Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38

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.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38 is, to many, the quintessential field watch. It’s a direct reissue of the no-nonsense mil-spec design contracted by the US government throughout the Vietnam Conflict.

Unlike its predecessors however, which were cheap and disposable, the modern Khaki Field line is rugged, yet refined. The kind of watch that looks just as good in a t-shirt and jeans as it does in a smart casual outfit. If that’s the kind of thing that appeals to you, definitely check this one out.
Hamilton is a company that needs little introduction. Established in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892, their watches have been seen on the wrists of prominent figures throughout history. They’ve made some notable achievements in watchmaking, including the world’s first electric battery-powered watch—and a favorite of Elvis Presley—the Ventura, and they’ve supplied the US military with timekeeping devices since World War II.

Although they ultimately came under Swiss ownership in 1979, they remain today most well known for their American military styled designs. The Khaki Field we’ll be looking at today is packed with that military heritage.
While there are a lot of things to love about this watch, it’s not perfect. Here are some things that stood out to me.

Despite being a conservative Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38 , the watch wears larger on the wrist due to its long lug length. This also results in a significant gap between the springbars and the case. While this makes changing NATOs and other one-piece straps a breeze, the gap becomes apparent when worn on a two-piece strap. Due to this, I believe the watch looks best on a NATO strap. Not only does the extra layer of fabric help to visually reduce the length of the lugs, it also prevents a sharp drop-off your strap might have if the lugs end near the edges of your wrist. For those of you with smaller wrists like me, this is definitely something to consider.

The lume application isn’t the brightest, but it works fine enough to read the time in a dark room. The faux patina is a polarizing aesthetic choice among watch collectors, but here I find it tastefully done. It breaks up the black and white contrast of the dial without becoming a distraction.

The crystal lacks any kind of anti-reflective coating. While the rest of the watch is committed to being subdued and understated, the domed glass picks up all kinds of glare. The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38 doesn’t warp the dial, so it’s not difficult to read the time, but it can be challenging to find a viewing angle free from reflections. This is also prominent in photos.

Lastly, and this is a minor nitpick, but I would’ve liked to see a screw-down crown for added water resistance. 50m is great for most situations, but I’d personally like the foolproof reassurance that water won’t find its way into my watch, especially on one as robust as a military field watch.