Hamilton Khaki King Review
I have a uniform. I wear jeans, back t-shirts, and diver watches. Sure I may throw on another colored t-shirt, or (may the gods, both the old and the new, forgive me) a suit. But, I always wear a dive watch. Seriously. Unless I’m actively exercising (in which case I wear a wrist mounted GPS) I wear dive watches. Call it my uniform. My ex-wife and kids do, you might as well too.
So… step out of my comfort zone with me.
Enter the military watch. Outside of the watch scene from Pulp Fiction, I never really gave the military watch a whole lot of thought. At least not until recently.
Enter the Hamilton Khaki Field King Auto.
I had been circling the Hamilton brand for a bit, and this watch sort of fell from the sky into my hands. Actually the mailman brought it, but the deal was presented quickly, accepted quickly, and here I have myself. Right outside my box.
From the onset, I was captured by this watch’s brushed stainless steel case, but polished non-rotating bezel around a sapphire crystal. It has a look about it. It is a 40mm case, I find watches smaller than 40mm have the wrong scale for my life, with a solid black face with ultra-classic numerals, for both 12 and 24 hours, and 300 markings all the way around. It just kind of spoke to me. Add day and date complications to the mix, it continued to speak to me. Not shouted at me, mind you. Spoke. Like watching a movie with subtitles. You still tell your kids to be quiet while the characters speak. You are captured by the whole system. Acting, scenery, music, etc. Capturing. I needed to hear what this watch was saying to me.
My version of the Khaki King came on a steel bracelet. And that is how I wore it for the first day. The bracelet is solid enough. Standard fare for a watch in this price range. Nothing fancy. But, nothing to complain about either. I’ll have to admit, that when I think of a military watch, I don’t think of a watch on a steel bracelet.
Off came the bracelet and onto a NATO strap it went. Now, I was on to something. Coming from dive watches, I was pleasantly surprised at how light the watch is. On the NATO, it just sort of floated on my wrist. I wore it this way for an entire weekend as a “get to know you” experiment. What was I expecting? I’m not sure. What did I learn?
This watch is as solid as I can ask for. Obviously, with an ETA 2834-2 working inside, I knew it would keep time. And it does. The simple and straightforward marking make time telling and tracking time a chinch. Seriously, noting half second increments is easily done on this watch’s face.
Having the day and date displayed at the 12 o’clock position, though not normal to my watches, is handy and easily read. The hands and numbers are marked with glow-in-the-dark, lume, paint. So even in the dark, you can track the time. In all honestly, I do find the lume on this watch a bit lacking. Yes, it works. But not as much, or especially as long, as I would like it to. Maybe I stay up too late. Or, maybe I work at night too much. But, this lume only barely cuts it for my watch needs.
Of the crown:
My first concern, I have to admit, was that the crown does not screw down. This made made me nervous. But the nervousness was unfounded. The crown guards do their thing. They guard the crown. The only time the crown does anything, is when I purposely want it to. Just pulling it out of the safe and giving it a few quick winds is actually kind of nice. Maybe, just maybe, all watch crowns don’t need to be screw down. Maybe.
Just how deep do you go?
This watch is Water Resistant to 5bar. That is 50m, or 164ft in old money. That is plenty of resistance to do the dishes, shower, shave, etc. I’m not sure I would swim a whole lot with this watch on, but I would not be nervous if I had to either. Back to the crown again: I think I would take the 50m depth a bit more seriously if the crown did screw down.
No. That does not turn. No matter how many times you try to spin it.
Not having a rotating bezel was a little bit of a lifestyle change. I’m so used to timing things with the rotating bezel. So, remembering when something started and doing the necessary math when it was finished took some more concentration than I may normally need. But, not having the bigger bezel does allow the watch to be far, far thinner than I have gotten used to. This watch just pops itself under shirt cuffs and jacket cuffs alike. Poof! It disappears. And, again because it is thinner, it seems to wear much smaller than the 40mm case diameter may indicate.
Don’t get caught staring at their backside.
Actually, in this case (see what I did there?) staring at the back is perfectly socially acceptable. Because it is clear. You can watch the mechanism do it’s thing. I’ve not been a fan of this novelty. And, I continue to find it a bit odd. But, there it is. Ticking and tocking away. I guess it is neat to watch (again) for a while. It kept my interest for a minute or so. But, when you are wearing the watch, this little window into the watch’s soul is completely unseeable. The case back also has all the necessary words. Water Resistant, Hamilton, Swiss Made, Sapphire Crystal, plus a whole bunch of numbers are all there around the window.
Leather is not just for shoes and belts.
Yep. Apparently they make watch straps out of leather too. Who knew? And these leather straps look, and function, on this watch superbly. This may actually be where this watch shines the most. And maybe this is why the military watch style is so popular. This watch looks good on a bracelet, on a NATO, on leather, on whatever way you want to attach it to your wrist. I honestly think this watch would make duct tape look good. Well… as long as the case is mostly visible. For me, popping the Khaki King on a leather strap gives me that military watch look and feel.
This is an awesome looking watch. No muss, no fuss. Sure. A brushed stainless steel case with polished accent bezel, a black face, white markings, and white numerals does not foretell excitement. But, put it all together, in this neat little package, and something of note, that is almost impossible to ignore, pops up.
I’m not saying I am completely converted to the military watch. But, I’m also not selling this watch. Nor am I storing it in the basement safe either. The Hamilton Khaki Field King Auto, with its ability to keep time and to look good doing it has found a place in this dive watch guy’s rotation. If pressed, I might just say that it is a tough enough watch too.
- 40mm stainless steel case
- Caliber ETA 2834-2
- 20mm Lug Width
- Water Resistant to 5 bar (50m or 164ft)
Where to buy
The best place to get this watch and many others is Amazon, as not only do you get the lowest prices (mostly), but you’re also protected should the be any problems with your purchase.
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