In this article, you'll find everything you need to know about our design inspiration for the Vaer Field Watch.
The Vaer Field was released in May 2018 as our second watch model. The Field builds on the popularity of our Classic collection, leveraging the same durability (10ATM case, sapphire glass, interchangeable bands, screwdown crown), while introducing a date window, improved luminescent paint, and completely revamped dial fascia.
Why should I care about this design?
a) A Half-Priced Hamilton Khaki
Claiming the Vaer Field is a half-priced Hamilton Khaki Quartz is a bold statement to make - but that was the exact description used by watch reviewer Jody Smith in his recent review of the Vaer Field (you can watch the full review here). We're definitely not going to complain about the comparison. Hamilton is one of the few watch brands that has achieved iconic status, and while it's a shame they're no longer based in Pennsylvania, their historical legacy was a strong source of inspiration for our first "adventure watch".
"The finishing on the Vaer Field is consistently better than the equivalent Hamilton Khaki quartz."
- Jody Musgrove, Just Another Watch
Beyond serving as an homage to the traditions of American watchmaking, releasing our Field model was an important step in distinguishing Vaer as a brand. We love our Vaer Classic watch, but beyond its durability features, it doesn't do much to help us stand-out as a company. There's an endless supply of companies making affordable minimalist watches, but very few making well-priced field watches.
While the Vaer Classic is cool because it doesn't look like you should be able to surf in it, the Vaer Field immediately communicates its outdoor credentials and helps align our company with the rich tradition of military timekeeping.
b) The Watch that Won the War
All good watches have a good story, and for field designs, that story begins in the early days of modern warfare. Field watches got their start in the trenches - literally - when British military men in WWI began fastening pocket watches to their wrists with scraps of leather.
"The Great War was the first time that generals couldn't see all of the troops they were commanding on a battlefield. The coordination of time, through synchronized watches became critical for all military operations."
- David Boettcher, Great War Trench Watches
While the field watches in the First World War were largely improvised, by WW2, they had become a standard part of military kit. The British military's Dirty Dozen watches, as well as the American A-11 (manufactured by Elgin, Bulova, Waltham, and Hamilton) are examples of the field watches from the era. Interestingly, the use of 24 hour markings, which today is a hallmarks of the field design, were not used on these early combat watches. It wasn't until the Vietnam War that this design feature became synonymous with field watches.
Standard issue models from NY-based Bulova and Benrus during the Vietnam-era largely solidified the aesthetic of the modern Field Watch. These watches used black dials with an outer minute ring, lumed accented triangles for the hour markers, large Arabic numerals displaying the hours one through twelve and smaller Arabic numerals displaying thirteen through twenty-four beneath those. The watches also used syringe style hour and minute hands and a prominent ergonomic crown.
"Military watches were designed to be cheap—sometimes even disposable—but above all else, they were meant to be rugged and reliable."
Ilya Riven, Worn & Wound
Starting in 1969, Hamilton Watch Company (which in the same year would be acquired by Swiss-based Buren) also started providing field watches to the American military. These designs closely followed the examples of Bulova and Benrus and would serve as eventual inspiration for the civilian Khaki line.
c) Three Compelling Colorways
The Vaer Field was created out of a desire to create watch that communicated both our commitment to rugged functionality, and our respect for watchmaking history. However, we also wanted to carry over some of the Bauhaus design language that characterized our brand identity. We've maintained the minimalist Vaer logo on the dial and crown etching, and the exact same 100m and American Assembly designation (in Helvetica font) as our Classic dial. In terms of paint, we wanted to branch out from the monotone pallets of the war watches, while still maintaining a design that's still decidedly conservative.
Vaer Field Black
The black version of the Field most closely follows the design language of traditional military models. However, the use of a bright red second hand, and yellow outside numerals help create a distinctively contemporary aesthetic. Since its release in mid-2018 the Field Black design has been our most popular product. It's often said "you can wear black with anything" and that advice certainly holds true with watches. The Field Black pairs well with most of our Nylon straps, and looks especially good paired with Black, Khaki, and Olive.
Vaer Field White
The white version of the Field is the most modern looking of the three colorways, featuring red highlights on the dial and and hands that are reminiscent of a Dieter Rams design. Because Field Watches are typically made with dark dials, this arrangement is significantly more distinctive than our other two Field options, especially when paired with a bright Nato (our red strap is a great choice for buyers looking to make a statement). White dials are extremely flexible and will look great with every type of band (we prefer Navy, Khaki, Olive and Red).
Vaer Field Hunter
The Hunter green version of the Field is most stylized and unique offering of the model. While the color is less flexible than the white or black versions, when paired with the right strap, it becomes a stunningly impressive (and expensive looking) product. The subtle satin finish of the Hunter Fields creates a captivating depth to the dial color. Indoors and in low-light the dark green dial appears almost black, however when used in direct sunlight it reflects a beautiful hue of British racing green. We recommend pairing the Hunter Field with our tan Horween leather straps as well as our earth-tone NATOs (khaki, olive, sand).
When we originally released the Vaer Field in the spring of 2018 it was a limited edition release (100 pieces of each color) that was meant to test the waters of customer interest. There were barely any watch startups making field watches, and despite our love for the design, we were honestly unsure if anyone would buy them.
We ended up selling out of our first batch in less than two months. Demand for the design was so strong that we actually had our technicians here in LA start disassembling some of our Classic watches, and rebuild them with extra Field dials, movements and hands. Since then, the Field model has become our core product offering, providing an important aesthetic and financial foundation for our brand.
Click here to explore the Vaer Field collection
Introduced: May 2018
Case Dimensions: 40mm diameter, 9mm thickness
Dial Opening: 33.5 mm
Lug-to-Lug Distance: 48mm
Bands - 20mm width, Interchangeable
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Depth Rating - 10 ATM - 100m or 328ft
Watch Movement - Swiss Quartz Ronda 715
Crown - 3mm x 6mm, screw-down, 'Vaer' engraved
Glass - Scratch-resistant Sapphire crystal
Hands - Hour: 9mm, Minute: 11mm, Second - 15mm
Assembly: Los Angeles, California with Foreign Parts (Hong Kong, Switzerland)
Retail Price Range: $165-$199