12 Best Field Watches For Men: Rugged Options For All Budgets in 2023
Though their roots date back to WWI, what we recognize today as the field watch didn’t fully hit its stride until the Second World War. As handsome as they are functional, most traditional iterations feature a black dial, white numbers, and the presence of military-time markers under the standard 12-hour numerals.
Like other versatile types of watches, the best field watches have a rugged elegance that translates to almost any scenario you might find yourself in. Weddings. Work meetings. Adventure races. Rolling down muddy hills for absolutely no reason. All of it should be considered fair game if your wrist is lucky enough to wear one of the best field watches for men. And as fate would have it, here come 12 of them now.
With their tough designs and understated, sometimes even elegant looks, the best field watches are a combination of form and function. My overall pick is the Tudor Wrangler, not only for its seamless integration of the two but for the historical accuracy its newest iteration pays to the category’s military roots.
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Case Size: 39mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Mechanical | Waterproof: Yes
This once discontinued classic field watch is back and better than ever. A quintessential watch in its category, the Ranger features a screw-down winding crown, traditional black dial, a sweet-spot-sized case at 39mm, and waterproofness up to 330 feet.
A throughline with many of the field watches for men on this list is their ability to be functional on outdoor adventures before seamlessly transitioning back into everyday life. The Ranger is no exception. And though it doesn’t necessarily come with an entry-level price tag, it’s the kind of timepiece that will last for years, even if it’s the only watch you own.
Case Size: 42mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Automatic | Waterproof: Yes
Designed in Berlin and manufactured in Glashütte—the birthplace of German watchmaking—each Nomos timepiece is pored over with meticulous detail. Founded in 1990, the company has since grown to become Germany’s largest manufacturer of mechanical watches.
Great. Good. Fine. But what does that all mean for your sad, wanting wrist? It means it’s about to be the proud recipient of one of the toughest and overall best field watches out there. The sapphire crystal glass back affords a view of the impressive automatic movement. Meanwhile, its crown guard was designed to take a beating, the stainless steel band is as functional as it is aesthetically versatile, and it’s water-resistant up to 1,000 feet.
Case Size: 41mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Quartz | Waterproof: Yes
Shinola’s Detroit roots run deep, and this pride shines through in its Runwell Field Watch. Aside from its impressive technical aspects, what makes the Runwell one of the best field watches around is its bold take on the traditional look of the species.
A cream-colored dial replaces the more traditional black, the 41mm case calls for the best kind of attention, and the green nylon strap adds a touch of understated look-at-me-ness if you plan on wearing this timepiece to happy hour. Speaking of, yes, you can wear it at happy hour. And while climbing mountains. Or diving. Or doing literally anything else.
Case Size: 37mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Automatic | Waterproof: Water-resistant to 100ft
Founded in 1881 with roots in quartz watches, Seiko has since been a household name for quality, affordable timepieces. The SNK809 is an automatic watch designed to do the work without drawing the attention (one minor exception being the rapid swinging of your arm when you start it for the first time).
You’ve got all the trappings of a four-figure field watch here: black dial, white Arabic numerals, stainless steel case, nylon strap, and peek-a-boo back so you can catch a glimpse of the gears in motion. There’s not much of a downside other than the fact that it’s not even remotely expensive for a watch of its caliber.
Case Size: 37mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Quartz | Waterproof: Water-resistant up to 330ft
If you love the way field watches for men look but aren’t necessarily looking for the intense side of their function, Citizen’s Eco-Drive Garrison may be what you seek. Regardless of its approachable price point, this handsome timepiece is still water-resistant up to 330 feet, still features a come-hither black dial with easily readable hands and numerals, and still has a tough-as-nails nylon band.
Citizen presents a solid entry point for the category: A do-anything, go-anywhere watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously… but just seriously enough.
Case Size: 40mm | Material: Brass | Movement: Quartz | Waterproof: Yes
A favorite on Amazon for good reason, the Expedition Scout from Timex is the very definition of a crowd-pleaser. The case falls right within the sweet spot in terms of size—not too big and not too small. It’s also lightweight and surprisingly durable for its astonishingly low price. And if you opt for the green strap with the black dial (protip: you should), it checks all the right boxes if you’re going for classic field watch looks and functionality.
It goes without saying that this watch isn’t going to be an heirloom. Far from it. But it’s damn sure going to be an understated, handsome addition to your collection of everyday wear timepieces. Even if it’s a perfectly respectable collection of one.
Case Size: 38mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Automatic | Waterproof: Water-resistant to 98ft
Storied American watch brand Bulova is rich with military history, and its Hack Watch is no exception. Inspired by its own mid-century designs, this ruggedly handsome and thoughtfully reimagined timepiece features a green leather strap, black dial, and red 24-hour time markers.
Subtle features and throwback vibes set this vintage field watch apart from the pack. But if you’re looking for function on top of it all, the Hack Watch has you covered. It’s lightweight, water-resistant up to just under 100 feet, and is built to stand the test of time.
Case Size: 38mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Mechanical | Waterproof: Water-resistant to 164ft
The best field watches are all about utility. And if they happen to look good and have a reasonable price tag while they’re at it, all the better. Hamilton’s Khaki Field Watch ticks all of those boxes and then some.
Rooted in military function and precision, this timepiece will serve you well whether you’re hiking, camping, snorkeling, flying a kite, or brewery hopping. If it involves adventure of any kind, this watch has your back. Oh, and it comes with a semi-awkward, semi-amazing fun fact. James Marsden wore this very same watch during his portrayal of Tom Wachowski in 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Carry on and do with that information what you will.
Case Size: 39mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Quartz | Waterproof: Yes
When it comes to military field watches, Marathon is the real deal. They’ve been manufacturing watches for the Allied Forces since 1941 and continue that longstanding tradition and craftsmanship to this day.
The Officer’s Watch features a Swiss-made quartz movement and, like all of Marathon’s General Purpose Field Watches, is built to military standards. The tan strap and bold dial features make this a standout timepiece that would be just as at home with a suit as it would a t-shirt.
Case Size: 38mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Automatic | Waterproof: Yes
Each Weiss timepiece is handmade by the company’s founder, Cameron Weiss. His Swiss training shines through in this ultra-lightweight automatic watch with a screw-down crown and integrated shock protection. The dial and numerals are rooted in classic field watch design, while the hand-stitched band adds a pop of sophistication.
Like most timepieces of its ilk, what makes this one of the best field watches for men is its technical and aesthetic ability to transition from outdoor adventures (in or out of the water) to rooftop cocktails without skipping a beat. The improved accuracy of its automatic movement is icing on the cake.
Case Size: 40mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Automatic | Waterproof: Yes
Quick, grab your wrist and tell it to huddle up for this one. Is it ready? Are you ready? Ok, here goes: Bremont’s Broadsword was manufactured with the functional blessing of the British Ministry of Defence and features a three-handed design that will stand out in a crowd to anyone regardless of their knowledge of timepieces. Too much buildup? Probably. Still—cool, right?
If you’ve somehow managed to carve out a “Field Watch” section of your closet—or a collection of luxury watches in general—this one deserves the top slot. Its military roots and smart aesthetic make it the ideal piece of wrist candy for the guy who’s all about business by weekday and adventure by weekend.
Case Size: 44mm | Material: Stainless Steel | Movement: Quartz | Waterproof: Yes
If they’re doing it right, most field watches are going to be rugged enough to take a beating and come out the other side with nary a scratch. Elliot Brown’s Canford Mountain Rescue Edition takes things to another level entirely.
You’re working with a marine-grade stainless steel case, Swiss 5-jewel Ronda 715 quartz movement, and shock- and scratch-resistant features integrated throughout. Bonus: all that ruggedness and performance is perfectly balanced by its unexpectedly elegant look. From the mountains to the rooftop cocktail bar, it won’t skip a beat.
What To Look For In The Best Field Watches For Men
Today in breaking (if not obvious) news: If you’re researching the best field watches, chances are you’re looking for the unique features that field watches offer. Among countless other offerings, they’re durable, lightweight, scratch-resistant, water-resistant, and have the ability to stop the second hand. If you’re looking for performance, pay special attention to the features of a field watch.
The sweet spot for most field watch dials is around 39mm to 40mm, though you can find plenty of options that are much bigger or smaller. This is a subtle species of watch, so if you’re looking for it to stand out, opt for a timepiece with a large dial like the 47mm Valjoux Field Automatic Chronograph from Luminox.
If you have a small wrist or just prefer the look of a less substantial dial, stick with 36mm options or smaller. The Explorer from Rolex features a smaller dial with all the function (and then some) of a traditional field watch.
Though it might otherwise seem obvious, the look of a field watch should weigh heavily into your decision. Will a field watch be decked out with diamonds? Probably not. Will it be made of flashy gold? Nope.
But it’s going to have a few telltale design features like a black dial, white hands and numbers, and a generally rustic look. If you want the performance features of a field watch but not necessarily the look, there are plenty of options that are aesthetically perfect for everyday use, whether you’re in the office or on the trail.
Field watches run the gamut in terms of price, features, aesthetics, and durability. My top pick is Tudor’s Ranger for its inclusion of all of the above in spades. But if you’re looking for all that the best field watches for men have to offer without the substantial investment, there’s no shortage of perfectly handsome and capable options to choose from.
Most modern field watches are worn out of personal preference and nothing more—either you like the look and features, or you don’t. That said, among many other technical features, most field watches allow the user to stop the second hand for precise coordination, which was pivotal for helping soldiers coordinate attacks during wartime. Several models also feature easy-to-read dials and glare-resistant cases. Another notable attribute of these watches, especially for purists, is that they typically don’t follow trends within the watch industry and are instead rooted in tradition.
The differences between pilot watches and field watches are starkly different today than they were during the First and Second World Wars. In wartime, pilot watches had to take into account things like, for example, the magnetic fields emanating from the engines of their fighter planes and deflect them accordingly. Today, it’s more about aesthetics than anything—pilot watches tend to have more technical features, while field watches mostly focus on rugged durability and high-contrast dials for readability under varying circumstances.
In short, yes. Many of the best field watches will look right at home next to a suit, regardless of where you’re wearing it. But remember that this is essentially a casual look. Keep the occasion in mind, make sure you have other watches in your rotation, and pair your field watch’s vibe with the venue’s accordingly.
With their wartime roots, field watches were designed with function under pressure in mind. The high contrast of black dials with large white numerals helps to stand out in all conditions, night or day. Simply put, the traditional colors of a field watch make it easier to see what time it is, while watches with digital displays or more understated designs tend to put visibility in the back seat.