The venerable Hamilton Khaki remains one of the best “field-style” watches around with its retro military looks and adaptation to modern male aesthetics. Over the years, Hamilton has produced an endless variation of Khaki models, and the larger Hamilton Khaki collection today includes timepieces that you might not even traditionally bulk into the Khaki watch family. One that is both modern and does arguably feel like it fits into the historic idea of what a Hamilton Khaki should be is the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono.
This is one of a few less common chronograph versions of the Khaki, but a nice one. The vast majority of Hamilton Khaki models are three-handers. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you were to add an additional complication to the mix, then a chronograph makes the most sense.
In this piece, we will be looking at two different Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono models. There is the all-black reference H71626735 with its more modern looks, and the classic reference H71616535 with its nubuck-style tan strap and tan-colored accents on the black dial.
Each of the watches comes in a 42mm-wide steel case, but the all-black model’s case is PVD-coated in black. The case is 14.5mm thick and water-resistant to 100 meters. On the rear of the case is an exhibition window offering a view of the Hamilton caliber H-21 automatic chronograph movement.
Given Hamilton’s placement in the Swatch Group that also owns the movement producer ETA, Hamilton is able to get exclusive movements. The H-21 is a modified version of the Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph, with relatively spartan decoration, though you can see on the bridge under rotor the repeating “H” pattern that you’ll find on the movements inside some Hamilton watches. The H-21 ups the power reserve to 60 hours from about 42 hours – giving the watch less than a day more power reserve, but it does help the movement stand out a bit. Hamilton also decided to remove the running seconds indicator that would normally be at 9 o’clock – leaving only the two chronograph subdials for the hours and minutes.
Such a design decision allows for a more symmetrical look for the dial, but does cut into functionality a bit. What’s actually the most unusual is that the watch features the full day and date windows, but not the running seconds – which is an uncommon layout to say the least. If you really want to measure the seconds, then you can just use the chronograph feature.
Hamilton uses its classic Khaki hands and face that mixes hour markers with Arabic hour numerals. Some versions of the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono actually give the watch a more pilot watch look, but this black and tan layout on at least the reference H71616535 makes for a decently winning design. Over the dial is a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal.
Certain people really like black or all-black watches, and for them the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono H71626735 with its all dark tones (save for the little bit of red on the chronograph seconds hand) is appealing because of its otherwise classic aesthetic and proportions. Hamilton matches it to a textured black leather strap that certainly has a cool look to it, and there apparently is a rubber strap as well in the box. More “khaki” colors certainly offer a more timeless look when it comes to the Khaki watch collection, but in this all-black form it makes a certain masculine and refined contemporary fashion statement.
Hamilton produces (and will produce) a few other versions of the Khaki Field Auto Chrono, which for me is a nice combination of style and value for the price. Price for the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto Chrono starts at $1,695, and is just a bit more at $1,795 for the black version.