The traditional field watch is a popular style among watch enthusiasts. The core of a field watch is simplicity and legibility: Three-hand dial (hour, minute, second) and easy to read indices. Outside of those criteria, there is not much demanded from a field watch.
Back in February (2019) I saw a post on social media by A Blog To Watch mentioning a Hamilton Khaki Field watch with a white dial that is essentially the same design as the standard Hamilton H69429931 Khaki Field Mechanical black dial. The watch in question is a Topper Fine Jewelers exclusive.
After seeing the photos and reading more about the watch (as well as having some prior knowledge of the H69429931), I decided to pre-order one. I am a fan of field watches even though I did not own one and the white dial (which I also did not have) is always appealing to me as an alternative look.
Fast-forward to a couple months later and I received the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical white dial from Topper Fine Jewelers in May (2019).
I received the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical White Dial Box Set which carries a reference number of H69439512. This box set includes:
- Brown leather NATO strap with pin buckle
- Green textile NATO strap with brown leather loops with pin buckle
- Hamilton branded Strap changing tool
- Special Hamilton box
Note that the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical White Dial is available with just the brown leather NATO strap (reference H69439511) or the Green textile NATO strap (reference H69439411).
I decided to get the box set version simply to get both straps which carries a retail price of $625 USD, whereas the green textile NATO strap only version is $495 and the brown leather NATO strap only version is $525. I did not really care about the included strap changing tool since I already have my own spring bar tools.
Out of the box I took notice of the thinness of the brown leather NATO strap. I have very little experience with leather NATO straps, but I found the strap to look thin. I will have to get my hands on more leather NATO straps to give a better opinion.
But it does appear to have decent quality in terms of the stitching and appearance.
The green textile NATO strap is more appealing to me and I think will be the favored one for most people.
The additional leather accents and loops give it a more interesting look and less plain that typical fabric NATO straps.
As far as the actual watch, the one feature of the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical White Dial H69439511 / H69439512 that caught me other than the white dial is the 38mm case diameter.
Hamilton Watch has been favoring the larger 42mm and above case sizes in the past several years since the consumers tend to favor bigger watches. I do own some pretty sizable watches (e.g. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe at 43mm, G-Shock GPR-B1000-1B Rangeman at 60mm), but I favor a smaller watch when it comes to versatility with all types of attire. This is why I wear my 40mm Rolex GMT-Master II more often than any other watch.
Anyway, I appreciate that Hamilton produced the Khaki Field Mechanical in a 38mm case which gives it a more classic and traditional appearance.
The movement in the Topper Fine Jewelers exclusive H69439511 / H69439512 is the H-50 by Hamilton. This is a proprietary (in-house) movement that is manual wind (not automatic) with an 80-hour power reserve. The H-50 does operate at 3 Hz (21,600 vph) which might be too slow for some folks, but the 80-hour power reserve does sound quite appealing even with the theoretical sacrifice in day-to-day accuracy.
It is important to note that the H-50 movement is one key difference from the black dial Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical reference H69429901, which has an ETA 2801-2 movement. The ETA 2801-2 movement is 4 Hz (28,800 vph) and gives the H69429901 a power reserve of 42 hours.
Note: There are two references of the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical with black dial and H-50 movement which match the strap options for the white dial.
Reference H69439931 is the black dial, H-50 with the Green Textile NATO strap and reference H69439531 is the black dial, H-50 with the brown leather NATO strap.
There is also an exclusive black dial H-50 variant through Uncrate, although I am not sure what makes this particular offering unique other than a black NATO strap.
The case itself has a brushed appearance and for the most part the lines are clean and the lugs are shaped well. The lugs are also drilled which makes changing straps a lot easier. This is a feature I wish were retained in modern sport watches.
The crown is not a screw down which is not a big deal (especially for a field watch), but I wear a lot of sport and dive watches which have this feature and is something I am very much used to having.
The case has a sealed back so there is no viewing of the H-50 mechanical movement or even the movement base plate.
The 38mm case is about 9.5mm thick with 20mm width case lugs.
The dial itself is well done in my opinion. The markers, indices, and font are very legible.
The font for the 1 through 12 hour positions are relatively large and the black lacquer used makes them bold for easy readability. The 13 through 24 numbers are smaller and still easily legible, but I have to think leaving out the 13 through 24 might actually make for a cleaner dial. From 24-hour clock standpoint, having 13 through 24 is nice for those who don’t use 24-hour time normally. But I honestly could go without the extraneous numbers on the dial.
I feel like the hands are the appropriate length for this dial. The hour hand is short enough to allow for the 1 to 12 number to be visible. The minute hand is just short of reaching the minute hashes, and the second hand is just slightly longer than the minute hand.
The Super-LumiNova used on the hands and hour markers has what is referred to as an “old radium” pigment. Essentially, the hands and markers have an off-white look replicates the fade or patina found on older tritium coated watch parts. On the white dial, this faux patina appearance works well. I’ve read someone people complain about the ‘fake aged’ markers on new production watches and I tend to agree that this works against most watches. In this specific case, I do not think it hurts the appearance of the dial because of the white dial, and especially when paired with brown or green straps.
The Super-LumiNova is relatively bright. Due to the size of the hands and the indices, there is less surface area for the lume coating. So the lume on the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical does not appear as bright the lume on the hands of my Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathscaphe.
But I feel the lume on the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is satisfactory.
With all that said, how does the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical wear?
It is amazingly light, at least to me. Considering I usually wear watches with bracelets or bigger watches (e.g. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe or G-Shock GPR-B1000), the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm is quite airy. The watch with no strap weighs 46.7 grams. My Omega Seamaster 2220.80.00 (which is probably one of the lighter watches in my small collection) with no strap weigh 74.1 grams.
The small and then case with the mechanical hand wound movement combined with a textile NATO strap make for the lightweight ergonomics of the watch.
On the wrist, the case looks aesthetically pleasing and is arguably the perfect size. Not too big, not too small.
Overall the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is very comfortable.
Day to day accuracy is dependent on how wound the mainspring is. I have found that if it is topped off (crown stops to prevent overwinding), the watch will gain about one sec (+1) in a 24 hour time period. The following day, it starts to lose half a second, and then another second. You can potentially go -3 (three seconds behind) on the tail end of the power reserve.
So if you wind it up every 48 hour period or so, the H-50 movement will probably maintain accurate time within +/- 2 seconds.
At the base price of $495 for the green textile strap version, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical white dial 38mm is in my opinion a very respectable option for those wanting a well executed mechanical field watch. A simple three hander with no date complication, this is classic time keeping encapsulated in a vintage inspired design.
My one real complaint with this watch is anti-reflective coating. It could use more to further reduce glare and reflection. But this should not a deal-breaker for anyone interested in this watch.
The only hard choice for those looking to get this watch is choosing between the black or white dials. As mentioned earlier, the Hamilton Field Khaki Mechanical with white dial is a Topper Fine Jewelers exclusive. I am sure some of these will find their way to grey market dealers or perhaps things will change and the white dial will be available through other Hamilton authorized dealers in the future.
But for now, if you want the white dial reference, you will need to get it from Topper Fine Jewelers. As far as the Hamilton Field Khaki Mechanical with black dial, it is readily available at any authorized dealer and through the grey market.