What is a military watch?


A military watch, also known as a field watch, is more or less what it means: it is a watch designed to be used by the military. As you may have guessed, this means that it must be very durable, capable of withstanding tons of punishment, and almost any standard feature you can think of will stand out on the military watch.


After all, it is a watch made to be worn during war!

Military watches and especially military pilot watches are the predecessors of current wristwatches. But what are their main characteristics?

Main characteristics of military watches

The differences between standard watches and military watches are quite intuitive. Here is a list of some of the main features of a military watch:

1. Easy-to-read dial (readability)

The face of a military watch must be easy to read and the numbers must be discernible at all times. That is why most of them have large numbers so that its user can easily know the exact time at a glance. Luminescent hands and indicators are also incorporated to aid reading in low light visibility situations.

They also usually include color contrast between the background of the watch (usually black) and the numbers and hands (usually white).

2. Durable

Both the case and the strap of a military watch must be durable. Generally, stainless steel is used, although titanium is also used because it is light and robust, but this option is more expensive. It’s watch glass must also be very durable. The watch should have shock resistance as well as a good water resistance rating.

3. Additional features

Military watches often have more technical features than their civilian cousins, such as a compass, altimeter, barometer, storm alarm, sunrise / sunset time, lunar calendar, or even GPS.

So what does this tell us about a military watch? First they are designed for functionality. Usability and functional characteristics are prioritized over other types of aspects. That is not to say that they are not visually attractive, but aesthetics were not originally the priority. In the middle of a battle, having a stylish watch was the last thing you needed in that situation. 

Due to their long history, simplistic and unique design, military watches are quite popular and in high demand today. Watchmakers with a history of supplying field watches (such as Hamilton and Bulova) have leveraged their heritage to this advantage by producing modern analog military watches. These watches usually come with a modern design to suit current tastes. In some European countries, Aviador Watch is the reference brand for military watches and aviator pilot watches. The design still uses large, legible dial diameters and numeric markers, but they feature a more polished and shiny finish, basically much more elegant to wear than their predecessors. The result: a great looking rugged watch in military style, perfect for those living in this age.

But whatever the brand, a military watch is always relatively strong and simple. Suitable for people who are practical and adventurous.