Watch Guru: Hamilton Khaki Officer Mechanical Review

Watch Guru: Hamilton Khaki Officer Mechanical Review

As an avid consumer of affordable watches with amazing quality, our Watch Guru Joshua Clare-Flagg from the popular watch blog Watch It All About is giving an insight into his thoughts on the watch world.

Founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA in 1892, Hamilton has a rich heritage in the watch industry. Serving the railroad market with pocket watches, they switched their focus over to the more convenient wristwatch at the turn of WW1 and provided them for the American troops, and continued to do so for WW2.

This watch, the Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm, is an homage to the brand’s impressive military heritage.

Ultimately, a field watch comes down to two things: the distinctive aesthetics and durability. The model is designed to be a no-nonsense, rugged wear; and as originally purposed for the military, simplicity, legibility and toughness is a must.

The 38mm diameter makes it a very easy wear. However, the lug to lug length of 47mm is long, and can see the elongated lugs stretching further than you’d expect. On my 7” wrist, it still feels and looks great - well balanced with a timeless appeal.

A blasted finished is a very durable and resilient option to go for, exactly what you need on a watch like this. Also, a pleasant alternative to the normal finishing you see so much such as polished and brushed.

Sitting on top of the Khaki Field is a domed sapphire crystal, which has a hue to it reminiscent of the acrylic crystals that would have been fitted to the military watches of yesteryear, but reflective. Whilst acrylic may have been a more fitting inclusion for a more dedicated homage, introducing a sapphire crystal is no doubt an advancement in terms of endurance and scratch-resistance.

The weight is deceptively light at a mere 60g, when coupled with the diameter and incredibly slender height of 9.5mm, it’s a watch that’s super easy to wear all day long.

The dial is vintage field watch style through and through.

First, twin hour tracks allow for quick and easy reference to all 24 hours. It’s notable contrast with a black dial and pure white markings for excellent visibility. The hour & minute hands are a subtle sword shape with a curvaceous point, alongside a simple stick second hand with a pointed tip and disc counterweight.

For a military watch, legibility in the dark is paramount. But this is the key aspect of the watch I’d like to see improved. It’s average strength.



The Hamilton Khaki Field is available in two more or less identical versions, the fundamental difference being the movement found within. Older models are powered by the ETA 2804-2, but they released a version with Hamilton’s H-50 movement (this one), which is a changed stock ETA movement with a 80 hour power reserve.

Manual wind movements are very tough and hardy. Because hand winding only, not automatic, so don’t forget to wind it otherwise it’ll stop. However, thanks to the impressive 80 hours power reserve, you only have to worry about that twice a week.. Hand wind watches are very romantic, because of the tactile nature, you get to bond with the watch.

Obviously because of this you need to use the crown a lot. ,Thankfully it’s a joy to use. Perfectly sized, excellent grip, Hamilton H logo embossed on the end. When you rotate it it’s so smooth, helped by the solid and reliable construction of the movement.

The beige canvas leather backed strap measures 20mm wide at the lugs, tapering down to 18mm at the buckle. It’s supple and comfy straight out of the box, and there’s two interesting details that are worth noting.

With canvas or fabric straps, the two key areas that show wear and tear the quickest are always the holes and the keepers. Hamilton has reinforced both weak spots with steel hardware, so you’ll get a much longer lifespan from the strap.

Drilled through lugs are another nod to the historical influence. Not used as much as they used to, as many manufacturers prefer a clean and smooth case design, they provide a convenient way of changing the strap, supporting the tool-like characteristics.

The screw-in case back is modestly plain, with the Hamilton logo set against a blasted finish in the center and various specifics around the outer edge, it continues the no-nonsense ethos of the entire watch.

Final Thoughts

The Hamilton Khaki Field has got a reputation for a reason. Both the brand and the model have a rich heritage that towers over all other affordable field watches. Nothing compares, it’s in a league of its own. Handsome looks, unrivalled history, Swiss made, impressive hand crank changed movement with 80 hour PR; and did I mention the price? Not yet. All of this for under £400.

Ultimately, if you’re after a field watch - then there’s no other choice.