So you’re looking for a nice new watch to take with you while you’re out hunting but there are many different options, each with their pros and cons. What is the best hunting watch? Well, that depends on which features you find important to have and where you plan on using it. I go through some of the best watches in the hunting watch reviews below side by side so that you can pick one that has the features that you want. Let’s get into it.
Table of Contents
- What to Look For
- Best Hunting Watch Reviews
- In Conclusion
What to Look For
While pretty much all watches have a built in battery, what makes them different is the fact whether it’s rechargeable or not, and how reliable that is. The different forms of battery recharging include:
Battery Only – the most common type. Battery only powered ones are usually the cheapest so if you’re on a budget, these will work fine. The biggest issue with these, apart from having to replace the batteries every so often, is that unless the watch comes with a battery meter of some sort, you are prone to having it die out on you at any time. You can, of course, always carry around some extra batteries with yourself when you know that you will be out for a long time.
Mechanical – these watches charge up by using the motion from your hand. The good thing is that if you wear your watch all the time, you won’t have to worry about it running out of battery. These also tend to be cheaper than their solar powered alternatives. The bad thing is that if you don’t wear it for some time, the watch will slow down and eventually stop. This is a bigger issue in the cheaper mechanical watches, like Invicta and the like.
Solar – solar powered watches are great because they are very easy to charge as they can use any light to charge so it doesn’t have to be direct sunlight. Watches like the Pathfinder and Citizen are both great examples of solid watches that will rarely run out of battery anytime soon.
You typically don’t want to be carrying around a big heavy piece of plastic/metal on your arm all day as that can get annoying. However this depends a lot on preference as some feel that a big and heavy watch is more “manly”. For the rest of us, it’s usually better if it’s lighter but this shouldn’t be a deal breaker in most cases.
Barometer – barometers are useful in figuring out if a storm is likely to approach or how fast it is coming. If you see the pressure start to suddenly drop quickly, then it’s likely that a storm is coming your way.
Altimeter – an altimeter measures your altitude. You may wonder though, how would it be able to do that if it doesn’t have any access to a GPS system? Well, the way that it works is that it is basically a type of barometer that detects changes in atmospheric pressure to determine if there was nay change in altitude. This works because at any given point in the atmosphere around Earth, there is a set amount of weight that pushes down on you. The higher you go, the less atmosphere there is to push down on you and thus, with the change in the pressure, the altimeter detects change in elevation. As you might have guessed, you have to calibrate it for the best results.
Best Hunting Watch Reviews
Suunto was originally founded in 1936 and mainly made compasses, and as it evolved throughout the years, it moved on to designing various sport instruments for hiking, skiing, hunting, diving, mountaineering, etc. This brings us to the Suunto Core – a watch designed for heavy outdoors use.
This watch has a lot of different features so let’s go through all of them. As expected, you get a compass included which is fairly accurate. I wouldn’t trust on the compass by itself to not get lost, but it’s good enough to get a general sense of where you’re heading if you didn’t’ bring any kind of GPS with you. I covered some good hunting GPS before if you’re interested.
You also get an altimeter and a thermometer. The altimeter works as expected and the thermometer is good at measuring the heat of your wrist. If you want a more accurate temperature reading I’d recommend you take it off and let it measure that way. Or just whip out your phone and google weather.
A barometer is also included with this watch, and you even get a nice little graph of the pressure around you as it changes. This is useful to detect is a storm is incoming. You can also set it to have an auto pressure drop detector on which monitors the pressure automatically to tell if you if it suddenly starts dropping. Once again, the use is limited if you have access to the internet but if you don’t it can come in handy.
The watch is also water resistant up to 100 feet. So if you drop it inside a puddle or it gets unexpectedly exposed to some water, you don’t have worry about damaging it which I like.
Onto the battery, the battery life is pretty good, and with frequent use you should expect to change it out about once a year. You can prolong the battery life by disabling the features that you do not need such as the storm predictor that I covered before.
Moving to the looks of the watch, the watch looks very stylish and sleek. I like the dark background which makes the display look nice. However, here is where we encounter the first major con of this watch and that’s that it’s not very bright.
Now it’s not hard to see normally, per say, but in bright conditions you might have to squint a bit. The backlight option is also included, but its use in bright scenarios is pretty limited. Using the backlight is more for at night purposes rather than during the day.
The backlight button also has the feature where if you hold it you can activate the button lock which prevents the buttons from being accidentally pressed when you’re, let’s say, sleeping.
And here is where we encounter the second major con, the buttons. The buttons have been known to get stuck sometimes, and it’s pretty much the most common issue with this watch. Now it’s not likely to happen as the people who experience it are far and few in between, and there are many accounts of people serving in military or using it under rough conditions for years with it working well, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
The low profile bezel is also nice as you can easily fit the watch inside a cuff of a shirt. The band is made from a nice feeling smooth matte rubber and the clasp is also black matte. The watch itself feels pretty light, weighing in at only 2.26 oz. and not the cheap kind of light. More like the kind of light where you can wear it farther up your arm without it slipping down to your wrist. The watch head itself also feels nice and durable.
Finally, you get a 2 year warranty on this watch.
So if you’re looking a sleek hunting watch packed with loads of features and solid durability whilst not minding the decently bright display, then the Suunto is a good choice to consider.
|Lots of features||Weak buttons|
|Temperature graph||Could be brighter|
Casio makes great and durable watches and the Pathfinder is no exception. And whilst they’re mostly known for their G-Shock watches, the Pathfinder is another solid and rugged option for those who will be taking their watch out in the woods.
Starting from the features, my favorite feature of this watch is the fact that is solar powered. I personally am not a fan of replacing batteries, or having the watch just die on me in the middle of the day. I’d get it if I got some cheap 15 watch from Wal-Mart, but any premium watch that I get should not have the issue of randomly losing charge. But that’s just me.
The watch features a hefty set of different measurements and features including a compass that can be adjusted for precision, a barometer and a thermometer. Don’t expect accurate thermometer readings while the watch is on your hand though.
The altimeter is calculated using both thermometer and barometer data since the watch doesn’t have a built in GPS system. This means that for precise results, you should calibrate it frequently.
The watch also has 5 daily alarms for those that use their watch for alarms. The alarm sound itself isn’t particularly loud but the high pitch that it emits is noticeable even if you’re wearing headphones. Assuming they’re not closed-ear or noise cancelling/isolating headphones of course.
A nice thing about this watch that I liked is the battery power indicator built in. This allows me to see if the watch is running low so that I can leave it under the sun to charge it up. Regarding battery life, you get roughly 6 months straight if you don’t expose it to any light, but unless you’re hunting only at night or don’t wear your watch during the day, then you shouldn’t worry much about the battery.
There is a power save feature that is turned on by default and it turns off the display face if it detects inactivity. Not to worry about it doing that during the day though, as it only starts detecting inactivity between 10 pm and 6 am.
The watch is also water resistant for up to 330 ft. which is pretty good. You can swim with it on if you want, but it’s definitely not something that you would dive with.
The bezel rotates nicely and smoothly, and the display can be easily read straight on. When the watch is at steep angles then it becomes a bit harder to read. The band is made of resin and takes a bit to break in at first. You can get a NATO watch strap as well for extra comfort as some watch owners did, but that’ up to you.
One of the cons that come with this watch is that it’s a little pricey. It’s also pretty bulky size wise which makes it hard to get into gloves. The buttons are also a little hard to use if you use gloves. Finally, as mentioned before, the constant recalibration of the altimeter can get a little annoying.
Overall, the Pathfinder is a pretty good watch. It’s rugged, packed with features and if you don’t mind the price, it’s a solid watch for any hunter.
|Good water resistance||Hard to use with gloves|
|Lots of features|
That’s an interesting choice for a hunting watch, you may say to yourself. And certainly, this watch is clearly different as opposed to other to other ones listed here, so why is it on this list? Well if you want a watch that looks sleek and premium during hunting and during the rest of the year, and one that doesn’t run out of battery, then you should consider this watch.
The feature list is pretty minimalistic for this watch. You get a date indicator on the right side. The font on it is a little small but I had no issues reading it. It’s also water resistant up to 330 ft./100m so you won’t have to worry about it damaging from water unless you drop it deep into the sea.
Now my favorite feature of this watch is the eco-drive technology. This is due to the fact that with it, you don’t have to worry about replacing the batteries for pretty much the whole lifetime of this watch as it will absorb any light and keep it running.
Let’s move onto the big elephant in the room. Seeing as this isn’t a watch marketed as a “survival” or “outdoors” watch, you won’t get the typical features that come with those watches like barometer, thermometer, altimeter or compass. But in reality, how much do you need those features?
Barometer can be useful to perhaps detect a storm coming by, but so is googling weather, much more accurate in fact. The thermometer on the outdoor watches is typically wrong unless you remove it from your hand for 10-15 minutes so it calculates it without any heat conducted from your hand. Or you can look up weather on your phone and find out the whole day’s forecast.
Finally, the compass and altimeter both might come in handy but in limited situations. For me personally, I don’t ever need to use those, so you might place more importance on them if you do use it.
Moving to the overall look, this watch looks stylish and premium. From the watch face to the body, it has just what it needs and not a bit more.
The titanium makes this watch very light with it weighing around 100 g. Once I’ve worn it for a couple of minutes I forgot that it was on my hand. Titanium itself is not very hard but Citizen hardened it so that it would be more durable. However, after having this watch for a while, the cuffs did get a little bit of scratching.
The watch face on the other hand, still looks as pristine as it did on day 1, which is surprising for me. I’m not the most careful person, so I have dropped it a fair few times and hit my watch hand accidentally against walls and other things throughout my daily use, and the glass still has no scratches. This is due to the sapphire glass coating on this watch that gives it its durability.
So if you’re a fan of this style and want a durable and good-looking watch that won’t need any batteries changed, then you should think about getting this watch. There are also other citizen watches you can consider if you like the general design but want something else.
|Looks stylish||Limited typical “survival” features|
Casio G-Shock GD-100 – Best Hunting Watch for the Money
Last but not least, comes the famous G-Shock. G-Shock is the name that most people have heard as they are watches that were built a reputation for being rugged. You don’t build a reputation through marketing alone, so the fact that they’re still highly regarded means that they live up to their name. I’ll be taking a look at the GD-100 version of the G-Shock, but if you want to take a look at some of the other ones, you can do so as well as they share many features.
Starting from water resistance, this watch is rated to be water resistant up to 200 m/660 ft. You get a full auto calendar that is programmed into it until 2099 and has a multi-time zone feature for up to 4 cities.
The watch itself feels comfortable while wearing it, and while it looks a bit bulky it doesn’t feel like it, fortunately.
You also get 5 alarms that you can use throughout your day, set either to one time or daily. The watch face is a negative display as you may have noted, but even though it is, it is still fairly clear and easy to read. The numbers aren’t particularly big but they do the job nonetheless. And, as pretty much all g-shocks, this watch looks tough and rugged.
There is also a nice feature with this watch where if you turn your wrist back the light will turn on. This is useful if you’re trying to quickly read the time in a darker place. If you don’t like the feature, you can always turn it off.
Regarding the backlight however, some people have had the issue where it would turn off every time you pressed another button. I can see this potentially being annoying.
The watch band is also on the shorter side, so if you have a large wrist it might be a little tight.
Overall, this is one of the best hunting watches out there thanks to its ruggedness and number of features packed in. The inverse display looks interesting and the overall design just says “tough”.
|Tough||Might be hard to read for some|
Regardless of which watch you choose, these are all solid watches which will do a fine job whether you’ll use it exclusively for hunting or just for everyday use.