One of my favorite watches to recommend to new collectors is Hamilton’s ridiculously simple and charming Khaki Field Mechanical. It’s a traditional, modestly sized field watch with a hand wound movement that will absolutely get any newcomer addicted to mechanical watches immediately. It’s a major bonus that it now comes in a variety of dial variants and case colors, offering something for every taste. The Khaki Field Mechanical is just one watch in a much larger product line for Hamilton, though, and collectors who get hooked on the KFM (if that’s not an abbreviation that people are using, let’s start the trend right here) have plenty of other options to explore if they like the general look and feel of the classic field watch that Hamilton has been so good at for so long. They’ve just announced the latest entry in the Khaki Field collection, and it’s a watch that illustrates just how much range there is in the field watch genre.
The Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph has certain field watch trappings, but it’s oversized case (this one comes in at 44mm in diameter) means that it’s more of a field watch in spirit, than in practice. The whole point of a field watch, remember, is for it to be discreet, and disappear on the wrist of the wearer while still offering maximum legibility at a glance. Traditionally, these watches would be worn by soldiers, so the less bulk you have in a watch case, the better. The large case here, however, equates to an equally expansive dial, making the chronograph even easier to read. Tan colored lume provides some vintage cues, which will make this an instant pass for many who are turned off by the idea of making new things look old. This style of watch is itself an old thing, so it’s a tough idea to escape.
As you can see in the photos, this watch comes on a bund style strap, which is also sure to be polarizing. I haven’t seen this watch in the metal, but my own experience with bund straps is that they make watches wear and feel even bigger, thanks to all that additional leather under the case. It’s possible, I think, that Hamilton didn’t get the memo about smaller watches making a comeback. Still, the Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph would seem to cut an imposing presence, which I’ve got to think is the whole point (again, seems to be at odds with the intent of the field watch, but if any brand deserves latitude here, it’s Hamilton).
This watch is powered by Hamilton’s H-21 automatic chronograph caliber, the same movement at the heart of the recent Air Zermatt limited edition, as well as several X-Wind chronos released in the last few years. Purists will be thankful that the day and date functionality of the movement has been removed here (purists probably don’t want a 44mm field watch, but that’s a digression for another day), and everyone should be happy with the 60 hour power reserve that the H-21 is capable of.
The Khaki Field Auto Chrono retails for $1,745. More information can be found right here.