Watches and Hollywood have a complex relationship. There are watches that are iconic for their cinematic appearances, and there are gimmicky watches made as something like movie merch.
And then, there's the Hamilton Murph.
The Murph was initially created only as a movie prop for the 2014 blockbuster Interstellar, but it's not just the tie-in that makes this a notable watch. Precious few watches combine classically handsome looks with novel design and a compelling origin story as successfully as the Murph does. It became somewhat legendary among watch fans — but it wasn't until recently that a new 38mm size brought its classic looks into harmony with more average wrist sizes. This new model is the Hamilton Khaki Field Murph we were waiting for...and it just might be one of the best everyday watches in its price range.
At a Glance: The Hamilton Khaki Field Murph
Case Diameter: 38mm
Case Depth: 11mm (including crystal)
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: H-10 automatic
What's Good About the Hamilton Khaki Field Murph
This Hamilton has a great backstory
Watch fans were excited when Christopher Nolan's 2014 sci-fi epic Interstellar gave Hamilton watches ample screen time — and a pivotal role. Nicknamed after the character who wore it, the watch that became known as "The Murph" was hitherto unknown. It had been made especially for its specific (and, no spoilers, pivotal) role in the movie. It wasn't only intriguing, but also just a damn good-looking watch — all the more impressive given that Hamilton reportedly whipped it up in just a few short weeks based on the producers' requirements.
Five years after the film's debut, Hamilton released a 42mm version, the same size as that used in the movie. It worked well for cinematic purposes, but fans called for a size more fitting for the handsome, pragmatic look — one more in harmony with average wrist sizes.
The brand delivered in late 2022, with the 38mm version — the one that was finally the watch fans were waiting for. It might not be totally true to the film prop's size, but it works perfectly for the design. And while the 42mm version also incorporated subtle nods to the film, this version does away with them — leaving just an excellent watch.
The Murph is sexy
At least, that was one big reaction this pragmatically designed watch elicited during my testing. The watch isn'r just interesting to collectors because it was in the movie or made especially for it — but also because it was just plain beautiful. This is subjective, of course, but many watch fans agree. I might even compare its simple, masculine charm to that of a Panerai.
The Murph is in Hamilton's Khaki Field collection, which has roots in military design, but seems to nod more to pilot's watches than a soldier's practical kit. With a refined font, polished bezel and a hand design known as cathedral, it's got more of an elegant bent than the brand's iconic Khaki Field Mechanical. Hamilton decided to forego a date display for a cleaner dial, an aesthetic choice many watch enthusiasts will approve of.
It's perfect for everyday wear
All of these elements add up to a highly versatile design that can probably do everything except formal dress-watch duty. Its brushed case finish isn't ideal for that, but it'll transition easily between everyday and casual wear. An automatic movement (visible through the caseback) with 80 hours of power reserve is handy, and water resistance of 100m (without even a screw-down crown) offers peace of mind.
What's Not Ideal About the Hamilton Khaki Field Murph
The beige-colored lume is a bit weak
Beige-colored lume is a common way that brands give a watch an aged or vintage look. I've never been a fan, as it tends to feel a little contrived — and robs me of the chance to develop that patina myself over the decades.
While it fits the Murph's design well on paper and on the screen, I feel the overall product would've been stronger with neutral-colored lume for greater contrast and a brighter glow. The hands' lume is stronger than that of the numerals, but it all fades pretty quickly. Good lume is especially appropriate for a tool watch such as this, and the Murph could've done this element better.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Murph: The Verdict
Hamilton watches have over 500 film credits, according to the brand, but the Murph feels special — like a modern classic. A similar appeal in terms of style and design might be found in the likes of an Oris Big Crown, but that'll cost you more than double the Murph's price. And few other watches in its range will offer such a deep backstory. You're sure to get compliments with a Murph on the wrist — and when you do you'll have a lot more to say about it than "thanks."