Ahead of Baselworld 2018, Hamilton debuted its updated Khaki Field Mechanical, one of the brand’s most entry-level mechanical timepieces. Despite its low price (just $475), however, it might end up being one of Hamilton’s most desirable watches given its charming simplicity, with a design plucked straight from a bygone era of watchmaking.
The overall look of the Khaki Mechanical mirrors the military-spec watches Hamilton (and other watchmakers like Benrus) built for the U.S. Military during the 20th century. The dial, for example, is a nearly spot-on recreation of the design first used in the MIL-W-3818 watches of the 1960s, though it uses Super-LumiNova in place of the radioactive tritium lume of the originals. Hamilton gave the watch the faded look of those radioactive dials by using tan-colored lume on the hands and hour markers. This “fauxtina” is often a point of contention for some enthusiasts, but the result gives the watch great vintage vibes.
Hamilton also (rightly) saw fit to change the case size. The original mil-spec watches were pretty tiny at 34mm. To appeal to modern watch enthusiasts, the case is now 38mm. That diameter is almost ideal for a modern watch, given that the case is also just 9.5mm thick. Overall, though, the piece seems perfectly proportioned. It houses ETA’s simple, hand-winding 2801-2 caliber, and the whole package comes affixed to an olive-colored NATO strap with brown leather keepers.