If you’re on a budget and looking for a cheap field watch, here’s the answer.
Field watches date back to World War One and further. Generally speaking, they’re simple in design, easy to read in daylight or low light conditions, and smaller and lighter in size than their “fashionable” counterparts. The Timex watch company has made these stylish watches available at a low price.
Field watches were mainly used by those on the battlefield. Soldiers and officers alike wore these timepieces. During WW2, the field watches were made to be even more durable, many employing forged steel and stronger, leather straps to increase durability and endurance.
Most modern men living and working in the urban jungle will never utilize the field watch as it truly was truly intended, however, there is a certain simplistic, minimalist style to these watches that one just cannot resist.
In a day of smartwatches, wearing an analog watch might seem a bit dated, however, there are many reasons to carry one, if for no other purpose than as a backup to your primary smartwatch.
A field watch is simple. Rugged in looks, and more dependable and durable than your smartwatch.
One of the main reasons that people ditch their smartwatches and return to analog and older digital watches is for the water resistance. Most cheap field watches are watertight to a minimum of 50 meters (164 feet) indefinitely. The more hearty Casio-branded inexpensive digital watches are waterproof to 200 meters. Having a watch on your wrist that you just don’t have to worry about in a downpour, in the shower, or going swimming is a huge plus and advantage that these field watches and conventional digital watches have over smartwatches.
The other reason people return to the field and digital watch is for the battery life. It can be a drag to have to remember to recharge your smartwatch every night. What happens when you forget to recharge? You keep looking at your wrist in vain as your smartwatch is little better than a rock strapped to your wrist. Most conventional watches have at least a 2-year battery life with some reaching up to 10 years.
The Cheap Field Watch – Timex Expedition Acadia
While this article features the Timex Expedition Acadia, any Timex Expedition could be considered for as an inexpensive field watch.
While they’re not the cheapest on Amazon or in Walmart, they provide some of the best value, style, and functionality you can get for a field watch at this price point.
The Expedition watches have a 5 year or higher battery life, and with moderate use of the backlight, you can expect at least three years from the battery. The batteries for most of these watches will run you about $5 for name brand or $1 for the dollar store brand.
You might be thinking that it’s just a watch. It’s not even a digital watch, so it doesn’t have alarms or a stopwatch. All of which can be found on cheaper digital watches.
The Timex Expedition is not meant to try and compete with a digital watch, although certain models do have a digital display as well. The analog-only version is considered a more classic timepiece that embodies the style and function of the older WW1 and WW2 field watch.
The Expedition watch can be worn with both your 9 to 5 button-downs as well as your weekend wardrobe and looks good either way. Its clean, crisp face makes it easy to see how far over your board meeting has run, or to get a read in low light when other fancier watches would make you frustrated.
Indiglow Watch Backlight
The Timex Expedition watches employ an “Indiglow” watch face. By pressing the crown in, the watch face illuminates allowing you to see the time in no-light conditions. There are very few analog field watches that have illumination built in, so this feature sets the Timex Expedition apart from the rest of the cheap field watches right away. Even your more expensive Hamilton field watches (retailing for $300 and up) don’t have an illuminated dial, and frankly, the watch faces are very similar.
Some of the Timex Expedition watches don’t have a date window, but I value having the feature as there are many times when people ask me “do you know what the date is today?” The only thing to keep in mind is that when you set the time, make sure you pass the 12 ‘o’clock mark. If the date changes, you know that the watch is on AM, whereas if the date does not change, then it’s in PM.
The Watch Strap
The watch straps that come with the Timex Expedition are pretty nice, but since most have a standard 20mm band (women’s watches usually have an 18mm band), you can accessorize your watch with different colored leather straps or NATO-style bands. The watch band clips are easy to remove with a pocket knife (just make sure they don’t shoot off when you remove them) and within a couple moments, your watch can have a whole new look. This means having the right look for whatever you’re wearing. As a side note, the 20mm band is perfect for those inexpensive button compasses that you can attach to your watch to give it even more of a utilitarian field watch look, yet maintain the functionality of knowing what direction you’re facing at any given moment.
When To Wear A Field Watch
Field watches are in the unique position of being an acceptable timepiece for just about any style, setting or situation within the urban environment. They generally go well with your business wear but also work very well when you’re lounging in your T-shirt and Jeans.
Since we’re focusing on cheap field watches, it’s possible to have a collection of different watches featuring different face colors and band styles that go along with your different outfits.
The Benefits of Owning an Inexpensive Field Watch
The Timex Expedition series can usually be found between $28 and $50, with the bulk of the watches in the $35 range. If you’re on a budget like me, you won’t be able to get a bunch of them all at once, but it’s not going to break the bank to collect them over time. I’ve purchased these watches when I’ve had “windfall” money come in or at the rate of usually one new watch every couple months.
Since they’re cheap field watches too, you can wear them with confidence and need not worry about scratches or dings on the glass or housing. If you lose one, it’s not the end of the world either because they can be replaced quite easily with a quick purchase on Amazon or at your local Walmart or similar.