This is a review of the Hamilton Khaki Field Officer Mechanical watch (after owning it for over four years).
I’ve owned this little Hamilton watch for almost five years now, and it’s gotten as much wrist time as any other watch in my collection.
It’s a great little Swiss made field watch, and I’m excited to share my thoughts about it. If you’re thinking about buying this watch, this review should help.
Note: this version of the Khaki Field has been discontinued, but it’s still available on the pre-owned and grey market.
Hamilton Khaki Field Officer Mechanical Watch
First of all, this watch has a few different names. I’ve seen it called the Khaki Mechanical, the Officer Mechanical, the Khaki Field watch and other variations of these names.
Since there are other versions of this watch, I’ll just tell you that the reference number is: H69419933
My version has a black dial and comes on a beige canvas strap. It sells for $495 if you buy it directly from Hamilton, but you can usually find it for ~$300-400 on Amazon and Jomashop.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Specs
Let’s look at the specifications for this watch:
- Stainless steel case (bead blasted, matte finish)
- 38 mm case diameter
- 9.5 mm case thickness
- 20 mm wide strap
- 47mm lug to lug
- Luminous hands
- Date window at 3 o’clock
- Mechanical, manually wound movement (ETA 2804-2)
- Anti-reflective sapphire crystal (slightly domed)
- 50 meters water resistant
We need to look at one spec in particular…
Hamilton Khaki Lug to Lug
While a 38mm dial is almost universally flattering, we do need to discuss the lug to lug distance on this watch.
The Hamilton Khaki Mechanical has a lug to lug distance of 47mm, which is pretty long for a relatively small watch.
In my opinion, this watch would look better with a slightly shorter lug to lug. This isn’t an issue for most people, but if you have very thin wrists (say, less than 6.25″ inches around), you might experience some lug overhang.
Why I Love This Watch
I love the simple, casual, functional nature of field watches. They’re easy to read and easy to pair with most casual outfits – especially when you have a neutral dial (black or white).
And I love the size of this particular field watch. It’s 38 mm in diameter and under 10 mm thick, which is perfect for small or average sized wrists.
One reason I chose this hand winding version over its automatic big brother is the thickness. Both watches are 38 mm in diameter, but this simple manually wound movement is very thin.
That means this watch slides neatly under any shirt cuff, almost like a dress watch. In fact, in a pinch, you could absolutely throw this watch on a patent leather strap and wear it with a suit.
It’s also very light, so it really disappears on your wrist after you wear it for a while. I think this watch offers a ton of value for the price. It’s a Swiss made watch from a company with plenty of heritage.
Hamilton was originally founded in Lancaster, PA, not too far from where I grew up. The company made a name for itself with super accurate pocket watches for the railroad industry.
During WWII, Hamilton provided hundreds of thousands of watches to American soldiers. Their field watches – like this one – are still some of their most popular models.
In the 1970s, Hamilton was bought by the Swatch Group, a giant Swiss watch company that owns brands like Omega, Longines and Tissot.
So they have this American heritage, even though they’re technically Swiss watches. And the fact that you can get this mechanical, Swiss watch for under $300 is ridiculous.
Khaki Mechanical Strap
A lot of people complain about the strap that this watch comes on, and I think many people who buy it end up putting it on a leather or NATO strap.
I actually had it on a black perlon strap for a while, but I ended up putting it back on its original canvas strap because it’s so comfortable.
I’m not in love with the color of this strap, but it has broken in very nicely, and it feels great on the wrist.
Of course, you could put it on a leather strap or NATO, and I think black is nice choice (regardless of which type of strap you choose).
What I Don’t Like
In case you can’t tell, I love this watch, but there are some things I don’t like about it.
First and foremost, I wish it was more resistant to water. Technically, this watch is water resistant up to 50 meters, and it’s supposed to be able to withstand brief submersion.
But I’ve heard reports of this watch being damaged during heavy rainfall and light swimming, so I don’t want to risk getting it wet.
If this watch were more water resistant, it would truly be a great beater – something you could take hiking or to the beach without worry.
The other thing I would change is the size of the crown. The large crown makes winding and setting this watch a breeze, but in my opinion, it looks a little too big for the case.
Compare it to the Seiko SNK809, for example. The SNK has a tiny little crown that almost sits flush with the case when it’s in its default position.
Granted, this makes it harder to manipulate the crown, but it definitely looks better.
Should You Buy the Hamilton Khaki Field Watch?
If you want a casual, mechanical watch that’s Swiss made and has some heritage, I can’t think of a better option under $500, especially if you have small or average sized wrists.
And if you’re debating between manual wind and automatic, I really haven’t felt inconvenienced by having to wind this watch each morning.
In fact, it’s an enjoyable little ritual. I’ve actually found that this watch doesn’t run out of juice as much as my automatic, non-hand winding watches do (because I’m always winding it up).
All things considered, I highly recommend the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical Field watch.
Of course, you should probably consider buying the new model instead. Speaking of which…
H69419933 vs. H69439931
After I bought this watch, Hamilton released a new and slightly different version of the Khaki Mechanical: the H69439931.
It’s the same in many ways, but it does look a little different. According to Hamilton’s website:
The new Khaki Field Mechanical is a faithful recreation of its original 1960s forebear and is true to Hamilton’s military heritage.
It’s a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want or need the date complication, or if you happen to prefer the leather-trimmed stock strap.
I think they’re both really cool, but I do like having the date window, so I won’t be swapping my H69419933 for the newer release.
You really can’t go wrong with either version of the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical, so just go with your gut!
Questions About the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this watch:
How accurate is the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical?
The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is supposed to be accurate to +/- 7 seconds per day, but real life usage suggests an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per day.
Can you swim with the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical?
With 50 meters of water resistance (5 bar), the Khaki Field Mechanical can withstand showers and swimming, but not diving.
How thick is the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical?
The case is 9.5mm thick.
What movement is in the Hamilton Khaki Field watch?
The movement is the ETA 2804-2, a popular mechanical, hand-wound, Swiss made movement.
Does the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical have lume?
The hands and triangle hour markers glow, but the numerals do not have any lume. Overall, the lume on this watch is pretty weak.
I bought mine just over two years ago for $495 at jomashop. Yesterday morning while winding, instead of it stopping at “full wind” something popped and now it’s dead. Took it in and the estimate is $275 to repair it. Now I have to anguish over whether or not it’s worth spending almost $300 to fix a $500 watch. So much for mechanical watches outliving quartz.
hey- what is the jacket you are wearing in this photo?
Reynaldo A Flores says
I own both a Hamilton Khaki automatic and Seiko 5 watch, among others. They’re both great watches. The kind that could go anywhere, no worries.
And their quality, for the price, is unbeatable.
Forgot to mention I keep the watch on a ZULU Maratac black NATO strap. Junked the ugly canvas tan strap right away as it’d get gross when sweaty. Zulu strap is still holding up pretty well, but I’ve had to swap out the spring bars once…..one went bad and fell apart…..watch WELL worth the money.
I personally have both. Have had the one he reviewed for around 3 years as well myself but I wear it EVERYDAY working on motorcycles or my car, or at my warehouse job. Has suffered very minor scratches on the cases but absolutely nothing on the sapphire crystal. Never wore it in anything like heavy rain where it’s not at least covered by a coat. So no comment there. But accurate enough and absolutely bulletproof. I actually also have the newer H50 variant with no date window. That sits in the box as I plan to eventually buy leather straps for it….not that weird green one it comes with. I paid $280 for the one reviewed on Jomashop years ago (some sale….) and paid full retail from Hamilton for the H50 variant maybe a year ago.
Iman Roder says
Oh, sorry, he has the version with the eta movement, without 80hr power reserve I guess…so you do have to wind it every day…I recommend the newer release with out the date window (and 80 hr pwr reserve).
Iman Roder says
Strange for someone who is posing know about watches, and has had the watch for 3 years, doesn’t mention that the watch has an 80hr powered reserve. That means you don’t have to wind it every morning or even every other morning, like every 3days. That’s one of the greatest features of the watch, that sets it above many other field and handwind watches, that awesome powermatic 80 movement…and it winds like butta!
Iman Roder says
Well it’s based on the powermatic 80, because it’s not automatic, so it’s called the Hamilton h50… nonetheless it has an amazing 80hr power reserve…at under $500, that’s a steel.
Strange to read this comment from someone posing to know about watches…
J. N. says
In reviews of mechanical watches, the issue of routine service deserves mention, including the specifics of recommended frequency, local availability and cost.
Ruined mine after a brief swim. I loved it but Hamilton: never again.
DOUGLAS H HAMNER says
You should not swim with a watch rated at 50m. In fact I will not swim with any watch unless it has a screw down crown.
Seriously? You went swimming with this watch? 50m rating and no screw down crown is good enough for rain or accidental splash. Even a Rolex Sub will get foggy if you wore it in a warm shower.
What a completely stupid and idiotic statement!!!
You were correct when you said “ruined mine”. You went swimming with what is, in reality, a splash proof watch and you’re blaming Hamilton? A 50m rating does not literally mean 50m — not even close. If you had done even basic research on watch water resistance ratings you would know that. Your blame is misplaced.
I have this watch and all is identical except mine lacks “SWISS MADE” at the 6 o’clock position. Back, with those words, is identical to your photos. Any thoughts?
Brock, nice review! This watch looks very nice. I don’t know that the price makes it nice enough to compete with my Seiko 5 with a leather strap that I wear every day for work, but then again I work in a business casual office where almost no one wears a watch to begin with.
I just watched your review of the Seiko diver’s watch. You seemed pretty jazzed about it. Is that still your favorite watch? I realize the Hamilton serves a different purpose, but comparing the two do you prefer the Seiko?