The birth of field watches, along with wristwatches in general, is usually tied to World War I and the need for accuracy and durability during wartime. For any explorer, hard worker, or person who loves the outdoors, a field watch is a fantastic and sometimes necessary accessory.
Best Affordable Field Watches in 2020
Field watches are for those on the move and who have important things to do. So, we’ll cut to the chase. Our favorite field watch out of this list is the Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch. Durability and price are two very important factors, which is why we find this to be such a great watch. If you’d like to learn more about this watch and some of our other picks, continue reading!
1. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
This Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph watch is a beautiful vintage field watch. With a lot of technology combined with its leather, classically rugged appearance, this watch looks like an adventurer’s treasured keepsake. The watch has an analog display with quartz movement, protected by a mineral dial window. The case is 43mm and made of brass. The band is made of genuine calfskin leather. A nice feature is that a date window sits at the 4-o’clock marker. The watch is also water-resistant up to 330 feet, allowing for a lot of water activity.
This watch seems to be particularly loved for its style and accuracy—mostly because it is very affordable. There are few great chronograph field watches you can find for this price.
The leather band, while stylistically a great addition to this watch, might be a bit lighter than some would prefer. It was also mentioned that this watch may not look as large in person as it does in pictures, especially for those with larger wrists
2. Timex Men’s Expedition Scout 40
The Timex Men’s Expedition Scout 40 is a classic field watch for those who want something reliable but on a budget. The 20mm strap is a military green nylon slip-thru. The dial is black with easy-to-see luminous hands. It has 12 or 24-hour time and the date. The 40mm case and the bezel are brass. This watch is water-resistant up to 165-feet. Many love the simple design and the well-lit, illuminated features of this watch.
While most appreciate this watch and are shocked at its high quality—despite its low price—there are a few concerns. First of all, some say that the band can get a bit frayed after a while. Second, the time may need to be adjusted too often.
3. Hamilton Men’s Khaki Field Watch
Hamilton’s FH70455733 Khaki field watch is a wonderful watch option for those that love a classic, vintage style. It has an automatic self-wind movement and an analog display that is protected with a sapphire crystal dial window. The 38mm case is stainless steel, the band is made of black calfskin with distinctive contrast stitching, and it has a dual time display. A date box sits on the 3 o’clock marker. The watch is also water-resistant up to 330-feet for anyone who is into aquatic activities.
While this watch is on the expensive side, it is also made extremely well and provides great style to its wearer. One of the key features of this watch is the fact that while it is a field watch, you can easily dress it up for a fancy dinner or simply take it hiking. For anyone who works an office job but loves to spend their free time in the great outdoors, without worrying about switching up their accessories, this is a great choice.
A possible buyer needs to understand the size of this watch before purchasing, as a few reviewers mentioned it was smaller than they thought—case and band. With current styles promoting many large watches, it may be a bit of an adjustment.
4. Bertucci A-2T Vintage Watch
This Bertucci A-2T Vintage Watch is a great blend of quality and durability. The 42mm case is made with a strong but lightweight titanium. The movement is Swiss made all-metal quartz and the hands and markers are luminous for the wearer to easily see the time in different lighting.
Many reviewers loved the nylon band. They thought they’d want to replace it for various reasons but after breaking it in a bit, the band was comfortable and fit well. Overall, this is a durable and attractive watch that could be dressed up if needed.
Reviewers mentioned a few issues concerning the luminosity in the hands not lasting very long. There are also not a lot of frills to this watch. It is simple but does the job and as long as buyers understand that, they should enjoy their purchase.
5. AVI-8 AV-4003 Hawker Harrier II Stainless Steel Watch
For the air, land or water, the AVI-8 Hawker Harrier IIis a beautiful, durable and highly unique watch. It has a dramatic aviator style that draws the eye to it immediately. The analog movement is Japanese quartz. The 45mm case, along with the bezel, is stainless steel. The band is calfskin distressed-looking leather that creates a rugged look. On the band are stylish studs that again, draw attention.
The most defining factor of the watch is its face with sundials in an aviation-inspired aesthetic. The hands are easily visible as well. Durable for the outdoors, styled for a pilot and water-resistant to 165-feet, this watch is great for a variety of personalities who want a unique style with an ability to fit into many settings.
Some reviewers mentioned that setting the time on this piece can be a bit tricky.
What is a Field Watch?
As mentioned earlier, field watches became popular with the world wars because of a higher need for reliable accuracy in timekeeping. In general, those who enjoy the great outdoors or work in an area that requires precision in a long-lasting timepiece will gravitate towards the field watch. This is because a field watch is made to be a hardworking person’s companion. Consequently, it’s also made to serve many functions, often including a timer, long-lasting battery, precise time-keeping, water resistance, durability and more.
What Makes a Good Field Watch?
There are a lot of watches to suit a lot of personalities. Therefore, someone who needs a reliable field watch will, again, need accuracy and durability and their style. Additionally, the watch needs to suit them personally. This will be a piece worn through hard work and hopefully great adventure. It needs to be something easily readable, trustworthy for whatever job it’ll contribute to, and it must suit its wearers aesthetic.
Know What Type of Field Watch You Want
There are a lot of field watches that put more emphasis on a specific environment in which you may find yourself. Are you a scuba diver? You may need a watch that is more water-proof. Same if you find yourself more in the air than on land.
There are a lot of great styles and a lot of great options available. You can find the perfect accessory for you and your lifestyle. As a result, you need to know what you want so that you can find it.
Another question you should ask yourself is: “what style will suit your life the best?” Should your watch blend into a business or professional work environment and then lend its fantastic functions when you go spelunking on vacation? Or are you a full-time outdoorsman who just needs the most out of their watch?
Decide How much you should Invest in Your Watch
Watches can range from a solid 20 bucks to a couple thousand! Make sure you decide what kind of money you’re comfortable investing.
- Are you a watch aficionado who can tell from a cursory glance what metal was used for a watch case? Maybe you should trust your instincts and spend a bit more money if you have it.
- Are you an avid explorer who needs the best of the best timekeeping devices to ensure a safe trip? Getting a top-of-the-line watch may just be a safety precaution and should be considered.
- Or, do you want a reliable and quality watch but can’t quite tell the difference between a more expensive watch and a cheaper option…and don’t really care? Cheaper may be best for you, my friend.
Good watches can last you many, many years and they can be affordable. However, the choice to invest in a more expensive option could be a good decision long-term. Investing in quality is always a great idea if you have the money. Field watches—especially ones that you intend to take on rough, tough adventures should align with what you need and can afford.
Field watches are a great option for many people and whatever lifestyle they live in. Therefore, check out some of these field watches and then wear your choice while doing something exciting!
Our favorite, again, is the Timex Expedition Field Chronograph but if it doesn’t suit you, there are a lot of other great options.