What is a field watch?
The original field watch was adopted from a ladies watch into a tool German officers used to organize the movement of troops and artillery. As the watches popularity spread throughout the world’s military, a specific style began to represent the modern field watch.
The field watches case
To coin a phrase a field watch must take a licking and keep on ticking. The standard field watch case is made from stainless steel or titanium. And some come with a PVD coating. The case must be readable but not too bulky so you will see sizes ranging from 36-44mm.
The field watch dial, hands, and crystal
A field watch must be readable under low-light conditions. Most will have a high-contrast black dial with white numbering and lumed hands and number indices. A hacking second hand is another great feature found on field watches. These hands can be stopped to sync with another timepiece or time reference. You can see how this could come in handy in mind 19th-century warfare. Again for readability and ruggedness the crystal should be sapphire and glare-proof.
The field watch strap
Even though metal links would be more durable; they are harder and more expensive to replace. For the most part, you will see field watches come with either NAT0 canvas straps or leather straps.
10 OF THE BEST MENS FIELD WATCHES
Timex Expedition Mens Field Watch
The Timex Expedition Mens field Watch ($35) gives you all the classic features of a field watch in an affordable package. The case is a standard 40mm and is made out of brass. The crystal is mineral which can be expected at this price point. It is water resistant to 50 meters and comes with a double layer NATO style slip-thru strap with buckle closure.
Timex Weekender Mens Field Watch
The Timex Weekender Mens Field Watch ($25) is made in good ole USA and features a round silver-tone case with 24-hour inner dial. The movement is quartz and the whole kit is covered in a mineral crystal. Additional features include a NATO strap and water resistance to 30 meters.
Wenger Terragraph Mens Field Watch
As we start to go up in price you will begin to see better features. The Wenger Terragraph Mens Field Watch ($130) is a little larger than the Timex offerings coming in at 43 mm. The case is stainless steel and it features 12-hour and 24-hour indices on the dial which is covered by a Sapphire crystal. The strap is a nice leather and water-resistance is 100 meters.
Victorinox Infantry Mens Field Watch
The Victorinox Infantry Mens Field Watch ($306) is for those who want the added benefit of a chronograph. The infantry features a 40mm stainless steel case topped with a Sapphire crystal. Water-resistance is down to 100 meters and it has a quartz movement with a tri-compax chronograph with date complication.
Hamilton Khaki Mens Field Watch
The Hamilton Khaki Mens Field Watch ($350) is one of my favorites. It’s great looking and comes in at an excellent price point for the features you get. It comes with a 42mm stainless steel case with a brown leather strap. Fixed stainless steel bezel and a black dial with luminous hands and Arabic numeral hour markers – 12-hours on the outside and 24 on the inside. The Date is located at the 3 o’clock position. The movement is the automatic Cal. 2824-2 engine. The case is topped with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and water resistance is down to 100 meters (330 feet).
Marathon General Purpose Mechanical Mens Field Watch
The Marathon General Purpose Mechanical Mens Field Watch ($360) is made specifically for the field army services and supplied to the U.S. government and is built to strict military standards of MIL-PRF-46374G. This Marathon features a mechanical wind-up movement, encased in a high impact fibershell case with a stainless steel back. The case is topped with a scratch resistant sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 50 meters. The movement is a Japanese made “Dual Winding Movement”, which can be wound by the crown or by use of the automatic self-winding rotor.
Filson Mackinaw Mens Field Watch
The Filson Mackinaw Mens Field Watch ($600) is hand assembled by renowned Detroit bike and watchmaker Shinola. The watch is powered by Shinola’s own Argonite movement which is wrapped in a brushed stainless steel 43mm case. The case is topped off with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and has an anti-reflective coating for glare reduction. Water resistance is rated at 20 ATM or 660 feet. For added protection the crown is screw-down and the case back is secured by six screws for protection.
Weiss Standard Issue Mens Field Watch
The Weiss Standard Issue Mens Field Watch ($950) is a fully mechanical timepiece built in the USA. Each movement is a Caliber 1001 with 100 swiss parts that are hand-finished and assembled in Los Angeles, California. The case is 43mm, is machined from one solid piece of stainless steel, and is polished by hand. Sapphire crystals are fitted on the case front and back to display the highly finished movement. the hands are black oxide treated steel with luminescent Super-Luminova paint. the dial is machined from one solid piece of naval brass and have been hand painted for maximum legibility. No detail has been overlooked.
Tudor Heritage Ranger Mens Field Watch
Tudor has always been considered the poor man’s Rolex, but their products are so good, they’re starting to carve out a niche market all their own. The Tudor Heritage Ranger Mens Field Watch ($2249) is an excellent example of the craftsmanship they offer. The case is a standard 41mm made from stainless steel with a brown leather strap. The movement is the Tudor Caliber 2824 engine. Everything is capped with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The crown is screw-down, and the case back is solid. Water-resistance is rated at 150 meters.
Rolex Explorer Mens Field Watch
Now for those of you, where only the best will do I present the Rolex Explorer Mens Field Watch ($5495). It features a Swiss Made Automatic Rolex Calibre 3132 movement which has up to 48 hours of power reserve. The movement is wrapped in a 39 mm stainless steel case, which has a solid case back. Arabic Numerals mark the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions with minute Markers around the outer rim. The whole kit is capped off with a sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to 100 meters / 330 feet.