Hey Watch Family,
J.R. here from The Charleston Watch Society in my last post, I reviewed the Traveling Watch from our very own Watches by Nick. I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that since you are reading this you know whom I am talking about. (If you do not…. Well, you are on his website.) The Traveling Watch is a mil-style bespoke field watch. (To hear my thoughts, check out my review below)
Still feeling the flame from Nick's military styled field watch, I wanted to review the iconic Hamilton Khaki Field Auto. I am talking specifically about the 38mm reference H70455533. (One that I own and love) This watch pays homage to the military styled field watches that Hamilton has produced since the 1940’s. Everything about the Hamilton Khaki 38mm field watch walks a fine line between rugged and elegant. The watch is so simplistic, yet I find myself doting over the incredible design and its ability to captivate me for hours on end.
An automatic ETA 2824-2 movement powers the Hamilton Khaki Auto 38mm. (ETACHRON- Eta: is a subsidiary of the wonderful Swatch group, and was once part of Eterna. I could trace back further, but that will be another review. For now just know I am referring to the automatic movement) The ETA 2824 is a true workhorse. (ETA.SA are held to extremely high standards.) Eta produces three in-stock variants of the 2824, a base model, a mid tier model, and the highly decorated top tier model. This particular variant of the 2824 is a standard base model. Which in my mind is absolutely perfect for the simplistically rugged Hamilton Khaki. It has 25 Jewels running at 28,800 BPH. The movement also features a date function, corrector, as well as a hacking second. The hacking function helps to set and synchronize the watch. It has a smooth sliding second hand that sweeps around the watch slowly perpetuating the hour and minute hands. Last but not least it is outfitted with a shock protectant. In my opinion the rugged and reliable 2824-2 is the perfect counterpart for the Khaki. Remember this watch is about functionality. Like traditional dive watches, I consider field watches to be tools. They where initially designed with the sole intent of helping people in harsh and formidable terrain tell time. In this case the military and infantrymen that fought in the fields, and trenches of WWI. (Starting to get the picture) Few other watches can be considered a tool watch, and this is one. The need for a spiced up 2824-2, or in-house movement would just defeat the purpose; and most definitely raise the price.
Onto its physical appearance, attributes, and the aesthetics of this beautiful watch. The Hamilton Khaki sits in a 38mm X 11.5mm case, which is a perfect size for this watch. It is composed almost entirely of brushed stainless steel, while having a smooth, mirror like reflective polished (SS) bezel. The polished bezel is a great touch, one that helps to dress it up a bit. The dial is dark, dark black with the traditional white numerals making for a beautiful monochrome face. It sounds like it could be crowded when you hear all that goes on with the dial, but it’s not in the slightest, allowing for the reader to have easy access to everything essential. The dial does not feel clustered, overcrowded, or forced at all. You will have no trouble figuring out exactly what time it is. The 60-second markers sit on the outermost edge of the dial. (The font just right in size, not too small, but not so large that it becomes screwy) As tradition goes, this mil-style field watch exhibits boldly styled twelve-hour numerals pronounced in white. They sit in a grooved like ring that resembles the tacks of an old record. These grooves do a great job separating the twelve-hour numerals, and also help to add dimension to the dial. The circular track also catches the light, adding different little accents that I enjoy. As is tradition with this watch, the 24-hour markers are directly below the hour markers. This provides your eyes with easy access to the time, and quick readability. Hamilton is layered horizontally across the upper-middle portion of the inner most part of the dial, right below 24:00. Khaki Automatic sits centered on the inner most portion of the dial, above the 18:00. The hour and minute hands are white, and covered in C1 superluminova. So are the hour markers, and the dots that mark the hours. Providing for an awesome look at night. Though the lume is great when initiated (holding a light over the watch) its not the strongest lume out there (Definitely NOT the worst!). The second hand (white) has a red tipped arrow at the end, adding a pop of color that just feels and looks great! Enough to help add to the bravado of this watch, while maintaining the subtle theme 'less is more’ (functionality!).
This watch is all about purpose, and function-it’s just an added bonus that it looks so nice.It couldn’t serve as an every day tool watch, if it didn’t have the date, could it? The date window is conveniently located at 3 o’clock, and has an easy set function. The watch has a flat, yet slightly domed sapphire crystal, something I want in my everyday wearer. (I would like to point out that the domed Sapphire is minimal at that!) It does however lack any AR coating (Anti-Reflective) and that should not be a problem: unless you are taking pictures. (I need AR) Hamilton Watch doesn’t seem to use AR coating, something I couldn’t find much information on. (Please comment below if you know) Incase you don’t know; sapphire crystal is extremely resistant to scratches. The exhibition case back is also sapphire crystal. In my humble opinion the ability to see the movements is an added bonus, one that is never a necessity, but something I enjoy nonetheless. This feature is just one of those added bonuses (never a make or break for me) that watch brands choose to either do or not do. In this case, I think that it helps with the overall feel of the watch, and its one of those subtle touches that dresses, an otherwise completely utilitarian watch up. If you read my last review (On Nick’s Traveling Watch) you know that I think it is also nice to be able to see a bit of what is under the hood. Last but not least, the crown is a large perfectly sized crown that bares the letter H. The size is perfect, large enough for you to have control with no problems, and never feel like it’s going to just pop off. (Speaking of pop off) The crown is not a screw in crown; it’s just a push in crown. Although I knew that when buying this watch, it is still something that I would have liked to see.
This particular model, the Hamilton Khaki Auto 38mm ref H70455533 comes on a brown leather strap. The strap has contrasting white stitches, going with the overall vintage feel. The leather on this particular model is actually a bit stiff. This is a tough for me (Seeing that I own 3 Hammys) because it didn’t bother me at all. However, I know how soft flexible, plush leather feels. I cannot tell you why they chose stiffer leather; I am going to go with “durability.” (And to keep costs down). There are four different variants of this model; one that comes outfitted with a stainless steel bracelet, one on a black leather strap. Then, last but not least; we have the “bold silver” faced variant on brown leather.
Overall the watch is great, and I really love it. I can typically find more then a handful of things that I would like to change, not in the Khaki’s case The MSRP is right around $575.00 and for that price you cant beat it. I mean come on, a Swiss Automatic movement (An ETA 2824-2 on its own can go for $250.00+), sapphire crystal and an exhibition case. That alone is worth more then $575.00, but remember Hamilton Watch is a large brand. The same company that owns Hamilton owns the company (ETA) that manufactures the movement. (The Swatch Group) I recommend if you like this watch, buy it. I also recommend that you look around for different AD’s on the Internet and hopefully you will come across a slightly better price. If not, definitely don’t feel bad paying MSRP, you will have a great watch. I will leave you with a few final words; always do your due diligence! And if it sounds to good to be true, It is...
· 38 x 11.5mm is the perfect size.
· Sapphire Crystal.
· Monochrome face, easy to read.
· Homage to watches that came before.
· Exhibition case back.
· There is no AR coating.
· Leather is a bit stiff.
· Push in crown.
· Lume could be brighter.
· Minimally domed sapphire crystal.