HANDS-ON: The Hamilton Khaki Field Collection elevates the humble field watch to new heights

HANDS-ON: The Hamilton Khaki Field Collection elevates the humble field watch to new heights

Ricardo Sime

In all my years of collecting, there is one type of watch pretty much everyone enjoys. The field watch. Its a watch that dates back to a time of conflict and bravery; times when the lives of many depended on it’s legibility and accuracy. That historical importance, coupled with its relative affordability are two of the main reasons why the field watch is so popular among collectors today. Yet even with dozens of brands trying to capitalize on this, there is one that continuously stands above the rest. That brand is Hamilton and specifically, their Khaki Field collection.

Hamilton, through the khaki field collection, provides multiple interpretations of the field watch theme. That starts with the foundational piece, the Khaki Field Mechanical. The watch is 38mm in size with a 47mm lug-to-lug, a 9.5mm thickness and 50 metres of water resistance. On the inside of the watch, you’ll find the amazing H-50 hand wound movement. That movement is based on the Powermatic 80, thus giving the watch 80 hours of power reserve.  Together, those specifications form a great, everyday watch.

From there, Hamilton takes that same form factor and changes things up by giving us the Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze. When coupled with a black dial and a beautifully dark brown NATO strap, the use of bronze here creates a completely different overall look. Down the line, the bronze material used on this watch will also develop patina. When exposed to different environments, the bronze will begin to oxidize, creating unique surface patterns. So no two Khaki Field Mechanical bronze watches will ever look the same.

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto

The next level up from the Khaki Field Mechanical is the Automatic version. This version is more refined as here, you get a larger 42mm stainless steel case with a polished bezel. It also comes on a leather strap instead of the NATO we saw on the Mechanical. Lug-to-lug is 50mm and water resistance increases to 100 metres. The case here is slightly thicker at 12mm and the dial has a glossier appearance when compared to the mechanical. Furthermore, as the name suggests, this watch contains an automatic movement (Hamilton’s H-10). It provides the same 80 hours of power reserve as the mechanical, with the added bonus of a date.

Hamilton Titanium Set
Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium set

In an effort to expand the technical limits of the Khaki Field collection, Hamilton has recently added two references made of the lightweight material titanium. Both are 42mm and use the automatic H-10 movement (in a no-date variation). Lug-to-lug on these is 51mm with a thinner 11.5mm thickness. Beyond these shared specifications, the two references do have noticeable differences. One is bare titanium and the other is black PVD-coated. That then bleeds into the dial design of each watch. The PVD version has a black dial accented with old radium lume coloured hands and numerals, while the other dial is grey to black in colour with light green lume.

Dial Shot
Hamilton Khaki Field “Murph”

The Khaki Field collection also includes references highlighting Hamilton’s continuing presence in film and their new position in video games. First, there is the Khaki Field Murph, heavily inspired by a design from the 2014 movie Interstellar. It takes the case and movement of the Khaki Field Auto and pairs it with a dial that has beautiful cathedral hands. The dial features a subtle nod to the movie with Eureka written in Morse Code on the seconds hand. Overall, as this watch is paired with a crocodile patterned, calf leather strap, it does have a dressier appearance.

Hamilton x Far Cry 6
Hamilton Far Cry 6 Limited Edition

And recently, Hamilton partnered with the video game company Ubisoft to create a watch for their game Far Cry 6. It is a limited edition of 1983 pieces. Hamilton created a real-life version that uses the Khaki Field Titanium Auto as a base. The differences show up in the dial, which features elements that tie into the game such as the red seconds hand (the colour of revolution) and the split six numeral at six o’clock (this representing the sixth main game released in the Far Cry series).

Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph
Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono

To round out the collection, Hamilton has added a no-nonsense Khaki Field Auto Chrono. The watch comes in a 44mm, bead blasted, stainless steel case. The lug-to-lug is 51mm with a larger 14.15mm thickness to make way for the automatic chronograph movement inside. That movement is Hamilton’s H-21. The movement has 60 hours of power reserve with its date and day function having been removed.  This draws more attention to Hamilton’s beautiful 3-D lume numerals, which create an amazing sense of depth on the dial. All of this coming on a great looking, green, bund strap.

Overall, the Khaki field collection creates an amazing opportunity to own one of the most popular designs in horology. Though considered simple by many, Hamilton still finds a way to make the field watch design attractive and unique. This is accomplished through the use of different materials, different lume, different colours and different textures. For any person looking to add a field watch to their collection, Hamilton truly has something for everyone.

Watches within the Khaki field collection reviewed today range in pricing. The floor starts at the standard Khaki Field Mechanical, priced at CHF 475 and the ceiling is represented by the Khaki Field Auto Chrono, priced at CHF 1695. For more information, visit their site here.