It takes some time to get a design right. While the first Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium was an exciting new direction for the Khaki, some facets missed the mark. The Titanium engraving on the side of the case irked plenty of would-be buyers. The faux-aged lume was contentious. There was no arguing with the H-10 inside, however. An 80-hour power reserve is best-in-class for a watch at this price point ($995).
And now, after a couple of years, the Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium has finally found its footing – it’s the best it’s ever been. It comes in 42mm, but the 38mm version will certainly be the darling among enthusiasts. The H-10 remains, and so does the option between brushed titanium and PVD-coated titanium. There’s no more “Titanium” engraved on the side, and the lume is now a neutral tone. And the best part for 2022? The selection of new dial colors. Here’s the breakdown.
The 42mm version of the watch comes in brushed titanium with either a “khaki” or blue dial. Hamilton’s version of khaki is green, not tan. The 38mm version includes three variants. In brushed titanium there’s a green dial and a black dial, and in PVD’d titanium there’s a grey dial with a lunar-like texture.
Once American, Hamilton is now part of the Swatch group. That’s a good thing. The brand can leverage all of the group’s expertise and know-how. Since the Khaki was originally designed to fall within Army Ordnance Department specifications in the ’40s, and later “GG-W-113” and “MIL-W-3818B” specifications in the ’60s and beyond, the design of the watch – which remains mostly unchanged – is still very American. It has a rugged quality to it, a sort of bootstrappin’, git-r-done way about it. It’s simple, easy to read, and requires zero gimmicks to command respect.
The way Hamilton has pushed the design in this recent release is just playful enough while still exercising plenty of restraint. The muted color tones and matte finishes respect tradition, while the khaki (that’s sage green to the rest of us) and lunar dial are fresh. It demonstrates that the design can indeed evolve. For too many horological designs that’ve been in production for decades, sometimes it feels like there’s simply nowhere left to go.
The predictable move would’ve been to slap a standard green dial in the Khaki and call it a day, like many other manufacturers. Instead, we got a thoughtful green dial that’s very much in line with the original ethos of the watch, not to mention a cement-like grey dial that’s both novel and reserved. It’s reminiscent of the natural world, and outside is where the new Khaki Field Titanium belongs.
A common criticism about the Khaki Field Mechanical is the lug-to-lug width relative to the 38mm case size. The watch has particularly long lugs, and for smaller wrists, they can dig in and make the watch wear uncomfortably. With the new titanium models, Hamilton has reshaped the lugs to get rid of the harsh 90-degree angle that can dig into wrists. Instead the lugs are beveled now, and in conjunction with the titanium case, the watch disappears on the wrist. Unfortunately, the lugs are not drilled through like they are on the Khaki Field Mechanical, so strap changes aren’t quite as easy, and you’ll likely want to ditch the leather strap that it comes with for an easy-wearing NATO.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium , in either mechanical or automatic, is often cited as the ideal field watch. It’s usually the first one that’s recommended to anyone in the market, and it’s certainly earned that position. The new dial colors and case finishes represent even more choice, and it still comes in at under $1,000. There’s nothing wrong with having options.