Previous knowledge suggested the involvement of specific pathways/proteins that could be identified as potential molecular indicators linked to enhanced drought tolerance in Eucalyptus globulus. Here, we looked for specific variations in key transcripts of two Eucalyptus globulus clones (AL-18 and AL-13) exposed to water deficit and rehydration with two main goals: (i) to check if and how transcripts potentially associated with stress response and protection are modulated in a controlled experiment; and (ii) to verify if the transcript response is robust in a field case study. Our results showed that the controlled experiment induced a severe acute stress that resulted in a strong realignment of gene expression resulting from an overwhelming of physiological adjustments to water limitation. A number of transcripts exhibited altered abundance after the acute water stress: reduction of RuBisCO activase and mitochondrial glycine cleavage system H protein, and increase of isoflavone reductase. Malate dehydrogenase, catalase, dehydration response element B1A and potassium channel GORK showed a different abundance pattern in each clone. The stress in the field was more moderate and chronic and the plants were able to deal with the stress primarily through physiological adjustments resulting in much smaller changes in gene expression. The transcripts of clone AL-18 showed few alterations between irrigated and non-irrigated plants throughout the experiment, while the transcript changes found in clone AL-13 highlighted the impact of early rewatering rather than growing under extended drought typical of a Mediterranean summer. Although a few concurrent responses were found, the results obtained in the field study draw a very distinct picture when compared with the controlled experiment.