There are conflicting stories on when exactly and by who the first field watch was invented.
What we know is that, originally, field watches were designed for military personnel to wear during combat so they could easily and quickly check the time.
While field watches were first created for a more utilitarian purpose, today they are often seen as stylish accessories. Many modern field watches still maintain some of the original design elements, such as a large face and easy-to-read numerals.
Two brands that certainly deliver field watches reminiscent of the originals are Hamilton and Seiko. In this article, we’ll focus on the battle of the ultra-affordable-yet-reliable models from both brands – the Hamilton Khaki vs Seiko 5.
Looking at aspects such as design, build quality, and features, we’ll help you decide which of these two watches is the better choice for you.
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Hamilton Khaki vs Seiko 5 Field Watches (Overview)
Seiko 5 vs Hamilton Khaki (Comparison)
For today’s comparison we have picked two best-selling and incredibly similar (looks-wise) watch models from both brands – Hamilton Khaki H69439363 and Seiko 5 SRPE65.
As you can see from the comparison table above, as similar as they seem from the outside, there are quite a few differences between those two watches, which we will go over in more detail below.
Also, it’s easy to notice that a huge bearing on which field watch will be a better choice for you will also depend on your current budget. Hamilton Khaki is by far the pricier watch, however, it also offers some features that the Seiko 5 lacks.
So, without further ado, let’s now take a closer look at the two timepieces.
Hamilton Khaki Review
Hamilton H69439363 is a beautifully designed field watch that oozes vintage charm. The Khaki collection is full of similarly-designed timepieces but this one seems to be getting, and quite deservedly so, the most attention.
The watch has a 38mm bead blasted case made from stainless steel, which is on the smaller side by today’s standards but still shouldn’t look out of place on most wrists types. The case is 10mm thick and has a matte blasted finish which certainly adds to the masculine look.
There are quite a few visual benefits of a blasted case but the main one is probably the fact that it doesn’t reveal scratches as much as its polished counterparts. Not without a reason, many military-inspired timepieces go with this type of case finish since they’re designed to withstand a beating.
Despite the relatively small diameter, the timepiece actually wears a bit bigger due to its massive lugs (the lug-to-lug length reaches 48mm!).
In spite of the sturdy and rugged look, the watch’s water resistance is relatively modest (5ATM / 50m). One of the contributors to the low WR rating is the lack of a screw-down crown. Speaking of which, the crown, positioned at 3 o’clock, is quite massive which not only adds to the vintage look but allows for easy time and date adjustments, even with gloves on.
The dial is probably the highlight of this watch.
It’s very minimalistic yet still manages to easily catch the eye, partially because of the green military color that combines neatly with the strap. At the same time, it’s worth noting that the dial isn’t fully green as it has some grey-ish shades as well (it’s particularly visible hands-on). Another fact worth pointing out is the inconspicuous matte finish that again combines well with the case to complete the vintage look.
Considering the relatively high price of the watch, it’s quite surprising the dial doesn’t feature applied hour markers, instead opting for the painted ones. Normally we would consider this a bit of a downside but the fact that the watch has large white numerals that glow in the dark means that it’s still super legible in any light conditions.
The watch hands, also beaming strong lume thanks to Super Luminova, are sword-shaped which also adds to the military feel.
The watch face is covered by a slightly domed sapphire crystal glass which is naturally the hardest and most scratch-resistant type of watch glass you can get. The only thing missing to make the face perfect is the lack of anti-reflective coating.
The watch is shown on a leather-lined, military-green canvas strap. Naturally, the strap is a wonderful match for the dial, and since it has some signs of wear, it furthers the vintage appearance.
The strap’s 20mm lug width is pretty much industry-standard, so you may pick from a wide variety of straps. Additionally, changing the strap is simple thanks to the lug holes.
It’s not often you see mechanical, manually-wound movements in modern field watches but Hamilton managed to include one in the H69439363. Naturally, it has done this on purpose so paying homage to the original field watches (that were mechanical) is even more obvious.
The movement, ETA 2804-2, is Swiss-made and has 17 jewels. Its frequency is 28,800 vibrations per hour which allow for a pretty standard power reserve of 42 hours. The accuracy of this caliber is said to be excellent with the watch unlikely to lose/gain more than a few seconds per day.
What’s important to note, the mechanical movement is equipped with a really reliable shock protection system in the form of Incabloc Novodiac.
Seiko 5 Review
Seiko SRPE65 has been picked as a representative of the Seiko 5 line for a reason. It’s not the most expensive nor the most feature-rich timepiece in the collection but it definitely manages to deliver great value for the money, which is one of the key characteristics of the Seiko 5 family. Naturally, the field/military design is also on point.
The first thing worth pointing out about the Seiko model’s case is that it’s slightly bulkier than the Hamilton Khaki’s. It’s not a deal-breaker by any means but people with larger wrists will probably opt for a 40mm case of the Seiko 5 than the 38mm of the Khaki model.
Most of the case’s surface has a satin-brush finish which, just like in the case of the Khaki’s blasted case, adds to the tool-like feel of this timepiece. The only polished elements of the case are the edges of the bezel.
Akin to the Hamilton Khaki model, the lug-to-lug length of the watch is bigger (44,5mm) but the difference is not as stark as in the case of the Hamilton watch.
While the water resistance is more impressive with this Seiko 5 model (up to 10ATM / 100m), the crown is again of the push/pull type and not screw-down which means that you have to be careful while going in the water anyway. With that said, a 10ATM / 100m WR rating is enough for swimming which means the watch has a clear upper hand over its Khaki rival.
Again, the dial is probably the part that stands out the most in this excellent field watch.
Similar to the Khaki model, the face has a green military color but it’s also textured which, in our opinion, makes it even better-looking and unique.
A clear difference between the two models is the markers. While the Khaki model opted for the classic choice of Arab numerals, this Seiko 5 timepiece has massive dotted hour markers, with a triangle at the noon o’clock position and two ovals at 6 and 9 o’clock. Additionally, the outer edge of the dial features a chapter ring with second markers printed in white.
The watch hands slightly differ in shape, with the hour hand boasting a pointed tip while the minute hand an arrow tip. Hands, as well as hour markers, glow really brightly in the dark as Seiko never compromises on the amount of lume they fill their watches with.
On top of a date display, the window in the Seiko 5 model, located at 3 o’clock, also displays the current day.
The field in which the Seiko 5 model can look up to the Hamilton Khaki is the glass. While the Hardlex crystal utilized in most Seiko watches in this price range is ultra-reliable, it’s not as good as the sapphire glass offered by Hamilton.
Unsurprisingly, the watch also boasts a green nylon strap that complements the face of similar color. We say unsurprisingly because NATO straps have a long and proud history amongst military watches, and the Seiko 5 is no different. The strap is comfortable and soft, making it perfect for everyday wear but also tougher adventures. It has a standard buckle closure.
The two watches differ quite considerably in terms of movement since Seiko 5 uses an automatic caliber.
As you may or may not know, Seiko manufactures all of its movements in-house, contributing to the high quality of this watch. The Seiko 4R36 powering this field timepiece is a workhorse movement that’s been used in many different timepieces, both entry-level and more expensive ones.
Seiko 4R36 caliber is a 24-jewel movement beating at the frequency of 21600 BpH with a power reserve of 40 hours. Although at first sight the movement’s accuracy, rated at +45 / -35 seconds/day might seem bang average, the actual performance reported by the wearers is much more impressive.
This movement complements the goal of this timepiece perfectly. It is tough, sturdy, and long-lasting, and has shown to be a workhorse that can operate for years.
Hamilton Khaki vs Seiko 5: Verdict
As always, the decision comes down to personal preferences but if the budget wasn’t of importance to us, we would definitely opt for the Hamilton Khaki field watch.
The timepiece looks amazing, it’s slightly more sophisticated than the Seiko model mostly thanks to the mechanical, manually-wound movement, and its ultra-reliable sapphire crystal makes it a clear winner in our book.
On the other hand, if we had to choose between the two based on the value for money criterion and affordability, the victory would go to Seiko 5. It’s an incredible watch that costs significantly less yet offers a similar look, feel, and reliability. It also holds a clear advantage in terms of water resistance (100m vs Hamilton’s 50m) so if you’re looking for a watch you can take swimming, the Seiko 5 is definitely the way to go.
The truth is, no matter which timepiece you opt for, you’re in for a treat. Both the Hamilton Khaki and Seiko 5 are amazing watches that offer great value for money, stunning looks, and reliable performance you’d expect from a true field watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that the Seiko 5 vs Hamilton Khaki comparison has provided you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on your purchase.
If, however, you still have some questions related to these two timepieces or field watches in general, make sure to check out our FAQ section below where we answer some of the most popular queries related to this topic.
Hamilton vs Seiko – which brand is better?
There is no clear answer as both brands have their pros and cons.
Hamilton has a more sophisticated look while the Japanese watchmaker probably offers better value for money. It really depends on your personal preferences and also your budget.
We could also argue that, looking at the average price points of timepieces from both brands, Hamilton is more of a high-end brand than Seiko. With that said, there’s next to zero doubt that Seiko is the more popular brand, especially when it comes to affordable field watches.
Are Hamilton watches any good?
Yes, naturally, Hamilton watches are good. The brand has been around for over a century and has built a reputation for making high-quality timepieces.
Hamilton offers both entry-level and more expensive models, with the majority of its products falling into the mid-range category. Regardless of the price point, all Hamilton watches offer great value for money.
How durable is the Hamilton Khaki?
The particular model discussed in the article is a very durable watch. It has a brushed stainless steel case with a sapphire crystal. The movement is also very reliable, as it is based on the ETA 2824-2, which is known for its accuracy and durability. Probably its weakest point is the very modest water resistance of 50 meters.
When it comes to other models in the Khaki collection, the durability will differ depending on the materials used with the watch, as well as the price point. In general, however, we can safely say that all Hamilton Khaki watches are quite durable.
Can you swim with a Hamilton Khaki?
Some models are absolutely fine for swimming, however, the watch featured in this article (Ref. H70455133) is not recommended for swimming as it only has a water resistance of 50 meters.
For swimming, you would need to look at models that have a water resistance of 100 meters or more. Models such as the Khaki Navy Scuba Auto are a much safer choice.
Is Seiko 5 a good watch?
Seiko 5 collection is by far the most affordable watch line from Seiko. But, just because they are affordable, doesn’t mean they are not good watches. In fact, these watches offer an incredible value for money, as they are packed with features and have a very solid build quality.
The only downside of the Seiko 5 is that they don’t have the same level of refinement and sophistication as the more expensive Seiko models. But, if you are looking for a durable and reliable watch that won’t break the bank, the Seiko 5 is definitely a great choice.
Why is the Seiko 5 so popular?
Seiko 5 is popular for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are very affordable watches that offer a lot of features and great build quality. Secondly, most timepieces in the collection have a timeless design that will never go out of style. And finally, they are incredibly reliable and durable watches that will last you for many years to come.
Are Hamilton watches luxury watches?
While the popular Swiss brand produces really top-quality timepieces, we wouldn’t necessarily classify them as luxury watches. This is because the brand doesn’t really have the same level of prestige and reputation as some other luxury watchmakers such as Rolex or Omega.
Hamilton is, however, considered to be a mid-to-high-end brand.