New Material, Same Grit: Introducing the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze

Hamilton is not a watch brand you often think of when it comes to using alternative or luxurious case materials. Best known for producing hardy steel sports watches and field watches, Hamilton has garnered a reputation for its utilitarian design codes and manufacturing, usually eschewing gold and even gold tones for its most popular collections. Last week, the brand chose to walk the line between the utilitarian and novel by introducing its first timepiece in bronze, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze.

The watch follows in the footsteps of Hamilton’s ever-popular Khaki Field Mechanical (below), itself based upon a U.S. military-commissioned timepiece produced from 1969 to the 1980s best known as the FAPD 5101, the Type 1 Navigator, or simply as the “GI.” In that sense, the new Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze is straightforwardly a bronze cased version of that original vintage-inspired timekeeper, with Hamilton revisiting its popular historically-inspired design in a modern styling. Hamilton follows up several other brands that have done the same — most notably Oris, with the many bronze editions of its Diver Sixty-Five and Big Crown; and Tudor, with the various bronze versions of the Black Bay.

The watch’s 38-mm bronze case features matte finishing throughout its straightforward silhouette, from its simple lugs to its relatively large crown. The only flourish, if one can call it that, on the case is its solid titanium caseback, which represents another pretty interesting move for the brand. Most often on bronze timepieces, watchmakers will opt for steel or steel with a bronze-colored PVD for their casebacks, because of steel’s better comfort on the wrist over extended wear as compared to bronze. This is the case for less expensive bronze watches, such as those produced by Baltic, as well as for more luxurious ones, like those produced by Tudor. Hamilton in this regard is separating itself from the pack, as it’s arguably the most affordably positioned of the bronze watchmakers, but has chosen a more high-end material for its caseback. Additionally, titanium is slightly lighter than steel, which provides the Khaki Automatic Mechanical, which is already quite thin, an even lighter feel on the wrist, likely comparable to the original full steel variations.

Underneath the domed sapphire crystal is a familiar field watch dial configuration. The style directly recalls the vintage designs that inform the collection, with a simple outer minute ring highlighted at each hour by small triangles, large Arabic numerals from 1 to 12, and another circle of smaller numerals from 13 to 24 just within those. A pair of syringe style hands determine the passing hours and minutes, while an arrow-tipped pointer counts the running seconds.

Hidden behind the aforementioned titanium caseback, Hamilton’s Caliber H-50, a hand-wound caliber based upon the 2801-2, ticks away. The thin, manually-wound movement has a slow frequency of 21,600 vph, allowing it a substantial power reserve of 80 hours, or a little over three days when fully wound.

The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze is available now via Hamilton and its authorized dealers on an ongoing basis, with pricing marked at $825, or about $250 more than its closest priced, steel Khaki Field 38-mm counterpart.

To learn more, visit Hamilton, here.

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