Hamilton have a proud history of making high-quality watches at affordable prices. Yes, I know, so do many other brands. But not many of them can claim to be “Swiss Made”.
Hamilton was originally a fully USA-produced and owned watch company but slowly started putting their foot on Swiss soil in the late 60s. They are now fully owned and operated as a subsidiary of Swatch.
Despite this change of ownership, Hamilton has maintained their unique style and class and has carved out a niche in the watch market that is obvious when you see any of their watches.
The Hamilton Khaki is a worthy part of this heritage and a watch I thought was worth taking a closer look at today.
The Hamilton Khaki King Features
The Hamilton Khaki Field collection dates back to 1910 when they were supplying the military and you can still see that history on the watch today. The military time displayed on the inside of the dial, along with super robust construction and longevity, are hallmarks of the brand. And the specs of this watch only seem to hammer home that point:
- Hamilton H40 Automatic Movement – 80 hours power reserve, day/date, 3Hz (21,600 bph)
- Sapphire crystal
- 40 mm stainless steel case
- Stainless steel bracelet with safety
- 50m / 165ft water resistance
- Day/Date window at 12 o’clock
- 12 & 24hr time markings
- Recessed crown at 3 o’clock
The military history of the Hamilton field is no more apparent than on the dial of this watch. The large and easily legible outer ring of hour markers is accompanied by their 24-hour brethren on a more subtle but still easy-to-read inner ring. The minutes are also marked with Arabic numerals, albeit quietly, along with the bezel on the very accurate chapter ring.
There is a subtle yet stylish series of grooves underneath the applied hour markers too, which you can see above in the third image. This gives the dial an extra dimension and unique level of style, I find.
The very obvious day and date window at 12 o’clock is something many will not like, carving a huge piece out of the dial and “ruining” the markers from 11 through til 1. However, if you are a fan of this style, often associated with the Rolex DayDate, then it’s only going to add to the appeal of this watch. They are very easy to read through, with an easy-to-read white background and black text, and capital sans-serif font.
The hands on the watch are well suited to the style, although nothing special in and of themselves. Simple pointed tapers for the hour and minute and an arrowhead second hand with circular counterbalance on the end.
The Hamilton Case & Bracelet
The Khaki Field King has a typical combination of both brushed and polished stainless steel throughout the case. The bezel is polished, accentuating the domed sapphire crystal that provides a stunning curved finish to the dial. Just be aware that although the crystal is quite scratch-proof, the polished stainless steel is less so. Not a deal-breaker, but something to consider.
The rest of the case is polished, with the lugs curving over the wrist on the ends which in many ways makes this a smaller watch than the 40mm case diameter might suggest. Yes, even smaller wrists like mine can comfortably wear this watch!
The back of the case also has a nice surprise with a display back highlighting the masterpiece that is the H-40 movement from Hamilton. More on that below.
Hamilton have cleaning stamped their mark on the guarded crown with a capital H, as well as their full logo on the clasp of the brand. Standard practice on a watch of this price range I have found. But still, it gives it a better look than say a Seiko 5.
The bracelet is a quality stainless steel 3 piece, completely brushed and somewhat adjustable (although only two small adjustment positions). It’s great that it has a double button safety on the clasp too.
The King Automatic Movement
A few years ago Hamilton decided to step their movements up a notch and took the already worthy ETA movement they were using and extended it to a far more practical 80+ hour power reserve. In order to achieve this 3 day+ reserve, they had to compromise on the number of beats.
They reduced it to 3Hz, or 21,600 bph which gives the second hand less of a sweeping motion than some of the earlier movements from Hamilton’s range, but this also extends the life of the watch. After all, higher beats mean more wear on the parts of the movement, which ultimately will reduce its life.
So, now we have a Swiss Made, automatic, 25 jewels, 80hr power reserve movement. And in-house by Hamilton.
Water Resistance & Dive Watch Specs
Hamilton has given this watch an adequate level of water resistance, although if I am honest, it is a little disappointing for something with such a “military” pedigree. With 5 ATM or 50m water resistance, it will certainly survive in water for a brief period, but I would not advise any lengthy swimming training while wearing this watch.
Final Impressions Of The Khaki Field King
Hamilton always manages to impress me with what they manage to pack into a watch. And with this 80-hour power reserve Automatic with sapphire crystal and a great-looking dial that smacks of their long military heritage, you can hardly go wrong.
And, even though many small-wristed people might balk at the 40mm watch like the Hamilton Field, its curve and shape make it more like a 38mm, so don’t hesitate for that reason alone!