Hamilton’s first watch left the factory in 1893, a 17-jewel pocket watch. The company has come a long way since then. Transformed from an American to a Swiss Manufacturer, Hamilton is currently part of the Swatch Group – one of the largest watch manufacturers and distributors. Since 1918 Hamilton has provided pilots with accurate and reliable timepieces, and the company is celebrating this centennial with its latest pilot series, the Khaki Pilot Auto Day Date. Combining design elements from previous collections, the new pilot’s watches have a vintage feel with modern touches. Equipped with a Swiss automatic movement with day/date complication, the watches are competitively priced.
There are two versions of the new pilot’s watch, differentiated by the case treatment and subtle variations in the dial and straps. Both have 42mm stainless steel cases and water-resistance to 100 metres. The untreated steel case has a mix of polished and brushed elements, with a polished bezel and a wide chamfer spanning the top edges. There’s also an integrated crown guard and a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. The dial, evoking cockpit instruments from vintage aircraft, is black with numerals and indices filled with sand-coloured Super-LumiNova. The date is displayed at 6 o’clock with the day displayed at noon in an arched window. The nickeled hour and minute hands, and tip of the seconds hand are also filled with sand-coloured Super-LumiNova, which has a neon green glow in the dark.
The second version has a PVD-treated stainless steel case in dark brown. Again, the dial is black with numerals and indices filled with sand-coloured Super-LumiNova, but the hour numerals surrounding the inner section of the dial are finished in red. The same polished elements as the untreated case exist here and the integrated crown guard, coated sapphire crystal and day/date complications are identical. The minute, hour and second hands have a brown lacquer to match the treated case with the same sand-coloured Super-LumiNova.
Both models are powered by Hamilton’s H-40 automatic movement, which is a modified ETA 2834-2 with 25 jewels. Basically, this movement has an updated kinematic chain, from the barrel to the escapement, an improved mainspring and a refined escapement with a reduction in beats-per-hour from 28,800 to 21,600 allowing for a sizeable 80-hour power reserve. An exhibition case back displays the moderately embellished movement with perlage and an “H” cutout in the rotor.
The watches come with a new collection of aviation-inspired leather straps. Simulating leather from flight jackets worn by US military pilots, Hamilton strived for a lived-in look that’s reminiscent of leather that has endured the stress of countless flight hours. The PVD-treated model comes with a brandy leather strap with hot stamping and H buckle. The untreated steel model comes with either a matching desert-brown leather strap or stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp.
Hamilton has a reputation for affordable, quality pilot’s watches and these new models are no exception. The untreated steel model is priced at CHF 895 and the PVD-treated model is CHF 995. Not bad for Swiss automatics with dual complications from a company dating back to the 19th century. More details on www.hamiltonwatch.com.