Hamiltonís newest offering is a thorough and largely accurate rendition of a much loved military issued aviation watch, the W10. Following many years of producing issued watches for the US military, Hamilton got the contract for a simple pilotís watch for the Royal Air Force in the 1970s. The new Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical pays tribute to the classic W10, and truly gets all the little details just right. Letís take a closer look.

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical

Two Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanicals flanking a vintage W10.

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Textured black
  • Dimensions: 33mm x 36mm
  • Crystal: Hardened mineral crystal (box shape) with double AR *
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters
  • Movement: H-50 (hand-wind caliber based on the ETA 2801) with 80 hours of power reserve
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather or nylon mil-strap
  • Price: $850 on nylon; $890 on leather
  • Expected Release: Available now

The first thing to understand about this watch is that it hasnít been dramatically up-sized, as is the case for many vintage reissues and reinterpretations, including those from Hamilton. The Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical measures just 33mm across by 36mm in height. Itís a roughly square shape, so the watch wears larger than a circular watch at 33mm in diameter, but this is still very conservative sizing from Hamilton, and they get kudos from me for resisting the urge to make this thing a dinner plate on the wrist. Another nice vintage touch is the box shaped mineral crystal, which should give the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical a strong old school vibe when viewed in profile.

As a true pilotís watch, consideration has been given to reflective surfaces. That is to say, there really arenít any. The case has a matte finish all around, and the dial has been given a grainy and textured treatment, which Hamilton says is inspired by camera and binocular cases from the era. To me, it calls to mind the gently degrading dials we often see on vintage watches of the period, caused by a combination of paint that was not made to stand the test of time and radioactive luminous material. Regardless of what the inspiration is here, the finish offers plenty of visual interest and adds a great deal of charm to the piece. Along with the aforementioned box shape of the crystal, the dial has been engineered to be glare free, a safety feature that simply canít be ignored for actual aviators.
From an aesthetic perspective, the watch is a simple affair, remaining true to the traditions of pilotís watches through the years, and specifically the historical model from which it pulls inspiration. Arabic numerals are used in a crisp white font, with the triangle denoting the 12:00 position. Sword hands are correctly proportioned and filled with faux-patinated lume, and the dial text is kept to a bare minimum.
Powering the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical is an 80-hour hand-wound movement dubbed the H-50. Again, plenty of vintage charm in a hand-wound timepiece, and one with a power reserve stretching over 3 days is an added bonus.
The largest *point of departure ó a standard case back here versus the original’s monocoque construction.

With plenty of authentic vintage flair and a time-tested aviation design, the new W10-inspired watch from Hamilton is an attractive option, especially if you’re a fan of the originals, which have climbed steadily in price in recent years. Furthermore, this one is a step up in terms of specs, with the higher-finished dial and 3-day caliber ramping up the bang-for-buck value here. I expect this one to be another hit.*Hamilton

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