The 4 Best Hunting Watches – Reviews 2017

best hunting watch

Photo by Wilson Hui / CC BY

One might wonder why they need a watch to go hunting. After all, any old timepiece or a cellphone will do the trick for keeping time. And that’s true, but a hunting watch, well that is a thing of beauty all in itself. They are built for rugged use in inclement conditions and often feature tools like moon phase calculators and compasses. And their faces are designed to be easy on the eyes in low light conditions. Hunting watches are a specialized tool for a rugged and sometimes dangerous sport. Naturally, they have much in common with a military style watch as well, so we looked at a broad range of high quality outdoor oriented watches to find you the 4 best hunting watches for the money (though, there’s plenty more online):

Casio Pathfinder


Quite likely one of the all time best hunting watches, the Casio Pathfinder excels at any task you might ask of a watch. Not only is it rugged enough to go snorkeling in (water resistant up to 1oo meters), but it features a moon phase function, to help select the best time to hunt, as well as silent alarms that won’t disturb game. Featuring a scratch resistant face, this highly rated, high quality watch is backed by the well known Casio commitment to customer service. I’d be hard pressed to find a better choice for a hunting watch myself.

Timex Expedition Trail Series


Sometimes the best hunting watch is simple. Timex is well known for top quality watches, and the Expedition Trail Series is no exception. With a reliable and accurate built in digital compass, it is ideal for the outdoorsman or even just the easily lost. Running at around fifty bucks, it is an affordable timepiece you won’t worry about taking out into the wilderness, but is rugged enough to handle rough duty. Water resistant up to 200 meters, you can even take it scuba diving. The built in Indiglo illumination feature makes it a great choice for nighttime use too. For price and features, this watch is tough to beat.

Suunto Core

The Suunto core provides its user with a wide variety of different information. First and foremost, it is a watch so it does in fact tell time. The Suunto core also provides hunters with a simple wearable compass to keep them going in the right direction. The Suunto is also equipped with a barometer and altimeter, which can be important for the hunter. When you start taking long range shots you’ll need to know your altitude and what the air pressure is doing. You also get a weather trend graph that gives you alerts when inclement weather is coming your way. The Suunto is also available in a wide variety of different styles, which gives both male and female users plenty of different options. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best hunting watch you can find.

Lad Weather Sports Watch


Solidly under fifty dollars but jammed full of state of the art features, this is the best hunting watch if you’ve got a budget. Not only does it tell time, but it also has a barometer, digital compass, thermometer, altimeter, backlighting for night use, and a host of other nice features, including a 30-meter water resistant construction. Perfect for the hunter or outdoorsman who needs more than just a watch and likes to watch his dollars (to spend more on guns and ammo, of course).

What Makes the Best Hunting Watch?

While our ancient ancestor’s idea of a hunting watch was to stick their spear in the ground to make a crude sundial before going back to chasing down saber-toothed cats or woolly mammoths. Modern hunters need not to be under such constraints.

We’ve reached a technological stage where the mythical Dick Tracy style watch that can do everything actually exists. While most hunters don’t see the need for a built in videophone, they do benefit from such things like a built in digital compass, a GPS, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. Additionally, waterproof and water resistant construction are nice things to have, for those moments when accidents happen and you take an impromptu swimming trip.

When picking the right hunting watch, match it to your needs and budget. I love the Suunto Code (see full specs) watch, but I prefer my handheld GPS with built in radio. But I do love a lot of the other features built into it. Personally I like waterproof construction better than water resistant, but each comes at a price. In Western Washington State where I live, rain is a given, so water resistant is nice, but so are rivers, ponds and lakes, and it only takes one slip crossing a stream to hope water resistant holds up. Realistically though, unless you are paranoid or an utter klutz, water resistant construction will more than suffice.

I like a built in digital compass, not only is it quick to access and use, but it serves as a great backup for a traditional compass. After all, the digital one takes up no more room, and it never hurts to have a spare compass along for the ride. Barometers and altimeters are simply awesome. When you are up on top of a hill, it’s nice to know how high up you are. If nothing else, you can verify you climbed the right one on your map, while a barometer will give you a real time way of watching the pressure rise and fall, which can give you a chance to avoid inclement weather.

And, of course, there are other features found in hunting watches. Backlighting that won’t ruin night vision is a must. Silent alarms may be useful to you or they may not be. Buying a watch is a highly personal choice and often an investment intended to last for many years. On the other hand, sometimes a hunting watch will rarely get used, so it makes little sense to drop big bucks on one. Either way, these are the best hunting watches for the ages.

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