What’s the Best Hunting Watch for 2021?

Garret Jacob | |

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Aside from the bare necessities every hunter needs, there are a number of accessories that are overlooked, and it is only when you are out in the field that you realize, wow I could have used this right about now. 

One of those often-overlooked accessories is a quality, dependable, and durable hunting watch. 

The best hunting watches will keep time for you, tell you when sunrise and sunset will happen, help you orient your way through the wilderness using GPS technology or a compass, and maybe even alert you about changes in atmospheric conditions that indicate a storm front moving in. 

You do not need to spend a fortune to acquire one of these amazing devices. There are many hunting watches on the market that come in all different price points and that contain various features that you may or may not want for your hunting watch. With a little effort, you can find the perfect hunting watch for your budget and for your needs.

To provide a little friendly assistance in your quest for a new hunting watch, we have provided you with a diverse list of our favorite hunting watches. We have something for everyone on our list, and not only will we breakdown each watch in great detail, but we will also provide for you all the information you need about what makes a good hunting watch. 

The Best Hunting Watch – Our Picks

Note: Our individual reviews are below, but you can also click any of the links above to check current prices on Amazon and other retailers

Hunting Watch Reviews

Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire, Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Garmin fenix 6 Sapphire, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, Features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Carbon Gray DLC with Black Band
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The Garmin Fenix 6, compared to previous models, now comes with a display that is 17% larger with its 1.3-inch screen. The bezel is made from stainless steel, coated DLC, and it is tested to United States military standards. 

The watch comes preloaded with thousands of topographical maps using GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite navigation data. There are also built-in sensors to provide a 3-axis compass, a gyroscope, and to measure both barometric pressure and altitude. 

The battery performance of the Garmin Fenix 6 is dependent on which mode you are using your watch. For GPS and music mode, you can expect only 10-hours of high-quality performance. 14-days in Smart Watch mode, 28-days in expedition GPS activity mode, and up to 48-days in battery saver mode.

Other features worth mentioning are the wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox monitor, Garmin Pay capabilities to make contactless payments simply by tapping your watch against card reader machines at checkout and you can stream your music through your favorite third-party apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and more.

Connections: ANT+, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Provided Charging/Data Cable.

Dimensions and Weight: 1.85 x 1.85 x 0.58 inches. 2.88 ounces.

Display Resolution: 260 x 260

Battery: 1-Lithium Polymer Battery Included. 

What we liked:

  • Preloaded with thousands of topographical maps. 
  • Military-grade strength and durability. 
  • Sleek design.
  • Lightweight and easy to wear.

What we didn’t:

  • Lower battery performance in GPS and Music mode.

Check the price on Amazon »

Garmin Instinct Outdoor GPS Watch

Garmin 010-02064-00 Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features Glonass and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-Axis Compass, Graphite
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The Garmin Instinct watch is built tough and rugged in accordance with United States military standards for thermal, shock and, water-resistance submersed up to 100-meters. The screen is chemically-strengthened to provide a scratch-resistant display that is contrast enough to easily be seen, even in bright and direct sunlight. 

This watch utilizes the GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite networks to always let you know where you are. The TracBack feature will let you explore confidently knowing that in a click of a few buttons, your route to go back the way you came can be loaded onto the screen for you.

Also included is the Garmin 3-axis compass and the barometric altimeter. 

Pair your Garmin Instinct watch with your smartphone to receive notifications directly to your wrist.  Available in several colors including flame red, graphite, lakeside and seafoam blue, sunburst yellow, and tundra. 

Battery performance ranges by watch mode. Up to 16-hours in GPS mode, 40-hours in Ultratrac battery saver mode, and 14-days in smartwatch mode. 

Connections: Bluetooth, Wireless, Charging/Data Cable. 

Dimensions and Weight: 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.6-inches. 1.76 ounces.

Display Resolution: Not given.

Battery: 1-Lithium Metal Battery is Included. 

What we liked:

  • Water-resistant up to 100-meters.
  • Extremely durable and resistant to thermal and shock damage.
  • Access to GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite networks.
  • Affordable.

What we didn’t:

  • Mediocre battery performance.

Check the price on Amazon »

Casio Forester

CASIO Men's FT500WC-3BVCF Forester Sport Watch with Nylon Band
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

If you are looking for a high-quality rugged watch that is not cluttered with features that you do not need, but will always be dependable in keeping the time accurately, then the Casio Forester is for you. 

The Casio Forest features a round dial with 12-hour markers with an inner 24-hour dial. There is also a date dial. This watch has an accuracy that will meander no more than plus or minus 20-seconds over a month period. 

Enjoy the durability and ruggedness of this watch along with its water-resistance for up to 100-meters. Also features a 3-year battery life. 

Connections: None

Dimensions and Weight: 4 x 1.5 x 1- inches. 3.21 ounces.

Display Resolution: None

Battery: 1-Lithium Ion Battery Not Included.

What we liked:

  • Extremely durable stainless steel bezel material and water-resistant up to 100-meters.
  • Incredibly accurate at keeping time.
  • Stylish design.
  • 3-year battery life.

What we didn’t:

  • No GPS, GLONASS, or Galileo satellite capabilities.

Check the price on Amazon »

Rockwell Godfrey Iron Rider 2.0 STK

The Rockwell Godfrey Iron Rider 2.0 STK is an excellent basic hunting watch at an affordable price. The included altimeter gives instant and accurate altitude measurements as well as has a programmable altitude alarm. 

There is a barometer that measures air pressure in the range of 300 mbar hPa to 1100 mbar hPa in order to forecast changes in weather and notify you of times game animals should be more active. 

Other features this watch possesses include a thermometer, in both Fahrenheit and Celcius, a chronograph, a compass, 2-daily alarms, and a multi-use timer. You can read your watch in total darkness by using the Electro-luminescent backlight. Also, this watch is water-resistant up to 50-meters. 

Connections: No connections.

Dimensions and Weight: 4 x 4 x 4-inches, 5.29-ounces. 50-mm-case diameter.

Display: Multifunctional digital display. 

Battery: 1-Lithium Metal Battery Required.

What we liked:

  • Incredibly affordable. 
  • Solid construction.
  • Contains a thermometer, a barometer,  a chronograph, a compass, and an altimeter. 
  • Water-resistant up to 50-meters. 
  • Electro-luminescent backlight for nighttime use. 

What we didn’t:

  • No GPS capabilities. 
  • Does not pair with your smartphone or connect to Wifi.

Check the price on Cabelas »

SUUNTO Core

SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The SUUNTO Core is an excellent hunting watch that has the right amount of technological features balanced with an elegant look and an indestructible design. This watch is constructed with carbon fiber and aluminum for durability with a band made from silicone. 

Some of the technological features that can be easily read on a crisp digital display are an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, and a weather indicator. The weather indicator works with the barometer to predict changing conditions and to monitor trends in local weather. There is an intelligent storm alarm that will trigger when the barometric pressure drops as such that it is an indication of an approaching storm front. 

The SUUNTO Core allows you to access sunrise and sunset times for up to 400 locations of your choice. The altimeter shows ascent and descent and records your changes in altitude. 

This watch accurately measures your depth as well for snorkeling or scuba diving, however, only up to 30-feet of water. Also, rest at ease knowing your SUUNTO Core hunting watch is covered by a 2-year limited warranty. 

Connections: No connections.

Dimensions and Weight: 1.93 x 1.93 x 0.57-inches. 1.4-ounces.

Display: Crisp digital display.

Battery: Comes with one Lithium Metal Battery.

What we liked:

  • Covered by a 2-year limited warranty upon registration. 
  • Contains an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, and a weather indicator.
  • An alarm will send when storms are approaching.
  • Store up-to-date sunrise and sunset time information for up to 400 locations.
  • Stylish and sleek all-black finish with a durable carbon fiber and aluminum construction. 

What we didn’t:

  • Does not connect to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or contain GPS capabilities. 

Check the price on Amazon »

Timex T45181 Expedition

Timex Men's T45181 Expedition Resin Combo Brown/Green Nylon Strap Watch
Click the picture to see more images and user reviews on Amazon

The Timex T45181 Expedition is another excellent option for someone seeking a budget-friendly hunting watch. This timepiece has both an analog and digital display of time that also has a 24-hour chronograph, a 24-hour countdown timer, a daily alarm, and a calendar. 

The analog display contains a second hand and the hour and minute hand are luminous. This watch also has Indiglo capabilities for early morning hunts or for easy viewing at night.

The Times Expedition is constructed from quality materials, is incredibly durable, and is water-resistant up to 100-meters. 

Connections: No connections. 

Dimensions and Weight: 3.5 x 3 x 0.25-inches. 1.28-ounces. 

Display: Analog with a digital display at 6-o’clock. 

Battery: Comes with one Lithium metal battery. 

What we liked:

  • Excellent quality at an affordable price.
  • Hybrid watch with both analog and digital display.
  • Contains Indiglo capabilities as well as luminous minute and hour hands. 
  • Contains a calendar. 

What we didn’t:

  • No GPS or Bluetooth and Wifi capabilities. 

Check the price on Amazon »

What is the Purpose of a Hunting Watch?

A hunting watch is not just something you use to tell time so that you know when to head into camp for lunchtime. A hunting watch will tell time as well as offer a number of additional features to assist you when you are out in the woods. 

The watch will tell time, have a great number of features, and it will be designed to be nearly indestructible. Materials like stainless steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum should be sought after to keep your watch protected while it could potentially take a beating from repeated outdoor use. 

Also, you will want a watch that is weather or water-resistant. Though we wish every day of hunting could contain ideal weather conditions, you need to be prepared for moisture from rain, sleet, and snow. 

The last thing to mention about hunting watches before we dive into the features that make a good hunting watch is multifunctionality. When you are shopping for a new hunting watch, you may want to look at watches that could be used for multiple purposes.

Some watches could potentially be perfect for both hunting and for maybe wearing at the office. They could be worn with formal dinner attire or in full camo gear for hunting. 

A watch that is designed well and looks sleek or elegant should be able to be worn for multiple occasions and not look tacky. 

A watch’s GPS and altimeter system could be used for skiing, trekking, and other mountain sports activities while a depth gauge coupled with water resistance up to 100-meters, could be used for swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. 

A watch with a barometer and thermometer is useful for everyday use for storm prediction, temperature readings, etc.

The point is, when you choose a new hunting watch, do not limit yourself by thinking you will only wear this watch during hunting season. 

Instead, think about all the different everyday and outdoor applications that a particular watch can afford to you with all the different features it contains.

What Features Make a Good Hunting Watch?

OK, now for the juicy stuff. Let us now discuss the features that make a good hunting watch as well as breakdown each of these features and explain what they are and how they can be beneficial to you.

Comfort (Easy On/Off)

Comfort is a no-brainer. You will want a watch that can easily be put on or removed with a durable metal clasp. The clasp should be constructed from materials that will be rust-proof and that will keep from becoming unclasped and keep you from losing your watch. 

The band should be maybe nylon or silicone, it should be big enough to accommodate your wrist size, and it should not cause you to itch or other discomforts.

The watch face should be large enough for you to easily see the information you need, however, it should not be too big that it is clunky and gets in the way.

Camouflage

A camouflage band and watch case is a good idea to keep the watch hidden when you are hunting. However, if you are looking for a watch that can be used in multiple settings, then a solid colored watch like black, grey, or dark navy blue will suffice as well. 

Actually, in most situations, any colored watch should not attract attention to a well-hidden and motionless hunter. Big game sees movement more than anything, and a flame-red hunting watch is not going to get their attention unless you are waving your arm around in the air like a maniac. After all, there are many hunters that are required to wear blaze orange hunting gear from head to toe.

The main thing is to avoid watches that will reflect sunlight. If the sun reflects off your watch that reflection of light can be seen from hundreds of yards away by many species of game. If you find a watch with stainless steel parts, try to make sure it’s painted a flat-black or somehow covered to prevent it from reflecting light. 

Altimeters, Barometers and Thermometers

These are the more important and advanced features that hunting watches have to offer. 

An altimeter is great for keeping track of your elevation and some even record your changes of elevation during ascents and descents for you to review later. Some altimeters come with an alarm to notify you when you are at a predetermined elevation. 

Barometers are good for measuring atmospheric pressure and if understood correctly, they can help you predict changes in weather and times when game animals might be more active or dormant. Some barometers that are part of certain hunting watches will also have a storm notification system that will alert you to drastic changes in pressure that indicate a storm is moving into your area. 

And of course thermometers. Thermometers can tell you the temperature and are useful not just for hunting, but for everyday use.

Compass

The compass is essential for navigation in wooded areas and in the wilderness. Coupled with a paper topographic map, you can orient yourself from your starting point to your destination, and then back home again with ease. Or, if you do not have a paper map, you can keep track of your direction using the compass and find your way back when needed. 

Visibility in the Dark

If you are hunting early morning or staying in your hunting spot until after sunset, you will want to be able to see your watch in the dark to tell time and to use the features like your compass to return home. 

Look for analog watches that have luminous hands and Indiglo backlights. 

Digital watches should contain a backlight system as well if they do not offer a digital display that is similar to a smartphone. 

Ruggedness

Ruggedness, as we discussed before, comes from the materials the watch is constructed from. 

You should seek watches constructed from stainless steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum if you think you will be hard on your watch. There are many other materials as well, just do your research and maybe spend a little more to ensure your watch will last a long time. 

Also, maybe seek watches that have a warranty of some kind. A warranty expresses a manufacturer’s confidence in the watch’s craftsmanship, quality of materials, and trust in the longevity of the electronic features. 

Water Resistance

Water-resistance is necessary for any outdoor watch. This will keep your watch ticking during the worst rain or snow storms imaginable. 

You do not need much water-resistance if you are only using the watch for hunting, but if you plan on doing any water-related outdoor activities, then a watch with water-resistance to sustain submersion is ideal. Some watches are functional up to 10-meters of depth while others are up to 100-meters. 

Long Battery Life

Battery life is dependent on how many electronic features your watch contains. The more advanced watches with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections and GPS capabilities will use up your battery much faster. These types of watches come with rechargeable batteries and a charging/data cable to keep your watch fully charged. 

Also, the more advanced watches will have several “modes” that you can put your watch in that contain different spans of battery life depending on which features you need at that moment. 

An analog hunting watch will run on one battery for an extremely long time. Simply replace the battery once it no longer powers your watch. 

GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo Satellite Capabilities

Though a compass and maybe a paper topographic map should be enough to keep you on the correct track in the wilderness, some people may not know how to use a compass. Or maybe using GPS technology is just so ingrained in our society now that it is a comfort we can not live without. 

That being said, there are hunting watches out there that utilize GPS, GLONASS, and/or the Galileo satellite systems to provide navigation support. 

These systems will always know where you are, providing track and backtracking capabilities, and let you drop coordinate pin-points to mark important locations. These technologies are easy to use and are very dependable for always knowing where you are and where you need to go. 

A warning, however. Be sure to not be 100% reliant on your watch’s satellite navigation system. Especially if you are hunting or trekking in an area that you are unfamiliar with. Satellite technology could potentially glitch, your watch’s battery could lose power, or your watch may become dysfunctional from water exposure, overheating, or from breaking due to contact. 

Always have a backup form of navigation. A compass and paper map is the best. Or have a system of markers you can tie to tree branches to mark your path and allow you to follow back to your starting point. Just a rule of thumb, if you are in a large wilderness area and unsure of where you are, it is always a good idea to never cross any roads and to never cross any swamps or large bodies of water. These are boundary identifiers and staying within them will help ensure you find your way back to your starting point.

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