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Reviewing the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph

Jewellery & Watch News

The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph reimagines the Swiss watch manufacturer’s collectible Fab Four watch created for the British Royal Air Force during the 1970’s.

If you’re shopping for a reliable, attractive and affordable pilot’s watch, Hamilton is one luxury watch brand you can rely on. Their heritage within aviation is unmatched; in 1918 they engineered the aeronautical watch worn during the first US Airmail service between New York and Washington D.C. Then in 1926, they created the first watch flown over the North Pole, and by the ‘30s, Hamilton became the official timekeeper for America’s four major airlines. More recently, the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer has become one of their most successful aviator instruments, offering manually wound mechanical hearts, vintage-inspired aesthetics and wallet-friendly price points.

For their latest Khaki Pilot Pioneer watch, Hamilton reaches into their archives for inspiration and addresses the famous Fab Four collection launched during the 1970’s, a series of pilot’s watches created by Hamilton, CWC, Newmark and Precista for the British Royal Air Force. All four designs were characterised by a black military dial, large luminous hands and markers, a bi-compax chronograph and the Valjoux 7733 movement. They were also defined by a reinforced 39mm steel case with a significant “bulge” on the right hand side for protection of the crown and pushers. Hamilton’s Fab Four reference is now wonderfully revived in the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph, a non-limited edition piece with a lot of bang for its buck.

A quick comparison between the original 1970’s RAF watch and the new Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph and you can tell the Swiss watch manufacturer has taken careful consideration into each element of design. The case in particular looks and feels extraordinarily close to the original offering the same cushion-shaped profile and protective shoulder to ensure the integration of the crown and pushers. There are some subtle – and necessary – improvements to the design to allow for better wearability for the modern wrist. This includes an increased case size to 40mm in diameter and the use of sapphire crystal glass rather than Plexiglass. The sapphire crystal is tall and box-shaped and attains to a height of 14.35mm.

The dial of the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph watch also mirrors its predecessor accurately with a matte black grained backdrop set with two horizontally aligned subsidiary dials for measuring the minutes and running seconds. Around the circumference, a printed minutes track, rounded markers and large Arabic numerals signal the hours and minutes while at the centre, two large propeller-shaped hands are finished in white lacquer. All of the hardware on the dial is completed by old radium Superluminova for an undeniably retro feel and easy legibility in low lighting.

Like the original, the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph watch is manual winding but rather than the Valjoux 7733, the movement is upgraded to the Swatch Group’s H-51-Si calibre. The Swiss made movement impresses with an anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, a power reserve of 60 hours, 27 jewels and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. The mechanism is hidden behind a screw down case back assisting in the watch’s 100 metre water resistant rating.

Completing the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph is a gorgeous vintage-inspired brown calfskin leather strap detailed with matching brown stitching and closed by a classic stainless steel pin buckle. The watch is not a limited edition and will be part of the brand’s permanent collection until further notice, retailing at £1,800. 

If you’d like to learn more about the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph and order it for yourself, head over to the C W Sellors website here. Alternatively, get in touch with the team by calling 01335 453453 or send us a message at help@jurawatches.co.uk.

Specifications:

  • Case Size: 40mm
  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Bezel: Fixed
  • Glass: Box-shaped sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective treatment
  • Crown: Push-pull with pump pushers
  • Case Back: Screwed
  • Water Resistance: 100 metres
  • Movement: Calibre H-51-Si, manual winding
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, central chronograph seconds, 30 minutes counter
  • Power Reserve: 60 hours
  • Jewels: 27
  • Frequency: 28,800vph
  • Dial: Black grained with old radium Superluminova hands and markers
  • Strap: Brown leather
  • Buckle: Pin
  • RRP: £1,800

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