I’m one of those guys that love watches. To me, it is not only a necessity, but it finishes off the “look” of whatever it is that you are wearing. As much as I’d love to have a nice smartwatch, I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on one yet. Why? Truthfully, I not only like the aesthetics of an analog or digital watch, but it really isn’t practical in my day-to-day life (except for the fact that it’d be useful while working out). To me, traditional timepieces just have more personality.
When choosing a watch for work, it not only has to have the “look”, but it has to be able to withstand whatever is thrown at it. That doesn’t mean that it has to have all the fancy bells and whistles either; because hey, I’m a firefighter, not a pilot. However, I expect it to keep time accurately no matter the abuse, and it has to remain relatively unscathed in respects to its finish. Let’s face it, who wants to spend their money on a watch because it looks good, only to have a scratched up POS a day, week or even a month later. Last but not least, I want the option to wear the watch for more than just work, because in the end, “all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”
Chances are, that if you work in any field such as law enforcement, military, EMS, or fire, you’ve heard of 5.11 Tactical. They are a company that is known for quality, ruggedness, and durability. And (yes, I started a sentence with and), I can tell you from first-hand experience, that their customer service is pretty darn amazing as well.
The 5.11 Tactical Field Watch fits the description above for what I look for in an excellent watch. Over the past two months, the Field Watch has been worn almost daily, whether it has been on shift at the FD, coaching my kid’s baseball games, or heading out for the night with my beautiful wife. My experience with it has been completely positive, which can be very difficult to find when reviewing gear. I can tell you that it has seen some abuse over those two months; from traffic accidents with extrication to training, and worst of all, horsing around with my kids!
The 5.11 Tactical Field Watch comes with a Nato style band, and my first time wearing one. To touch on that, all I can say is that if you have never worn one, do yourself a favor and get one; they are that comfortable. The watch itself has a good heft to it, giving it a durable feel. But what jumps out at you when looking at it, is the simplicity of it. The numbers and increments on the face are gray against a black background; easy to read, but not screaming to take over the look of the entire piece. There is a small orange window showcasing the current date. To me, having the date on a watch is a MUST. Every task that I perform during my day-to-day operations required time and date stamping and having this definitely helps.
The Field Watch has a uni-directional dive bezel with number markings at every 5 minute/second. On the inside of the bezel, just under the chip and scratch resistant mineral glass, are your markings for military/24 hour time. The hour, minute, and red second hand, all have a Phosphorus Luminescent paint on them that glows with the slightest charge. For you ladies and gentlemen out there that perform dive operations, the Field Watch is water resistant up to 100 meters or 330 feet.
One of my favorite points on this watch though is the finish. 5.11 Tactical knew that this watch would be used by many of us in the actual field. So just to the name it “Field Watch” wasn’t good enough. They finished this watch with Ionic Plating. For those of you not familiar with this process, a layer of titanium nitride and other strong materials are added to the base of the stainless steel and bonded together to create a lasting and durable finish. In fact, it is so durable that it is considered a permanent finish/coating.
As mentioned before, this is the first piece of wearable gear that I haven’t had any issues with of any sort. The 5.11 Tactical Field Watch is versatile; ready for day-to-day operations, but classy enough to wear on a night out on the town.
If you decide to give it a go, make sure to stop back and leave some feedback. Let us know what you think!
Author – Tony Kuhn