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With the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph, the iconic look of historic soldier watches is supposed to meet a modern chronograph. It’s an exciting combination that Hamilton introduced this September. Just in time for the market launch, I tested the new watch for you!
The descendant of military watches
Military and soldier watches had a great importance in the watch world early on. Made to accurately display the time on missions of various kinds, they had to withstand high stress and were accordingly pioneered. The military watch is a close relative of the pilot’s watch, although there is no real demarcation. The transitions are fluid. Military watches, in addition to their functionality, were characterized primarily by a very robust construction and a design reduced to the bare essentials – preferably with a large dial and a practical leather strap. Dark shades of gray and khaki characterized the wrists of soldiers. After the end of the Second World War, soldiers’ watches found their way into civilian society, from which it is still impossible to imagine life without them.
The Swiss watch brand Hamilton, now part of the Swatch Group, can look back on American roots. Founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hamilton was known for equipping U.S. soldiers with military timepieces especially in the first half of the 20th century. Hamilton is also known for manufacturing marine chronometers for the US Navy to this day. Thus, the traditional brand has a rich heritage – rich enough to revive the spirit of times past. For this reason, Hamilton has since developed the Khaki Field collection, which covers the segment of sporty, robust watches in the popular Army style. The classic of this collection is the Mechanical, which is located in the three-digit entry-level price segment and is equipped with a hand-wound movement.
In September 2021, Hamilton introduced a new addition. The Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph aims to bring the distinctive military look to a modern chronograph. In the watch review, I would like to take a closer look at the descendant of military watches!
Chronograph meets field watch
If you didn’t know better, you’d almost think the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph was at least 80 years old. At least, that’s what the design of this watch suggests. A very sturdy case, the dial functional and easy to read. Fitted with a khaki leather strap, which is two-piece and also sits between the caseback and the wrist. Alright, the lack of signs of wear should have made even the last one wonder. The Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph I hold in my hands is one of the first examples of the recently introduced functional watch with reference no. H71706830.
The stainless steel case is striking, and its size clearly distinguishes it from the smaller Mechanical watches. Basically, we have a typical chronograph with totalizers and pushers. Inside the case, unlike the mechanical movements of most Khaki Field watches, there’s a performance-oriented automatic movement at work. I find the fusion with military and soldier watch design particularly exciting, which makes the Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph unique within the collection. At 1,645 euros, the chronograph is in the higher premium segment.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph on my wrist
I put the khaki field watch on and look at the new timepiece on my wrist. Those who appreciate a chronograph even for its size will not be disappointed with the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph. The sporty wristwatch measures 44 millimeters in diameter – ideal for medium to large wrists. In addition, at least visually, there is the two-piece leather strap, which protrudes from under the case. The height of 14.15 millimeters is low compared to the diameter. Thus, the Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph lies flat on the wrist and retains its sporty and functional look.
Which brings us to the topic at hand. Because it’s the look that sets the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic apart from the usual chronographs and makes it a real eye-catcher on the wrist. The size, the robust case and the rustic leather strap look style-conscious are masculine and somehow very casual. So, it remains to be said that Hamilton has made a real hit with the Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph, at least visually. But what about the quality of the automatic chronograph?
The case of the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph
The large case of the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph is not really circular, but curves into the lugs, which gives the watch a very dynamic design. This feature is also familiar to watch enthusiasts from the historical soldier watches. When it comes to the choice of materials, Hamilton relies on classic stainless steel, which impresses with its durability and resistance. In other words, precisely the properties that were essential even back then. There is no room for high-gloss polish at this point. A military watch stands out not for its shiny appearance, but for its performance. As I already know it from other Hamilton watches, the Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph also impresses with a very high quality case finish. That is premium claim!
Hamilton has omitted the now ubiquitous viewing window on its new automatic chronograph. You can only see the caseback anyway, when you pull the strap out of the lug of the leather back protector and remove it. Then, an interesting pattern is revealed. The manufacturer’s lettering has been engraved twice. Further specification engravings can be found on the edge of the six-screw case back. The water resistance of the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph is stated by the Swiss brand to be 10 bar. A decent value, considering that the watch is supposed to withstand only peak water. Diving is not intended with this timepiece.
On the front, shock- and pressure-resistant sapphire crystal protects the dial from external influences. To my delight, it is anti-reflective, which further improves readability.
Hamilton’s H-21 – the chronograph movement you wish for
Inside the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph works the automatic caliber H-21, which is essentially based on an ETA 7750 (ETA belongs to the Swatch Group, as does Hamilton). It is considered one of the common chronograph movements in this price segment. One of the “upgrades” that the H-21 has in contrast to the standard version is the increased power reserve of an enduring 60 hours. This is theoretically enough to not have to wear the watch for two and a half days at a stretch.
Three totalizers display the standard chronograph functions of the movement: 30-minute time, 12-hour time and a small seconds at 9 o’clock – that’s all you need. The stopwatch is operated using the pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, whose haptic feedback is exceptionally good.
The dial of the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph
Hamilton has done a lot of detailed work on the dial of the Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph. Just look at the classic minute ring with triangular indices, whose origins are clearly to be found in classic military watches. Large, easy-to-read and three-dimensional numerals characterize the black front of the wristwatch and guarantee its most important feature: unrestricted good readability. This is even better in the dark. But modern elements also find their way into the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph. The numerals are cast in Super-LumiNova®.
There is nothing to complain about in the design and arrangement of the subdials (totalizers). Despite the amount of information that can be read here, Hamilton manages to bring calm and order to the dial.
Unique and well thought-out – the leather strap
Finally, let’s take a look at the eponymous leather strap. So-called nubuck leather, which is particularly soft, was used in the manufacturing process. The khaki hue matches the sober military look. However, the most interesting detail in my opinion is the two-piece design, which also covers the back of the case, preventing it from coming into contact with the wrist. The benefit: Protection from extreme heat. This is certainly no longer necessary today, but the special wristband is still an important plus point in terms of comfort. The wearing experience was very good during my test days.
My conclusion about the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph
The spirit of the historic soldier watches lives on in the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph. This is not only true for the extremely successful optics, as I can see after the extensive test. Even under the military garb, the wristwatch offers sophisticated functionality that is in no way inferior to the originals. In terms of craftsmanship, we are dealing with a Swiss premium watch. That means: fine materials, a good finish and a Swiss caliber whose performance is impressive.
In short, the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph with reference number H71706830 is a watch that combines the requirements of the modern chronograph with a successful military look. Old meets new – ready for your own adventure. 1,645 euros is the manufacturer’s recommended retail price. The warranty is two years. Below you’ll find all the important links to the watch!