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januari 19, 2024


The New Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Collection

Hamilton has a particularly rich history in the production of rugged tool watches. Starting with high-precision pocket watches for railroad companies in the late 19th and early 20th century, Hamilton went on to supply the U.S. Armed Forces and Navy in both World Wars with marine chronometers and robust wristwatches. With the advent of aviation, Hamilton took to the skies with intrepid aviators and provided the U.S. Airmail pilots with watches in 1918 as they flew between New York and Washington D.C. Expanding the popular Khaki Aviation line, Hamilton introduces a new Pilot sub-collection with seven references in two case sizes and a graphic, highly legible dial.

Khaki Collection

Among its most successful collections is the Khaki, divided into Aviation, Field and Navy, with a mix of wartime/vintage-inspired models and more contemporary models designed to tackle adventures on land, water and in the air. The Khaki Aviation family is composed of golden oldies, like the re-edition of a chronograph issued to the RAF or the military Hamilton W10, and more souped-up, modern pilot watches like the Khaki Aviation Converter Auto Chrono. (To distinguish the retro models from the more contemporary models, you have to look carefully at the name. Vintage models appear with the Pioneer appellation tagged onto the Khaki Aviation name.)

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The 42mm edition with Day-Date display

The new Khaki Aviation Pilot collection is not entirely ‘new’. It follows in the footsteps of earlier models like the Khaki Pilot Auto Day Date that started life as a 42mm model with a massive day-of-the-week window at noon and evolved into a 46mm behemoth with a more subtle day/date window at 3 o’clock.

The 36mm edition with time-only display.

While the layout of the dial, the shape of the case, the hands, markers, and numerals are similar to the massive 46mm models, the new models are available in more compact 42mm and 36mm case sizes. There are four stainless steel references in 36mm with a thickness of 11.15mm, including one with a rose gold coloured PVD coating, and three references in 42mm with a thickness of 12.10mm. The 100m water-resistant case features integrated crown guards that swoop up to protect the crown. Underscoring the tool watch personality, the case is mostly brushed with subtle polished accents at the base of the bezel and on the raised ridges and ‘H’ on the crown.

Oversized minutes

The height of the case is exploited to create the plunging sensation formed by the sloping flange bearing the seconds. Unlike most pilot watches with prominent hour markers, the Khaki Aviation Pilot diminishes their importance and relegates them to the slightly recessed interior area of the dial. Almost like a regulator dial layout, prominence is awarded to the large numerals (05-55) representing the minutes, which appear on a thick chapter ring. To enhance legibility, the three broad and elongated rectangular markers at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and the large orientation triangle at noon are treated with Super-LumiNova that emits a green glow.

Another fun detail regards the luminous, sword-shaped hour and minute hands. Given the unconventional layout of the dial, the nickeled hour hand has an openworked tip that glides over the interior circle to frame the hour in question. The minutes hand is also partially openworked at the base with a thick swathe of lume in the tip, and the central arrow-shaped seconds hand, also treated with Super-LumiNova, alights precisely on the prominent seconds track on the flange.

The 36mm references with midnight blue, silver and black dials do not have the day/date complication. The larger 42mm models, available with green, blue and silver dials, do have the day/date complication with a white background that eats into the luminous index at 3 o’clock.

Steel Bracelet & Strap

Two of the 36mm references come with sporty stainless steel bracelets; the other pair with pink or white leather straps. The blue 42mm edition also comes on a practical stainless steel strap, while the green and silver dial versions come with brown leather straps.

Swiss workhorse

The heart of the 42mm models is a Hamilton automatic H-30 calibre, which is a slightly modified ETA C07.111 also known as Powermatic 80. This reliable Swiss-made workhorse has a Nivachron balance spring, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz), and delivers a beefy 80-hour power reserve for the hours, minutes, central seconds (hacking) and a day-date complication. The smaller 36mm references are powered by the H-10 automatic, also with a magnetic-resistant balance spring and an 80-hour power reserve.

The Calibre H-30 in the 42mm version

The Calibre H-10 in the 36mm version


The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Auto 36mm models with a steel bracelet and the rose gold PVD model retail for CHF 995; the silver dial with a white strap for CHF 920. The 42mm Khaki Aviation Pilot Day-Date on a steel bracelet has a price tag of CHF 995, while the green and silver dial models with brown leather straps retail for CHF 920.

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