A classic, masculine Swiss automatic chronograph who is so versatile that it's appreciation goes well beyond it's dollar value!
Hamilton Khaki Chronograph Review
After 10 years as a watch enthusiast, I have completely lost count of how many watches I’ve bought and then sold; certainly over 100 but I have no idea the true number. But do you know the number of watches I’ve sold and then re-bought? One. Just one. This one. The one I chose to purchase when my watch budget was twice the cost of the watch. The one I paid even more for the second time around because I knew first-hand the personal value I attributed to the watch. The one that I have never ever regretted leaving the house with, regardless of outfit, mood, or planned activities. Over the last 5 years or so I have come to bond with the Khaki Chrono as if it were the perfect watch package: fit, features, and appearance.
This was the first watch I ever owned that had a case size under 40mm. See, when I got started collecting watches I bought into the lie that 40-44mm was a “sweet spot”, and neglected to realize that I was being told this by guys who had bigger wrists than me! When my first 38mm watch showed up and I put it on, I knew this was the right size for me. But, truth be told, not all 38mm watches fit me so nicely; in fact some look too small. What makes this Hamilton look right? Easy, the lugs! Hamilton typically uses longer lug lengths on their watches, which is why some of their larger models wear like pancakes on the wrist! But when combined with a smarter (smaller) case size, it gives the impression of a perfectly. symmetrical fit! It never snags on the sleeve as I put on a shirt; it never feels too light or small.
To maximize the feel of this fit, Hamilton made a smart move with the bracelet too. Instead of using a solid center link as part of a 3-link bracelet, Hamilton uses 2 separate center links as part of a 4-link bracelet. The independence of all 4 links makes for a bracelet that moves and curves with you, which is luxuriously comfortable. Brilliant!
A final note in the bracelet – a hidden extension clasp! Was this an oversight? Why did Hamilton put a “divers clasp” on a watch that doesn’t have a screw-down crown and is only rated to 50M water resistance? I don’t know the answers, I just know that in the winter I can wear this watch over my driving gloves without needing any tools. And when I arrive at work, the extension folds away and it’s back to normal, logo-signed clasp like a Transformer.
While case size and bracelet fit usually dictate how the watch will feel on the wrist, one huge reason behind the watch “feeling” bigger than it is, is the movement itself, which Hamilton graciously shows off with a sapphire caseback. The Valjoux 7750 is the base automatic chronograph movement for every brand that isn’t an in-house manufacture. (There are only a few who are manufactures, so the list of V7750 users is pretty big!) It’s HERE, in the movement, that you can get the biggest sense of the value of a watch. I did not say the “worth” of a watch, I said the “value”. Because while I paid less than $500, the accuracy of the watch typically gains about 5 seconds a day. If gaining 5 seconds a day sounds like a lot to you, consider how much money brands pay to have the word “chronometer” stamped on their dial, which still allows a range from -4 to +6 seconds per day; and how much those watches are valued and sold for. That doesn’t make my Hamilton “worth a lot”, it just makes it “a great deal”!
But for me, the joy of the movement comes not in its accuracy or it’s country of origin; the joy comes from it’s performance. The chronograph activation levers (pushers) straddle the “H” signed crown and function with a precise “snap”. They’re not buttons to be pressed like on my and my kids’ digital watches. The wearer must intentionally activate the feature as if it were a function of a tool. You can actually feel the parts engage when the pusher reaches its apex and the big hand starts moving, or stops moving. You don’t just see the chronograph reset, you can feel it, palpably, noticeably. A good watch reminds you that it’s a good watch every moment you have it on!
And there’s one more joy to this movement: “the wobble”. Flick your wrist forward, set the weighted rotor in motion and it will spin so hard that not only does the watch wobble, so does your wrist! I like this! I like to feel a watch and not just see it. Few movements besides the 7750 have this kind of latent power!
But don’t be fooled! Even if I did just base this review on “the look of the watch”, it would still score high! Consider this first: I generally hate silver dials. Monochromatic, toned-down, even faded-looking; I steer clear of silver dials and opt instead for white dial – but usually just black or blue. So why does this silver dial not bother me? Contrast! The dark black, military font of the hour markers are jumping off the dial. The hands, outlined in black, make time-telling a cinch from arm’s length away. The subdial hands – those tiny little things – can be spotted in a fraction of a second. The day/date window – in white – is so much easier to pick out against the silver dial, and it truly gives a 3-dimensional appearance to the dial. With a tachymeter-ringed outer dial, I’m glad that Hamilton did not try to add a minute counter anywhere – it’s unnecessary and would only clutter an otherwise clean dial.
Such a masculine and distinct dial is both shown-off and protected by a domed sapphire crystal. To me personally, domed gives a more classic appearance to a watch. When viewed from the side, it’s a much more 3D-pleasing view!
What really sold me (again) on the Khaki chronograph was it’s versatility. The danger inherent in purchasing separate watches for separate occasions is that at some point you will have a box (or drawer, or tabletop) full of “Sunday” or “helicopter ride” or “boardroom” watches. Watches that you love the aesthetics or features of, but they drive you crazy as you realize you have such few of these opportunities in life, leaving these beautiful pieces unworn. And, when said opportunities DO come about, you’ve got to rush home afterword to change out of G-Shock and into your Datejust.
Want to avoid this kind of maniacal depression? Well then you need a watch that’s versatile! A watch that looks classy peeking out from under your cufflinks, and looks cool as you rest your hands on your bathing-suit-covered hips. You sir, need a Hamilton Khaki Chronograph.
Where to buy
You can pick up the Hamilton Khaki Chronograph on Amazon using the following links:
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