The Hamilton khaki field mechanical (reference: H69429901) is a great example of simple, well executed design, implemented at an accessible price point. The aesthetics deliver an everyday watch with classic proportions coupled with a seemingly unbeatable value proposition including sapphire glass, drilled lugs and a Swiss movement all for £375. Indeed there’s no shortage of blogs, articles and magazines singing its praises and recommending it as unbeatable at this price. However, although the Hamilton Khaki Field mechanical represents fantastic value for money, is there a higher value proposition with its bigger brother? We take a look at the Khaki Field Auto 38mm (reference: H70455533).
Firstly lets start with the visual appeal. We found the slightly dressier aesthetics of the auto made for an extremely versatile watch. The watch had an uncanny ability to be suitable with almost any attire. The stepped dial adds a level of texture and detail without becoming fussy.
Wearing the auto with a suit highlighted its versatility. The presence of the polished bezel allowed the watch to feel classy without drawing attention to itself. The brown leather strap that Hamilton provided was an almost perfect pairing with white stiching. The leather took very little time to contour to the shape of the wrist and was extremely comfortable and the flat tang on the buckle is curved to allow the strap and buckle to sit flatter when fastened which maximised comfort. As the watch is only 11mm in height it tucks under any cuff easily and seamlessly. The auto also includes a date complication which is invaluable at work. We liked the way the date was displayed on a white background contrasting the black dial which aided readability at a glance on a smaller dial.
It also paired beautifully with jeans, brogues, oxford shirts and sweaters to transition beautifully to casual attire without looking out of place. Here the brown leather strap continued the understated theme looking good without drawing attention to itself
On the beach paired with a rubber strap it was completely at home. One of the key differences is the auto has a 100m Water resistance whereas the mechanical only has 50m. This is a huge differentiator as a 50m water resistance means it is splash/rain resistant but not suitable for swimming whereas a 100m rating means it is suitable for recreational surfing, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and water sports. This brings with it a level of comfort knowing not only can you continue to wear the watch while you’re enjoying recreational activities, but if you accidentally end up in the water you don’t need a new watch!
At the heart of the Filed Auto is Hamiltons H10 automatic caliber. This is a highly modified derivative of the ETA 2824-2 in which amongst other things, the vibrations per hour have been lowered from 4Hz to 3Hz (28,800vph to 21,600vph) as well as controversially removing the traditional regulator to make a more robust movement with less variance. The result of this fettering is that is that the watch now has an 80 hour (3 days and 8 hours) power reserve allowing you to put the watch down on a Friday evening with the confidence it will still be running on Monday. While the movement cannot be regulated and is not COSC certified, it performed admirably within a few seconds of COSC requirements. Given this, Hamilton’s decision to remove the regulator and make an even more reliable movement that will stand up to the rigours of a hectic lifestyle was a good choice. The added display caseback allows you to see the movement which is a nice touch and here you can see the H10 Rotor denoted by the presence of an ‘H’ cut into the middle of the rotor.
Overall we spent a number of weeks with the Hamilton Khaki Auto in a variety of settings and found it to be an understated, dependable, versatile watch that not only served well as a daily wearer but a compelling choice especially at this price point. The additional water resistance, presence of a date, open caseback, leather strap and a whopping 80 hour power reserve add up to a substantially higher value proposition especially when you understand the cost difference. The retail price for the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 38mm is £390 – a mere £15 more than the mechanical and we think this delivers quite frankly an incomparable value proposition.
This takes the ‘ultimate weekend watch’ characteristics of the mechanical and ups the ante delivering an everyday watch that’s as home in the office as it is at the beach, and everywhere in between. At under £400 it represents incredible value from a Swiss manufacturer with an in-house movement.