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User Story: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
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User Story: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

An honest review of this Hamilton's wonderful timepiece
Feb 20, 2021

Introduction 

Each new Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical iteration has big boots to fill - or rather, big battle boots. What you're seeing is descended from a bona fide slice of American history.

This update to classic Khaki feels like it has hit its mark. It is modern and wearable at 38mm, while maintaining the kind of old style that has been in the DNA of American military watches since the 1940s, and it comes with a new green and white dial, along with a new case cover called Earth PVD.

When it comes to American military watches, all the roads lead to a set of old government specifications issued by the Department of Armed Forces to the great watchmakers of the 1940s: powerful watch movements, powerful crystals, middle-wiper seconds, and one-piece rope. . In short, it's the perfect recipe for a watch that can take a little damage; it leaves behind whatever is not needed to do one thing well, and that one thing is simply telling time.

Hamilton answered government calls and produced watches for Allied forces during WW2. It can be argued that this is when the "modern" field watch appears, setting the tone for this 2019 iteration of Khaki Field. In the 60's the government updated the specs to "GG-W-113" and "MIL-W-3818B", and all that meant that the watch got a little bigger and a little more legible with a few adjustments. Khaki Field Mechanics share the largest swath of design language with these 60s-era designs. Many aviators and soldiers of the time carried out their duties with timepieces that were purely functional on the wrist. Many examples look at assignments during the Vietnam Conflict.

A green, black and white dial and a greenish-brown PVD case come with this new line of Khaki Field Mechanical watches that drive it further into the category of "tack tool". To be clear, these are not issued watches, so Hamilton can take liberties with the colors they wear. Freedom from government-mandated design regulations has allowed Hamilton to have fun with aesthetics; the white summons version is really good looking. They have retained the original watch philosophy, but since cost-saving measures and strict regulations are not part of the equation, this watch is probably much better than the previous watch.

Watch Overview

The most striking elements of this iteration of Khaki Field's watches are the latest dial and case colors, but let's leave the fresh colors aside for a moment and concentrate on technological changes. The big change is the inclusion of the H-50 movement, a movement we saw last year in the special edition of the Khaki 50mm (enlarged Khaki with a red tipped second hand). There is no better motion for laying a watch like this. It's a patented Hamilton caliber, it's made by hand, and has a power reserve of 80 hours. That doubles the power reserve of the previous model, which in reverse means you'll have the opportunity to spin it only in half. Progress requires some sacrifice, unfortunately.

At 38mm, the size is nearly perfect for a field watch too, and of course comes with a green or brown NATO. The crystal is a sapphire you can rely on in case anyone is planning to use it in the field, and has a water resistance of up to 50 meters. Those are some solid specs, but it's no surprise considering it's a device whose ancestors have literally seen the kind of action that can break a watch. This is one of those designs that changes very rarely because it's so good at doing what really doesn't need to.

A bigger trend has taken place over the last few years as military looks have crept into streetwear and trendy aesthetics; The MA-1 flight jacket has become a mainstay, along with the rugged outerwear and combat boots. It's easy to equate this Hamilton release to that world, but for true milwatch nerds, there's little to treat with the new dial color line. In addition to green and black, we get a crisp white dial. Remember the early government specs for American field watches? They mostly ask for a black dial because it's easier to hide.

Here's what's interesting: Before those initial specs were released, there were plenty of army watches that featured white dials. In fact, much of Hamilton's early Army Ord. The dept's watch has a white dial, so the new Khaki Field Mechanical does indeed refer to legal history. It's a charming mix of anachronistic military watch from the past wrapped in a package that's fit for the moment.

The Super-Luminova is what Hamilton calls "sand-colored," but is perhaps best described as a false patina. It matches the anachronistic mashup appeal of the watch, and is rarely seen on a white dial. The existing contrast index of the white dial variant is particularly interesting, as the last time we saw this kind of contrast was during the reign of the FDR. On a black and green dial this works better, as Hamilton isn't too stiff with a vintage faux look. The numbers printed on the dial (black and white) have a slightly glossy finish that is absent on the issued watch. The sparkling effect actually aids legibility.

New to this Khaki iteration is the Earth's PVD layer with a slightly grained texture. This new look was a design breakthrough that made sense from the norms that could easily be imagined as a finish a soldier might consider. The khaki is a watch ripe for frequent band changes, and it will be interesting to see what makes this new case emerge. For purists, however, there's still the trusty old stainless steel option with a black dial. Technical updates are always a good thing for any military grade equipment, it is an essential part of maintaining wrist prominence.

In-depth Review

I was awarded the beautiful 38mm Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical, reference H69439531. I'm overjoyed that I've been negotiating with getting one for a long time, constantly switching between wanting a black dial and then wanting a white one again. I am very happy to see it is a black dial and I wear it regularly rotating with my other watches. This is my review of the watch after 5 months, I hope to do this again in 1 year and see what, if anything, changes!

The Watch

Where to start with this watch, let's start over, not 2018 when an updated model with this improved movement was released, but the 1960's! It all started in the US with specifications first published on October 30, 1964. These specifications are an update of the existing "MIL-Spec", the newly described MIL-W-46374 as necessary "Accurate & Disposable", it is usually of much higher quality. lower than their previous MIL-Spec standard. Many brands in the US provide watches up to this new specification and Hamilton is one of them, with the watch being nicknamed "The Hack" for its hacking feature when the crown is removed, a feature we are used to now but essential for syncing during missions. These watches continued to be made in volume during the 60's but quickly became redundant and went out of production after quartz was introduced. Hamilton certainly took inspiration from this, including watches from WWII, but didn't outright tear it as we are used to seeing in the "Vintage Inspired" watches the brand releases today. This watch is a faithful tribute to a bygone era of those who became true military and field watches, while giving us what it was like with the modern proportions, design and specifications we expect today.

This watch is housed in a 38mm stainless steel case with a nice bead finish, this finish not only looks good but helps hide scratches and resists scratches longer than standard polish or matte finish, which is why my watch still looks only after 5 months. The watch has a small bezel that draws your eye inward towards the dial, which we'll get to in a moment. At 3 o'clock is the crown, large enough and slightly protruding to help the grip, along with deep engraving on the crown for grip. The crown is not screwed down which is considered a negative for some, but personally with this being a manually winding watch, removing the knob to turn the watch and screwing it back would be an unnecessary extra step for potential additional water resistance. . The crown is signed with the Hamilton "H" icon, a nice touch. Turning the watch into the back case you see some simple text and information. Also missing the exhibition box to show the movement, which is fine for me because at this price point you can't expect much to complete the move. The back of the case is a solid piece of screw-in stainless steel, this gives the watch a 50 meter waterproof which is more than adequate for everyday tasks and raises no cause for concern, I'd say brand new and with a fresh seal, this watch can swim without problems.

This watch wears a long time with a lug to 47 mm lug length, so the Omega Speedmaster Professional has a lug to lug length of 48 mm to put things in perspective, when comparing a 38mm to 42mm watch and only has a 1mm difference in lug and lug length. can be seen, especially for men with small hands. One thing worth mentioning but that doesn't affect me at all, I have a 6 3/4 inch wrist and this watch is a perfect fit, also paired with a NATO strap at the end of the lugs, the watch just tilts straight down or to the curve of the wrist your hands, so it shouldn't be a big deal unless you have really small wrists. The watch has a lug width of 20mm which makes changing the strap easy, especially with the addition of a drilled lug hole, although I have the Khaki Green NATO and Leather NATO that Hamilton has to offer with this model and I still don't need to swap. Besides, these two strap options offers the perfect choice for me whenever I wear this watch. To be clear when buying this watch, you choose one or the other, I bought the other to have both straps.

One thing that matters to me personally with this watch is its thickness, at just 9.5mm. This watch is very thin and low to the wrist. Perfect for field watches because the goal is to keep the wrist out of the way, invisible and comfortable, all these watches. It also allows the watch to slip under the cuff with ease, whether it's jumpers and jackets in cold months like I find myself wearing this watch during winter.

The crystal on the watch is a sapphire crystal that is exactly what you want in a watch designed to be worn in more demanding situations, but personally an unexpected addition to this price point when you take into account everything including movement. The ones we cover in more detail further down, but in a nutshell it's the H-50 caliber manually injuring an 80-hour power reserve worker!

This watch does feature something we have seen take the industry by storm recently and split people into two camps "To" or "Fight" and it is the "Imitation Patina", the process of making fluorescent material looking old as if it were a vintage watch featuring radium or tritium. Right away, I have to say I was personally in the "Fight" camp, but here I have, wear and love Hamilton performing it! It's done tastefully and in the right way, without being too obvious on the wrist and subtle enough to blend into the overall design, I'll talk about that more in the next section.

The choices that are available for this watch are another nice touch. The Khaki Field range includes many models and variants, but this proper watch is Khaki Field Mechanical and is offered in my own black dial, a white dial that I have been debating for a long time. It also comes in 2 PVD options, the awesome looking and all black PVD colored PVD which again just adds a new stealth look to an already stealthy watch. They add the right amount of options without going too far in my opinion, the blue quartz model is also available in this exact specification without any mechanical movement.

As far as this value-for-money Swiss-made Field Mechanical watch is the best, I would say that it is one of the best watches you can get for under £500 If that's the style you're looking for! More on that in conclusion.

The Dial

The dial of this watch is the most capturing, simplicity and perfect readability in my opinion. What you have is a black dial with bold Arabic numerals from "1" to "12", beneath which is a track of smaller Arabic numerals from "13" to "24", making it a 24 hour dial. It is suitable for its field, aesthetics and history and military inspiration, because the military uses 24 hours. You have a white minute track with a super-luminova triangular marker on each hour on the outer edge of the dial, this marker has the same "Faux Patina" as the hour hands use, however, the tone of this lume is slightly lighter than it is. applied to hands. The reason for this is true to form a return to vintage watches, vintage watches that have developed a natural patina usually (Not always!) Have a slightly lighter lume on the dial than the hand, the reason for this is that sometimes different companies make hands for dial makers. Also, the amount of lume applied usually differs from dial to hand due to the need to see that the hand is longer than the dial. On the half-sword, half-syringe hand, we have a beautiful white border that matches the white of the numbers, inside it is a super-luminova that we saw on the dial but as mentioned is slightly darker. The second hand is also white with a large round white balance and a small arrow tip that is well applied with the super-luminova. To finish off this round dial is the "Hamilton" logo printed delicately at the number 12, unobtrusive and nothing else.

Hamilton has mastered this dial, they resist the urge we see from many Swatch brands, plus brands in general, to add the date here, add more fonts here, do this, do that ... It breaks a lot of watches, but there is not a single thing that I can say about this watch. The undated aspect is perfect, the date would break the symmetry and that's not necessary. The fact that the only font beyond numbers is the "Hamilton" logo, perfect! More brands please take note, we don't need to know water resistance, the fact is it's mechanical and the fact you have some fancy logos for your range on the dial.

Movement

Inside driving this Hamilton is the Caliber H-50, prior to this, the Khaki Field Mechanic used the ETA 2801-2 featuring a power reserve of 42 hours and running at 28,800 VPH (4Hz). On the "new" base H-50 still ETA 2801-2, they have reduced the pulse rate to 21,600 VPH (3hz) and increased the size of the barrel to allow for superior power reserve, smart enough and simple. This is a 17 gem manual wound movement with a diameter of 25.6mm and shows the hours, minutes and seconds.

Having had this for some time now, I can tell you that the movement has worked well for me on the wrist, I didn't notice much time lapse and never had to adjust the timing, even after wearing this watch continuously for a week. I'll also attach a photo of the watch to the timer and see how the watch actually works.

I would not hesitate to recommend a Hamilton watch with caliber H-50 when it was first released there was some concern as there is usually a "new" movement from the brand, but there is no cause for concern here. Some people have reported problems with movement, timekeeping is not good and some have power reserve issues, again I think this is quite rare and in the large scheme of numbers they make it possible that very few will experience this problem.

Conclusion

If you are in the market to watch the field, I don't care what your budget is, you should consider one of them! The best field watches are easily under £1000 and easily compete with those top-priced watches as well, they offer everything you need, run perfectly and have a wide variety of options to suit everyone!

There isn't a single thing I would change about this watch, which is a bold statement I know! But it does explain why it will remain in my collection, this watch even made me sell my 1944 Omega 30T2 which is a beautiful and flawless watch, but this Hamilton just got a lot more wrist time and decided Omega was overkill for mine personally. "Faux Patina" is what some have complained about, straight away it is done tastefully and well, as mentioned above even the faux lume tone differs slightly from hand to dial which is similar to vintage watches, but not overly finished. Some say the size, 38mm is the perfect sweet spot for a watch of this type and pairs it with a fine finish. Some people say there is no screw-on crown, for me this doesn't bother me because it is wound manually so opening the lid every time the wind hurts, also I don't go swimming or diving and if I was around I would wear a dive watch and not this, in everyday life, this watch will be fine with interaction with water, no need to worry at all.

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