Monday, November 3, 2014

Watch Review: Affordable Mechanicals: sub-$300 Range: Hamilton Field Khaki Hand Wind H69419363 Officer Handwinding

With the entry point of Swiss-made mechanical watches approaching - and often well exceeding - the $1000, many newcomers to realm of the watch enthusiasts must limit themselves to Asian-made or vintage Swiss models if their budget only goes as high as a few hundred dollars.  For those individuals, the entry-level brands of the Swatch Group, such as Tissot and Hamilton, offer some of the best value propositions on the market today.

The watch on review today is perhaps the finest and least expensive example in Hamilton's present collection:  the Field Khaki Hand Wind (currently listed as the Officer Handwinding on Hamilton's website), reference number H69419363.  Its simple three-hand design reflects a functionalist and spartan outlook that meshes well with its military aesthetic.  At 38mm in diameter, it is well positioned as an understated timepiece that could be easily dressed up with a leather strap or matching bracelet (more on the latter below).  Its 20mm lug width ensures that it is compatible with a wide range of aftermarket straps, and the drilled lug holes are an increasingly rarefied feature that makes strap changes a breeze and further cements the watch's function-first aesthetic.  The watch comes in a black dial and an olive drab dial, the latter of which can appear black or grey depending on the light and surroundings.  

Notable at this price point is the watch's domed sapphire crystal, whose charming lack of anti-reflective coating makes it evoke the vintage charm of actual military watches that used plastic or plexiglass crystals, while offering the modern scratch resistance of sapphire.  Its movement is an ETA 2804-2, which is the most recent manual-wind version of ETA's workhorse 28XX lines of movements.  For those looking to understand the anachronistic appeal of a mechanical watch in a world where every cellphone can tell you the time, the combination of sweeping seconds hand and daily ritual of winding the watch to maintain its 38-hour power reserve offers the full experience at perhaps the lowest price attainable for a Swiss mechanical watch.

As pictured above, I opted to dress up the watch with its matching bracelet (reference number H605.694.101, available direct from Hamilton for $114 plus shipping at the time of writing).  I found that the solid-end-link bracelet really completes the watch by matching seamlessly with its satin metal finish, and as versatile as the watch is with a wide range of straps, uniting the watch with its bracelet makes it feel suddenly whole.

The Hamilton Field Khaki Hand Wind H69419363 (aka Officer Handwinding) is available on Amazon for less than $300.

Diameter: 38mm
Lug Width: 20mm
Dial Color: Olive Drab
Crystal: Sapphire
Movement: ETA 2804-2 (manual wind, approximately 38-hour power reserve)
Bracelet: H605.694.101 ($114 + shipping direct from Hamilton)

Recommendation:  If you're a fan of minimalism, military aesthetics, handwound movements, and perhaps the best bang-for-buck current production Swiss timepiece on the market today, do yourself a favor and pick up the H69419363.


  1. Hi,

    I am seriously considering to buy this same watch but from what I have gathered from the internet, the ETA movement which powers this watch is prone to problems like it stopped working after a year with the mainspring breaking. I just want to know if you had any problems with your watch within the time of your review to the present? Is it still holding up well? Would you still recommend this to anyone looking for an affordable handwind mechanical field watch? I hope you can help. Thanks in advance.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I've had absolutely no problems with this watch, or any of several others powered by various ETA movements. This 2804-2 is essentially the venerable 2824-2 without a rotor and with a smoother winding, more ratchet-like crown stem. Very robust, a definite recommendation for an affordable handwinder. Hope this helps!

  2. I have this watch but in the black dial. The bracelet in your pic looks awesome but i cant find it. Do you know if its still available?
    Thank you.

  3. Thanks for commenting. I asked about it through Hamilton's Contact Us page, and after an exchange of emails with their Customer Service reps (and some initial confusion as to the part number) I was able to order it directly from them. The reference number should be H605.694.101 - I've corrected it in the post as well.

  4. Thanks heaps, iv just made the order :)

  5. What is the quality of the OEM bracelet ? Would love to know and where are you located?