The best field watches 2024: robust timepieces for wild expeditions

The best field watches combine style with substance. They're elegant enough for the office, yet robust enough to be ran over by a truck and keep on ticking. They may not feature the all-singing, all-dancing features of a modern sports watch, but a field watch’s functionality is all about its beautiful simplicity.

Field watches have been around since the First World War, when the militaries of the world needed reliable timepieces with mallet-proof durability. Since then, their qualities have made them popular with explorers and adventurers.

Of course, these days many prefer the navigation, activity tracking and other myriad features of the best GPS watches, which get more and more impressive as the years go by. However, there will always be those looking for something that little bit more timeless, which is an ironic quality in a watch, we’re sure you’ll agree.

We’ve taken these watches along with us on our backcountry adventures, subjecting them to everything from summer thru hikes to winter climbs. Our favorite is the Elliot Brown Canford Mountain Rescue Edition, worn by the UK’s Mountain Rescue services. Just as good is Citizen’s Promaster Titanium Tough, with its extremely robust build and unassuming style.

The quick list

This is the quick list, a snapshot of the best field watches available in 2024. To delve deeper into the features and qualities of each featured watch, see our more detailed reviews further down the page in this guide.

Meet the expert

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

best hiking boots: Matthew Jones
Matthew Jones

Matt has been testing outdoor gear for around a decade and is a big advocate for the simple elegance of a field watch. He's a seasoned thru hiker, having walked, hiked and scrambled all 298 miles of the Cambrian Way in one go. He values the being able to trust a watch that doesn't need to be charged during adventures.

The best field watches 2024

The best field watch overall

best field watches: Elliot Brown Canford Mountain Rescue Edition

A robust and clear field watch for challenging outdoor adventures (Image credit: Alex Foxfield)
The best field watch overall

Specifications

Dimensions: 44mm across (excluding crowns) x 54mm to tip of case shoulders
Thickness: 13.5mm
Weight: 133g / 4.7oz
Movement: Swiss Made 5-jewel Ronda 715 quartz
Power reserve: N/A
Water resistance: ISO 2281 and individually tested to 20ATM / 200m
Materials & features: Solid marine-grade 316L stainless steel case / Domed & anti-reflective coated glass / SuperLuminova coated indices & hands / EPDM black rubber strap with wide tongue buckle

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to read
+
Virtually indestructible
+
Classy looks
+
Proceeds goes to Mountain Rescue
+
Swiss 5-jewel Ronda 715 quartz movement
+
Inner rotating bezel for timing events

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavier than many field watches
-
Less subtle than other iterations

There’s no doubt about it, the Mountain Rescue Edition of the Canford has a bold appearance. Enlarged hour batons, luminous markings and bright white hands filled with green SuperLuminova makes for outstanding visibility. Even in low light, we found it easy to instantly read the time.

The reason for this bold and bright design is the collaboration between Elliot Brown and Mountain Rescue England & Wales. In its engine room, there's a Swiss 5-jewel Ronda 715 quartz movement, which is protected by a housing surrounded by shock-absorbing elastomers. So, in other words, it's a highly durable and accurate mechanism that will withstand a hell of a lot of abuse. "Freezing winter conditions and long days in the rain are its bread and butter," said our expert reviewer.

The watch is also water-resistant to the ISO 2281 standard and pressure tested to 200m for 10 minutes. In short, this is timepiece that can join you on your wild swims, river crossings and hikes through Scottish deluges. All in all, the Canford is a classy, robust and easy to read field watch that's totally at home in the city, yet excels when hiking in the mountains. Virtually indestructible, it won’t fail you no matter how extreme your adventure – there’s a reason Mountain Rescue members wear them.

Read our full Elliot Brown Canford Mountain Rescue Edition watch review

The best field watch for robustness

best field watches: Citizen Promaster Titanium Tough

Combines great specs and top-notch build quality with a rugged but unassuming style  (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best field watch for robustness

Specifications

Dimensions: 46mm (lug-to-lug) x 40mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 12mm
Weight: 133g / 4.7oz
Movement: Japanese Citizen Eco-Drive solar quartz
Power reserve: N/A
Water resistance: 300m / 990ft
Materials & features: Brushed super titanium monobloc case with crown guards; flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal; signed, knurled screw-down crown; kevlar woven strap

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely robust build 
+
Battery free Eco-Drive movement
+
Superlight, anti-magnetic and hypoallergenic titanium case 
+
Japanese Eco-Drive solar quartz movement

Reasons to avoid

-
Nondescript looks 
-
Stiff and unforgiving strap

This watch definitely has a function-first design, with a matte dial, large numeric indices and a simple handset, all housed in a compact monobloc case. However, the watch’s specs and build quality are "seriously impressive" according to our expert tester. The case is made from “Super Titanium”, which we found to be lightweight yet extremely strong, with excellent anti-magnetic, hypoallergenic and corrosion-resistant properties. It has an impressive water resistance of 300m, while a flat sapphire crystal offers plenty of scratch resistance.

Inside, it runs on Citizen’s famous Eco-Drive movement, a solar quartz assembly powered by sunlight that we think is a great choice for off-grid adventures and means never having to worry about replacing a battery. 

All in all it’s a great multi-activity watch for use in the water or on land, and one that feels as solid as a G-Shock or a Victorinox INOX, despite being half the price of either of those rivals. The Citizen is also significantly lighter and smaller on the wrist, which arguably makes it an even more practical proposition for many activities.

Read our full Citizen Promaster Titanium Tough field watch review

The best value field watch

best field watches: Momentum Wayfinder GMT

A modern field watch with an adventure-ready titanium case and useful second time zone functionality   (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best value field watch

Specifications

RRP: $235 (US) / £177 (UK)
Dimensions: 48mm (lug to lug) x 40mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 11mm
Movement: Swiss quartz, Ronda 515.24H
Water resistance: 100m/330ft
Materials & features: Sapphire crystal; titanium case; screw-down titanium caseback; signed, knurled crown; choice of leather, nylon, NATO webbing or Goma rubber strap

Reasons to buy

+
Superlight titanium case
+
Full lume dial offers fantastic low-light legibility
+
GMT function can track a second time zone

Reasons to avoid

-
Quartz movement means occasional battery changes
-
100m water resistance is slightly less than some rivals

Momentum is an up-and-coming Canadian watch brand, and we think the Wayfinder is of their most attractive and adventure-ready timepieces. It’s a military-inspired titanium field watch that is tough and legible but also handsome, with a purposeful dial and rugged-looking matte titanium case. The specs and functionality are good too – you get a Swiss-made quartz movement with a GMT function and a date window, plus a sapphire crystal and a decent 100M of water resistance. In short, "there’s plenty of bang for your buck here," according to our expert tester.

We particularly like the GMT function, which means the watch has a fourth pointer hand that can be set to track a second time zone via the inner 24-hr track on the dial. This is a useful feature for travellers and adventurers.

The watch is also an ergonomic and comfortable companion on the wrist, as well as being extremely lightweight. Low-light legibility is great too, particularly if you opt for the white full lume option. The dial literally glows in the dark, making this a great choice for camping and night hiking. All in all, this is a great little tough, rugged and handsome timepiece for modern adventurers.

Read our full Momentum Wayfinder GMT review

The best field watch for style

best field watches: Seiko Alpinist

The no-nonsense appeal of a tool watch with refined design flourishes for a touch of class (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best field watch for style

Specifications

Dimensions: 46.5mm (lug to lug) x 39.5mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 13.3mm
Weight: 84g / 3oz
Movement: Japanese Seiko 6R35 automatic
Power reserve: 70 hours
Water resistance: 200m / 660ft
Materials & features: Stainless steel case with crown guards; internal rotating compass bezel; anti-reflective sapphire crystal with cyclops date window; screw-down exhibition case back; knurled crowns; stainless steel bracelet

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and wearable proportions
+
Shock protected automatic movement with long power reserve

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly dressy looks
-
Fairly thick case

The Alpinist is a compact and wearable piece, even if you don’t have huge climbers’ wrists. We also found it to be surprisingly elegant, with some dressy design flourishes. The latest version also has upgraded specs such as a highly scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with a cyclops date window, as well as Seiko’s in-house 6R35 automatic self-winding movement, which boasts an impressive 70-hour power reserve. 

Then there’s the internal compass bezel, a distinctive feature which is operated by a secondary crown positioned at 4 o’clock. And despite being primarily made for use on terra firma, the watch still has an excellent water resistance rating of 200m – as good as many of the brand’s specialist divers’ watches. 

The build quality is as solid as you’d expect from Seiko, too. So, this is a reliable outdoor companion, but one that’s far more than just a tool, with an eye-catching dial that offers both style and elegance. In that sense, this is a versatile watch that our expert tester thinks "could go easily from the office work wardrobe to adventurous weekend wear." 

Read our full Seiko Alpinist review

The best field watch for classic looks

best field watches: Hamilton Khaki Mechanical Bronze

A faithful reinterpretation of arguably the most iconic field watch around, with a touch of magic (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best field watch for classic looks

Specifications

Dimensions: 47mm (lug-to-lug) x 38mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 9.5mm
Weight: 65g / 2.3oz
Movement: Hamilton H-50 hand-wound mechanical
Power reserve: 80 hours
Water resistance: 50m / 5 ATM
Materials & features: CuSn8 bronze alloy case (92% bronze and 8% tin); screw-down titanium case back with unique serial number; single dome sapphire crystal; Aged Super Lumi-Nova; Leather NATO strap

Reasons to buy

+
Slim, elegant and lightweight
+
Compact proportions
+
Swiss-made mechanical movement
+
Authentic field watch heritage

Reasons to avoid

-
Inherently more delicate than quartz rivals
-
Not the best lume

This Swiss-made field watch is already a bona fide classic. But with this latest release, Hamilton have sought to add another dimension to the iconic Khaki Field Mechanical. This version has a gorgeous bronze case that will develop a unique patina the more you wear it, as the metal darkens and oxidizes with age. It means that the watch on your wrist will do more than tell the time – it will also tell a story of all your adventures too.

Of course, with its vintage looks and hand-wound mechanical movement, this watch is undeniably a bit of a throwback. But we still found it to be surprisingly practical: the dial is highly legible, while the movement has an impressive 80-hour power reserve, meaning when fully wound, it’ll run for just over three days before you’ll need to wind it again. The sapphire crystal is highly scratch-resistant, and that bronze case is fairly tough yet very light. A titanium case back cuts further weight.

In short, it’s "a great-looking piece with plenty of heritage appeal" according to our reviewer. If you’re attracted to the idea of owning a mechanical watch and are willing to splurge a little on a daily wearer with oodles of charm and character – one that’ll dress up for the office or down for weekend adventures – this little Hamilton will be a cherished companion. 

Read our full Hamilton Khaki Mechanical Bronze review

The best compact field watch

best field watches: Bulova Hack

This handsome little field watch combines wartime heritage with modern materials and a robust automatic movement  (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best compact field watch

Specifications

Dimensions: 46mm (lug-to-lug) x 38mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 13.3mm
Weight: 67g / 2.36oz
Movement: Japanese Miyota 82SO automatic
Power reserve: 42 hours
Water resistance: 30m / 100ft
Materials & features: Stainless steel case with gunmetal PVD coating; domed mineral crystal; screw-down steel case back; signed, knurled crown; leather one-piece strap

Reasons to buy

+
Small and wearable dimensions
+
Authentic field watch heritage
+
Robust automatic movement

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly thick case
-
Limited water resistance
-
Mineral glass crystal

The Bulova Hack is a modern update of an authentic military-spec field watch that was originally issued to US soldiers back in World War Two. It retains the compact proportions and vintage looks of the original, but now has a modern automatic movement housed in a stainless-steel case with a handsome gunmetal finish.

Given its bona fide wartime heritage, it should come as no surprise that we found the Hack works pretty well as a modern field watch too. The high contrast dial is simple yet functional, with a 24-hour military time track and a luminescent finish to ensure good nighttime readability. It feels unobtrusive on the wrist, meaning we were happy strapping it on for everyday wear. But the watch is still hefty enough to deliver good wrist presence, aided by a high-quality leather strap that is "both comfortable and stylish" according to our expert tester. 

All in all, it’s a well-built, good-looking timepiece that carries similar vintage military appeal to the Hamilton Khaki, without such a steep price tag. 

Read our full Bulova Hack field watch review

The best G-Shock field watch

best field watches: G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000

The Mudmaster may lack the charm of a classic field watch, but in all other respects it outperforms most of the competition (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best G-Shock field watch

Specifications

Dimensions: 61.2mm (lug-to-lug) x 54.4mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 16.1mm
Weight: 106g / 3.7oz
Movement: Solar quartz
Water resistance: 200m / 20 ATM
Materials & features: Carbon Core Guard case with steel crown and steel-forged carbon bezel; stainless steel case back; world time, date, alarm, stopwatch, timer, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass functions; sapphire crystal; resin strap

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra rugged and robust
+
Fully featured
+
Solar powered movement

Reasons to avoid

-
Thick, chunky and heavy
-
Expensive

Okay, whether it’s technically a field watch is debatable, but the G-Shock Mudmaster is arguably the archetypal outdoor watch. And it is much loved by military types, so it has probably seen more field service than most rivals. Plus, the latest flagship model in the Mudmaster series, the GWG-2000, is tougher than ever and ought to outlast even the most rugged smartwatch – as will its solar quartz movement, which will run for up to six months even in total darkness. 

And while it’s not quite as clever as a GPS-equipped smartwatch, we found that it's still pretty sophisticated, with a host of built-in tools such as a compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer. The burly case is made from carbon fiber resin, providing impressive shock and impact resistance as well as water resistance up to 200m / 20ATM. 

"It’s a bit of a brute on the wrist," according to our expert tester, and there are few concessions to style or looks, though the overbuilt design will undoubtedly appeal to some. It might also carry more functionality than many users will need. But if you want all the features of its on-board tech and appreciate its über-tough build, then there’s probably no better all-round outdoor watch out there. 

Read our full G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000 review

The best rugged field watch

best field watches: Victorinox INOX Autumn Spirit

This Swiss-made beast is a tough, modern tool watch that has been designed to survive over 130 endurance tests, including being driven over by a 64-ton tank…  (Image credit: Matthew Jones)
The best rugged field watch

Specifications

Dimensions: 52.8mm (lug-to-lug) x 43mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 13.6mm
Weight: 133g / 4.7oz
Movement: Swiss-made Ronda 713 quartz
Water resistance: 200m / 660ft
Materials & features: Brushed stainless steel case with crown guards; fixed steel bezel with polished highlights; flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal; screw-down steel case back; signed, knurled screw-down crown; braided paracord strap

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely robust
+
Swiss made quartz movement

Reasons to avoid

-
Thick and chunky
-
Fairly heavy

We pretty sure Swiss brand Victorinox didn’t hold back when creating this rugged yet thoroughly modern tool watch. Want proof? Well, during the design process it was subjected to over 130 endurance tests, including being driven over by a 64-ton tank and tested in extreme temperatures ranging from -57C to 71C (-70F to 160F). With its stainless-steel case (or inoxydable in French, hence the INOX designation), sapphire crystal, screw-down crown, shock-resistant movement and 200m / 660ft of water resistance, it’s intentionally overbuilt, ensuring suitability for any adventure, no matter how demanding.

As you might expect then, the result is a watch with rugged, no-nonsense looks and a chunky, muscular appearance. That won’t suit everybody, but while it may not be the most elegant timepiece out there, it should withstand a lifetime of hard knocks. And if you’re looking for an utterly dependable and unapologetically rugged watch with genuine Swiss-made heritage, "look no further" according to our expert tester.

Read our full Victorinox INOX Autumn Spirit review

The best field watch for modern design

best field watches: Nodus Sector Field Marina

This compact and classy field watch is tough yet stylish, finished with an eye-catching dial to help it stand out from the pack (Image credit: Nodus)
The best field watch for modern design

Specifications

Dimensions: 47mm (lug-to-lug) x 38mm (case diameter)
Thickness: 12.5mm
Weight: 74g (160g with steel bracelet) / 2.6oz (5.6oz with steel bracelet)
Movement: Seiko NH35/NH38 automatic, regulated in four positions
Water resistance: 100m / 10 ATM
Materials & features: 316L stainless steel case; screw-down case back with unique serial number; single-dome sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating; Swiss Super Lumi-Nova: Premium grade BGW9; screw-down, signed crown; steel bracelet

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish looks
+
Compact dimensions
+
Robust build

Reasons to avoid

-
Small date window
-
Steel bracelet design not perfect

The Sector Field from US manufacturer Nodus is a robust and readable daily wear timepiece, but one that we think comes with stylish and eye-catching looks too. However, despite its modern flair, it’s built just as tough as the original field watches that inspired it. The case is made of 316L stainless steel with an unusual, stepped bezel surrounding a flat sapphire crystal. 

The dial is full of color, texture and depth thanks to its sandwich-construction 'sector' design. Hands and indices have an attractive blue lume at night. The watch has a screw-down crown and case back too, giving the Sector Field a practical water resistance of 100 meters or 300 feet. Every Nodus watch has also been regulated to improve its accuracy. That shows impressive care and attention to detail from the LA-based brand. 

In fact, with the Sector Field, Nodus has crafted "a fresh and modern-looking watch that has all the practicality of a traditional field watch" according to our expert tester. Compact and wearable, with great dial legibility, a water-resistant construction and a 24-hour military time track, we think it’s well worth a closer look.

Read our full Nodus Sector Field Marina review

The best field watches comparison table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
WatchRRPWeightWater resistance
Elliot Brown Canford Mountain Rescue Edition£385133g / 4.7oz200m / 20ATM
Citizen Promaster Titanium Tough£299 (UK)133g / 4.7oz300m / 990ft
Momentum Wayfinder GMT$235 (US) / £177 (UK)Not stated100m / 330ft
Seiko Alpinist$725 (US) / £650 (UK)84g / 3oz200m / 660ft
Hamilton Khaki Mechanical Bronze$825 (US) / £720 (UK)65g / 2.3oz50m / 5 ATM
Bulova Hack$316 (US) / £289 (UK)67g / 2.36oz30m / 100ft
G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-2000$800 (US) / £699 (UK)106g / 3.7oz200m / 20 ATM
Victorinox I.N.O.X. “Autumn Spirit”$650 (US) / £549 (UK)133g / 4.7oz200m / 660ft
Nodus Sector Field Marina£450 (UK)74g (160g with steel bracelet) / 2.6oz (5.6oz with steel bracelet)100m / 10 ATM

How we test the best field watches

We wore each watch for at least two weeks straight, both day and night. They came with us on a variety of outdoor adventures, from hiking and hillwalking to wild camping, scrambling and climbing. Where a watch guaranteed a minimum water resistance of 100m (10 Bar or 10 ATM), which is generally considered to be the benchmark for a surface-water swimming watch, we also plunged into various lakes and rivers. 

Though we didn’t set out to test each watch to destruction, daily use came with an inevitable series of bumps and knocks. We assessed how well the watches fared when subjected to such typical use, paying particular attention to durability of the case, strap and crystal, as well as general timekeeping performance.

Meet the testers

Alex Foxfield
Alex Foxfield

Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader who knows that when the going gets challenging, simplicity is what's called for. He loves the virtual indestructible nature of a field watch, meaning he can trust it to keep on telling the time no matter where he's exploring. He's a classy lad too, so the aesthetic of a timeless field watch obviously appeals.

How to choose the best field watch