Speaking of a first “serious” watch might sound silly for anyone who is not into horology, except for those who only wanted to get a Rolex at some point in their life to commemorate an important event. So, if you are reading this article you are most likely going to be able to relate to my story of acquiring my first serious watch, why this one in particular, and why it meant so much. I promise not to bore you too much with my history of watch collecting pre and post acquiring this particular timepiece. But I will bore you a little bit about the meaning of this one!
What I Was Collecting Before
Before getting my first serious watch, I was collecting homages. I know, some of you might frown upon the fact that I bought watches that are meant to look like something they are not. And although I could write an entire article to justify why I bought homage watches, I won’t do this to you. So, before getting my first serious watch I bought two homages the same year, in 2019. I wanted to get the feel of owning a particular style of watch without breaking the bank. And I bought these two homages at a time when spending more than $300 on a watch seemed absolutely excessive to me.
Prior to getting the homage watches, I owned a Casio F91W which I got through a previous job—a very long story. And before that, I owned another $15 Casio that I bought to travel round the world with. It served its purpose and turned out to be highly reliable. And even further down history I would say that I owned a Skagen that had a triple-register layout indicating the day, date, and month. I was fond of this watch which I purchased during my first trip to the United States in 2006. But it wasn’t a “serious watch” and I eventually sold it.
Why This Watch?
A couple of years before I started collecting watches and buying homages, I was already reading a lot about them. I devoured countless articles and videos and realized that I’m particularly attracted to purposeful watches, for example dive and field watches. In other words, watches that were designed and engineered to fulfill a particular role. Dive watches were created to help navy frogmen time their underwater operations and field watches were created to help soldiers coordinate attacks on the battlefield. And each type came with a certain array of specifications that were required.
Although I had a deep affinity for divers, I got really interested in field watches. I loved the fact that they were legible, rather compact, and built to withstand a certain amount of action. That’s why I chose the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical as my first serious watch. Hamilton used to make watches for World War II infantry men, and has continued to make watches for professionals ever since. This particular connection resonated with me deeply because these watches were designed for people on the field, and more broadly, for people who are not afraid to explore and put their life in danger. (That’s me or a version of me I aspire to become.)
Although I live a very secure life and will never see a battlefield (never say never?), I appreciate the connection. And I love the fact that the Hamilton Khaki has preserved the key elements that make for a true field watch: large hands that are easy to read, painted markers, Arabic numerals, a railway minute track on the periphery of the dial, and the 24-hour scale on the inner section of the dial. This watch is a legit field watch through and through.
How I Got It
Remember when I said that spending more than $300 on a watch used to feel like a lot? Well, that’s exactly how I felt and that’s why I never bought the Hamilton myself. But being a proper watch nerd, I spoke to my wife about this watch more times than she needed or wanted to hear, and one day—while I was living in a different city because of a job—I received a package with the Hamilton Khaki Field inside. Yes, my wife had surprised me with this watch and I felt so happy to have received it. It was more than I expected and I meant something special that she was the one who got it for me.
I often think back to that day when I got the Hamilton. Alas, I was alone when I opened the box but I immediately took some photos of it and sent them to my wife. She knew exactly what to buy me and why I liked this watch so much. And it is the reason why I liked it so much that made me decide two years later to give it to my brother-in-law (my wife’s brother) who’s an officer in the US Army. I thought it would be a great way to pass on this watch to someone who has a more legitimate use for it, although I must admit I miss it everyday.Featured image: www.wristreview.com