New: Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition


The New Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition Makes Its Case As Your New $1,000 Watch. Those of us who’ve spent years reading HoDinkee know what that means: the new Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition watch is over-priced. But they can’t say that, can they? We can. It is. Or is it?

As the ‘Ho rightly points out, a bog standard stainless steel Khaki Field Mechanical (above) runs $595. The new stainless steel Khaki Field Expedition runs $995 on a strap or $1,045 on a bracelet. That’s a $410 a $460 premium, respectively.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter: both watches are powered by the same movement. Hamilton’s H-10 mechanical movement offers 80 hours of power reserve and a Nivachron balance spring (resistant to magnetic fields, temperature variations and shocks). So no justification there. Or is there?

The non-expeditionary Filed Watch has a closed caseback. The new model puts the H10 behind an exhibition caseback. How great is that? Not so great if you like a mechanical movement with a little blingery. But hey, field watch, amirite?

The more important variable between the two: size. The entry-level Field Mechanical is 38mm. That’s small by today’s standards. The new Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition brackets the former boss; it comes in your choice of 37mm or 41mm (same price).

I’m down with the upsized 41mm. It makes the Khaki Field Watch more of a tool watch, adding to its minimalist at-a-glance-ability. Mas macho at around $136 (strap) or $153 (bracelet) per additional millimeter.

Speaking of less is more (money), the new Expedition ditches the standard model’s inner time track and triangular hour markers. You know, the 24-hour time that gives the Khaki Field Watch its military mien.

Same hands, save the smaller “blulb” on the end of the second hand. An odd choice, but not nearly as odd as non-luminous numbers (the hour markers are Super-Luminova).

But wait! There’s more! The new Expedition has a compass embedded in its brushed steel bezel. Not an actual compass, just indicators for NSEW at the 12, 6, 3 and 9 positions on a rotating bezel.

Survivalists know how to use that in a pinch – with any watch. Any outdoorsman depending on the sun dial method rather than a watch with a proper compass or GPS is woefully ill-prepared. So yeah, it’s an affectation.

The new Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition has a screw-down crown, doubling water resistance from the standard model’s 50m to 100m. So there is that.

All of which makes the Khaki Field Expedition more of a wannabe Rolex Explorer (on a nastier bracelet) than a historical anything. You could split the difference with, say, the 38mm Khaki Field Titanium Auto, but that clocks-in at $1245 ($200 more than the bracelet Expedition).

Far be it for me to tell you how to spend your money. But if I were, I’d say save your money and get the “real” watch or check out the wide range of mechanical timepieces at a grand. And if you really want to use a watch for the great outdoors, buy a G-SHOCK.

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