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Best Field Watches for Explorations and the Outdoors

Initially invented for military use, the earliest field watches were distinguished by their rugged bodies, readable dials, hand-wound movements, and slim, on average 36mm cases. Since then, the men’s field watches have significantly evolved. No longer restricted to battlefields, modern timepiece enthusiasts now also collect adventure watches as an addition to their arsenals.

Even at the pinnacle of human endeavor, while exploring ruthless new terrain and overcoming adversity, there is a need to know the time. In this article, we listed three of the most durable and reliable field watches perfect for explorers.

1.   Rado Captain Cook

Rado is not typically associated with dive watches, much less vintage dive watches. But the latest Rado Captain Cook Automatic is undoubtedly a strong contender in the modern dive watch segment.

In the 1960s, it was not unusual for watch companies to try to be everything to everyone. Take a look at the lineup from many mid-range Swiss watch companies during that era, and you will find that many companies had at least attempted a dive watch. And as a brand, Rado was not any different. The watchmaking company produced dress and formal timepieces, but from 1962 to 1968, it manufactured a watch model in honor of the 18th Century explorer, Captain James Cook. It was a proper dive wristwatch featuring a Brevet patented case that is water-resistant up to 200 meters of water.

Rado first brought this historic Captain Cook timepiece back in 2017, but the brand added hyper chrome to its name. This model maintained the original 37mm case size with small details, such as the spinning anchor on the emblem at 12 o’clock and the red numerals on the date wheel.

The second and most recent time Rado brought the iconic design back was in 2019. If the version in 2017 is all about the past, this latest version reiterates the present. It reinterpreted the watch in a contemporary guise, and Rado later released more versions of the design, highlighting how it could tap into modern watch trends. Now, the model is back, and it is looking to the future.

The Captain Cook model accustomed the wearer, the diver to the Rado vernacular today. Featuring the signature material of the brand, the High-tech ceramic, this version emphasizes its modern touch. This feature is a complete ceramic monobloc case and bracelet colored in black, providing the watch a sleek, neat finish. The detail further enhances the technical look of the timepiece is its skeletonized movement visible through the smoked dial and exhibition case back. With its R734 caliber and 80-hour power reserve, the Rado Captain Cook is both attractive and sturdy.

Despite its contemporary touches, there are still threads that connect the latest version to the past. The anchor emblem of the model that swings as the wearer moves their wrist is still present. This feature is functional as it indicates the need for the timepiece for oil: if the anchor stops moving, this means that the movement needs oil. Rado explains that the purpose of Captain Cook is simple. They want to showcase all of their DNA in a single watch.

2.   Rolex Oyster Perpetual Explorer

First launched in 1953 as a commemoration of the success of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in climbing to the summit of Mt. Everest, the Rolex Explorer is renowned in the field watch industry. People do not usually associate Rolex with timepieces you can beat up as it is a luxe brand. But the Explorer has been designed to be hardy enough to withstand rough encounters.

Its legendary design and sporty 39mm case have changed little in the decades since its launch. Although the most recent model, issued in 2016, added a new luminescent material, known as Chromalight, to the numerals and indices. This feature releases an intense blue glow in the darkness, allowing climbers to know their turnaround time even if their head torch conks out. Regardless of the changes, it is still as durable and dependable as ever.

3.   Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

Inspired by an old-school Tudor dive wristwatch from 1958, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is a field watch ideal for explorers. It got its name from the release year of its inspiration and it’s a favorite among naval forces globally. With this in mind, there is no doubt that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight will find favor with the adventurous type.

Aside from its attractive vintage finish, it features the new MT5402 caliber in-house movement of Tudor. This movement is a great draw, thanks to its chronometer-certified 70-hour power reserve. Adding its watch case with a water resistance feature of up to 200 meters, allowing its wearer to look at the time without any repercussions, this model is the deal.

4.   Victorinox I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Titanium

It is a common and well-known fact that adventure and field watches must be robust and tough. Meaning you can bash it about without the worry of damaging it as it can withstand rough environments. Renowned as the indestructible beast of Victorinox, the I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Titanium would surely come in handy during an exploration.

This model is the only Swiss timepiece certified to withstand 130 various extreme endurance homologation tests, including vibration, temperature, shock, and drop tests. Victorinox ran an eight-tonne digger over this watch, and there was not a single scratch on its lightweight titanium case.

I.N.O.X. Professional Diver Titanium comes with a functional survival paracord strap, ideal if you need to quickly set up a shelter in a forest or have to catch your dinner using a makeshift fishing line.


A functional, robust, durable, and reliable explorer timepiece that can withstand extreme environments is the best company during explorations. It’s a bonus when it comes with a stylish, sleek look. There are various field watches that you can choose from that will fit your expectations and preferences. You will need a bit of patience to find the one that is ideal and perfect for you. This article listed four of the best field timepieces available in the market, but if you wish to find more watches like the ones mentioned above, you can visit www.WatchShopping.com.

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