Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 50mm
Pimping the Khaki Field
It's hard to find, in the brand's catalog, a Khaki Field that exceeds 42mm in size, as it is with a Day Date or a Khaki Auto Chronograph for example, yet Hamilton released its biggest Khaki Field Mechanical ever when it launched the Khaki Field Mechanical 50mm, earlier last year. It seems bizarre that a brand has crafted such a big watch when all its competitors (Panerai excluded) are generally reducing the overall size of their timepieces. However, although Hamilton Watch is today very much linked to Jazz, cinema and many cultural events, the brand was initially conceived and recognized as a brand deeply rooted in the military field. A 50mm wide Khaki Field Mechanical makes, therefore, sense.
Hamilton Watch has long supplied the US military (from World War I to Vietnam), and the Khaki Field Mechanical 50mm is the legacy to that period. It is the modern re-issue of a Type 1 Navigator, a popular watch among vintage watches connoisseurs, that is quite sought-after and reasonably priced too, nowadays. The original timepiece was not as big as this one, that resembles a Laco watch rather than the very first Khaki Field, yet it shares with its ancestor the unmistakable 24-hour inner scale on the dial.
Hamilton launched a collection of three different limited edition watches all featuring the same oversized case, they all share a common grained surface finish, that has a sandblasted finish on the stainless steel version and brown or black PVD treatment in the other two ones, with the steel version representing a nod to the original one.
Hamilton introduced an exciting new feature too: it replaced the original printed Arabic numerals with 1mm high indexes filled with Super-Luminova® along with raised indexes in the shape of a triangle on the outer ring. They guarantee an incredible glow in the dark. It also equipped each version with the hand-wound 4Hz caliber ETA 2804 (H-50), boasting an impressive 80-hour power reserve.
Things that I like. Things that I don't, instead.
If you're re-issuing a 100% military watch, a date window makes no sense, and my perception is that the dial design is the outcome of a hard choice: there had to be a date window but had to be not too intrusive. The result is it looks invasive and hard to read. The three versions are geared towards three different types of customers in my opinion: people looking for something that is as close as possible to the original Khaki, those who are more into a Safari-inspired style and who is, finally, attracted by a full-black version.
Among the pros, I would list the case finish that is a consistent improvement over the standard Khaki Field and the thick leather NATO strap: it is made of brown or black leather with stitching, or a nubuck sand colored leather on the stainless steel version. It is so well done it reminds me the premium aftermarket straps made by Bosphorus Straps or the thick NATO straps designed by Yellow Watch Dog Straps, and is exceptionally smooth and comfortable. However, I suggest approaching a Khaki Field Mechanical 50mm only if you have a big wrist, for it is a big watch indeed. Produced in 550 specimen each, a Khaki Field Mechanical 50mm retails for 995€. Kudos to Hamilton for selling a premium Khaki Field at under 1.000€. Final thought and a proposal to Hamilton: why not realize, a 45mm sized variant featuring the same specification, for example?
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting by Peter Tung)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®