All Inclusive Buying Guide for Hamilton Khaki Field Collection Watches

The company Hamilton has been producing watches in Switzerland rather than the United States for decades, the brand's American roots and longstanding connection to the American military are still visible in several of its current collections. This is most evident in the Hamilton Khaki Field collection, which evokes the military aesthetic of the 1940s like few other contemporary watch lines.

Few watchmakers can match Hamilton's status as an indelible part of the fabric of American history. The Hamilton Watch Company was established in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892, during a time when the United States was the world leader in the production of timepieces.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Functions

For collectors of antique military timepieces, the Khaki Field Mechanical offers the best value proposition and the most period-appropriate execution thanks to its 38-mm case (not quite as small as its 1940s predecessor) and manually wound Caliber H-50. The Khaki Field Mechanical's case is only 9.5 mm thick, making it easy to wear under a sleeve.

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It is most directly descended from a model worn by marines in Vietnam in the 1960s and is available in standard stainless steel, black PVD-coated steel, a camo-tone "Earth" PVD-coated steel, and, for a slightly higher premium, bronze (below). For an infantryman trying to avoid being spotted by jungle snipers, the cases' matte surface, which eliminates shine, would have been a huge help. 

The watch is attached to a durable nylon NATO-style strap using drilled lugs, and the strap and its accompanying leather hardware contribute to the watch's stylish and solid appearance. The "Old Radium" colored Super-LumiNova used to coat the hands and markings on the dial is commonly referred to by watch aficionados as "faux lume" since it simulates the effect of aged luminous paint from the era of the original watch.

A movement that is at once traditional and cutting-edge is hidden behind the watch's thick steel case back. The Caliber H50 is based on the manually wound ETA 2801-2 movement (for those unaware, ETA shares the same parent company as Hamilton), but its power reserve has been increased from 42 hours to an impressive 80 hours by slowing the balance frequency from 28,800 vph to 21,600 vph. This is enough time for a weekend's leave after a rough tour of duty in the field or the office.

The stainless steel Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm with your choice of a traditional black dial and a nylon NATO strap can be had for less than $500. With a leather band, the cost rises to $575, which is just above the $500 barrier. 

Of course, not many watch enthusiasts enjoy the daily process of winding their timepieces, and in today's hectic world, a date display could be useful. For them, Hamilton produces the Khaki Field Automatic, which comes in three different case sizes (38mm, 40mm, and 42mm) with a wide variety of dial colors.

The 38mm version is only 10mm thick, making it only marginally thicker than its manual-winding sister. Khaki Field Automatic watches are powered by the H-30, a variant of the ETA C07.621 "Powermatic" caliber (below) that has been modified by Hamilton. This caliber was developed from the tried-and-true basic Caliber ETA 2836-2.

While the day and date are displayed in the 3 o'clock window of some 42mm models, this is not the case for the 38mm models, the 40mm models, and some of the 42mm pieces. All of the Khaki Field Automatic Day-Date models include a 42mm casing (steel or PVD-coated steel) with an H-30 caliber.

Some models in the Day-Date Auto series place the day and date in a linear fashion in dual windows at 3 o'clock, displacing the "15" numeral from the inner 24-hour scale, while others place the day in a 12 o'clock aperture, displacing the 23, and still, others come in a variety of colors and strap or bracelet options, including a very militarily inspired camo-pattern textile strap.

Automatic Chronograph Functions

In recent years, Hamilton has begun releasing chronograph versions of the Khaki Field Automatic, joining other chronograph models from the wider Khaki product family, including the Khaki Aviation, Khaki Pilot Pioneer, and Khaki Navy.

The watch's automatic Caliber H-21 is based on the reliable ETA 7750 integrated chronograph caliber, and it increases the power reserve from 42 to 60 hours thanks to a redesigned mainspring.

The "all-black" version of the Khaki Field Auto Chrono (above) worn by actor John Krasinski in his eponymous role as Jack Ryan in the first two seasons of the Amazon Prime series is the most well-known variant of the watch, further attesting to Hamilton's presence in TV and cinema. 

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