Fratello’s Top 5 Recently Released Field Watches — Featuring Hamilton, Christopher Ward, Seiko, And More
Another Friday, another Top 5! Last week saw us picking out our favorite blacked-out watches that have come out recently. There seems to be a lot of love for blacked-out watches, which is great. This week, we will focus on recently released field watches. We have seen several new releases with great variations and different styles, but they are still very recognizable as the functional field watches that many of us love.
With their origin in military trench watches, field watches were developed to be highly functional military timepieces that should do one thing very well — tell time accurately in the many conditions that soldiers faced. To do this, they needed to be water- and dustproof. Additionally, they had to be easy to read in both daylight and darkness. That’s where the easy-to-read and often very functional dial designs come from. Nowadays, there are no strict requirements for what a field watch should look like. Case shapes and designs have evolved, and field watches do not necessarily tell just the time anymore. We have selected five field watches that have been released recently for this list, so without further ado, let’s dive in.
Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic
Let’s start this list with a personal favorite of mine. The Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic is undoubtedly a best-in-class option regarding value for money. I had the pleasure of reviewing the watch and was seriously impressed by the build quality, style, and overall comfort. The C65 Dune Automatic features a 38mm stainless steel case that is 11.7mm thick and a modest 43.6mm from lug to lug. It is available on a canvas strap, leather strap, or stainless steel bracelet. Additionally, you can choose a blue, green, black, or light beige dial. I reviewed the beige version on both the canvas strap and the stainless steel bracelet.
On the canvas strap, the C65 Dune Automatic fits the desert/safari aesthetic that I love. But to have a brilliant daily wearer that looks amazing, I prefer it on the bracelet. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this C65 Dune Automatic. The sand-colored dial combined with the darker beige lume on the applied markers and hands offers plenty of visual attraction. Furthermore, the date disc is color-matched to the indices, showing that Christopher Ward pays attention to the important details. Inside the case, you will find a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement as a reliable caliber to power the watch. Overall, this is an impressive release that can be yours for €950 on a canvas strap, €965 on a leather strap, or €1,165 on a bracelet.
Seiko Prospex Alpinist GMT
Another instant pick was the new Seiko Prospex Alpinist GMT. It’s actually a duo of watches that came out not too long ago. The watches are new additions to the Alpinist line (even if Seiko doesn’t call it that anymore). Seiko fans had been waiting for a new GMT version of the famous Alpinist for a long time, and with these models, the brand finally reintroduced it to the lineup. The first Alpinist GMT models from the early 2000s were part of the so-called “Red Alpinist” series and were titanium watches that featured quartz movements. The new models extend the existing mechanical lineup with the added GMT function integrated nicely.
There are two new models. The first is the SPB377 with a blue dial and a blue leather strap, and the second is the SPB379 with a black dial and a black leather strap. Both have a 39.5mm steel case that is 13.6mm thick, 46.4mm from lug to lug, and water resistant to 200 meters. The dial features Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. This is slightly different from the design of the regular Alpinist models (except for the black-dial version with its chevron indices), which have numerals for all of the even hours and markers for the odd ones. Additionally, the 24-hour GMT scale takes its place on the stainless steel bezel. Complementing the cathedral-style hands is an arrow-tipped GMT hand, and the date sits neatly between 4 and 5 o’clock. Inside the case, Seiko uses its caliber 6R54 with a 72-hour power reserve. At €1,200, the Alpinist GMT will be a popular choice.
Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition
Only last week, Hamilton unveiled its new Khaki Field Expedition line. I was surprised to read in Nacho’s review that Hamilton has no less than 64 models in the Khaki Field collection. It is an impressive number that almost seems ridiculous. But if you think about it, the Khaki Field comes in different sizes, materials, both manually wound and automatic versions, and even chronographs and date/day-date models. So there is definitely a Khaki Field for everyone. With the new Khaki Field Expedition, Hamilton introduces a line of field watches with a rotating compass bezel. The models come in 37mm and 41mm sizes as well as with black, white, or blue dials.
The 37mm version is 10.45mm thick, while the 41mm model is 11.5mm thick. All three dial variants use vintage-inspired beige lume for the markers and hands. The dials do not feature the characteristic 13–24 hour markings on the dial, which cleans them up quite significantly. All the watches are powered by Hamilton’s H-10 automatic caliber, which boasts 80 hours of power reserve. You can choose between a leather strap for €1,115 or a three-row stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp for €1,195. These new Khaki Field Expedition models show that Hamilton certainly hasn’t lost its knack for creating great field watches.
Vario 1945 D12
When Vincent’s review of the Vario 1945 D12 went live last week, quite a few of you were fans of this new field watch. The 1945 D12 combines classic Dirty Dozen characteristics with some modern design influences. And I have to say that I was impressed by what I saw. The first thing that stands out is the flowing design of the 37 × 10.5mm stainless steel case. I really like the elegant profile as it brings a charm that is often missing from field watches. You probably already spotted the crown at 4 o’clock. That’s another feature that stands out immediately.
The dial looks like that of a standard military field watch at first. It’s ultra-legible with its large numerals, a railroad minute track, and large hands. The small seconds sub-dial is executed with a lacquered black disc, which adds a nice touch of character and gives the dial design a little more zing. And if you look closely, you will also see that the dial has a grainy texture for some great depth. Look even closer, and you’ll see that the Vario logo is “hidden” in black. It’s a nice and playful touch that I love. Inside the case, the brand uses a Miyota 82S5, which operates at 21,600vph and has a 40-hour power reserve. For US$368, the Vario 1945 D12 is a modern take on a classic that comes on a black Cordura strap. It’s quite a brilliant and charming watch.
Formex Field Automatic
We will close this list out with another watch that Vincent reviewed not too long ago. We have become quite big fans of Formex. The brand is pushing boundaries in terms of technology, design, and quality for reasonable prices, and the Formex Field Automatic is a great example of that. It’s the brand’s take on a modern field watch, the likes of which we’ve also seen from brands like RZE and Boldr. The case does not have the typical round shape with straight lugs. Instead, it features a more barrel-shaped design and a titanium construction totaling just 65 grams. The 41mm case is 10.6mm thick, 46.6mm long, 20mm between the lugs, and 150m water resistant.
The watch is available with seven different dial colors, ranging from the more standard black and gray to the more exotic purple and dark red. The dial features very modern recessed numerals, which almost make it look like a sandwich dial. Another element that stands out is a very nicely executed date window at 6 o’clock that shows the incredible eye for detail that Formex has. Add the trusted 26-jewel Sellita SW200-1 that beats at 28,800vph and has a 38-hour power reserve, and you have a great modern field watch. The Formex Field Automatic currently sells for €790 on a nylon strap or €950 on a leather strap. It’s a great modern take on classic field watches.
Final thoughts on the Top 5 field watches
As always, this list could have been three times as long because there are simply tons of options. What are your thoughts on these five picks? Do you agree with them, or would you choose another model that isn’t on our list? Please let us know in the comments section, and we’ll see you next week for a new Top 5.