There’s something about the warmer weather and longer days that just pair so well with a field watch. The slim case, simple dials, and rugged specs are ready for anything – whether it’s just another work week, or finally spending some time outdoors after that long winter. Even though the vast majority of us won’t be wearing our watches on the battlefield, these watches have some serious historical background.
The watches that we most commonly associate with the “field” category were born out of necessity during World War II. General use watches met the 551-B spec, which simply denoted that a watch must be “reasonably shock-resistant and waterproof” with an accuracy of 30 seconds per day. The A-11 spec followed shortly after and added the requirement of hacking seconds, stricter dial regulations, and the addition of luminous paint.
Since then, the category has moved more towards everyday watches with an easy to read dial and functional design. Most are right around the 40mm mark and lots of them feature both 12- and 24-hour scales on the dial. With no strict military specs to meet, brands have taken their own liberties with the basic design, resulting in a ton of interesting options that still fall well within the category. We picked out a bunch of useful sub-categories, then chose 2 watches that fall into each thanks to their standout features, with something for everyone. Let’s dig in!