An Introduction to Field Watches

What do field watches entail? The military onslaught has already begun before the last round lands. The cavalrymen charge into the enemy’s flanks almost simultaneously. Artillery bombardments lasted precisely eight minutes in the early 1900s.

You might be asking why a watch story would bring up the subject of war. Well, that’s it. Without the usage of a wristwatch, none of this would’ve been feasible.

Women were the only ones who wore wristwatches in the mid-nineteenth century. A German entrepreneur saw a market potential and decided to pursue it. He transformed what was once just an adornment into a valuable and dependable wrist companion.

Officers had previously relied on pocket timepieces, but the wristwatch proved to be far more practical, faster, and lighter.

Field watches have maintained their popularity and have been considered a masculine design. These gained nearly instantaneous appeal among military personnel all across the world. Some qualities emerged that would eventually lead to the creation of a distinct category of a field watch.

So, what distinguishes a field watch from a regular watch?

A field timepiece must be tough above everything else. Stainless steel is the resource of choice for a good field watch. Nowadays, models may be crafted out of titanium or ceramics and/or have a PVD covering.

It should be comprehensible. This requires good readability in low-light situations or at nighttime. As a result, it should feature a face with a lot of juxtaposition between a white or black dial and opposite-colored numerals.

The hour markers are polished golden, giving a rather official appearance. This could make reading in intense light difficult and perhaps produce glare or distortion.

The wristband is made of leather or canvas, which is more conventional. If necessary, these can be altered (for a refreshing look). It’s debatable whether a metal bracelet would be more durable, but they’re easily scratched and costly to fix.

Most field watches may be traced back to the first two designs from World war ll.

The mobility and size are the key differences. Watches used to have 36mm cases and hand-wound movements. Modern variants will have a diameter of 38mm to 44mm and will be automated or quartz.

Field Watches of the 21st Century

Field watches evolved from a utility military tool to a fashionable accessory for citizens. It began in the years between the two world wars and has since remained consistent over time. Every budget can simply be met with a field watch. If you prefer a masculine-looking wristwatch, a field watch could be an affordable addition to your collection.

Let’s take a look at a few of the most well-known field watch brands.


Timex has a great selection of timepieces for around $100. For instance, the Weekender and Expedition are some fantastic examples of a fully operational budget field watch.

At this price, you should expect a brass finish and mineral glass crystal on the dial, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise, and it’s also not a complaint. For decades, military officials have worn low-cost Timex field watches.

This Expedition Scout watch is available in a variety of finishes, allowing you to select one that best suits your personal style.


Wenger was one of the first manufacturers of the Swiss Army Knife and currently sells a few field watches.

The Triumph range boasts a classic dial with small second markers and 12 and 24-hour indicators. This is a tribute to the company’s two initial WWII timepieces.

They have a sapphire crystal on the exterior and a Swiss quartz mechanism on the inside. This is an incredible bargain for something that usually costs under $100.

You may also get a Terragraph, which has everything of the above plus a retro look. Given the increased case size of 43mm, it features a date window.


Another solid Swiss Army wristwatch brand is this one. If you enjoy the Wenger’s practicality but want something with a bit more oomph, a Victorinox could be for you.

Prepare to pay a premium for it, as quartz watches cost between $200 and $500, and fully automatic watches cost between $300 and $800. The Infantry collection houses the field watches.

A nylon NATO wristband can be worn with any Infantry line item, allowing you to switch it out for something more official (leather, if desired) depending on the occasion.


Hamilton has proven to be a force to be reckoned with in the watch industry. During World War II, it specialized in maritime chronograph movement, and after securing a government contract, it began creating field watches.

Hamilton was purchased by Swatch, the same company which owns Omega, and had a spike in popularity, appearing in renowned classics like Men in Black and Pearl Harbor.

The most prevalent type of shade they come in is khaki, which is a throwback to history. You’ll get a contemporary watch with a vintage vibe. The watches have ETA movements and come in sizes ranging from 38mm to 44mm.


Marathon is likely one of the few watchmakers with a deal to sell to the US military today. Marathon, which is best known for its dive watches, has lately launched a field watch that is an evolution of the aforementioned two WWII models.

Which has changed over the years in terms of style (and through various designers having input). The most recent version was created in the 1980s for aviators.

The General Purpose Mechanical ($245 / £218) is the best example, a modern take on the classic watches that strikes a suitable combination between old and new. It has better illumination than its antecedents, but it’s also hand-wound. It’s not too huge, measuring 36mm in length.

Article Summary

In conclusion, a field watch is ageless. It’s also dependable and tough. Because such watches are so affordable, there’s no reason to leave them out of any man’s wardrobe.

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