Another Friday, another list! Today, we continue our “Best of 2023” series that we kicked off last week with dive watches. This week, the focus is on this year’s best field watches. It’s a genre that many equate with ruggedness, functionality, and great affordability, and this list confirms that perfectly. We have picked 10 field watches that we collectively enjoyed in 2023.

I wrote an article about our five favorite field watches earlier this year. It will probably come as no surprise that they return to this list. The fun thing is that once we started picking 10 watches for this list, we thought that finishing it would be easy. But as it turns out, it was still quite the task. We ended up with a list showing this category’s great attractiveness and diversity. And as I have stated before, there are no strict requirements for what a field watch should look like. The case shapes and dial designs have evolved from their ultra-functional beginnings. On top of that, it’s not just about watches that tell the time. We have seen field watches with added functions that fit the style perfectly. As a result, it has become a varied list of 10 pieces we feel are the best field and explorer watches of 2023. Let’s check them out!

Seiko Prospex SPB377 and SPB379 Alpinist GMT best field watches of 2023

Seiko Prospex Alpinist GMT

One of Seiko’s most remarkable releases this year was the pair of new Seiko Prospex Alpinist GMT models. Fans had wanted to see a GMT version of the famous Alpinist for a long time, and finally, their wish was granted. The SPB377 has a blue dial and a blue leather strap, and the SPB379 has a black dial and a black leather strap. With a 39.5mm steel case that is 13.6mm thick and 46.4mm from lug to lug, the Alpinist GMT is perfect for various wrist sizes.

With Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, the dial design differs slightly from its regular counterparts (which feature numerals for all the even hours and markers for the odd ones). The watches integrate the GMT function with a fixed stainless steel 24-hour bezel and an extra arrow-tipped GMT hand that joins the characteristic Alpinist’s cathedral hands. Inside the case, Seiko equips the Alpinist with its automatic caller GMT caliber 6R54, which has a 72-hour power reserve. The €1,200 Alpinist GMT is the perfect opening entry for this list.

Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition

Next up is Hamilton’s much-covered Khaki Field Expedition series that debuted in September. This new bunch of watches within the popular Khaki Field line introduces 37mm and 41mm models with a rotating compass bezel. You can choose a black, white, or blue dial matched with either a leather strap or a three-row stainless steel bracelet. The dials lose the typical 13–24 hour markings and use vintage-inspired beige lume for the markers and hands. The cleaned-up dials balance out the addition of the compass bezel perfectly, resulting in a line of attractive explorer’s watches.

Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition best field watches of 2023

Regarding sizing, the 37mm Khaki Field Expedition is 10.45mm thick, while the 41mm model is 11.5mm thick. Powering these models is the Hamilton H-10 automatic caliber, which has an 80-hour power reserve. On a leather strap, the 37mm and 41mm come in at €1,115, whereas the versions on the bracelet are €1,195. The new Khaki Field Expedition models have quickly become popular with fans and perfectly show the attractiveness of the Khaki Field line.

best field watches of 2023 Formex Field Automatic

Formex Field Automatic

One watch that greatly surprised me was the Formex Field Automatic. This modern take on a field watch completely slipped under my radar until I read Vincent’s review. I love the brand’s Reef dive watch that we featured in last week’s Top 10. It perfectly proves Formex’s focus on offering great technology, design, and quality for affordable prices. While the Reef is a good example, the Field Automatic might be the best.

The watch features a modern barrel-shaped 41mm titanium case that is 10.6mm thick, 46.6mm long, 20mm between the lugs, and 150m water resistant. On top of that, it weighs only 65 grams. Formex offers the Field Automatic with seven dial colors, ranging from standard black and gray to more vibrant hues like purple and dark red. The dial has the great look of a sandwich dial, even if it isn’t (the modern numerals are just recessed quite significantly). Inside the case, you will find a Sellita SW200-1 with a 38-hour power reserve. The Formex Field Automatic is a great modern field watch at €790 on a nylon strap or €950 on a leather strap.

best field watches of 2023 Christopher Ward C65 Dune

Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic

The Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic is one of my favorites of this year, and I’ve written about it multiple times. In my opinion, this is the best-in-class explorer-style watch for around €1,000. The watch is part of Christopher Ward’s three-watch Dune series and is named after Aquitaine’s Dune du Pilat, the tallest dune in Europe. The White Sand dial variant has those magical desert looks tuned to perfection. It’s the perfect explorer’s watch on a canvas strap, and on the impressive Oyster-style bracelet, it’s the perfect daily wearer.

Besides the White Sand dial, you can also opt for a Black Sand, Marine Blue, or Beachgrass dial. All four have a modest 38mm stainless steel case that is 11.7mm thick and 43.6mm from lug to lug. Pulling it off with a matching canvas or leather strap will increase the charm tremendously. But with the relatively short lug-to-lug, the bracelet is the best way to go if you have a bigger wrist like me. To power the watch, Christopher Ward uses the trusted Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement. The Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic stands out due to its looks, quality, and finish. It’s the full package that feels like a proper luxury watch, and that is pretty special at €950 on a canvas strap, €965 on a leather strap, and €1,165 on a bracelet.

Studio Underdog 02Series Field best field watches of 2023

Studio Underd0g 02Series Field

Studio Underd0g released its second model line just over a month ago. After making a name for itself with the recently (re)named 01Chronograph line, the brand’s next move is a line of charming vintage-inspired field watches called the 02Series Field. But it wouldn’t be Studio Underd0g if the watches didn’t have a playful twist. As Ben explained in his introduction article, the twist comes in the form of a reverse application of luminescence. Three of the four models’ dials are coated with seven layers of Super-LumiNova. This ensures that you can easily read the time in the dark. On top of that, it makes for an impressive look when the lights go out.

The four watches have different dial colors during the day, but thanks to different lume colors used for the dial and hands, the watches also look different at night. On top of that, the visual trickery continues because the dials are covered with sapphire discs with painted indices. They all sit within a 37mm stainless steel case that is 12mm thick and 46mm from lug to lug. The generous lug-to-lug span makes the 02Series Field a great fit for various wrist sizes. A hand-wound Sellita SW210-1 powers each model, providing 42 hours of power reserve. The charming Studio Underd0g 02Series is a step up in price compared to the 01Chronograph, but at €850, you get a seriously cool field watch.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer best field watches of 2023

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

The Serica 4512 was an immediate Fratello favorite when we welcomed it into our offices. With the new Serica 6190 Field Chronometer, the 4512 has been updated in several ways. First off, the case was redesigned. It still measures 37.7mm in diameter but, at 10.4mm thick, it is significantly thinner than its 11.3mm-thick predecessor. The 46.5mm lug-to-lug length, 20mm lug spacing, and 200m water resistance are similar to the 4512. Besides the slimmer profile, the design of the lugs changed. The new 6190 features chamfered lugs that correspond with those of Serica’s 5303 diver and 8315 GMT. It looks great and ties the three watches together quite nicely.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer lineup

Serica chose the new Soprod M100 caliber to power the 6190. The automatic COSC-certified movement has a 42-hour power reserve and replaces the manual-winding version of the STP1-11 that was in the Serica 4512. You still have the choice of three different dials. However, the dial designs have also been updated. The Commando dial loses the 13–24h scale, the new Denali dial is Serica’s brilliant take on the classic 3-6-9 dial, and the California dial has had small tweaks. Pick any of the three with the Serica-branded Bonklip bracelet for €990 (including VAT), and you’ll have one of the most stylish field watches out there.

Praesidus Rec Spec MACV-SOG best field watches of 2023

Praesidus Rec Spec MACV-SOG

The Praesidus Rec Spec MACV-SOG models are reissues of Seiko dress watches bought during the Vietnam War at local markets and turned into field watches. The MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group) was a highly classified, multi-service United States special operations unit that conducted unconventional covert warfare operations before and during the Vietnam War. As a result of its covert nature, the organization had to source gear locally and make do with what was available. And that meant buying a series of Seiko 6119-8090 watches intended as dress pieces.

But as it turns out, they worked wonderfully well as field watches during the different missions. The modern remake from Praesidus features a 38mm stainless steel case instead of the original’s 36mm size. It is 11.8mm thick and 45mm from lug to lug with a 20mm lug spacing and a 50m water resistance rating. But other than that, this modern version looks quite similar, especially the font of the luminous numerals and the style of the day/date window. Fittingly, Praesidus chose the Seiko NH36 inside the case, which has a 40-hour power reserve. At US$295, the Praesidus Rec Spec is pretty spectacular in terms of its story and aesthetic.

Baltic Hermétique Tourer best field watches of 2023

Baltic Hermétique Tourer

Thomas and I went head to head only a couple of weeks ago in one of our installments of Sunday Morning Showdown. In that battle, I picked the Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic that I featured earlier in this article. Thomas picked the Baltic Hermétique Tourer that he had reviewed before, and it beat the Christopher Ward by the smallest of possible margins. Baltic’s take on a vintage-inspired explorer’s watch takes inspiration from the case of the IWC Hermet from the 1940s. The dial is the brand’s original design, rooted in the beautiful dials of the past.

The 150m-water-resistant case measures 37mm in diameter, 10.8mm thick, and 46mm from lug to lug. Baltic uses the Miyota caliber 9039 inside, which offers 42 hours of power reserve. You can choose a green, blue, beige, or brown dial. All of them have a great retro appeal. Matched with the FKM rubber straps, they make for great, colorful pieces. Baltic also offers the Hermétique Tourer on either a beads-of-rice or a flat-link bracelet. Both complement the looks perfectly. It’s a look that, according to our readers, beats the C65 Dune Automatic. Additionally, the €550 (on rubber) or €630 (on bracelet) price tag adds to the great popularity of the new Hermétique Tourer.

Vario 1945 D12

One of the most surprising new field watches this year was the Vario 1945 D12. The watch is a lovely mix of classic Dirty Dozen characteristics and modern design. An immediate standout is the 37 × 10.5mm stainless steel case that flows nicely from lug to lug. The graceful case profile is a nice break from the utilitarian cases used for classic military field watches. The case shape is nicely contrasted by the oversized crown at 4 o’clock, which gives the watch an even more distinct character in the field-watch genre.

best field watches of 2023 Vario 1945 D12

At first glance, the dial looks like a standard military-style design, but some intricacies show that Vario has thought this watch out well. The dial features a nice grainy texture with large numerals, a railroad minute track, and large hands. A nice contrast comes from the small seconds sub-dial executed with a lacquered black disc and a bright white seconds hand. In a surprise move, Vario has chosen to “hide” the logo on the upper part of the dial by making it the same black color as the dial. Some of you would have preferred to see that done differently, but I think it’s a nice touch. The watch is powered by the automatic Miyota 82S5, which provides 40 hours of power reserve. Overall, the Vario 1945 D12 is a great updated take on a classic field watch, and it can be yours for US$368.

Bremont Broadsword Recon

Closing out our Top 10 is the limited-edition Bremont Broadsword Recon that Nacho reviewed in March of this year. The watch is part of the brand’s Armed Forces collection. This series of watches consists of the civilian versions of the watches that Bremont produces for the British Ministry of Defence (MOD). Bremont’s interpretation of the classic Dirty Dozen watches has a two-piece stainless steel case measuring 40mm in diameter, 12.5mm in thickness, and 47mm from lug to lug. The Broadsword Recon also features a matte black sandwich dial that shows the tan-colored trademarked “P51” Super-LumiNova through the cutout numerals.

The sandwich construction and characteristic style of the numerals help give this watch a distinct look. Furthermore, you will find a small second sub-dial at 6 o’clock with four additional cutouts revealing luminous markings. Lastly, there is a date window at 3 o’clock, and the matte black handset is also features lume in the same color as that of the other parts. Inside the case, Bremont uses its ETA 2895-based caliber BE-95-2AV. This automatic chronometer-rated movement has a 38-hour power reserve. The Bremont Broadsword Recon limited edition is by far the most expensive watch of this Top 10, carrying a price of €3,330. Nevertheless, it’s a great last pick for this list.

Final thoughts on the best field watches of 2023

There you have it — our top 10 picks for the best field watches released in 2023. This list covers a broad spectrum of prices and aesthetics, showing the great variety that you can find in field and explorer watches. But I’d like to pass the question over to you. What are your favorite field watches that came out this year? Let us know your picks in the comments section, and we will see you next week for a new best-of-2023 list!