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What Type of Watch to Wear with Cargo Pants?

Check out the different types of watches you can wear with cargo pants. This combo is perfect for those people with an active lifestyle and who love to be outdoors.

Man wearing beige cargo pants and analog watch.

Cargo pants might be a stylish throwback element of the 1990s and Y2k fashion eras that are currently making a strong comeback. However, these pants were originally invented between the 1930s and 1940s to provide British soldiers with a functional pair of pants for outdoor military activities.

Over time, they became a popular style for pants among military and law enforcement personnel around the world, not to mention in other industries, for their comfort, durability, and storage pockets. Now, cargo pants are a fashion statement in addition to a practical choice for members of a variety of sectors. 

If you are wearing cargo pants, you will probably be outdoors. Therefore, it is important to have a watch on you to tell the time and accessorize. If you would like to know what style of watch to wear with cargo pants, keep reading to avoid a fashion faux pas!

The best first question to ask when buying a watch is, “what is your favorite way to tell time?” After all, if you get an analog watch when you prefer digital, it does not matter how well it matches your favorite pair of cargo pants. The watch will collect dust in a drawer and remain useless.

Digital Watches

Apple Watch Series 7 GPS, 41mm Green Aluminum Case with Clover Sport Band - Regular

The Apple Watch is the most obvious choice for those who love a fully decked-out smartwatch with all the features and a digital interface. The Apple Watch is simple enough to match cargo pants decently. It also has a sporty flare, which can make cargo pants look more casual for informal settings. Finally, an Apple Watch is a high-tech choice, which means that it will bring out your inner powerful boss as you wear these military-style pants.

Analog Watches

Cargo pants are classified as an urban or edgy style choice. Because of their boldness, cargo pants pair well with bold watch styles. 

A-11 Field Watch

Source: Orvis

To truly capture the military style of the cargo pants, opt for a military-style watch such as Orvis’ A-11 Field Watch. This watch is based on the style that the soldiers of World War II sported. For history buffs, WWII reenactors, and those who simply want to nod to historical soldiers with their style, this watch will complete the look perfectly.

As Orvis’ website describes it, the A-11 Field Watch is “inspired by the classic A-11 military-spec watches supplied to the Allied forces during WWII.” An olive-toned rugged ribbed nylon band contrasts the black dial. The watch offers a 41mm brushed stainless case and buckle, mineral crystal, and quartz movement. It claims to be water-resistant in up to 328 feet of water. This makes it perfect to wear on long hikes through the woods or other settings where cargo pants are ideal.

Smith & Wesson Men's Watch with 3 Interchangeable Canvas Straps, Water Resistant 3ATM, Durable, 38mm

Going with the military-inspired theme, Smith & Wesson 3-in-1 Military Inspired Watch is a great choice to pair with cargo pants. The watch includes 3 interchangeable, sturdy, reinforced canvas bands, stainless steel casing which operates under a precision Japanese movement, hour/minute hands with Military time inset which light up, a date window, battery power, and water resistance to 30 meters (90 feet). This makes it both stylish when paired with cargo pants and practical for outdoor activities where cargo pants make the most sense to wear.

Luxury Watches

Men's 42mm The Duck Water-Resistant Watch w/ Rubber Strap

Source: Neiman Marcus

For a luxurious designer look and feel, Neiman Marcus’ Shinola Men’s 42mm The Duck Water-Resistant Watch with Rubber Strap is a great choice for those with a high price point. For those of us who appreciate the finer things in life, this watch fits the bill.

According to the official description on, the Shinola men’s watch from the Duck collection features a 42mm stainless steel case fitted with a unidirectional bezel accented by an aluminum insert, black matte aluminum top ring, black sandblasted dial with matte coating, expandable rubber strap with dive buckle and textured interior side for maximum grip, three-hand Argonite-713 high-accuracy quartz movement, sapphire crystal window, water-resistant up to 20 ATM, and it has been assembled in the USA of imported material. All of this is to say that this is a high-quality watch and it will add a touch of class to any cargo pants outfit.

SKY-DWELLER Oyster, 42 mm, yellow gold

Source: Rolex

For those who are interested in the best of the best watches, look no further than Swiss luxury watch company Rolex. The best Rolex watch to pair with cargo shorts is the 18 kt yellow gold version of its Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller. This watch includes an Oysterflex bracelet for the strap. As their website states, “the watch is the first in the Classic category to include this innovative bracelet made of high-performance elastomer.”

This makes it flexible enough to use in activities that call for sturdy cargo pants. The style is not so flashy that it looks garish or out of place against a cargo pants outfit. As Rolex’s website states, the watch features “a bright black, sunray-finished dial with hands and hour markers in 18 kt yellow gold.” On the case sides, light reflections and lugs elevate the watch to the 42 mm Oyster case’s rich profile.