticking sound might be noticeable in quiet settings. Overall, it’s a reliable choice with a clean, functional design.

Bulova Military Heritage Hack

Best for men who appreciate historical connections and want to support veterans. Suitable for daily wear, but consider the larger size and limited water resistance.

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02/18/2024 05:21 pm GMT

What We Like

  • A portion of the proceeds aids war veterans
  • Features luminous hands and markers for visibility
  • Impressive a 42-hour power reserve

What We Don’t Like

  • Only water resistant up to 30 meters
  • The strap may require replacement for comfort

This watch honors Bulova’s military legacy and supports veterans with every purchase. It features luminous hands for easy reading in the dark and a decent power reserve. However, its 30-meter water resistance and larger size might not be ideal for everyone, and the strap might need replacing for comfort. Despite these points, it’s a solid watch with a historical touch and a worthy cause behind it.

Citizen Sport Casual Garrison
$250.00 $187.50

Best for eco-conscious adventurers who prioritize reliability and diverse activity compatibility. The smaller case size might not suit everyone.

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02/18/2024 05:32 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Durable Japanese Quartz movement
  • Eco-Drive recharges with any light source
  • Water resistant up to 330 feet

What We Don’t Like

  • The 37.2mm case may be small for some preferences
  • Limited aesthetic options with one band color

This solar-powered watch is both reliable and eco-friendly. The Japanese quartz movement and innovative charging technology mean you never need to worry about batteries, and its impressive water resistance opens it up to diverse activities. However, the smaller case size might not suit all preferences, and the single band color limits style options. Still, its durability and practical features like luminous minute hands and a day-date calendar make it a compelling choice.

Casio Stainless Steel Solar Powered
$145.00 $87.00

Best for minimalists seeking a hassle-free, rugged watch for everyday use. Be aware of the specific strap and dial aesthetics.

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02/18/2024 05:35 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Solar-powered convenience eliminates battery concerns.
  • Rugged stainless steel construction stands up to wear and tear.
  • Enough water resistance for non-diving water activities.

What We Don’t Like

  • The included strap may not meet everyone’s quality expectations.
  • Some users find the watch a bit heavy on the wrist.

Seeking hassle-free reliability? This watch’s solar charging and stainless steel construction ensure it’s always ready for action. While the strap and weight might not suit all tastes, and the dial aesthetics might not be for everyone, its functionality and toughness are undeniable.

Timex Expedition Field Chronograph
$86.00 $53.57

Best for active men who need a practical and comfortable watch with chronograph functionality for daily and light sporting activities.

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02/18/2024 06:01 pm GMT

What We Like

  • INDIGLO® night-light enhances visibility in the dark.
  • Water resistance up to 100 meters suits everyday use.
  • Genuine leather band paired with rugged construction.

What We Don’t Like

  • The resin case may not appeal to all aesthetics.
  • Chronograph buttons could be more intuitive.

This watch combines classic style with practical features. The quartz movement keeps time precise, and the leather band molds comfortably to your wrist. The built-in backlight guarantees nighttime visibility, making it a great choice for various settings. Its versatility and practical design make it a reliable companion.

SEIKO 5 Sports
$295.00 $215.00

Best for watch enthusiasts who value a balance between affordability, function, and durability. Consider the potential calendar issues and larger size.

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02/18/2024 06:12 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Durable construction with stainless steel case and nylon strap
  • Water resistance up to 100 meters
  • Day/date display complemented by luminous hands and markers

What We Don’t Like

  • Calendar feature may have a delayed day/date transition
  • Older models may be received with less clarity on manufacturing dates

This watch strikes a balance between function and durability. The stainless steel case, 100-meter water resistance, and day/date display make it a capable contender. However, its larger size and potential calendar hiccups might be worth considering, and there’s a chance of receiving older stock depending on the retailer. Still, its clear visibility and automatic movement with manual winding capability give it a competitive edge.

Hamilton Khaki Field Black Dial Watch

Best for style-conscious adventures and everyday wear. Get this watch if you prioritize quality and classic design and are willing to invest in a premium watch.

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02/18/2024 06:21 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Sturdy stainless steel construction
  • High water resistance level
  • Automatic movement with luminous hands

What We Don’t Like

  • Leather strap requires care and may age
  • Premium pricing segment

This watch is an investment worth considering for enthusiasts who value both function and style. The automatic movement and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal add a touch of luxury, while the water resistance and durable build ensure it can handle most adventures. Be prepared for the premium price tag and the need for strap care, but if quality is your priority, this watch delivers.

Luminox Atacama Adventurer Field Watch

Best for outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate a stylish and functional Swiss-made watch with impressive water resistance, willing to consider the higher price point. Reflect on the minimalist design and luminosity longevity.

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02/18/2024 06:38 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Swiss Quartz movement ensures reliability and precision.
  • Water resistance up to 200 meters pairs versatility with adventurous use.
  • The luminous display provides clear visibility in low light conditions.

What We Don’t Like

  • At a higher price point, it might not suit all budgets.
  • Some users have reported concerns about the luminosity’s intensity over time.

This Swiss-made watch blends tradition and functionality with impressive 200-meter water resistance. Its design effortlessly transitions from outdoor adventures to everyday wear, although the higher price point and minimalist style might not suit everyone. Additionally, the longevity of its luminosity requires consideration.

Timex Expedition Acadia White Dial
$57.00 $44.92

Best for budget-conscious men who need a simple and reliable watch for everyday wear. The resin case and water resistance might not suit all activities but is sufficient at this price point.

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02/18/2024 06:44 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Approachable design suitable for various occasions
  • Indiglo light feature for nighttime visibility
  • Decently durable construction to withstand daily use

What We Don’t Like

  • 50m water resistance doesn’t suit all water-related activities
  • Resin case doesn’t appeal to all personal style preferences

This watch keeps things simple and functional. With a comfortable fabric band and reliable quartz movement, it’s a practical choice for various occasions. However, its water resistance and resin case might not be for everyone. Its affordability and practical features make it a solid option for everyday wear.

Hamilton Khaki Field Hand Wind
$526.00 $478.01

Best for men who value timeless design, appreciate the personal touch of a hand-wound movement, and prioritize simplicity over multiple functions. Be aware of the limited water resistance.

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02/18/2024 06:51 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Extended 80-hour power reserve
  • Reliable hand-winding movement
  • Robust sapphire crystal

What We Don’t Like

  • Absence of automatic winding
  • Limited functions beyond timekeeping

This watch boasts a timeless design and long power reserve, making it suitable for both casual and formal occasions. The hand-winding movement adds a personal touch, and the sapphire crystal ensures durability. However, it’s not suited for deep diving and has limited functions, catering to those who appreciate simplicity.

Timex Expedition Field Chrono

Best for active men seeking an affordable and easy-to-use watch with chronograph functionality for everyday wear. The strap’s durability and basic water resistance might require consideration, but it’s not a dealbreaker at this price point.

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02/18/2024 07:07 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Robust construction withstands rigorous use
  • Backlight provides clear visibility in low light
  • Intuitive chronograph feature

What We Don’t Like

  • Face rotation on the wrist might occur
  • Water resistance suitable for everyday use, not deep diving

This affordable watch packs a punch with its reliable chronograph function and backlight for nighttime visibility. While the strap’s durability and water resistance are basic, its functionality and ease of use make it a commendable choice for everyday wear.

Timex Expedition Sierra
$89.00 $44.99

Best for men who need a versatile watch for both outdoor and urban settings, balancing style and practicality. Consider the potential need for strap adjustments and the small date display.

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02/18/2024 07:22 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Rugged stainless steel case withstands daily wear
  • Leather strap with quartz movement mixes durability with elegance
  • Water resistance up to 50 meters adds versatility

What We Don’t Like

  • Small date display may challenge visibility
  • The leather strap can be uncomfortable in the first few weeks

This watch blends timeless design with practicality, making it suitable for both outdoor and urban settings. The stainless steel case and water resistance add versatility, although the small date display and strap comfort might require some adjustments. Its combination of durability and elegance makes it a stylish and reliable choice.

The evolution of field watches is a fascinating journey that spans over a century, intertwining with military history and civilian lifestyle changes.

While it’s true that World War I significantly accelerated the adoption of wristwatches among soldiers, the origins of these practical timepieces can be traced back even before the trenches called for their necessity. The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw wristwatches gaining popularity, with companies like Omega and Gruen pioneering dedicated wristwatch designs as early as the 1890s. However, the demanding conditions of World War I underscored the need for a reliable and easily accessible timekeeper, leading to the widespread use of wristwatches by military personnel.

The transformation of pocket watches into wristwatches by adding soldered wire lugs was a common practice. Yet, this period also witnessed the emergence of watches designed specifically for wristwear, marking a significant leap in the evolution of the field watch. These early models focused on legibility, durability, and simplicity, incorporating luminous hands and numerals for visibility in low-light conditions, robust metal cases to withstand the rigors of combat, and straightforward designs for ease of use.

Throughout the 20th century, several iconic field watches were developed through official military contracts, contributing to their legendary status. Watches like the Hamilton Khaki Field and the British “Dirty Dozen” were not only issued to soldiers but also set standards for what a military watch should embody. These models were characterized by their precise movements, ruggedness, and functional simplicity, traits that have influenced field watch design to this day.

The post-war era saw field watches transitioning from military equipment to popular civilian accessories. Historical figures, explorers, and early aviators embraced these durable timepieces, further cementing their status beyond the battlefield. This period of civilian adoption highlighted the versatility and reliability of field watches, making them a favored choice for anyone needing a sturdy, dependable watch.

In modern times, while many field watches preserve the classic design elements that define their heritage, manufacturers have embraced innovation. Today’s field watches may feature automatic movements, sapphire crystals for scratch resistance, and enhanced water resistance, making them suitable for various activities. These advancements and timeless aesthetics have ensured that field watches remain beloved by watch enthusiasts and casual wearers!

Who Made the Original Field Watch?

Pinpointing a single originator is tricky, but what we know for a fact is the following:

  • World War I: Trench warfare necessitated wristwatches, leading to adaptations of pocket watches.
  • Various Brands: Companies like Omega, Gruen, and Waltham contributed early designs.
  • Military Contracts: Hamilton Khaki Field and Bulova Hack watches hold iconic status.

The “original” field watch evolved from collective innovations to meet military needs.

Why is it Called a Field Watch?

Soldiers in the “field” needed reliable timepieces for coordination and planning.

  • Historical Connection: The name reflects their practical purpose in military operations.
  • Evolution Beyond Battlefield: While retaining their functional design, they’ve transitioned to everyday use.

Is a Field Watch the same as a G-Shock?

While G-Shocks share some traits with field watches (durability, readability), their focus on high-tech features and bulky design differentiates them.

Best Field Watch for You:

  • Prioritize ruggedness and advanced features: G-Shock might be your champion.
  • Seek minimalism and classic style: Explore traditional field watches like Hamilton Khaki or Timex Expedition.
  • Balance functionality and affordability: Consider Citizen Eco-Drive or Seiko SRPG37.

Ultimately, the “best” is subjective. Choose based on your needs and preferences!

Field watches shine in various settings:

  • Everyday Wear: Their simplicity and durability make them perfect for daily activities.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Water resistance and clear dials handle hikes and camping trips.
  • Travel: Lightweight and practical, they adapt to different environments.
  • Casual Work: The minimalist design complements relaxed office styles.

Wearing Tips:

  • Pair with diverse straps: Leather complements formal occasions, and NATO straps add versatility.
  • Consider size: Opt for a watch fitting comfortably under your shirt cuff (around 38-42mm).
  • Embrace its versatility: A field watch adapts seamlessly from jeans to chinos.

Can I Wear a Field Watch every day?

Absolutely, that’s the point! Their clean design and functionality make them perfect for daily wear and tear, as they are durable, stylish, lightweight, and easy to read (even in low light).

What Size Should a Field Watch Be?

Ideal size depends on personal preference and wrist size, but in general, I’d recommend:

  • Average Wrists: 38-42mm diameter fits most wrists comfortably.
  • Larger Wrists: Up to 44mm might be suitable.
  • Smaller Wrists: Consider 36mm or smaller options.

However you see it, the field watch should fit under your shirt cuff without feeling bulky. So, if you’re unsure, opt for a smaller one to be on the safe side.

Can You Wear a Field Watch as a Dress Watch?

I’d firmly say no, but it can also depend on the dress code:

  • Formal Events: Very dressy occasions might require a thinner, more elegant watch. Check out our best watches under $2000 for formal and networking events where high-value men attend.
  • Semi-Formal or Business Casual: Many field watches, particularly with leather straps, can transition well, but I’d still opt for one of our top picks under $500 here.
  • Consider the Overall Look: Pair the watch with your outfit for a cohesive and polished appearance if your new field watch has a leather strap that goes perfectly with leather shoes.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you! Field watches offer surprising versatility when paired with different outfits and occasions. That’s why men usually start a watch collection to fit different events and styles.