Each type of watch has its own purpose. A dive watch needs to be able to give information to a diver about their depth, the time and the pressure that they’re experiencing. It obviously must also be waterproof and be easy to use underwater.
It’s no different with a field watch. A field watch is designed to be used on expeditions, whether your camping in the local woods or hiking the worlds tallest mountains. It needs to hold up in the most rugged conditions and give the wearer the information that they need.
Clearly, the best field watches are those that are extremely durable, waterproof and available at a reasonable price. As with any watch, there are a huge variety of options available, from $20 through to thousands of dollars. Generally, the more you spend the higher the quality of the piece, but this isn’t always the case.
Knowing exactly which watch to buy can be confusing, especially when there are so many different products available. In this article we’ll be looking at some of the highest rated watches. Of course, we love aesthetics at Known Man and so that will obviously play a role. There’s no reason why you can’t still dress well when you’re hiking through mud!
Introducing: The 9 Best Field Watches for Men
Seiko are famous for their quality watches and this field model is no different. It has the look, design and the features that any good field watch should have. Starting with the strap, it’s a rugged nylon band that closes with a buckle.
The great thing about nylon is that it’s extremely durable. Regardless of whether you’re scratching against rocks, rolling in mud or swimming in a lake, this band is going to remain strong. Nylon is also relatively difficult to cut , reducing the likelihood of the band ripping or tearing through.
This particularly model has a khaki colored band that is a really great look, especially with the darker face. We love the band color and texture, it’s exactly the look you want from a field watch; rugged and hardy but still attractive and mysterious.
Moving on to the watch, the case is made of 43-mm stainless steel with a hardlex dial window. Stainless steel is by far the best material for this style of watch because it’s very tough and scratch resistant. The types of men who are going to be wearing this watch aren’t delicate guys. They’re outside and they’re looking for a watch that can keep up with them.
Some of the cheaper models will use brass or aluminum which is inexpensive, but doesn’t have the same durability as stainless steel. In almost all cases it’s best to invest in a higher quality watch that uses superior materials and will last for years to come.
The face itself is a deep velvet black and features a solar-powered window that will give energy to the watch. There’s no point in an outdoors watch taking batteries because you never know when you’ll need to replace them. With a solar-powered watch you can keep it running 24/7/365 without worry.
On the face the details are very visible, perfect for the man who wants to glance at his watch and get all of the information that he needs. The ticks and numerals are large and have small design lines through them which is a great look.
Both the hands and the markers have strong luminescent paint on them which means that they will glow strongly at night. This isn’t particularly subtle but it will allow you to easily tell the time no matter how late it is.
On the right of the face you’ll also find the day and date of the month. This is a great feature that is disregarded in some watches. Many of us rely on our watches to remember the date, especially if we are camping or hiking in the wilderness.
Finally, this Seiko watch is also water resistant to 100m, which is equivalent to 330ft. This makes it perfect for swimming and doing any other shallow or surface level water sports. However, it’s not going to resist the pressures at lower depths and therefore it’s not suitable for scuba diving.
This watch has overwhelmingly positive reviews and that’s one of the reasons why we suggest this as one of the best field watches for men. Seiko is a reliable brand that creates excellent timepieces at a very reasonable price.
The reviews suggest that the durability is fantastic and hundreds of men have left extremely positive reviews. As well as this, the watch is particularly attractive, especially for a field watch which prioritizes usability and reliability over aesthetics. If you’re looking for a stylish watch to wear when you’re hiking, this is a fantastic choice.
If you have a little more to spend then the Luminox is our personal favorite. It’s by far the most attractive choice in our opinion and the reviews suggest that it’s just as good as Luminox’s other products.
Of course, this watch is more than 3x the price of the Seiko watch and a lot of that is down to the more expensive materials that they’ve used. Particularly, they’re using sapphire crystal and a Swiss made movement .
For watch aficionados you’ll find that higher quality watches like this will keep better time. This means that over the course of the year you’ll lose significantly less seconds . While the cheaper watches might lose up to a whole minute over the year, this will likely only lose a fraction of that.
This might not be a huge deal to some people, but to someone who relies on extremely precise times or just wants a higher-quality timepiece, this is a superior choice.
Luminox is a well respected brand that is known for producing exceptional products that have great build quality and excellent longevity. Not only that, but they also have experience in building hardy and reliable products, so this isn’t a dress watch company trying to produce something they’re not experts in.
Starting with the case, it’s 45mm which is 2mm bigger than the Seiko case, a better choice for those men with larger wrists. This still isn’t a huge case but it’s a comfortable size that isn’t overly bulky and won’t get in the way.
The case is a stainless steel material that has been brushed with black paint to create a matte finish that looks almost metallic. It’s a fantastic look and goes great with the tan leather band.
Just as with the Seiko watch, the ticker points are luminous so that you can track it in the dark. However, you’ll notice that the 12 o’clock point is orange instead of green, which will help you to orientate yourself and read the time when you’re exhausted and sleep deprived.
The only problem we have with this watch is that it has a leather strap. They look great and they are extremely durable, but they will wear overtime and leather can be far too hot in the summer. If you choose to buy this fantastic timepiece then you’d be smart to also buy a secondary strap in a nylon material for warmer days.
The current price on Amazon is extremely competitive and about half of what you’ll find on many other websites. If you’re looking for a quality watch a bargain price, this is an absolute steal. You’re getting a lot of quality for just a fraction of what you’d expect to pay.
Now this is what we call an attractive watch. We’ll be damned if this isn’t the most attractive watch that $50 can buy. The brushed black casing and brown leather strap look great together and the face manages to standout without being overly obnoxious. We also adore the tan stitching along the sides of the strap.
We’ll start by saying that you can’t expect this watch to standup to the Seiko, let alone the Luminox watch. But it’s also only a fraction of the cost. This is a great budget purchase, so, if you’re looking to spend only a small amount on a field watch then this is a fantastic option.
The case itself is made of brass instead of stainless steel and that does mean that it’s not going to have the same durability as the more expensive watches. However, at this price you can afford to buy another to replace any damaged casing.
Created in 2012, this watch is still a top-seller, because it offers a gorgeous exterior with a relatively good performance for this price point. You get a watch that is water resistant up to 330 feet, the same as the previous watches we’ve included and it’s got luminous dials.
What you’ll find on this watch that you won’t find on many other models is the stopwatch and timer dials. This is ideal for a field watch and it’s a real disappointment that they aren’t included on some of the more expensive watches.
Stopwatches and other dials are either essential or useless, depending on what you want from a watch. But for many of us it’s an absolute necessity. It’s a super useful feature to have and they appear to keep time well. The chronograph will measure up to 30-minutes, more than enough time for most of us.
Overall, this looks like a great choice for a budget conscious consumer. You’re getting a gorgeous looking product for a fraction of the price of the top competitors, which makes it easy to overlook the cheaper materials that they’ve used.
Just like Seiko, Citizen are known for creating fantastic quality watches a very reasonable price point. If you don’t like the Seiko watch and are looking for a similarly priced option that has a different aesthetic, consider this Citizen piece.
Overall, the look isn’t our favorite but the quality of the product seems very high and it’s impossible to ignore almost 2,000 overwhelmingly positive reviews. The strap that it come with is a stitched military green canvas band that will be at least as durable as a similarly nylon option.
The casing is a silver stainless steel, which is great to see at this price. We worried that it might be brass or something similar, but it’s a stainless steel case so you know it’s going to be much more durable than the Timex.
The face is relatively similar the the Seiko watch, it has a black background, large easy to read numerals and chunky hands. We would have preferred a more minimalistic style, but if this is what you like then this is probably a much better option for you than the Seiko or Timex pieces.
As with the previous watches, this one is entirely powered by light, either from the sun or indoor lights. This is fantastic because it means that it won’t run out of power and as long as you’re getting outside regularly you’ll be able to keep good time.
We should point out that it has a day and date face, like with the Seiko, which is something that we personally like to see on field watches. As is standard with field watches it’s also water resistant up to 100m or 330 feet.
However, the most important thing to consider with this watch is that the case is only 37mm. This is significantly smaller than some of the alternatives. So, if you have smaller wrists or you just prefer or more discrete watch, this is a great option.
Victorinox are more famous as the face of the classic Swiss Army Knife than they are for their watches. However, they’ve managed to turn their hands at everything utility and durable, so, you can be safe in the knowledge that this watch is created by a company with expertise in this area.
They are renowned for incredibly durable products that are designed the be mishandled and used in the most extreme of conditions. That’s exactly why they’ve used a thick stainless steel case and a tough leather strap that will resist knocks and scratches.
The design of this watch is what really caught our eye. It’s rare that you see field watches that break the mold and try something different. On this watch Victorinox have gone with a dark theme, the black strap, grey bezel and dark background. But then they’ve used bright green numerals and hands.
In theory this sounds terrible. If someone described that to us we would instantly pass, but it works incredibly well on this piece. This isn’t a watch that’s going to blend into the pack. It’s going to stand out and it’s going to look even more luxurious than it already is.
As we’ve mentioned with other watches, when it gets hot the leather strap isn’t ideal. In this case, buy a nylon strap for $20 and use that if you’re planning a trip in the summer. However, the leather straps appears to be of high quality and should last for years to come.
The watch itself uses a Swiss automatic movement system and therefore we’d expect it to keep incredibly good time. Not only that, it’s also water resistant to 330 feet and uses a scratch resistant sapphire crystal screen.
Overall, this is a fantastic alternative to the Luminox watch. If you’ve got a little extra money to spend buying either this or the Luminox will give you a higher quality piece that’s going to be more durable, keep better time and likely last longer too.
GPW specifically create watches for the German military and special forces, so you know you’re getting a product that is extremely durable and can operate in extreme circumstances. With this demand the piece is built with fantastically strong materials and is delivered with a rubber strap.
The great thing about rubber straps is they do have a little bit of ‘give’ which can make them more comfortable than other materials if you’re between wrist sizes. Not only that, but rubber is also very durable and although it will scratch it’s unlikely to rip or tear.
One of the biggest standout features of this watch is that it has a titanium case with a screw-in locked crown and case back. This makes it even more durable than the stainless steel cases that we see on more expensive watches.
It’s also got a sapphire crystal face which is almost impossible to scratch. It’s clear that the whole product was designed from the ground up with the purpose of being extremely durable and near impossible to break. If it’s good enough for the special forces, it’s good enough for us.
Another huge feature is that it’s water resistant all the way down to 200m, rather than the standard 100m that we see on most watches. This isn’t particularly useful to most of us, but if you ever drop your watch in a lake and intend to go find it, you’ll be happy it’s got double the depth resistance!
Even just considering these features, it’s a clear standout for the man who is looking for a watch that is utilitarian. The only part that lets it down for us is that it’s not as attractive as some of the other watches. Of course, for many of you this isn’t a problem, but if you want a field watch that can also double as an office choice, look elsewhere.
Overall, this is an incredible product. Expertly made to fill a precise purpose and it does that extremely well. If you need a watch to handle extreme environments or adventures, you’ve find your companion.
Wenger Swiss Military
Wenger combined with Victorinox to create the current swiss army knife , that’s why they both have a similar logo and aesthetic. You’ll also notice that they have a very similar built quality. What’s not the same is the price.
This watch is significantly cheaper than its Victorinox sibling, but that does come with some disadvantages that we’ll cover later.
Firstly, the strap is a really attractive brown/grey leather strap that is notched with small holes to give it an interesting texture. On the inside of the strap you’ll find that it is a vibrant orange that is replicated on the face of the watch.
These small holes actually serve a purpose, they allow some air to get through to your wrist. We’ve mentioned on a few of these products that the leather strap can be frustrating in the heat, but this solves that problem, to an extent. It’s never going to be as cool as a nylon strap, but it’s going to prevent you from sweating profusely.
The case is made from a stainless steel which you’d expect from a piece at this price range and it’s 40mm in diameter, about average for a field watch.
What we love most about this product is the aesthetic, it’s really different and it’s clear that they’ve put the time and effort into creating something beautiful.
Unfortunately, there are some things that we hate. Firstly, it doesn’t have luminous numerals, hands or any backlighting button. This is an absolute must for a field watch and we were shocked to find out that they didn’t have this, especially from a military-aimed company.
Not only that, but the window material is actually a mineral crystal instead of a sapphire. Mineral crystal is substantially less durable and is relatively easy to scratch.
Both of these problems are a turn off for us, but we still wanted to list it relatively high because it’s such a pretty watch.
Overall, we think this would make a good choice for the white-collar worker who likes to hike on the weekend. It’s not ideal for someone who does overnight camping or adventures, but for the man on the go it’s a nice alternative to a dress watch.
Hamilton Khaki Field
It would be difficult to create a list of this style of product and not include Hamilton. They’ve created so many options in this niche that you can guarantee one of your fiends have a timepiece created by them.
First of all, deciding whether this classifies as a field watch is tough. Since there is no strict definition of what a FW is, it’s up to your own interpretation. In general, it must be tough, durable and waterproof. Without those three it’s not a genuine FW.
With that in mind, this Hamilton model is water resistant up to 100m, it’s got sapphire crystal which is scratch resistant and the case is made from a stainless steel. To us, that’s good enough to classify this as a FW.
What really good out was the aesthetic. To us it seems that this was designed to look like a dress watch, in fact, you could easily get away with wearing this with a suit or to a meeting. Sure, it’s a little busier than most dress choices, but it’s still clean and aesthetic.
The leather strap is a red-brown that’s almost cognac is color. This makes a welcome change from the rougher leather the you see on most products in this niche. Also, there is luminous paint on the numerals and hands, a lovely feature after looking at the Wenger model.
Overall, the reviews are positive and although it’s not going to beat out the Luminox, it’s still a viable option for men looking for this style.
Marathon Military Field
Finally, let’s take a glance at the Marathon Military model. Marathon are renowned for creating exquisitely precise pieces with incredible mechanics. Like the GPW model, the are built specifically for government and military agencies.
That could go someway to explaining why they look the way that they do. For us, a men’s fashion website, this can’t rank any higher because of the way it looks. It’s not aesthetically pleasing, in our opinion, but you can practically guarantee that the quality and timekeeping will be excellent.
This is a purposeful product. Its not supposed to look pretty on your wrist, it’s there to fill a specific purpose for a select group of men. Perhaps we’re not being fair to this Marathon piece. After all, it was built to government specifications. It’s designed to be worn in battles, not on the street by the average Joe.
With a self winding mechanical movement, this should keep time particularly well. It also has self illuminating tritium gas tubes which will provide a glow in the night so that you can read the time in the dark.
Overall, this could still be a great pick. If you were going to wear this in the city then we would recommend picking out a thick leather strap to match.
How Much Should You Spend?
Looking at these options you might be asking yourself how much you should spend. In general, the higher the price, the better the build quality, but that’s not always the case.
If you’re on a very tight budget then you should go with the Timex. It’s reliable, aesthetically pleasing and has all of the features that you need.
If you’ve got a little more to spend then the Seiko was an excellent choice. It’s going to give you a stainless steel case which will be far more durable than the brass of the Timex piece.
However, if money isn’t an issue and you’re looking for one of the best field watches on the market, the Luminox stands out as a great pick. It’s extremely durable, it’s got excellent timekeeping and the build quality seems good.