An elegant timepiece sitting firmly on my wrist gives me absolute confidence anywhere I find myself. Wristwatches are one of the most worn pieces of ornament in the world, and no matter how dressed up you are or how expensive your outfit looks, you almost feel incomplete without a beautiful timepiece on your wrist. And one of the most important parts of the watch is the object that keeps it locked onto your wrist, which is the clasp.
The clasp attached to the strap of a wristwatch is not just an object for securing the watch on your wrist. It also styles the timepiece differently and adds personality to your look. Today, you can find different types of watch clasps, each with a unique style and feel.
This is a dive into the world of clasps to understand how they function and some of the types used for watches.
About Watch Clasps
This device secures both ends of a timepiece together on the wrist. It is small, yet, one of the most critical systems used to secure the wristwatch, as it ensures your watch stays on your wrist even during rigorous activities. There are various types of clasps, and they each have different advantages and disadvantages.
Purpose of a Watch Clasp
Aside from keeping the watch secure on your wrist, it also helps prevent it from falling off, getting damaged, or even getting lost. On top of that, some clasps are used to adjust the strap size, which can be helpful if you want to resell your watch or your wrist size changes.
Brief History About Clasps
Though still one of the most famous clasps today, but not as secure as some of the most recent ones, the pin buckle clasp was the first-ever watch clasp. They were originally made of metal with a pin inserted into a hole in the strap, but today they are often crafted from titanium, plastic, and other materials.
To better secure wristwatches of military officers on the battlefield, the deployant clasp was invented in the early 1900s and did a better job than the pin buckle clasp. It has two folding arms that collide to hold the straps together. The deployant clasp is still the most used on wristwatches.
Types of Watch Clasps
Aside from the famous Pin Buckle and Deployant clasps, there are other watch clasps available, each with unique features and style.
Some of the most used clasps include:
The folding clasp is mostly seen on metal bracelet watches, and it always takes the same material used on the watch strap. The class it gives every watch is just unmatchable, and aside from that, it circles perfectly under your wrist without pinching the skin in any way.
The Folding clasp folds over to secure each watch strap, consisting of two or three arms that fold over each other and are held by a spring. You press the button or lever in some cases to open this type of clasp, and then, you fold the arms back once you’ve slipped it over your wrist.
They are much more secure than most clasps because it is difficult to open by accident. And they’re so firm, so it is very comfortable on the wrist. Some timepieces, like the famous Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster, and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, all use the folding clasp.
The folding clasp comes in different types. The single-fold clasp, which is my favorite and also the most popular of them. This type has just two arms that fold over each other, while the double-folding clasp has three components that fold. The triple-fold clasp is the most uncommon of the three of them, and this one has four folding arms that fold over each other.
Pin Buckle Clasp
The Pin Buckle is not the fanciest type of clasp, but I can tell you it is one of the easiest to use. It is efficient, simple, and doesn’t have any complications to it. Insert the pin into the strap hole, and just like magic, your timepiece is secure.
Although it is a vintage style, the security that comes with this type of clasp can’t be overlooked. Without removing the pin from the strap hole, the security of your wristwatch is guaranteed.
The versatility of the Pin Buckle clasp is something I love. Unlike other clasps, it can be used on various strap materials like leather, rubber, metal, and fabrics and still look excellent. The Pin Buckle clasp is a good choice if you like styling your watch with different straps.
The Pin Buckle clasp is so ubiquitous that you might be wearing one right now. If you’re looking for a classic, simple, and versatile clasp for a timepiece, the Pin Buckle Clasp is a good option.
Aside from being more secure than ordinary watch buckles, they are more elegant and stylish, especially on dress timepieces. The name Butterfly is derived from the two hinged parts of the watch that look like butterfly wings. The two parts of the strap separate and spread when the clasp opens, allowing the timepiece to slide over your wrist. The two parts snap when the clasp closes, and the watch is secure on your wrist.
The butterfly look of the clasp gives it an elegant and sophisticated appearance that is mostly attributed to luxury timepieces. They are designed with top-notch materials like platinum, stainless steel, or gold.
Watches like the Cartier Tank, Rolex Datejust, and Cartier Santos use this type of clasp. The Butterfly clasp is a great option if you’re looking for a secure and stylish way to wear your timepiece.
But, one minor downside is the lack of micro-adjustments, so you’ll need to wear it slightly loose or tight on your wrist.
The Deployant clasp was crafted with gold and silver back in the day. Today, materials like titanium and stainless steel are also used. This type of clasp has two parts, the pin buckle and clasp.
The clasp is made up of two plates that fold and is held by a safety catch. The buckle allows you to adjust the clasp to your preferred size, it slides across the clasp, and it can be easily adjusted to any size.
A few timepieces that feature the deployant clasp include Patek Philippe Nautilus, Cartier Tank, and IWC Portugieser. This clasp is a great choice to add a touch of comfort and luxury to your wristwatch.
Sliding Buckle Clasp
Having this clasp on my Tudor Black Bay has got me hooked on it. The Sliding Buckle has one of the best features of any clasp. It makes it easy for you to adjust the strap to fit your wrist perfectly, and I also have a guilty pleasure in sliding it open and close multiple times; it can be so satisfying at times.
It works with a small lever used to release the clasp, and once it is released, you can adjust the size by sliding the buckle across the watch strap. You can close the clasp by pushing the lever back inside. The Sliding Buckle clasp was initially designed for Scuba Divers for them to be able to quickly adjust their strap to the perfect size for the depth and temperature of the water.
This type of clasp can now be found on watches like the Tudor Black Bay, Longines HydroConquest, TAG Heuer Aquaracer, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, and many other timepieces. I recommend this clasp for anyone that fancies a convenient and easy-to-use clasp.
This clasp was designed by a Swiss engineer in 1955 called George De Mestral. He devised this design on a hike when he saw tiny hooks on his dog’s fur and fell in love with the pattern it created. He designed the Velcro strap using this pattern, and it became popular among watches and many other ornaments at that time.
It is commonly used on nylon or textile straps by attaching one end of the strap to a hook fastener and the other is rooted with a loop fastener. The surfaces stick together when you press them against each other, forming a stronghold across your wrist.
Velcro straps are one of the easiest to use, they can withstand up to 50 pounds of force and are also adjustable. This clasp features in watches like the Casio G-Shock, Suunto Core, and Timex Expedition. This clasp is a great option for people wanting something durable and adjustable.
Dive watches are one of my all-time favorites because they are durable. The special dive clasp is one of the things that make them very secure, and Rolex designed the first dive clasp in the 1950s. They are designed with two locking mechanisms. It has a folding clasp that helps close the watch when it’s not worn, and the other makes it adjustable. These complications add some class to dive watches and are very easy to use.
Some diver clasps come with a micro-adjustment system that allows you to adjust how the clasp fits on your wrist. Watches like the Citizen Promaster, TAG Heuer Aquaracer, and Rolex Submariner use this clasp.
This clasp makes adjusting your watch bracelet very easy without using any tools. The Glidelock clasp works by opening the clasp and pulling or pushing the bracelet till you find the perfect fit for your wrist. It has 20 increments, so your watch bracelet can take up to 20mm of adjustments.
The Glidelock clasp has similar features as the Diver, but it is a Rolex invention, and its name is derived from the way it glides with ease across the bracelet. They are featured on the Rolex Submariner, Panerai Luminor, Rolex Sea-Dwellers, and Rolex GMT- Master II watches.
Clasps help secure watches on the wrist and add to the overall beautification and value of a timepiece. Before deciding on any clasp, you must consider the watch type and what sort of activities you will be engaging in.
There are various types of watch clasps, and they each come with different levels of versatility, comfort, and style. So there is a wide variety for you to choose one that perfectly suits your specifications and purpose. Make sure you go for clasps made with high-quality materials to ensure your watch is always secure on your wrist.
When people see the words “power reserve”, “jewel”, “vph”, “caliber”, or “movement”, few (even among watch enthusiasts) understand how they translate to performance. Most luxury watch owners, especially first-time owners, buy for brand prestige, appearance, or resale value. And rarely because of the watch movement.
I spoke to a Rolex Datejust owner who was unaware of the caliber or function of his watch, saying he got it for the status and investment value Rolex offers. He’s now on the lookout for a Sky-Dweller, still with no idea what makes his timepiece tick.
While this isn’t uncommon or ignorant, it backs up a 2008 study by IJMASS that found that a significant portion of consumers value brand reputation over technical aspects when purchasing watches.
Well, that’s fine. But the team at Exquisite Timepieces values building a community of watch owners that understand the intricacies and facts about their prized possession. Hence, we made this comprehensive overview of the most popular automatic watch movements and how they work.
About Automatic Watch Movements
Watch movements have captivated the interest and attention of hardcore horologists and enthusiasts for centuries. From the precision of the quartz movement to the artistic glide of the mechanical ones, timekeeping and its intricacies have continuously evolved. And the automatic watch movement is today’s blueprint and hallmark of top-tier watch engineering.
Automatic or self-winding watch movements keep time without batteries or constant hand winding. Contrary to popular belief, magic does not power watches with automatic movements.
They simply testify to the law of physics by using the wearer’s motion to power the watch’s mainspring – the power source. This way, it never runs out of juice unless it’s inactive after the exhaustion of the power reserve.
The x-factor in automatic watch movements is the semicircular weight/rotor that rotates on the back of the movement/caliber. You’ll see this clearly in watches with transparent case backs. The “rotor” uses kinetic energy – as it swings back and forth on a pivot with the wearer’s movement, it winds the mainspring, so it charges automatically.
The energy stored up in the mainspring is released in a controlled manner to power the watch with the help of the escapement and balance wheel. Acting as the watch’s brain, the escapement produces a tick-tock motion that controls energy flow to the balance wheel. Then the balance wheel oscillates back and forth at a precise frequency, ensuring that the watch’s hands glide seamlessly across the dial.
History Of Automatic Watch Movements
The creation of the first automatic movement is often attributed to a Swiss watchmaker from Le Locle, Abraham-Louis Perrelet. Perrelet unveiled a pocket watch with a self-winding mechanism in 1777 with a rotor or oscillating weight that moved up and down, harnessing the wearer’s motion to wind the mainspring. It took an estimated 15-minute walk to fully wound the watch.
Perrelet’s invention inspired other watchmakers to improve this design, including Abraham-Louis Breguet, founder of Breguet. He got it right, using a barrel remontoir instead of a rotor. But it was too expensive to be mass-produced.
The Harwood Breakthrough
While several other horologists successfully created a self-winding mechanism, they were rare prototypes. It took almost two centuries to produce one for the public. Harwood obtained the patent for the first mainstream automatic wristwatch in 1923, which opened room for the sophisticated calibers we use today.
His self-winding mechanism used a pivoting rotor that only moved back and forth – now called the bumper or hammer – in a 180-degree motion. Harwood’s movements had a power reserve of up to 12 hours when fully wound.
Harwood’s automatic watch movement soon gained widespread popularity and was quickly embraced by other manufacturers.
Rolex refined the design in 1930 with adjustments to the oscillating weight – giving it a full 360-degree. This simple workaround stored more energy in the mainspring – providing the Oyster Perpetual a 35-hour power reserve.
In the same year, Glycine released the world’s first widely produced automatic watch movement. Eterna also made a notable contribution in 1948 by introducing ball bearings to these movements. This ingenious addition ensured that the internal structures of the watch stayed in place even when subject to trauma.
Most Popular Automatic Watch Movements
Now that we’ve shed some light on the automatic watch movement and its history, here are some of the most popular automatic movements in the watch industry. From iconic classics to innovative brands, we’ll unravel each movement’s history, specifications, and unique characteristics.
Depends on the grade
-20 to +40 s/d
-10 to +30 s/d
-0 to +20 s/d
Depends on the variant
The SW200-1 automatic watch movement, crafted by Sellita, a renowned Swiss movement manufacturer, is often said to be a clone of the ETA 2824-2. It came to the fore after ETA cut off deliveries to third parties, and its patent on the caliber expired in 2003. Sellita, who was formerly assembling the parts of watch movements, decided to start producing the parts in-house. The plan was successful, and it resulted in the SW200-1.
This movement has now come to be known for its precision, reliability, and economical nature. The SW200-1 measures 25.6mm in diameter and 4.6mm in height. It bears 26 jewels and operates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The caliber also comes with hour, minutes, sweep center seconds, stop seconds hacking feature, and ball bearing.
The presence of a date feature depends on whether your watch comes with the SW200-1a or b. The SW200-1a has a built-in date window with quick setting, while the SW200-1b doesn’t. Additionally, when fully wound, the movement has an impressive power reserve of 41 hours. However, the watch’s accuracy is determined by the quality level of your movement. SW200-1 automatic movement has four (4) quality levels:
Standard – accuracy of +/-12 s/d to +/-30 s/d
Special (Elabore) – accuracy of +/-7 s/d to +/-20 s/d
Premium (Top) – accuracy of +/-4 s/d to +/-1 s/d
Chronometre – accuracy meets COSC criteria
The versatility of the Sellita SW200-1 is evident in its widespread adoption by watch brands across various styles and designs. It powers several watches, such as the C60 Trident Pro 600 by Christopher Ward, the Serket Reef Diver 2.0 Microband, and the Invicta Meteorite Ocean Ghost Diver 5015. Also, the Oris 773 Caliber, found in some watches in the Oris Divers Sixty-Five line, is based on the Sellita SW200-1.
ETA 2824-2 has to be the most popular of all the industry’s automatic watch movements. Produced by ETA-SA, a renowned Swiss movement manufacturer and a subsidiary of the Swatch Group, the evolution of this highly esteemed movement dates back to 1982. It is a secondary generation of the ETA 2824 caliber and is based on the earlier mentioned Eterna Calibre – hence its ball bearings.
This self-winding movement, often described as a “workhorse movement”, shares similar features with the Sellita SW200-1 because the latter was based on its design. It operates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, boasts a power reserve of 38 hours, 25 jewels, and an Etachron regulator.
Like the SW200-1, it measures 25.6mm in diameter and is 4.6mm thick. It also has central hour, minutes, sweep seconds, and a date window – the position could differ depending on the manufacturer). Plus, it is designed with a hacking feature and can be wound by hand.
There is a manual wind version of the ETA 2824-2, known as the 2804-2 caliber. Ever since the ETA-SA lost its patent of the 2824-2, manufacturers have proceeded to make clones of the automatic movement.
One notorious clone is the Sellita SW200-1. Also, Seagull’s ST2130 caliber, Hangzhou’s caliber 6300, and Valanvron’s VAL-24 are all clones of the 2824-2. Moreover, Tissot Visodate and Hamilton Khaki King watch models feature the ETA 2824-2 automatic movement.
The NH35A is an unbranded version of the Seiko 4R35, proudly crafted by the esteemed Japan watch manufacturer Seiko. Note that this caliber could be manufactured in Japan or Malaysia – the country of manufacture is often inscribed on the rotor. Regardless of where it is manufactured, the Seiko NH35A is prized for durability, ruggedness, and affordability.
This self-winding movement has a slimmer profile when compared to the ETA 2824-2 and SW200-1. It is only 5.32mm thick with a 27.4mm diameter. Operating at a frequency of 21,600 beats per hour, the NH35A delivers accuracy within the range of -20 to +40 seconds per day. It is also designed with a hacking feature, a bi-directional rotor, 24 jewels, and a diashock protector. The crown reinforces the anti-shock and waterproof feature.
Speaking of the crown, it is worth noting that its three positions each have different functions. At 0 position (against the case), the crown is used to wind the caliber manually. The NH35A has a 41-hour power reserve at full charge, which can be achieved after manually turning the crown 55 times.
The crown can adjust the date at the 1 position (a click away from the case). And for the hacking stop-seconds feature, the crown should be placed at the 2 position (two clicks away from the case).
This unbranded Seiko automatic watch movement has an incredibly long lifespan, with a tendency to last 5 to 25 years. It’s no wonder that the NH35A is featured in rugged watches from brands like Invicta, Vostok, Orion, Helm, and Lum-Tec.
With a 26mm diameter and 3.9mm thickness, the Miyota 9015 has to be our list’s thinnest automatic watch movement. Its height makes it a great fit for dress watches. But don’t be fooled by its sleek design; this caliber is a workhouse movement with powerful features.
For one, it does spot a highly impressive power reserve of up to 42 hours when fully wound, allowing it to keep time accurately for almost two days. And its accuracy, between -10 to +30 seconds per day, has been vetted by third-party micro brands like Marc & Sons Pilot Watch. It can be hand wound, ensuring accurate and precise timekeeping.
In addition to the power reserve, other specifics of the Japanese Calibre 9015 are a 28,800 vibration per hour, unidirectional rotor, central hour, minutes and seconds sweep, 24 jewels, date calendar, and parashock system.
Watches that feature the Miyota 9015 include Vaer D5 Dive, Lum-Tec B24 Carbon, and BOLDR Odyssey Free Diver.
Swiss Technology Production STP1-11
Here’s another automatic watch movement based on the ETA 2824-2 and the Swellita SW200-1. It is a 26-jewel movement which is one more jewel than 2824-2 – the extra jewel supports the barrel arbor. It retains the 25.6mm diameter and 4.6mm thickness, 28,800 beats per hour, bi-directional rotor, hand winding, and hacking feature of the 2824-2.
However, what sets this movement apart is its power reserve. So instead of a 41-hour power reserve, the STP1-11 can last up to 44 hours when fully wound. This extended power boost is due to a longer and thinner mainspring, which provides more room to store energy and a resulting substantial reserve.
The STP1-11 comes with a calendar complication that could be at 3 or 6 o’clock. Its accuracy rating is -0 to +20 seconds per day, and it has been tested in five (5) positions meeting COSC chronometer standards.
Unsurprisingly, the Swiss Technology Production STP1-11 has inspired many other calibers in-house and amongst other brands. The STP1-11M is a manually wound version of the STP1-11. STP2-12, STP3-13, STP5-15, and STP6-15 are all based on this prestigious self-winding movement. Plus, you can find the caliber in the BOLDR Odyssey and Stella Felix watches, among others.
The ETA/Valjoux 7750 is a legendary automatic chronograph watch movement. Originally, the movement was designed by Valjoux and was based on the manually wound Valjoux 7733. It was first intended as a watch computer for pilots and sold on the market between 1973 and 1974. However, production stopped at some point, and it wasn’t back on sale until 1985.
The name ETA/Valjoux 7750 resulted from a 1944 merger between Valjoux and AUSAG, which owned other smaller companies, including ETA. Thus, except for the original version, the automatic movement is often called ETA 7750.
Original versions of the ETA 7750 were designed with 17 jewels, and subsequent versions with 24 jewels. The contemporary movements, however, come with 25 jewels, three sub-dials, a day/date feature at 3, a ball bearing rotor system, and 48 hours power reserve. It has a 30mm diameter, 7.9mm thickness, and 28,800vph – as opposed to the 21,600vph in earlier models.
The 7750 comes in four grades, meaning the accuracy of the movement varies with each grade. There are also several variations, such as the 7751, 7753, and 7754, which mainly differ in the position of the subdials, date feature, and the absence or presence of a GMT hand or moon phase.
The ETA/Valjoux 7750 has found its home in numerous remarkable timepieces from manufacturers like Alpina, Tag Heuer, Oris, Sinn, Chronoswiss, and Breitling.
If you own a Steinhart Ocean Titanium 500 Premium, Stowa Marine Automatic, Sinn T1, T2, or EZM3, you’ll be familiar with this Swiss movement. It was designed by Soprod, a subsidiary of the Festina Group, and is now designated the Caliber M100.
The Soprod A10 is based on a caliber from the Seiko 4L family – Caliber 4L25- often found in high-end watches. It is designed with a glucydur balance, incabloc shock system, 28,800 bph, 25.6mm, and a 3.6mm thickness. In addition to these features, it has 25 jewels, 42 hours of power reserve, and hacking seconds feature.
There are three(3) variations of the A10 self-winding movement. While they share the same dimension, beats, power reserve, and jewels, they differ in the absence or presence of a date complication, balance wheel, or skeletonized dial. A10-2 is built with three regular hands and no date complications. SOP A10BV-2 has three hands and an open balance wheel, with no date complication. SOP A10SQ-2 lacks a date feature but is built into a skeletonized dial.
The watch industry has been graced with the most fascinating and ingenious automatic watch movements. We have explored the most popular of these movements, from legendary ones like the ETA 2824-2 and Sellita SW200-1 to the notorious automatic chronograph movement, ETA/Valjoux 7750, and other equally remarkable ones like the Seiko NHE5A, Miyota 9015 and the STP1-11.
These timeless movements, with their designs, rotor system, crown positions, power reserves and reinventions, power diverse watches – be they classic dress watches or rugged sports timepieces. And with your newly found knowledge of the most popular automatic watch movements, we hope that you make more informed decisions on your next watch purchase.
In the comment section, let us know what you think about these popular automatic watch movements. Cheers!
Harnessing the power of the sun. It’s something even ancient civilizations like the Egyptians and the Greeks considered. They designed their architecture to follow the pattern of the sun to maximize natural light and heat.
It was the 19th-century discovery of the photovoltaic effect by French physicist Becquerel that would lay the groundwork for modern solar technology and the work of later scientists like Einstein, who won a Nobel Prize in 1921 for furthering the understanding of solar energy and, of course, the scientists at Bell Laboratories in the 1950s (and others) that got us to where we are today.
Facing environmental challenges and an energy crisis, many have turned to solar as a solution. Time and battery technology will tell if that’s realistic, but no one can argue that solar tech has come a long way. Whether it’s powering homes, cars, or watches, the modern tech is pretty impressive.
In this article, we’ll examine 20 of the best solar watches, from affordable to luxury brands and everything in between. Whether you’re driven by environmental virtues, cutting-edge technology, or convenience, there’s something here for everyone and every budget. We’ve thoroughly examined each of the timepieces we’ve selected to consider solar efficiency, aesthetics, consistency, ruggedness, luxury, and value for the money.
For those that want style and sustainability without compromise, let’s discover some remarkable watches that blend nature’s power with the best of human engineering and artistry.
About Solar Watches
Sustainability. It’s a corporate buzzword and a powerful movement. Not easy being green? No more. Kermit’s day has arrived. Everyone wants to be seen as “green”. Solar watches are one way to show you care for the planet.
They are also a modern technology alternative to quartz battery-powered watches. Let’s further explore the history of solar watches and why they’ve become a popular choice among watch experts and technology enthusiasts.
A Brief History
Solar watches have their roots in the space race. The final frontier of outer space demanded a way to power watches in remote places. The Hamilton Watch company was actually the one to pioneer this technology in the mid-1950s.
Hamilton’s Ventura model was powered by a miniaturized solar cell and really pushed the technology forward. However, this model wasn’t entirely solar-powered, as it required a battery to store the power.
By the 1970s and 80s, watch companies like Seiko and Citizen found ways to refine the technology and mass-produce it for the public.
Solar Advantages Over Quartz Movements
Green: Using the abundant power of the sun as the energy source for a timepiece requires significantly less reliance on disposable batteries. Those batteries eventually end up in landfills and can be a potential hazard.
Convenience: With solar power, replacing your watch battery is unnecessary. This saves the consumer time and money.
Long reserves: Today’s solar watches have long power reserves that, once fully charged, can last for months, even in complete darkness.
Low maintenance: Solar watches are more energy efficient than battery-powered quartz watches, making the timepieces more reliable, less likely to fail for mechanical reasons, and less likely to be out of commission for repairs.
Accurate: Solar watches have proven to be just as precise timekeepers as quartz battery watches, making them reliable for both professional and daily use.
Wide-rangingstyles: Whether one is shopping for something modern, sporty, or classic and dressy, there’s a solar-powered timepiece out there to suit every need and taste.
Overall, solar watches have become quite popular, with the technology only getting better, more effective, sustainable, and more powerful.
What To Look For in Solar Watches?
One might understandably feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of solar timepieces on the market, and it can be difficult to sort through the blizzard of internet ads to determine the winners from the losers and which ones suit one’s specific needs best. That’s why we’ve done the research for you. We’ll detail all the critical things to consider when purchasing your next solar watch.
As with any quality timepiece, one should consider the materials used to make the watch. Materials like high-end stainless steel, ceramic, and titanium will not only be durable and scratch resistant but will last and, as a bonus, look the most luxurious.
The top solar watches, once fully charged, can last for months, even in complete darkness. If you have professional responsibilities in the field or you lead an active lifestyle, you’ll want to consider a watch with a long power life without the need to constantly be recharged.
Solar Panel Location
Obviously, a solar panel on the case back would be rather ineffective. While I can’t imagine most watch engineers would make a mistake like that, be sure there’s a large panel on the dial or bezel of the watch. This way, you can be sure that it will harness the most solar power.
Make sure the timepiece you’re considering is at least water-resistant to 50 meters. This will ensure your watch is protected against rain and accidental splashes. It will also allow one to wear the watch in more active settings, including swimming and snorkeling (for a dress watch, 30 meters is acceptable).
Look for a timepiece that has a clean, readable layout and strong luminous hands and markers so everything is clear and visible even in the lowest light conditions, including total darkness.
The Best Solar Watches
With that said, here’s a list of the 20 best solar watches you can buy today at different price points:
1. BERTUCCI DX3 FIELD REF. 11015
The Bertucci DX3 Field is a simple, no-nonsense, classic three-hand field watch design. The watch case is made of polycarbonate, which is a pressed plastic that’s quite rugged. It’s not stainless steel or titanium, but it will do the job.
The case has a sleek matte black finish and measures 40mm; it’s 11mm thick and 49.5mm from lug to lug. The bezel is smooth and fixed. The dial is also a matte black with painted white numerals and white sword-style minute and hour hands. The hands and indices are properly illuminated and visible even in low-light settings.
The timepiece offers a Japanese quartz movement powered by solar and is water resistant to 50 meters, which is suitable for swimming and snorkeling; however, this watch is not to be used for diving. The face of the timepiece is protected by an R-Type mineral crystal, which doesn’t have the scratch resistance and strength of a sapphire crystal. But this watch isn’t expected to last generations, and the reasonable price reflects that. It is paired with a black nylon strap with a simple tang buckle.
The G-SHOCK is all business. To my eye, there’s nothing especially beautiful about this watch, but if you’re looking for a solid, reliable digital watch, this will deliver. The case is some type of resin, as is the fixed bezel, which is a smooth matte black. Resin is perfectly capable but not as durable as stainless steel. When would this matter?
It probably doesn’t matter for most purposes, but resin isn’t as capable of withstanding underwater pressures as other materials like steel or titanium. The case is a hexagon-type shape, measures 46.7mm by 43.2mm, and sits on the wrist at 12.7mm thick. The watch weighs 51.7 grams. The dial is black with a digital display that can brighten in low-light situations.
The timepiece has some solid specs. It’s shock-resistant and capable of 200 meters of water resistance, which means it’s rugged and ready for those with an active lifestyle and quite capable in most diving situations. The face is protected by glass, which isn’t as durable as sapphire crystal.
The watch is powered by the sun, and its battery, when fully charged and in power save mode, can last in total darkness for up to 22 months. The timepiece is accurate to 15+/- seconds per month. The watch includes features like a 12 or 24-hour format, date and day display, and stopwatch capabilities. All this is paired with a resin strap and a tang buckle.
3. TIMEX EXPEDITION NORTH FIELD SOLAR REF. TW2V41600JR
TIMEX has been a widely known and trusted watch brand since 1854. The Expedition North Field is an excellent timepiece for the price that offers everything a budget-conscious buyer would be looking for. The stainless steel, brushed, and bead-blasted case measures 41mm, sits on the wrist at 12mm thick, and has a lug width of 20mm.
The watch has a smooth steel bezel and a black dial with numerals, except at 12 o’clock, where it’s marked with a triangle. At 3 o’clock, there’s a date window for added functionality. The dial has sword-style hour and minute hands and a gray seconds hand. Of course, the hands and markings are luminescent in the dark. The face is protected by sapphire crystal. TIMEX describes the watch design as military-inspired and made for the outdoor enthusiast.
The timepiece is solar-powered and will last for 4 months on a single charge. The watch offers a screw-down caseback and crown, making it water-resistant to 100 meters. The timepiece is paired with a stainless steel bracelet with a fold-over clasp for added security. It’s a solid, clean everyday watch. If you’re looking for something with solar, but a classic steel design, this watch hits all the right marks for the right price.
Citizen delivers on a good dive watch that’s paired with their eco-drive technology. The stainless steel case with alternating gear-edged bezel measures 44mm, sits on the wrist at 12mm thick, and has a lug width of 20mm. The unidirectional bezel has a blue aluminum ring insert with white markings. The blue dial is also clean and easy to read. The dial has a stubby sword-style hour and minute hands.
The hour and seconds hand are gray, and the minute hand is orange. The indices are white and a mix of round and triangle-like shapes. There’s a date window at 4 o’clock. The hands and markings are luminescent in low lighting. The face isn’t protected by sapphire crystal, which is disappointing, but it’s impact and shatter resistant.
The watch is powered by Citizen’s eco-drive technology, which means it can be charged by any light source and will last up to six months in the dark on a full charge. The timepiece has a screw-down crown and case back and is water-resistant to 200 meters. All this is paired with a blue polyurethane strap with a steel tang buckle. It’s a good-looking, performing driver with some of the best solar tech on the market.
5. ORIENT NEO 70’S SOLAR PANDA CHRONOGRAPH REF. WV0041TX
If you’re in the market for a “panda-style” chronograph that’s solar-powered at a steal of a price, this is it. The Neo 70’s Solar Panda Chrono by Orient has all the right stuff and checks all the right boxes. The stainless steel case measures 42mm and sits on the wrist at 11.7mm thick. The watch looks more expensive than it really is, which is something Orient does well.
The milky-white dial features three registers, two large and one small, with black backdrops. The silver hands and silver-lined black indices look sharp. There’s a date window at 4 o’clock. The face is protected by a mineral crystal.
The watch is powered by solar and, with its screw-down crown and caseback, is water resistant to 100 meters. The timepiece offers hacking seconds and is paired with a stainless steel bracelet with twin push button release, fold over clasp. It seems this model has been discontinued by Orient but is still available through other retailers.
This Citizen Eco-drive is a handsome, classic dress watch. The timepiece has a stainless steel case that measures 40mm. The case is relatively thin and should easily slip under a dress shirt. The fixed bezel is smooth and paired with a light ivory dial with silver hands and indices. There’s a day display window at 12 o’clock and a date window above 6 o’clock. Even with all these functions, the dial is simple, clear, and easy to read.
The timepiece is powered by a caliber J800 movement, which is charged by Citizen’s Eco-drive. The watch is splash resistant, with a 30 meters rating. The timepiece also features 12 and 24 hours and has an eight-month power reserve. All this matched with a brown leather strap with stitching and a tang buckle. It’s a handsome watch that competes very well with other brands like Seiko and Hamilton.
The Edifice Sospensione is perfect for the guy whose Corvette dream is out of reach and who is willing to settle for a sporty watch. The black and red design looks like a sports car. It comes in a few different configurations, some more gray, some more red. The case and bezel are made of carbon and stainless steel, and the watch’s measurements are 51mm by 47.8mm by 10.8mm.
For a beefy sports watch, it’s relatively thin. The dial offers a mix of digital and analog displays, with white sword-style hands and white indices. There’s a date and day window at three o’clock, along with other registers.
The timepiece is solar-powered and can run for 7 months on a single charge, with typical daily use and 18 months in total darkness in “low power mode”. The watch is full of features, including stopwatch functions, a countdown timer, an alarm, and 38 timezones (displaying the city name), to name a few. It’s accurate to within 15 seconds +/- per month. The watch syncs with Bluetooth and offers smartphone link capabilities, and even displays battery levels. It’s water resistant to 100 meters and fitted with a black resin strap with a tang buckle.
8. SEIKO PROSPEX SOLAR DIVE WATCH REF. SNE585P1
Seiko makes a number of stylish divers, and the Propex Solar Dive is no exception. The stainless steel case measures 38.5mm and is thin enough to slip under a dress shirt. The unidirectional bezel is blue with a circle pattern.
The dial is a sunray blue with syringe-style hour and minute hands and a lollipop-style seconds hand. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock. The white indices are a mix of circles, rectangles, and a triangle at 12 o’clock. The case has a satin finish with some contrasting polishing.
The watch is powered by Seiko’s caliber V147 movement, and its battery is solar-powered with a reserve of 10 months. The screw-down crown and caseback offer water resistance of 200 meters, which is perfect for most divers. The face of the timepiece is protected by a sapphire crystal and is fitted with a stainless steel three-link bracelet with a tri-fold clasp for additional security. This watch reminds me of a Tudor Black Bay but for a fraction of the price.
9. CITIZEN PROMASTER NIGHTHAWK REF. BJ7138-04E
This timepiece puts out military vibes. I can see this on the wrist of some special operative behind enemy lines. Citizen says the Promaster Nighthawk was inspired by stealth helicopters. The two-tone steel and black case is made of stainless steel, measures 42mm, and has a lug width of 22mm.
The smooth fixed black bezel paired with the busy black dial is sleek, and while there’s a lot of information displayed, the time is easily readable. The hands are white, and there’s a 24-hour hand in the style of an airplane on a runway. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock.
The watch is powered by Citizen’s B877 movement, which is charged by their Eco-Drive solar technology. The timepiece is water-resistant to 200 meters. It features dual time, date, and slide rule. The watch is fitted with an olive green leather strap, inspired by military uniforms, with a tang buckle. This is a cool, sporty, casual watch that looks great on the wrist of a commando or just a world traveler or a weekend warrior with an active outdoor lifestyle.
The Arnie is another sharp solar diver from Seiko. The timepiece is all black and steel with an analog and digital dial. The stainless steel case, with its lightweight high-tech protective shell, measures 47.8mm, sits at 14.4mm thick, and 51.3mm from lug to lug. The dial features sword-style white hands and white indices. There’s a digital display showing the time at the top of the dial. The black unidirectional bezel has a gear-style edge.
The watch is powered by Seiko’s caliber H851 movement and is solar-powered with a six-month reserve. The timepiece is full of functions from power reserve display, local time indication, stopwatch function, and alarm.
The watch has a screw-down crown, pushers, and screw-down caseback. It’s water resistant to 200 meters, suitable for scuba diving. The timepiece is fitted with a black silicon strap with a tang buckle. The Arnie has great 80s-style diver vibes and is worth considering.
11. CASIO FULL METAL G-SHOCK GM-B2100 REF. GM-B2100D-1A
Casio is known more for their functionality than their sense of style, but they’re trying hard with this model to do both. The G-Shock full metal is pretty similar to the other G-Shock we reviewed, just in an all-steel style. The octagonal bezel and case is the design feature that first grabs one’s attention.
That stainless steel case measures 49.8mm by 44.4mm by 12.8mm. It’s a chunky, sports-style watch design. The black and gray dial, hands, and indices offer a sleek look. The dial is a combination of analog and digital. The style cues with this model take one back to the 80s with the dimpled band and bezel shape.
The Full Metal G-Shock, as the name implies, is shock resistant and durable. It’s water resistant to 200 meters. The mineral glass protecting the face is disappointing, but these watches aren’t expected to last multiple generations like a luxury watch might. On the bright side, this timepiece has many useful functions and features.
The watch is solar-powered and will run for about 7 months on a single charge, with typical daily use and 18 months in total darkness in “low power mode”. It offers time, date, 38 timezones, an alarm, a battery level indicator, and Bluetooth, among other functions. The timepiece is fitted with a dimpled stainless steel bracelet with a fold-over clasp.
12. CITIZEN WORLD CHRONOGRAPH ATOMIC TIMEKEEPING REF. AT8020-54L
I’ve always thought these Blue Angels Citizen watches were pretty darn cool and packed with tech. They have busy dials, which I don’t typically favor, but there’s something about the design I like. It’s sporty and attractive.
The stainless steel, two-tone case, steel, and blue Ion-plated bezel measures 43mm, has a lug width of 25mm, and sits on the wrist at 12.5mm thick. These atomic and radio timekeeping watches tend to be thick, but this one is pretty reasonable. The dial is blue with white, silver-lined, sword-style hour and minute hands and a yellow seconds hand. The dial has three registers, and there’s a date window at 3 o’clock.
The timepiece syncs to the Atomic Time Clock for accuracy and has Atomic Timekeeping tech that is synced with 26 time zones. The watch is powered by Citizen’s H800 Eco-Drive movement, which is charged by the sun. The timepiece also offers a day, date, and power reserve indicator.
The watch is water resistant to 200 meters and is fitted with a stainless steel three-link bracelet with a fold-over clasp. There’s also a titanium version of this model, which offers the same features, but in a lighter weight package, but of course, that’s more expensive.
13. JUNGHANS 1972 CHRONOSCOPE SOLAR REF. 14/4202.44
Junghans is a German watchmaker that may or may not be known to Americans. They’re the official timekeeper of the Munich Games, and they make some excellent watches. The Junghans 1972 Chrono Solar was designed to capture the spirit of those 1972 games. It does just that. It’s sporty, streamlined, and like a well-conditioned athlete, there’s not much “fat” on this watch.
The timepiece’s stainless steel case measures 43.3mm and sits on the wrist at 11.6mm thick. The bezel and case have a satin finish and a sculpted look. The bezel is black and matched with an anthracite-gray sunray brushed dial. There’s a red outer ring with a tachymeter scale. The dial has three registers and gray hour and minute hands, plus a red seconds hand. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock.
The watch is powered by a solar-quartz movement, the caliber J622.50. It’s water resistant to 100 meters, with a screw-down caseback, a guard-protected crown, and a sapphire crystal covering of the face. The timepiece features a stop function with 1/5 seconds, date, and alarm. The watch is fitted with a stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp. All around, this is a really nice watch that could function as a sports watch and in dressier situations.
This is another “panda-style” chronograph from Seiko with all the right style cues. The stainless steel case measures 39mm, which is a real sweet spot for most wrists. It sits on the wrist at 13.3mm and 45.5mm lug-to-lug. The case has a satin finish and looks great with the black tachometer bezel.
The white dial is clean and crisp, with three registers with black backgrounds, along with black hands and indices. There’s a date window at 4 o’clock. This watch has some Omega Speedmaster vibes, and there’s nothing wrong with a tribute, especially at a reasonable price.
The timepiece is powered by Seiko’s caliber V192 quartz-solar movement. It’s loaded with features like a 6-month power reserve, power indicator reserve, date, small seconds, chronograph up to 60 minutes, and a 24-hour hand. The face of the watch is protected by sapphire crystal. The screw-down caseback adds to the seal, and this timepiece offers 100 meters of water resistance. It’s paired with a stainless steel bracelet with a tri-folding clasp.
15. JUNGHANS FORCE MEGA SOLAR REF. 18/1000.00
This is another modern-style timepiece from Junghans. The all-black design is slimming and classy, but this watch isn’t just great to look at, it’s also got all the right chops. Made of a polished ceramic, the case measures 40.4mm and is ultra-thin at 8.2mm thick.
The dial is both analog and digital, with a black outer rim with white-gray markings. The inner dial is gray with vertical lines. The hour and minute hands are gray, and the seconds hand is black. There’s a large digital date window at 6 o’clock.
The face of the watch is protected by a sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to 50 meters. There’s even a handsome globe design on the caseback. This timepiece is packed with tech, with a radio-controlled solar movement, for the most accurate timekeeping. Functions besides date and time include a power reserve indicator for up to 21 months and easy time adjustment in the app. The watch is fitted with a black synthetic rubber strap with a titanium tang buckle.
Price: Approx. $1,250
16. TISSOT T-TOUCH CONNECT SOLAR REF. T121.420.47.051.00
This is a super-fly watch from Tissot, the Swiss watch company. It’s both classy, sporty, and bold. I could see this timepiece worn with casual attire or, if you’re gutsy, even a suit. The anti-magnetic titanium case measures 47.5mm, 23mm lug width, and sits pretty high on the wrist at 15.3mm.
This watch is a big boy, and while one could wear it with a suit, in my opinion, it won’t slide under a dress shirt. But why would you want to hide this beautiful, modern timepiece anyway? Despite being a larger watch, it’s light at 92 grams, thanks to its titanium build.
The shiny black ceramic bezel features a compass and other markings in white. The black dial is both analog and digital. The hour and minute hands are white, lined in black, with a red triangle tip on the minute hand. The seconds hand is red and in the shape of a T for Tissot T-Touch. The indices are white, and there’s a large digital display on the lower half of the dial.
The watch is full of the latest tech and features. The movement is a Swiss-connected quartz solar movement. Despite all the digital functions, the timepiece is water-resistant to 100 meters. The face of the watch is protected by sapphire crystal.
The functions include an altimeter, compass, perpetual calendar, alarm, multiple timezones, automatic daylight saving time, timer, chronograph split, chronograph lap, chronograph log book, step counter, calorie tracker, temperature, weather, etc. There are simply too many functions to list. The timepiece is paired with a red synthetic silicone strap with a tang buckle. If you’re looking for a Swiss watch that straddles the line between classy and modern with all the latest tech, I think you’ve found it.
17. JUNGHANS MAX BILL MEGA SOLAR REF 59/2022.46
This model is another great example of the modern, minimalist designs Jughans is known for. This design captures the essence of the Bauhaus style, from its simplicity to its lightweight and gentle touch on the skin. The timepiece also puts out vintage, 60s German vibes to my eye. The titanium case measures 38mm and is ultra-thin at 9mm.
The domed sapphire crystal adds to the vintage feel. The dial is white-gray with gray hands and markings. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock and white luminescent dots at 3, 6, 9, and two dots at 12. The caseback includes a map of the world.
The watch is powered by a connected radio-controlled solar movement J101.85 and is water resistant to 50 meters. Functions include the date, time adjustment at the crown or the MEGA App, and seconds display in half-second motions. The timepiece is fitted with a titanium Milanese bracelet with a folding clasp.
Price: Approx. $1,450
18. TAG HEUER AQUARACER PROFESSIONAL 200 SOLARGRAPH REF. WBP1180.BF0000
This TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional looks old school, but under the hood, it’s all modern tech. The octagonal grade 2 titanium bezel with its coin edge look is complemented by a sunray, brushed black dial with a horizontal line pattern. The titanium sandblasted case measures 40mm, which is a comfortable, versatile size. The silver-lined white hour and minute hands and indices are complemented by a turquoise pop of color on the seconds hand. There’s a functional date window at 3 o’clock.
The screw-down caseback displays a compass symbol. There’s a screw-down steel crown and a water resistance of 200 meters. The watch has solargraph technology and features a Swiss solar-powered movement. The timepiece is fitted with a sandblasted 3-link grade 2 titanium with a folding clasp, push buttons, and micro-adjustment.
19. SEIKO ASTRON GPS SOLAR SSH109
This Seiko Astron GPS Solar offers a fusion of a classic steel sports watch with technology, and the design captures that well. The titanium case measures 42.7mm, sits at 12.2mm on the wrist, and is 48mm from lug to lug. The face of the watch is protected by sapphire crystal. The dial has four registers, one smaller, with a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. The dial has silver sword-style hands against a gray-blue, to my eye, and has a fine sandpaper finish at the center.
This timepiece is powered by a GPS solar movement with a 6-month reserve and 2 years in power save mode. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters and has a plethora of options. Options include perpetual calendar, world time function in 39 time zones, dual-time function, day display, power reserve indicator, GPS signal reception function, and automatic daylight savings, among others. The timepiece is fitted with a titanium bracelet with a three-fold clasp and push buttons.
20. CARTIER TANK MUST LARGE SOLARBEAT™ REF. WSTA0059
If you love the Cartier Tank Must style, but you’re looking for a solar-powered timepiece, you’re in luck, Cartier has just what you’re looking for. The WSTA0059 has the iconic steel rectangular case you know and love. The case measures 33.7mm by 5.5mm by 6.6mm. This is a thin, classic dress watch. The white dial has black Roman numerals and markings with sharp blue hands that match the blue tip of the crown.
The face of the timepiece is protected by synthetic sapphire glass. The movement powering the watch is quartz solar. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters, which is splash resistant and perfectly acceptable for a dress watch. All this is paired with a black leather strap with a tang buckle. This timepiece simply exudes class but is unique with its cutting-edge solar tech under the hood.
Retail Price: $3,700
There’s a large and growing market for solar-powered, radio, and GPS-linked watches that are full of features and have the ability to connect with our smartphones and online worlds. We hope this article has been informative and useful in your search for the right solar watch for your needs.
There’s a wide array of timepieces in this space, from budget options to sporty and dressy possibilities from higher-end, luxury watchmakers and everything in between. We think these are 20 of the best on the market today, and one can’t go wrong with any of them.
As watch enthusiasts, we tend to love the rich history and stories behind the timepieces we wear on our wrists. So much so that the industry as a whole tends to perpetuate these stories and ride their popularity until even the most hardcore of collectors roll their eyes at yet another “special/limited edition”.
*Cough cough*, looking at you, Omega.
But, with that said, there is a category, a subculture if you will, in the watch community that will always amass followers and evangelizes them with stories of renown, bold adventures, and true tool watch lore.
That, my dear reader, is the loved/lusted by many, luxury military watch. And yes, while I’ll be the first to admit it does sound like an oxymoron, the timepieces on our list today have a true tool watch lineage and have served a purpose for the original wearers far before becoming the desk divers they are today.
So, strap on your best all-black multicam tactical loadout because today we are talking about the 25 Best Luxury Military Watches.
WHAT IS A LUXURY MILITARY WATCH?
I think it is safe to say that many of us in the watch enthusiast community have a pretty good understanding of what a luxury military watch is, but for those who might be new to the obsession, let’s do a high flyby with the basics.
In short, a military watch is a timepiece that has been used in military service in some way, shape, or form. Pretty basic and easy to understand. But the idea of a “luxury” military watch is a bit of an oxymoron or misnomer. So, if I were going to define a luxury military watch, I’d say that it is a timepiece initially created for a purpose and has since seen a meteoric rise in popularity and price due to the demand from the enthusiast community.
HISTORY: LUXURY MILITARY WATCHES
So as stated before, military watches have always been used in a professional manner by those men and women in the armed forces. But, it wasn’t until the watch market exploded that the demand for some of these vintage military timepieces also exploded.
In turn, you saw an increase in demand for watches that weren’t as mass-produced as others. This led to watch manufacturers capitalizing on the opportunity to produce and release new or reissue variants of these timepieces with more modern materials for a modern market.
And just like that, the luxury military watch was born.
It goes without saying that in the world of watches, some of the most sought-after timepieces are those that have been on the wrist of an armed forces member.
In today’s article, we will discuss vintage military watches that have become “luxury” and modern luxury military timepieces that have seen their share of work, stood the test of time, and have since been reissued to watch nerds around the world.
LUXURY MILITARY WATCHES: WHAT TO LOOK FOR
To begin, we need to understand what constitutes a military watch and what the daily use of one might entail.
Again, as we’ve discussed, a military watch is going to see hard use. It will likely be used as a tool; with that said, a luxury military watch should follow the same guidelines as its less-expensive brethren. Below are some characteristics to look for in a luxury military timepiece.
I think one of the most important things a military watch needs to be is tough. This means it can withstand daily use by someone who might be doing lots of exercising, rucking, or other forms of physical activity that might subject the timepiece to some bumps and bruises. Toughness also means using the proper materials that will handle the hard knocks with ease; we will discuss more about materials soon.
A proper luxury military timepiece needs to be legible. If there is one thing that I have learned from friends and family members who have served in the military, it is that cleanliness is next to godliness, and timeliness is a close second.
With that said, it is important to be able to read the time at-a-glance so as not to be punished for your tardiness.
As discussed earlier in the toughness section, a luxury military watch needs to use quality materials that can withstand the hard use of said timepiece.
While stainless steel is the go-to choice for many of these timepieces, the use of alternative materials like titanium, carbon, or high-strength polymers can also be found in this category of watches.
It is important to note that there are also different finishings/coatings that increase the toughness and quality of the materials being used, such as Sinn’s TEGIMENT process, DLC coating, or modern-day PVD coating.
The build quality and water resistance are of the utmost importance when it comes to luxury military timepieces.
I think it is obvious that you want an accurate timepiece, but you also want one that is put together well. A solid piece that will not waver when confronted with challenges, one that will not croak on you in the middle of an important mission, even if that mission is to free the cookies from the confines of its jar at 2:00 AM.
But, while the build quality is important, you don’t want a timepiece with such tight tolerances that it takes a master watchmaker to fix.
Much like the idea of an EDC or Duty pistol, you want something that is reliable and durable, like your Glock, S&W M&P, or Sig pistols, as opposed to your high-end custom shop 1911 pistols that take a true master to work on.
Last but certainly not least, I think every military watch needs to have some sort of water resistance.
Now I’m not saying that they all need to accompany James Cameron to the bottom of the Challenger Deep. But, it is important that they can withstand certain water pressures, especially in the instance of a maritime mission to the bottom of the sink or an emergency water landing as you drunkenly fall into the pool.
THE BEST LUXURY MILITARY WATCHES
Alright, now that we have any idea of what luxury military watches are, their history (if we want to call it that), and what characteristics to look for in one, let’s get into our list of watches.
Perhaps one of the coolest timepieces on our list and what happens to be my next watch purchase, the Marathon Government Search and Rescue, more commonly known as the GSAR, is definitely a contender for the toughest and most robust on the list.
With a case diameter of 41mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm, and a case thickness of 14mm, the GSAR is a great size for anyone with an average-sized wrist. But in the event you have a smaller or larger than average, Marathon also makes a 36mm and 46mm case in the SAR line.
One of the standout features on the GSAR has got to be the lume. Unlike typical timepieces that use Super-LumiNova or some kind of proprietary lume, the GSAR uses Tritium-filled gas tubes with a half-life of 12 years. The GSAR is powered by the Sellita SW200 and retails for $1,500 on a rubber strap.
2. Benrus Type I – Original Military Dive Watch
While we are only on our second watch, the Benrus Type 1 is the first reissue watch on our list. The Benrus Type I was originally produced in 1972 as a more robust alternative for American Soldiers during the Vietnam War.
The Type I was built more specifically to meet the standards and requirements for the Underwater Demolition Team or UDT divers. The Benrus Type I has a case diameter of 42.5mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 47.5mm, and a case thickness of 14.6mm.
The standout feature of Type I is the unique asymmetrical case design that protects the crown without the need for crown guards. Much like the original, the Type I utilizes a two-piece seatbelt NATO and is water resistant to 30 ATM. Unlike the original version, the new Type I is available to the public and has an MSRP of $1,695.
3. Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono (ref. H71706830)
Next on our list is a brand that has had its timepieces featured in over 500 films, Hamilton. The Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono is just one of the many timepieces to be featured in Hollywood.
While it wasn’t this exact reference, but a slightly different sleek, and tactical all-black version seen on the wrist of John Krasinski as Jack Ryan, Hamilton proves that their military heritage inspired Khaki Chrono is as at home on a soldier’s wrist as it is on the big screen.
The Khaki Chrono has a case diameter of 44mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 52mm, and a case thickness of 14.15mm. Considering that the Khaki Chrono is packing an automatic Hamilton H-21 movement (Valjoux-7750 Base), it is a rather slim chronograph.
The standout feature of the Khaki Chrono has got to be the nostalgia-laced design language. With a bead-blasted stainless steel case, classic Khaki dial layout/markings, retro bund strap, and an MSRP of $1,945, this Hamilton is sure to please the vintage enthusiast.
4. CWC 1980 Royal Navy Divers Watch Reissue
The CWC 1980 Royal Navy Diver is a watch that might not be on the average enthusiast’s radar, which is a shame because it is a timepiece that is just dripping with 80s cool. It was the watch that kicked off the relationship between the Cabot Watch Company (CWC) and the British Royal Navy.
Much like the Benrus Type I, the CWC 1980 is a reissue based on the first CWC watch produced for the Royal Navy. The watch was issued to Royal Navy Divers and was actually the watch to replace the venerable Rolex Milsub (which we’ll talk about later), which means that it had to meet certain criteria, one of the most important being fixed lugs.
The idea is that standard spring bars are failure points in a watch’s design. If you take away that failure point, you have a timepiece that is far less likely to be lost during underwater dive missions, hence the reason for fixed lugs.
The 1980 is definitely a watch for those who like the fauxtina look. With a case diameter of 45mm (including crown guards), a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm, a case thickness of 12.7mm, and a price of around $3,000, this slim and capable successor to the Milsub throne should definitely be on your shortlist for vintage inspired military dive watches.
The number five spot on our list goes to a company whose military heritage and back catalog of timepieces is as impressive as any.
The Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale, unlike a few watches on our list so far, is not a reissue per se but rather a reinterpretation of the Longines 5774, a timepiece originally produced in the 1940s for the Marine Nationale (French Navy).
With a case diameter of 38.5mm, larger than the original, this modern-sized reinterpretation is a perfect example of making slight changes for a modern consumer.
One of the standout features of the Heritage is the attention to detail when designing the dial and its layout. The painted numerals, blued hands, and “Fab Suisse” imprint on the dial make this perfectly proportioned dial a real looker.
The Heritage has an MSRP of $2,300 and is the perfect modern interpretation of a Longines classic.
6. Laco Squad Watches Seven Seas (ref. 861703)
The Laco Squad Watch Seven Seas was born out of the need for a watch that met the high standards and requirements for those serving as firefighters, police officers, and members of the German military.
Made in close collaboration with the German Army, the Seven Seas is a great example of a modern luxury military timepiece not based on a watch from the past.
With a case diameter of 45.8mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 55.3mm, and a case thickness of 16.65mm, this oversized timepiece was made with toughness in mind. The robust nature of this watch can withstand some of the harshest conditions and will continue to serve you well.
With 1,000m of water resistance, this ETA-powered behemoth is sure to stand up to whatever recreational water sports you use it for. The MSRP is $2,350, and while it is lacking a bit in the movement department, it more than makes up for it in the rugged toughness department.
7. Longines Heritage Military RAF (ref. L2.8220.127.116.11)
The next watch on our list is another Longines. Remember when I said that they have an extensive back catalog and impressive military heritage? Well, I think being one of two brands on our list to have multiple timepieces represented is a clear indicator that I wasn’t lying.
The Longines Heritage Military RAF is similar to the Marine Nationale in that it was produced for a specific branch of the military, in this case, the Royal Air Force.
Much like the Marine Nationale, the RAF has a case diameter of 38.5mm and is highly legible and very easy to use. The standout feature on the RAF is the blued steel hands which give a great pop of color to the parchment-colored printed dial.
The RAF is yet another excellent example of the military and, more specifically, aviation heritage that Longines is so proud of. With an MSRP of $2,425, the RAF is a beautiful timepiece with a little old-world charm that could make for great everyday wear.
One thing I’ve always found interesting about Montblanc is, for the most part, people know them as the luxury pen manufacturer and tend to disregard their watches which is a shame because, within the Montblanc 1858 line, there are some very neat timepieces.
The Montblanc 1858 Automatic is a timepiece inspired by the professional Minerva watches of the 1920s and 30s, originally produced for military use and exploration.
The 40mm polished and satin case sits in a sweet spot for most wrist sizes. The large crown and cathedral hands give the 1858 a true early 20th-century design language that is seen in timepieces of the first world war.
The 1858 has an MSRP of $2,670 and harkens back to the days Hemingway waxed poetic about and a time when the spirit of adventure was beckoning.
9. Bremont Broadsword “Dirty Dozen”
The Bremont Broadsword “Dirty Dozen” is the first watch on our list to tackle a modern interpretation of the famous and beloved “Dirty Dozen” watches of WWII.
For those who might not know the nomenclature, the “Dirty Dozen” is the nickname given to a group of twelve watches commissioned by the British Ministry of Defense (MoD). Produced by twelve different Swiss watch manufacturers, the “Dirty Dozen” were meant to be tough, durable, and reliable.
The Broadsword, a modern interpretation of the “Dirty Dozen”, has a two-piece stainless steel case that is both polished and satin-finished with a diameter of 40mm. Much like the Montblanc 1858, it is a great-sized timepiece.
One of the characteristics of a “Dirty Dozen” styled military timepiece is the sub-seconds register at six o’clock. The Broadsword has a beautifully laid-out dial and is a great modern version of a military classic.
Powered by the first chronometer-certified movement on our list, the Broadsword retails for $3,445 and is the perfect companion for binge-watching Band of Brothers over a long weekend.
Oris is a company that always seems to amaze me. They are one of the few independent watch manufacturers who give us timepieces at a large volume without sacrificing quality, design, and, most importantly, innovation.
The ProPilot Altimeter is a perfect example of the innovation that Oris brings to the consumer. The ProPilot Altimeter is in its second generation and is the world’s only watch to combine a mechanical altimeter with an automatic movement. The Altimeter is equipped with a pressure box that can accurately gauge your altitude up to 19,700 feet.
While it has a case diameter of 47mm, the ProPilot Altimeter is made of a carbon fiber composite, meaning it only weighs 98 grams! To put that in perspective, a Rolex Submariner, which is six to seven millimeters smaller in diameter, depending on the reference, weighs 155 grams. The Altimeter is a unique watch, most certainly for the pilot in your life, and retails for $6,500.
11. Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF
For those who have read any of my other articles, you will know that I am a self-proclaimed Sinn fanboy. While I do understand why some might not be into the Teutonic, stoic, and almost surgical aesthetic, it definitely rings my bell.
The Sinn we will be discussing today, the EZM 10 TESTAF, is the first watch to be tested and certified to the Technical Standard for Pilot Watches, better known as TESTAF, hence the name.
This means that the pilot’s chronograph, whose bead-blasted titanium case with a diameter of 46.5mm, lug-to-lug distance of 53.2mm, and a case thickness of 15.6mm, meets all time measurement requirements of a professional pilot.
Like many of Sinn’s other premium offerings, the case is Tegimented to ensure maximum durability. It is also water resistant to 200m, uses Ar-Dehumidifying Technology, and has a mission-timer design for great legibility.
The Sinn EZM 10 TESTAF retails for $5,290 and might just be the most McGuyver watch on our list.
12. Accutron Astronaut “T” (ref. 2sw8a002)
The Accutron Astronaut “T” is a rather unique watch on our list due to it being the first watch on the list created specifically for, as the name would suggest, the US Space Program.
While the original Astronaut made its debut in 1960 with the use of some revolutionary technology, the tuning fork movement, the new limited edition of only 300 pieces is powered by a Sellita SW-330 and still offers the same great GMT functionality as the original. The Astronaut has a case diameter of 41mm and a case thickness of 13.8mm.
The standout feature of the Astronaut, unlike the physical features we’ve seen on other watches from this list, is the history and use of the timepiece by the CIA. Due to the accuracy of the Astronaut, the CIA equipped its pilots of the then uber-secret and ultra-fast A-12 spy plane with the timepiece, which for history and watch nerds is awesomely cool.
The Astronaut has an MSRP of $3,500 and is a great way to get 60s space-age timepieces into the collection.
13. Tudor Pelagos FXD (ref. M25707B/23-0001)
It is safe to say that this list would not be complete without the timepiece that set the watch world ablaze when it was released in 2021, the Tudor Pelagos FXD.
The FXD is the modern variation of the Tudor Snowflake, which we will discuss later in this article. As a modern interpretation of a classic, it is made with modern materials and in a modern size.
The FXD has a case constructed of titanium and has a diameter of 42mm, a case thickness of 12.75mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 52mm. While the length may seem a bit long, it is worth mentioning that, like the CWC 1980, the case with integrally designed fixed spring bars allows the watch to flare across the wrist more than traditional spring bars.
The Tudor Pelagos FXD retails for $4,100, and with their historic collaboration with the Marine Nationale, Tudor has created a true purpose-driven tool watch that has a great story to tell your dinner guests when you inevitably find yourself in awkward silence.
14. CWC Pilot Chronograph Limited Edition Valjoux 7733
As the second CWC entry on our list, the Pilot Chronograph with the Valjoux 7733 is probably one of the more rare watches on our list. Limited to only 100 pieces, CWC actually recommissioned the vintage original movements making the Pilot Chrono that much more special.
Similarly to the Benrus Type I, the Pilot Chronograph has an asymmetrical case design with a diameter of 40mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 46mm, and a case thickness of 12mm.
This compact chrono is a great reissue of the first watch contract awarded to CWC by the MoD.
With a price of around $6,500, the CWC Pilot Chronograph Valjoux 7733 is a history nerd’s dream and a great addition to any collection.
The Breitling Chronospace Military might be one of our list’s most unique watches due to its analog and digital capabilities. Unlike any watch on our list so far, the Chronospace is powered by the Breitling Caliber 78 SuperQuartz movement, which is COSC-certified.
The stainless steel DLC-coated case has a diameter of 46mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 56.5mm, and a case thickness of 15.5mm, which means this behemoth of a timepiece is ready for large-wristed individuals who can handle its size.
The Chronospace comes equipped with a chronograph, digital calendar, alarm, second timezone, and UTC world time.
With an MSRP of $6,200, it is safe to say that the Chronospace will have you prepared for anything your day-to-day can throw at you.
16. IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph U.S. Navy Squadrons
IWC introduced its first pilot’s watch 87 years ago in 1936 and has since embodied what it means to be a pilot’s watch. With unbelievable legibility, build quality, and the use of unique materials, the IWC Pilot’s Chrono U.S. Navy Squadron is a perfect reminder of what IWC does really well.
The Navy Squadron line of pilot’s chronographs comes in three very distinct flavors to honor three different Naval Squadrons. There is a watch for the Royal Maces, the Tophatters, and the most famous, the Blue Angels.
All three watches share the same dimensions with a case diameter of 44.5mm and a case thickness of 15.7mm and are powered by the in-house caliber IWC 69380, which has a power reserve of 46hrs.
Each watch has a unique color scheme and, most notably, uses a ceramic case. The Royal Maces has a black case with yellow accents and a squadron badge, the Tophatters has a black case with red accents and a squadron badge, and lastly, the Blue Angel variant comes in a blue ceramic case with yellow accents and a squadron badge.
These incredible pilot’s chronographs have an MSRP of $11,200.
17. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de Combat” (ref. 5015E-1130-B52A)
Much like many brands on this list, Blancpain is a brand that needs no introduction. They have carved their name into the history books. Not only are they the oldest watch brand on earth, but they, along with Rolex and Zodiac, produced the first ever commercially available dive watch in 1953.
The “Nageurs de Combat” in the name translates to “Combat Swimmers”, and this limited edition of 300 pieces is the perfect tribute to Blancpain’s long-time collaboration with the French Military.
With a case diameter of 45mm, a case thickness of 15.6mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 50.6mm, this large military-inspired timepiece is best suited for those with larger wrists, but due to the relatively short lug-to-lug, comparatively speaking, it will work fine on a number of wrists.
The “Nageurs de Combat” is powered by a Blancpain 1315 and retails for $16,300.
18. Panerai Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech™ (ref. PAM00961)
The name Panerai has always been synonymous with military use. Anyone who knows the brand’s history knows that since the first prototype of the now famous Panerai Radiomir in 1935 for the Italian Navy, Panerai has been pushing out larger-than-life tool watches for those enamored with 80s and 90s action flicks.
The Submersible Marina Militare Carbotech is, in typical Panerai fashion, a large, oversized watch for an oversized man and is limited to a mere 33 pieces.
The Submersible comes in at a whopping 47mm, with a lug-to-lug of 56.5mm and a case thickness of 16mm. The case is constructed of Panerai’s proprietary Carbotech material, which is a carbon fiber-based material with an uneven matte black appearance, giving it a very stealthy look.
The matte black case, coupled with the OD Green handset, markers, subdial, and rubber strap, make this Submersible legible and strikingly masculine.
It is powered by the Panerai P9010, which has a three-day power reserve, and it retails for an astounding $39,100
19. Omega RAF CK2292
The Omega RAF CK2292 marks the spot on our list where we move from discussing new and modern watches to discussing vintage timepieces. With that said, I will not include the price for the remaining watches on the list.
The Omega RAF CK2292 is likely different from other pilot’s watches you’ve seen in that it has a white dial. While there are a number of companies who produce white-dialed pilot’s timepieces, it is rare, and you’re more likely to find black-dialed (obviously) pilot’s watches.
The story goes that at the beginning of WWII, the RAF wanted a pilot’s watch with Arabic numerals, railroad markers on the dial, and a white face for legibility in low-light situations.
Omega answered the call with the CK2292, and the rest is military history.
The CK2292 is a small watch at 33mm. But, the perfectly proportioned dial with Arabic numerals and blued handset make this a highly legible watch for anyone looking to snag a piece of history for themselves.
20. Smiths W10 Military Watch
The Smiths W10 is a watch that is loved by enthusiasts due to its application in the field. Being a field watch, it was tested day in and day out by the soldiers who wore it. The Smiths W10 truly is the real deal when it comes to British watchmaking at its finest.
The 35mm W10 is a classic example of a highly legible, durable, and reliable military timepiece. Its matte black dial has a somewhat traditional pilot-style dial, with Arabic numerals, railroad track markers along the outer edge, and sword hands.
But what makes this watch uber cool is the “Made in England” printed at the bottom of the dial and the Broad Arrow insignia, identifying it as property of the Ministry of Defense, just above.
21. Omega “Weems” CK2129
The Omega “Weems” CK2129 is a timepiece that has a very storied history when it comes to being used by Spitfire pilots during WWII.
Originally introduced in 1940, the CK2129 was given the “Weems” nickname after the watch’s designer Philip van Horn Weems.
The “Weems” has a case diameter of 33mm, very small by today’s modern watch standards, and much like the RAF CK2292 we featured earlier on our list, the light dial with black printing was meant to be highly legible.
One really unique design feature of the “Weems” is the second crown at the 4 o’clock position, which acts as a locking mechanism for the free-turning bi-directional bezel. This interesting solution was created due to the pilot’s utilizing the bezel for navigation or mission timing purposes.
So, if you’ve got a smaller wrist and still want to feel like Tom Hardy in Dunkirk, the “Weems” is the watch for you.
22. Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner Marine Nationale ref. 9401
Making its second entry on our list, this time vintage, we will discuss Tudor and the Marine National ref. 9401.
The Marine Nationale ref. 9401, known colloquially as the “Snowflake”, was introduced in 1975 to replace the Tudor “Snowflake” ref. 7016, which was introduced at the end of the 1960s.
The 9401 was marked with “TUDOR M.N.” on the caseback to signify its use by the Marine Nationale or French Naval Divers.
The 9401 was produced until the 1980s and was in service with the French Navy until the early part of the 2000s.
While there could probably be a long article written about the Tudor “Snowflake” and their partnership with the Marine Nationale, this is just a high flyby, but it is safe to say that the relationship between Tudor and the Marine Nationale might just be one of the most significant in horological history.
23. Omega Seamaster 300 British Royal Navy ref. 165.024
The original Omega Seamaster 300 was released in 1957, a few years after Blancpain and Rolex released the Fifty Fathoms and Submariner, respectively.
But, in 1964, the Seamaster 300 was redesigned and, in turn, found more success than the previous generation ever had. Gone were the days of the smaller 39mm case and thin bezel.
Dimensionally the Omega 300 increased only a few millimeters to 42mm, but. The big standout feature was the bezel and dial design. The new thicker bezel was fully graduated, and the broad arrow handset was replaced with large sword hands.
The watch was issued to the British Royal Navy until it was no longer produced in 1970.
For those who love Omega, like me, it is easy to see the influence of the Seamaster 300 in new, more contemporary timepieces like the Planet Ocean.
24. Rolex Submariner “MilSub” ref. 5517
The Rolex “Milsub” 5517 is, for some watch enthusiasts, the purest form of tool watch expression ever produced, and, funnily enough, it was the watch to replace the previous watch on our list, the Omega 300.
To some, the 5517 might just look like another variation of the venerable Submariner, but to those who know their history, the 5517 is definitely on the Mount Rushmore of timeless and awe-inspiring timepieces.
Much like the Tudor “Snowflake” and the (Spoiler Alert) upcoming Rolex Submariner COMEX ref. 5514, the 5517 Milsub could have an entire article written about it, including every detail of how it came to be, who wore them, and what they go for at auction today.
But in an attempt to not get lost in the minutia of the 5517, I want to look at it from a design perspective.
This, in my mind, is a perfectly designed watch. It was designed to function as a tool, to be purpose-driven, and it does just that. In typical Submariner fashion, the 5517 is 40mm in diameter, but what sets the “Milsub” apart from your run of the mill Submariners is the fully graduated bezel, use of sword hands, and the use of fixed spring bars.
Again, all of these were used in order to make the 5517 as functional as possible. Especially the fixed spring bars. Like some watches we’ve discussed earlier, eliminating a failure point is a way to ensure that the watch remains fixed to the wearer’s wrist.
While I can continue to wax poetic about the PERFECT Submariner, I will resist the need and urge you all to read about the 5517 and all its glory.
25. Rolex Submariner COMEX ref. 5514
As we discussed with the 5517, Rolex and, to a degree Tudor have created the most important relationships with armed forces in all of watch history. They have been on the wrists of some of the most badass guys to ever walk the Earth, and that is why we love them.
But in a strange twist of fate, one of the Holy Grails of Rolex collecting doesn’t really have a connection to the military or iconic Hollywood figure.
Instead, it has a connection to COMEX, pioneers in industrial diving, badasses in their own right, so infatuated with going deeper and deeper that in partnership with Rolex created the first ever HEV or Helium Escape Valve, which allowed divers to have a proper tool on their wrists while working in the harshest of environment.
COMEX is a company that helped push Rolex to its limits and squeezed every last ounce of performance out of their timepieces. It is safe to say that the modern Rolex line would not be what it is today without the help of COMEX.
To keep it brief, I will end with this. Enthusiasts of this crazy obsession we call watch collecting are attracted to, like so many other things in life, the bold, unique, and adventurous. The things we always hope to be as children.
So, it goes without saying that the watches that truly grab our attention, the ones that make us daydream, the ones we have as screen savers or backgrounds, those watches have a rich history of adventure and intrepidness, and I’m willing to bet that for most of us, they are military watches, built for the toughest of all adventures.
The reliability and ruggedness of field watches have made them some of the most popular timepieces on the market. The average field watch is versatile and stylish, making it great for everyday wear. Don’t be deceived by the minimalist designs most of them have; some cost several thousands of dollars.
These types of timepieces have been around for hundreds of years and were initially designed for people in the military and pilots. Many people have found them useful in other aspects and have since adopted the style. There are many field watches from various brands, so choosing the best to suit your needs might be difficult.
This is a guide to the best field watches across various brands, from affordable to luxury.
About Field Watches
Field watches are known for their functional designs, rugged build quality, and very readable dials. They carry this look because of the initial purpose of the invention, which was for military use.
Watches have always been seen as ornaments solely for beautifying the wearer. The world war came, and they became more than an object for beauty. Field timepieces were originally called trench watches, and their history dates back to the 20th century during the first world war.
Soldiers needed access to time on the battlefield, and the use of pocket watches on the front line slowed them down, so they decided to have them tied to their wrists. Watchmakers noted this and decided to design watches fit to withstand the tough conditions at the war front, and field watches were invented.
Field watches have evolved from being worn by people in the military to a timepiece that could be styled up or down. They are now worn on different attires as no one is worried about wearing a corporate watch on a suit and tie; the requirements for fashion are now looser.
What Makes Field Watches Special?
I will think twice before jumping into the pool with my $20,000 luxury Patek Philippe, even if it has 100 meters of water resistance written on it, but I won’t cringe if I have a field watch on. They were originally built to withstand war activities, and they still maintain those qualities to date. They are resistant to water, shock, and dust.
These watches look great on any outfit. They look amazing on shorts and t-shirts at the barbecue, and you will smash that look if you dress them up with your suit and tie.
Easy and Functional Design
Unlike your regular timepiece, every feature or design on a field watch is added to make the watch function better than the average watch. The dial and numerals are legible and easy to read, and the case and straps are built with some of the most rigid materials to withstand harsh conditions.
Most field watches today are upgrades of previous models from hundreds of years ago, and they maintain that classic and timeless design that ceases to go out of style.
What to Look for in Field Watches
If you are interested in field watches, there are a few things to consider before making that purchase.
It is most likely a bad choice if it doesn’t look like a watch that could be worn daily. A field watch must possess the qualities of a daily beater. They are mostly cased with stainless steel or titanium and NATO straps for comfort on the wrist and durability.
The watch’s water resistance is one of the qualities that makes it suitable for the field. To withstand water pressure, some are built with up to 100 meters of water resistance, and a very good one can have more than 200 meters.
For easy control, field watches use uncomplicated movements like quartz and mechanical. They are very easy to operate and require little maintenance.
Reading the numerals on a field watch should be easy, even in the dark. Most of them come with lume dials that glow when it’s dark to make them usable at all times.
Just like every other timepiece, field watches have different prices, depending on the features and build of the timepiece. Some quality ones could be bought for a few hundred dollars, while the top-tier ones cost thousands.
Now that you understand field watches and how to sight a good one, this is a list of my favorites across all brands.
I have styled this classic timepiece with different attires, and I’m still in awe of its versatility. The Timex Expedition has all the qualities to be called a field watch. It has a stainless steel case covered with sapphire crystals, a black dial with glow-in-the-dark markers, and hands. It carries hand-winding mechanical movement and a 100 meters water resistance.
This field watch has a 38mm case size for both big and small wrists. The NATO strap used makes it fit for every activity, from working out to being styled up. The Timex Expedition is functional, stylish and offers much value at $295.
Citizen Garrison (ref. BM8180-03E)
The Citizen Garrison is an Eco-drive watch with rugged qualities fit for everyday wear. It has a 37mm steel case with very clear numerals on the black dial and a day-date feature at 3 o’clock.
This timepiece is powered by the in-house Citizen Eco-Drive technology that uses light as its source of power, and this feature makes the watch fit for any field activity as it doesn’t require any battery or winding for it to function. It is sold for between $100-$200.
Seiko 5 Field Sports Style SRPG35
In addition to all the classic features of a field watch, this timepiece has a modern touch that makes it fit every function and outfit. It has a case diameter of 39.4mm, which fits most wrists. The Seiko 5 Field Sport watch is cased in stainless steel with a steel bracelet also.
It has the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is popular for its reliability and accuracy, as well as a 41-hour power reserve. If you’re looking for a field watch that will make you appear confident and stylish, the Seiko 5 Field Sports watch is a good pick, and it is currently sold for $295.
BOLDR Venture Carbon Black
Titanium watches have always stood out for me, and at $300, this timepiece offers good quality. Not only is this BOLDR field watch affordable, but it’s also very light and stylish.
Its 38mm case is made of titanium with a super lume coating on the markers and hands of the dial. It comes in Navy Blue, Jungle Green, and Carbon Black colors. The strap of the Venture Carbon is a tough nylon designed for any condition. The NH35A automatic Japanese movement powers it and has a water resistance of 200 meters.
The inspiration for the heritage collection dates back to the 20th century, to the watches made for the Swiss army during the World War. This vintage-styled watch is one of the most popular in the collection. At 40mm, the stainless steel case sits perfectly on my 8-inch wrist, and it is also coated with a black PVD. The green dial and black nylon fabric strap give it a unique and durable look.
The Heritage 241972 is powered by the Swiss quartz movement with a 100 meters water resistance. The green dial makes it a perfect fit for both men and women that fancy a unique timepiece with the features of a daily beater. For a Swiss timepiece, the Victorinox Swiss Army Heritage offers good value at $375.
Bulova Hack Watch Black Dial (ref. 98A255)
The unique feature of the Bulova Hack watch is its ability to stop and control the second hand, making it possible to make the time as accurate as possible. It is a perfect feature for professionals like pilots, doctors, engineers, and others who need an accurate time up to the exact second.
It has a 38mm steel case with a 10mm case thickness that sits well on a medium-sized wrist. The Bulova automatic movement powers the Hack watch with a 30-meter water resistance. This timepiece is currently sold for $380.
Marathon Sage Green General Purpose Mechanical (ref. WW194003SG)
The Marathon General Purpose Mechanical (GPM) is the definition of a watch built to take some serious beating. The timepiece was inspired by the watches issued to US military officers in the 1980s. It’s a cool and stylish timepiece designed with some of the toughest materials. It has a case made of high-impact fiber with a steel core, which makes it resistant to corrosion and shock. It has a sage green dial that fits perfectly with the tough green nylon strap.
It uses the Japanese Seiko NH35A automatic movement with a 41-hour power reserve and a water resistance of 30 meters. Its 34mm case size and 11mm case thickness make it suitable for a small wrist, and at $450, the Marathon Sage Green General Purpose Mechanical will surely put a smile on your face without breaking the bank.
CWC G22 Automatic
The CWC G22 uses the Sellita SW200-1 movement, popularly known for its accuracy and reliability. For around $500, it’s a relatively affordable watch for its sophistication. This timepiece was originally designed for the British army, and it is still in use by some of its units to date.
It has a case diameter of 38.5mm and a case thickness of 11.5mm. It’s mostly compared with the Hamilton Field Mechanical watch because of the similar designs, but the movement of the CWC G22 makes it a more durable timepiece.
Nodus Sector Field Marina
The blue dial of this timepiece gives it personality, which I like very much. The dial has features like bold numerals, a 24-hour military tracker, and a date function. This timepiece has a screw-down crown with a very tough case back and up to 150 meters of water resistance. Its case diameter measures 38mm, which makes it a fit for most wrists, and it also has a stainless steel bracelet that complements the steel case.
The Seiko NH35 automatic movement powers it, and it comes with a 41-hour power reserve. The Nodus Sector Field Marina is a timepiece built to last, and it’s also a good choice if you want a shiny watch that will make you look sharp and stylish. It is currently sold for $450.
Glycine Combat 6 Vintage Black (ref. GL0459)
Looking at this timepiece, you can tell the design was well thought out and put together. The combination of a vintage design and modern features makes it a total eye-catcher. The 43mm stainless steel case size of the Vintage Black gives it a bold look that’s fit for confident people. The black fabric used for the strap complements the black dial and well-polished steel case.
The movement of this timepiece is based on the Sellita SW200-1, the GL224 automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. The big case and bold fonts make it a watch I will recommend for confident people who want a field watch with some style. It is currently worth $595.
Luminox Atacama Field Day Date 1929
This is a modern watch, and its features differ from other field watches. The Luminox Atacama is set apart by the Tritium illumination it comes with. Tritium is a radioactive gas that releases light for up to 25 years, so this watch can’t lose its glow; this feature makes it a timepiece fit for long night activities on the field. It has a steel case that measures 45mm in diameter with a case thickness of 13mm. And as the name implies, there’s also a day and date feature on the dial.
It has a Swiss quartz movement and a 200 meters water resistance. Its leather strap makes it styleable on casual outfits and your suit and tie. It’s a bit pricey, but its modern features make it worth every dollar. If you are looking for a field watch that is rugged and with modern features that will last you for many years, I recommend the Luminox Atacama Field Day Date 1929 watch for you. It sells within the range of $650-$950.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm (ref. H69439931)
If you are looking for a classic military watch with a touch of modernity, this timepiece is for you. It is powered by the manual winding H-50 movement with an 80-hour power reserve, which means it can last for more than 2 days without winding.
It has a stainless steel case measuring 38mm in diameter with a 9.5mm thickness and a green NATO strap that gives it a functional look. However, it is inspired by the field watches used in the 20th century by the military. The Hamilton Khaki Field timepiece doesn’t look like a watch that will go out of style for many years to come. It is currently sold for around $495.
Vaer A5 Field Auto 40mm Black
Vaer watches have a very solid look that I love to see in watches, and the A5 field timepiece is one of my favorites. It has a stainless steel case that measures 40mm in diameter with a 10.4mm thickness. It has a black dial with white numerals that are very easy to read. It’s a light watch at 74 grams, making it sleek and comfortable on the wrist.
It is controlled by the famous Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve and a 100 meters water resistance. It is better styled on casual outfits and field clothes. For $549, you can lay your hands on one of these.
Benrus DTU-2A/P Field Watch
The rugged build of the DTU-2A/P timepiece and the not-so-fancy designs made it a favorite among US military soldiers in the 1960s, and this reissue holds most of its original features and a couple of new ones. It has a 39mm case made of 316L stainless steel and covered with acrylic crystals. This watch has a black dial and a 24-hour scale with numerals and indices.
The SW200-1 automatic movement used in this timepiece is an upgrade from the previous models that were hand-wound. The addition of a green NATO strap also gives it a modern touch that can be styled casually or for fieldwork. It has a water resistance of 50 meters and is currently sold for $595.
Orient Star Mechanical Sports Watch (ref. RE-AU0201E)
This mechanical sports watch is a beauty to behold, and it is also built to last. One feature that stands the Orient Star Mechanical Sports watch out from most field timepieces is its use of a large chrysanthemum-shaped crown that makes operating it very easy, even when you have gloves on while working.
It has a 41mm case diameter made of stainless steel and sapphire crystals with an anti-reflective coating. The case back is also made of crystal glass, giving you a view of all the mechanics. Its dial consists of both Arabic numerals and indexes.
It is powered by automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve, and it has a water resistance of up to 100 meters. It comes with a well-polished leather strap that makes it fit for casual and corporate wear. The Orient Star RE-AU0201E is priced at $595 currently.
Formex Field Automatic Charcoal 41mm (ref. 0660.1.6523.121)
From its case to the dial and strap, the Formex Field Automatic Charcoal reflects serious toughness. Its 41mm case is built with grade 2 titanium treated with a special hardening substance to make it a lot harder so it can withstand a serious beating.
And despite its hardness, it maintains the usual light weight associated with titanium timepieces. The markers and numerals are inscribed into the charcoal dial, giving the dial a vintage and elevated look.
The Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement powers it with a 41-hour power reserve and a water resistance of 150 meters. This field watch comes in leather, rubber, and NATO straps, depending on your preference. Buying this timepiece with all the straps allows you to use the timepiece for casual, corporate, and field purposes. At $845, the Formex Field Automatic Charcoal timepiece offers great value.
I find watches with history very amazing because they reflect years of continuous improvement in design. This Olympos watch is a great redesign of the original Zodiac Olympos used by British military officers in 1961. The STP 1-11 comes with some serious modern improvements. Its 40mm case is made of 316L stainless steel, and the dial is gray or green. Its strap is made of brown leather with a prong buckle.
It is powered by the SWISS STP 1-11 automatic movement with a 200 meters water resistance. The Olympos STP 1-11 is a very comfortable watch that can be styled up and down. It is currently priced at $895.
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic Matte Dark Blue (ref. AL-525NN4S6)
Do you know what sounds much cooler than flying a plane? It’s the Alpina Startimer Pilot watch. Pilot watches are known for their usual style and class, but this timepiece turns it up a notch with modern designs. It has a very bold 44mm stainless steel case with sapphire crystal that’s both anti-reflective and scratch-proof. The watch’s dial is matte dark blue and very readable, and the genuine black leather strap complements it.
Inside this timepiece is the AL 525 movement with a power reserve of 38 hours and a 100 meters water resistance. Whether styled with a suit and tie or with shorts and tees, the Alpina Startimer timepiece will surely turn heads. It is currently priced at around $1000.
Accutron Legacy Railroad (ref. 2SW6B001)
For many years, pocket timepieces were the only watches approved by the railroad. Accutron watches were among the first set of timepieces approved by the North American Railroad, mainly because of the special tuning fork movement, which was very accurate compared to others in the 1960s. The Legacy 2SW6B001 is a total upgrade with the addition of the automatic ETA 2824-2 movement.
This silver-toned stainless steel timepiece has a case diameter of 34mm with a case thickness of 12.5mm. Its strap is made of leather with a double-press deployant closure. It’s a perfect watch for smart and active gentlemen. For a limited edition watch, it offers good value at $1,290.
Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Day Date (ref. 01 752 7698 4164-07 5 22 14FC)
Like the Alpina Startimer, this timepiece perfectly combines classic style and modern sophistication. But what sets it apart from other pilot watches is the modification of the Sellita SW200-1 automatic, which has been updated with a big day and date function. Its 45mm case is made of stainless steel, and it comes in two bracelet versions.
One comes with olive green straps and a steel clasp, and another with a full steel bracelet. It is powered by the 752 Oris movement with a water resistance of 100 meters. If you are looking for a pilot watch that’s functional and classy, this is a great choice for you. It currently costs $1,750.
Weiss 38mm Standard Issue Field Watch
This is a very stylish timepiece, and it’s also built to last long. Cameron Weiss’ dive into the Pacific Ocean inspired its creation, and this hand-designed masterpiece is everything you expect from a great field watch.
It has a case size of 36mm, built with stainless steel, with a 9.2mm thickness. The sapphire crystal back is well secured with four 316L steel hex screws. The crystal front is covered with a multi-layered anti-reflective coating. It also comes with different designs of handmade straps, and you can choose any design while purchasing.
It has the Weiss Caliber 1005 mechanical movement with a 42-hour power reserve. This field watch is a great choice that can be styled up or down. Its water resistance is 100 meters, and it is currently sold for $2,000.
Sinn 856 UTC
The Sinn 856 UTC is a definition of a modern timepiece; it embodies the characteristics of a watch meant for various activities. The 856 UTC has a dual time zone feature, which makes it possible for you to know the time in two different timezones. It also has magnetic field protection, which protects the watch and, most especially, the balance spring from functioning incorrectly due to the influence of magnetic fields.
The German watch has a case size of 40mm and 11mm thick, and is made of stainless steel. It comes in leather, stainless steel, and silicone strap versions. It is powered by the SW 330-1 self-winding mechanism with a 200 meters water resistance.
This watch is for people constantly traveling across countries with different timezones. It’s also a timepiece that can be styled with different outfits and will make a statement. The Sinn 856 UTC is sold for around $2,000.
The V1-92 military watch is the perfect timepiece for the field, as it is designed with tough materials and no-nonsense colors. Its 38.8mm case is made of satin polished stainless steel, and it has a brown strap made of calfskin with a pin buckle. Its markers and numerals are very visible on the black dial.
The BR-CAL. 302 automatic movement powers this Bell & Ross timepiece with a power reserve of 38 hours and a water resistance of 100 meters. It’s a great choice for every active person that wants to maintain a great style on the move. The V1-92 military timepiece is currently priced at around $2,400.
Longines Spirit Titanium (ref. L3.810.1.53.2)
This classic timepiece was designed for pilots and explorers in the 1960s, and the Spirit Titanium is a modernized version. It features a titanium case and a bracelet, making it a light watch on any wrist. It has a case diameter of 40mm, which is perfect for both big and small wrists.
Inside is the Longines Caliber L888 automatic movement with a 64-hour power reserve. It’s a COSC-Chronometer-certified watch with 100 meters of water resistance. It is currently sold for a little less than $3,000.
Tudor Ranger (ref. M79950-0001)
There is no way I will complete this list without mentioning a Tudor because of how tough they make their watches, even the luxurious ones. The Ranger watch is a versatile watch that can be styled perfectly on any outfit. It has a stainless steel case diameter of 39mm with a satin-brushed steel bezel. The strap is made of stainless steel that has a Tudor T-fit safety catch, and it also comes with extra NATO straps.
The COSC Certified in-house Tudor MT5402 caliber movement powers it with a 70 hours power reserve. It is built with a bidirectional rotor system and has a 100 meters water resistance. It is a timepiece that offers both luxury and functionality, and at $3,150, this Tudor Ranger offers good quality.
Bremont Broadsword “Dirty Dozen” Black Dial
This is an upgrade from the Dirty Dozen Timepiece issued to soldiers of the British military during the Second World War. Military watches are made to withstand harsh conditions, and the Broadsword watch offers the same standard with some added sophistication. It has a 40mm MOD hardened stainless steel case with an 11.7mm thickness. This Dirty Dozen comes in a NATO strap or a stainless steel bracelet.
The Bremont BE-95-2AV automatic movement powers it, and it is chronometer-certified to ISO 3159 standards. It has a 38-hour power reserve with a 100 meters water resistance. If you love military watches, spending around $3,000 on this timepiece would be a great choice.
Breitling Aviator 8 Day & Date 41 (ref. A45330101B1X1)
The tough case, bold dial, and accurate movement make this Aviator 8 the perfect Pilot watch, but it also comes with some features that stand it out from other Pilot watches. Its 41mm case is made of brushed stainless steel, and it has an 11.1mm case thickness. It comes in black or blue dial versions.
Inside it is the Breitling Caliber 45 automatic movement and bidirectional winding. It has a power reserve of over 40 hours with a water resistance of 100 meters. The Aviator 8 is a functional watch that looks good on casual and corporate outfits. It is sold for $4,250.
IWC Spitfire Automatic (ref. IW326805)
There are four pilot watches on this list for a good reason, and that’s because they have built-in features specifically to cater to the needs of a pilot, and these are also some of the functions needed by most field workers.
This is an upgrade from the Mark 11 navigation timepiece produced for the British Royal Air Force by IWC in the 1940s. This Swiss watch has a 39mm case diameter with a green textile strap. The attention to detail on this watch is its main distinct feature. Its case is perfectly finished with a very simple dial and clear numerals.
It is powered by the IWC-manufactured 32111 caliber, with a 120-hour power reserve. This Pilot watch has a 60 meters water resistance, and it is currently sold for around $5,000.
Omega Railmaster (ref. 18.104.22.168.01.001)
The Omega Railmaster timepiece was originally designed for railway workers back in 1957; because of their regular contact with magnetic fields on the tracks, they needed a watch that could withstand it. Other people who worked close to strong electrical fields also used this timepiece. This timepiece is an updated model that carries modern complications.
It has a 40mm case diameter, 12.7mm case thickness, and 100 meters of water resistance. It is both COSC and Master Chronometer Certified, which means it is a watch fit to withstand any activity, and it has a high level of precision. It is controlled by the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 8806. It is currently sold for $5,400.
Rolex Explorer 40 (ref. 224270)
As it should be, the Rolex Explorer is the most expensive timepiece on this list, but it is not just because of the name. This watch embodies the luxurious look of an average Rolex and the tough build of a field watch. The 40mm diameter case is a little bit bigger than the previous Explorer watches, and it also has more technical details.
It is made of Oystersteel, which is the famous proprietary stainless steel alloy by Rolex. The bracelet comes with a 5mm comfort extension that makes it adjustable to fit any wrist size. The watch uses an Oyster folding clasp for extra safety.
It is powered by the Rolex Caliber 3230 with a power reserve of up to 70 hours. It has a 100 meters water resistance. This timepiece can be styled casually or with corporate attire. The Explorer 224270 offers good quality and value at around $14,000.
Field watches have been a lot of people’s timepiece preference for years, and that’s because of their versatility and durability. Today, you can find field watches that can suit any taste or budget you have. Whether you need a simple, uncomplicated watch or one with many complications and features, you will surely find a field watch that suits your needs.