If you are on the lookout for an affordable field watch, the chances are pretty solid that Hamilton’s name will be at the top of your shortlist. With a pretty extensive range of Khaki Field watches available for under €1,000, the brand has a lot to offer. The latest addition to the Khaki Field King line-up is a stealthy full black version. I went hands-on to determine if this black version offers a new perspective on the familiar Khaki Field King.

I like black. If you know me a little bit, you know that’s my go-to color with pretty much everything. I have explained this before in articles. It’s not a conscious effort. Whenever presented with a choice, I gravitate naturally towards anything black. So this Hamilton Khaki Field King in full black must be a dream, right? In theory, yes. But let’s find out if it’s the best choice in the Khaki Field King line-up.

The Khaki Field King Range

Within Hamilton’s Khaki Field collection, the Khaki Field King immediately stands out. First, because it is one of the most if not the most elegant silhouettes in the line-up. Curvy lines define the Khaki Field King’s case shape, and it is the only model in the Khaki Field collection that actually features crown guards.

The second feature that makes it stand out compared to other watches is the day-date complication, located at 12 o’clock. This popular complication draws immediate attention to the dial of the Khaki Field King watches. On this stealthy black version, the contrasting white day and date windows really stand out. But we will get to that in detail a bit later on.

The Khaki Field King is available in quartz and mechanical variants. Both are available with a black dial and a beige dial on a leather strap. And the version with the black dial also comes on a steel bracelet. This full black version is only available as a mechanical version and brings a new aesthetic to the range. Overall I would say the effect is that it feels less vintage-inspired and a bit more contemporary.

A black PVD-coated case

The biggest difference and frankly the only difference comparing this new Khaki Field King with the other models in the range is its color. The new Khaki Field King has a comfortable 40mm stainless steel case with a black PVD-coating with a circular-brushed satin finish. Combined with the black dial and black strap, this could be the perfect watch for any nocturnal undercover operation you might have planned.

And that’s exactly the context you should put this watch in when it comes to its story. It’s a field watch. After all, that is inspired by military watches from the 1940s. And with fully blacked-out watches, we tend to treat it as a trend based on looks rather than purpose. But the story of this Khaki Field King definitely is a combination of both looks and purpose. But in all fairness, you and I probably do not have that military mission planned I was referring to. So the most hardcore action it will get will be on an outdoor trip or during travels.

It’s a watch that will definitely appeal to a large audience.

But for that purpose, it’s a perfectly sized watch. The case has a very comfortable 40mm diameter and is 11mm thick with a versatile lug width of 20mm. And with those measurements, it’s a watch that will definitely appeal to a large audience. The watch features a domed sapphire crystal and features a display case back showing the Hamilton Caliber H-40.

Hamilton Caliber H-40

The movement on display is the self-winding Hamilton Caliber H-40. It is based on the ETA 2834-2 and also powers the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Day Date Auto, famously worn by Matthew McConaughey in the movie Interstellar. The movement has a 21,600vph operating frequency and a power reserve of approximately 80 hours.

…the choice between mechanical or quartz [is] an easy one.

The movement shows hours, minutes, and seconds and has the aforementioned day and date complication at 12 o’clock. The day and date are changed by pulling out the crown into the first position. Turning the crown forward will let you change the date, and turning it backward will change the day. 

We know the movement as a reliable and sturdy movement that will not give up on you during your outdoor trip or urban mission. As with so many watches that have display case backs in this price category, it’s not about the finishing. The magic is more in seeing the movement at work. For me, that makes the choice between mechanical or quartz an easy one.

Wearing the Khaki Field King in black

The moment you put the Khaki Field King on your wrist, you realize how good the overall legibility is. It’s not like the dial is really quiet to look at. There is quite a bit of information to be found on the dial, but that doesn’t impede a nice and clear overview of all its functions. The dial design is inspired by vintage pilots’ watches with big Arabic hour numerals that are placed on a track of circular grooves.

You will find the 24-hour numerals that are slightly smaller than the 1-11 hour numerals inside that track. And on the outer edges, you will find the sub-seconds are printed in white. It’s a layout that we have seen on quite a few of the Hamilton Khaki Field watches. I really like the Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto that Robert-Jan reviewed earlier this year. I like the use of black and grey on that specific dial because it changes things up.

But back to our stealthy Khaki Field King. Reading the time is easy, thanks to the high contrast of the big Arabic numerals and the polished sword style hands on the black background. Both the numerals and the hands have lume applied for readability in lower light conditions.

The Day-Date complication

Which brings us to the big eye-catcher: the day and date complication. The day indication is placed at 12 o’clock, and just underneath, you will find the date indication. It’s a layout we have seen on more of Hamilton’s Day-Date watches. The day and date indication as executed here is a recurring topic of discussion among watch enthusiasts. Some people do not like how the day indication cuts off the 11 and 1 numeral, and others don’t mind it all that much.

To start with practicality, it’s effortless to read the day and the date. I like the position of the complications. Having said that, I am one of those people that is not a fan of the cut-off numerals. I’m not a fan of cut-off numerals on any watch, so this is my biggest overall issue with the watch. I understand why it needs to be like this, and it does not cause any impracticalities. But it messes with the clean looks, and that’s a shame really.

Final Thoughts

Wearing the Hamilton Khaki Field King in full black did cause some mixed feelings. Overall I like the watch a lot. The shape of the case is just that bit more elegant than most of the other Khaki Field watches, making it a good fit for a wide range of situations. And at a list price of €645, it’s a great affordable watch for semi-formal situations and the more casual and adventurous situations.

The first thing I would do after buying this, however, is changing the leather strap. I would love to see this on a high-quality sand-colored suede strap or maybe a green NATO strap. Yes, you read that right. I would let go of the all-black aesthetics and bring a bit more color to the watch. I think it would suit it really well.

Definitely check the watch out for yourself.

My advice would be to definitely check the watch out for yourself if you have the chance. The day/date complication layout will not be for everyone. For some, however, I can imagine the cutaway “1” and “11” being a positive thing rather than a negative.

And when it comes to value for money, there is not a lot that can top this Hamilton Khaki Field King. And if you like a more modern stealthy aesthetic, this might be your future watch for any nighttime mission you have planned. If you would like to find out more, check out the official Hamilton website here.

Watch specifications

Khaki Field King Black
Case Material
Stainless steel with black PVD-coating
Case Dimensions
Diameter - 40mm, Height - 11mm, Lug width 20mm
Sapphire crystal
Case Back
Display case back
Hamilton Caliber H-40, 21,600vph, 25 jewels, 80 hours power reserve
Water Resistance
50 Meters
Black leather strap with pin buckle
Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date
Special Note(s)
Available now at Hamilton retailers