Welcome to Exploring Evergreens, a new series here on Fratello in which we get our hands on watches that have been around for over a decade — or long enough to feel ubiquitous — and ask ourselves if they’ve managed to stand the test of time. We’ll address whether they’re still relevant, how they feel today, and, ultimately, if they’re worth their current prices. In some cases, when the authors own/have owned the specific pieces, they’ll dig into how their feelings about them have evolved and whether or not they still deserve a spot in their collections. We’ll cover anything from the truly timeless and budget-friendly classics to vintage and neo-vintage heavy hitters. Today, I’m happy to kick things off with an affordable field watch and a seemingly evergreen entry-level timepiece, the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto.

A few weeks after I first got my hands on this watch, I wrote a Strap Check article in which I promised a hands-on review. Now it’s time to make good on that promise. The Khaki Field Auto has been around for so long that most people interested in it have likely had a chance to check it out for themselves. That said, enough time has also passed with this watch in the brand’s catalog that it’s worth circling back and seeing how it holds up in 2024.

Exploring Evergreens: The Hamilton Khaki Field Auto

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I’m still a happy owner of a Hamilton Khaki Field Auto. It’s on my wrist as I write this article. Doing some research, I couldn’t pinpoint the year it debuted. But looking at Hamilton’s website with the Wayback Machine reveals its presence since at least 2010. Regardless, it’s a watch that feels like it’s been around “forever.” And in some form or another, it has. As you all know, the Khaki Field has roots in the watches provided by Hamilton for American soldiers since the First World War. But the watches as we know them today most closely resemble those that Hamilton made during the Vietnam War era. Either way, they stick to the classic “military field watch” formula. They’re legible, have a decent amount of lume, and are water resistant enough for most wearers’ daily lives.

Why did I choose the Field Automatic? Well, to me, it’s the more modern yet relatively timeless aesthetic. This is unlike the Khaki Field, which is more closely styled to resemble vintage military watches (with a matte blasted case, no date, and a simplified dial). The Auto gives you everything the hand-winding model does but with the added convenience of a date, automatic movement, and a 100m water resistance rating. Admittedly, it’s also 1mm thicker. But this is likely because of the display case back. At just 11mm thick and 38mm in diameter, it’s still slim and wearable enough. It has a 20mm lug spacing, which works just as well with the OEM bracelet as with a leather or NATO strap. Some people don’t like the polished bezel, but some careful masking and a pass with Scotch-Brite can solve that easily enough.

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto

Does the Khaki Field Auto hold up?

In short, yes! There’s still a lot of value to be had from the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto. Gone are the days of picking one up for €500 or less (unless you don’t mind going pre-owned). But at its current price of €745, you still get plenty of value. I was lucky enough to buy mine from a friend. It was more in an effort to satisfy curiosity than anything else. The price was right, and I thought that, in the worst case, I could flip it when I got bored. However, here it remains. This classic field watch holds its own alongside watches four times its price. Somehow, it always ends up back on my wrist sooner or later. And when it does, it certainly feels in no way inferior to my other watches.

From helicopter rides over the Alps to icy outdoor swims and even dinner in Zermatt, there’s no situation in which it has felt out of place. With its perfect proportions, sapphire crystal, and 80-hour power reserve from a solid movement (the ETA 2824-based Hamilton H10) it’s not one likely to let you down. And compared to some of its contemporaries, such as the €949 Yema Urban Field, the €850 Studio Underd0g 02Series “Field Watch”, or the €550 Baltic Hermétique Tourer, it certainly remains just as interesting. When I look down at my wrist and see the Khaki Automatic, the German word Dauerbrenner comes to mind. Historically, it refers to a wood oven or candle that is designed to burn for a long time, providing consistent light and/or heat. As often as I’ll put it away for a while, the embers of this Hamilton never die out, guaranteeing a strong comeback.

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto

Final thoughts

There you have it, folks! The Hamilton Khaki Field Auto is certainly an evergreen that keeps on giving. Not many watches seem to remain in brands’ catalogs for over a decade without undergoing at least some slight metamorphosis. Yet this Hamilton proves that if the formula works, there’s no need to change it.

However, those with a sharp eye will have spotted the older plain “H” logo on the crown, which has now been replaced with a more stylized alternative. This logo also appears on the balance bridge of the H10 movement. Other than that, more than a decade later, the Khaki Field Auto is still going strong.

What do you think of this classic Hamilton? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Have you owned one before? Be sure to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.