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Are Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical H69419933 worth the money


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Hi Watch Repair Talk Community,

I am really glad to have found this website as it provides highly valuable information about watches and timepieces. I kindly would like to get some buying decision advice from you which is why I am here. 

I have decided to get a new watch search and possibly buy a new watch. This potentially will be my only watch.

I always had quartz watches. These quartz have never let me down. If one stops working, I just have the battery replaced and it carries on working well. But as these watch are quite reliable and robust, they seem to lack the "soul" of fully mechanical watch.
 
After searching through the internet, I have narrowed down my choice to the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical H69419933 with black dial and beige canvas/leather strap. http://bit.ly/1XuQj8O This watch ticks all the boxes. I am seriously considering to buy this same watch for the classic aesthetics, convenient form, brand heritage and overall utilitarian function. As I have previously mentioned, if ever I do get this watch, it will be my first venture in to the world of mechanical watches. This particular model retails here in the UK for £265 from reputable watch dealers. I can even get it from through interest free finance. I think £265 for a quality mechanical Swiss watch is reasonable enough but is still quite a lot of money especially one is on an average wages. 

However, from what I have gathered from the reviews on internet this Hamilton watch uses the ETA 2804-2 calibre and from my understanding is quite prone to problems such as: 
1. Watch stopping within less than 2 years of normal use.
2. Mainspring breaking easily
3. Water ingress from rain and splashes. 

These problems that I have enumerated above makes me think twice in purchasing this watch. I was hoping that these are just isolated cases. I don't mind having them repaired of course, but I would I would expect that to be done at least after 2 years from purchase. 

I am keen to know from watchmakers who have already serviced this particular model over the years so I can be a better informed buyer: 
1. Would you recommend to anyone with a limited budget considering to buy a mechanical watch which probably their first and/or only? 
3. How much should one expect to pay to have the ETA 2804-2's main spring replaced and repaired? Would you say that this is an easy job? 
4. How much should one expect to pay to repair damage due to water ingress from rain and splashes.
5. What other major problems does the ETA 2804-2 have? 
6. Do you think that money spent on buying it would worth it? 
7. Should one expect the cost of owning it to be more than the purchase price, especially if the movement does give up in less than 2 years?

I hope you can help me with my decision. Thank you a lot in advance. 

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I don't know the answer to all your questions, for that perhaps a more general watch forum is a better suited.

However what strikes me is the similarity of that Hamilton to the best seller Seiko SNK809 (you can have a khaki band for it as well), which cost one fourth and for certain it doesn't suffer of any of the potential defects which you are afraid of.

Picture below is mine

26047134675_139b2b1369_z.jpg

Edited by jdm
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15 minutes ago, jdm said:

I don't know the answer to all your questions, for that perhaps a more general watch forum is a better suited.

However what strikes me is the similarity of that Hamilton to the best seller Seiko SNK809 (you can have a khaki band for it as well), which cost one fourth and for certain it doesn't suffer of any of the potential defects which you are afraid of.

Picture below is mine

26047134675_139b2b1369_z.jpg

Thanks jdm for your reply and I will definitely consider your suggestion. You have a great looking watch. 

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I have the Hamilton Khaki Mechanical Field Officer's watch - not quite the same as your possible purchase. It's a little bigger and has a seconds subdial at 9 o'clock (because it's an ETA 6497 movement - originally intended for a pocket watch).

I bought mine second-hand some years ago for £200, so it's now about 8+ years old, I guess. Never had a problem with it. It winds beautifully, keeps perfect time and is very rugged. It's a very standard movement so spares are (or should be) fairly easily obtainable.

It's probably a higher spec than the 2804-2 movement, though i couldn't swear to it. I don't believe Swiss Hamiltons are as choice as the original US Hamiltons, but they're still a decent make. My current daily wear-of-choice is the Hamilton Khaki Automatic X-Wind - also second-hand for about £450. A beautifully made chrono. Here's the Khaki Mechanical:

 

Hamilton Khaki face.JPG

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Hi Epic and welcome to the forum,

My take on it, is that Hamiltons are high quality watches, (still) as Will said, and a good choice for Swiss made ones. If you think Tudor, maybe some Omega models and also a bunch of other Swatch owned brands, you will find that price vs quality vs recognition as a brand.is one of the best. It uses the same movements -- generally speaking -- that are not only main stream but proven through the years. The design is impeccable and very much on par with more expensive brands.

2 hours ago, epicunderstatement said:

What other major problems does the ETA 2804-2 have? 

The problems you have read about might be isolated issues and is more due to some defect in the case or workmanship or simply the fact it might have been fake (water damage). As for the main spring, it shouldn't have to fail in 2 years...main spring failure regardless is not uncommon in all types of watches [brands, make, country of origin] not just these ones...just like any other mechanical failure.

2 hours ago, epicunderstatement said:

Do you think that money spent on buying it would worth it? 

If you are buying a watch as an investment I doubt most any watch out there would be it...although with the changes in the Swiss Watchmaking industry, you'll never know. I particularly can't advise or suggest anything to this respect. I do will tell you something, If you like watches and a specific model/brand turns you on, go for it and if it is a Hamilton to be your first and only watch, I'd say, good choice....but the movement itself is common to many other brands that also use ETA movements.

If you want a cheap and quality watch that is not Swiss and will probably ride your wrist without being noticed, a watch that will have also inherent design "down sides" and "up sides" from the user/convenience stand point -- and not to detract from the brand which I love -- buy the Seiko or a Seiko, or a Citizen or something else mechanical. Japanese movements are different, strong, fairly accurate and like everything else, concepts vary depending on company, brand, etc. I'm partial for Orient, followed by Seiko and then Citizen on mechanicals...On electronics/digital Casio hands down (talking Japanese industry here). But that is only my preferences...Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Bob

PS. All things break, now would you spend money repairing a US$60 watch or a US$200 one? Forget about investment, just think what you see yourself wearing on your wrist.

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Bob is right, don't think about the "investment" because most of the time, it is NOT an investment at all!  Buy what you'd be most satisfied with and this certainly includes reliability.  In my opinion, some of the recent ETA movements seem to be a tad bit on the flimsy side, especially the keyless works!

Edited by jeffc83
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28 minutes ago, ash145 said:

Like the left hand wind on the Hamilton Will.

Yes - the main controls are arsy-versy - because the right-hand crowns operate the wind speed/direction calculator. Which is obviously very useful when I'm out walking over farmland!

:D

I've actually got used to the left buttons for winding, setting and chrono use, though it seemed a bit odd at first.

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Welcome Epic,

While I like those Hammys, don't know much about them. (thought ETA autos were pretty reliable?!?)

I was able to procure a 23J Seiko for my son last xmas, Very similar to jdm, but 24hr dial, green strap/dial and great lume, it's a daily wearer and he does stocking work which is really tough on watches. So far so good.

I would suppose it would depend on if you plan to wear the Hamilton daily or just special occasions, looks like your doing your homework. Not sure about the accuracy of "watch reviews", (is it just one person or consensus of many) I can only help answer one question:

7. Should one expect the cost of owning it to be more than the purchase price, especially if the movement does give up in less than 2 years? 

I would not purchase any watch that needs service in 2 years regardless of brand, I would expect service at least 4 or 5 years of daily wear, (there are however exceptions), Watches are like cars, if you beat the snot out of them, they won't last too long!

Best of luck!

snzgo91.jpg

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I've had a number of ETA 2824-2's break down on me along with a few 2836's.  The keyless works in them never seem to hold up well and even gave way on my Hamilton Viewmatic. (crown popped out, screw was in tight as could be, had to completely disassemble to fix it)  I'm sure not all ETA models are like that....I find the 2892 to be a solid movement.

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I would go for a Seiko (just bought one - lovely thing ) Hamilton was of course a once great USA company - pioneered 'electric' watches in the late 60's that rattled the Swiss - today Hamilton is just a grossly overpriced ghost - ETA movement in a Chinese case (nowt wrong with a Chinese case BTW but the mark-up is obscene ! ) 

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Thank you all for your warm welcome and very insightful responses. 

When I began my search for a new watch, I created a checklist of the things that I want the new watch to have according to priority: 

1. I have concluded my new watch should be a field watch. I like the design of the field watch as I find it as rugged but classic and understated as well as highly versatile which can be worn either on smart or casual settings which also means I can easily wear it daily, whatever the occassion 

2. I am only willing to spend a maximum £300 for the new watch. 

3. As my wrists measures 6.5" around, I need the watch to be anywhere between 36mm-39mm in diameter so it is in good proportion. 

4. Also watch bulges on shirt and sweater cuffs are my one of my pet peeves so ideally the watch's thickness should be a maximum of 9mm. 

5. I don't want the new watch to have a shiny, polished "hey look at me" finish. I now want an understated matte/brushed finish. 

6. I also wanted to be able to change straps to mix up the look of the watch, so the watch should enable me to remove and install spring bars easily, as well as having 20mm lug width for more available choices for replacement straps and bracelets. 

7. I need to the dial to be easy to read, no chronograph function but definitely with a date display.

8. I want the watch to be mechanical, either automatic or hand-winding, ideally Swiss made but open to others. Recently, I indeed have become quite fascinated with the smooth, sweeping movement of a seconds hand on a mechanical watch
 
The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical H69419933 seems to tick all the boxes for me. I am probably over thinking this business of buying a new watch. I agree with what Bob has said that mechanical failure will happen at some point but a bit afraid of it happening within a few years of owning the watch especially when it is at that price point from a reputable brand.  

If I were to compromise on the thickness of the watch and the lug width, then I will definitely go for the Seiko SNK. And if I were to compromise on the type of movement and decide to get something in quartz, I think I would have to go for the Seiko SBCA001 as the best option but, alas, that may be hard to find here in the UK. 

I called up Steve Burrage of Ryte Time to find out roughly how much would it cost to have common repairs done on the watch should something goes wrong with it after the two year warranty expires. For replacing the mainspring, it would by around £40 and if inclusive of full service/overhaul it would be £90 which I find reasonable enough. This gives me added confidence in my decision to buy the watch. 

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