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Reviewing the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Automatic

The new Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer watch tips its hat to a vintage pocket watch named the Model 23, tailored by the watchmaker for use on the wrists of the US Army Air Force during WWII


Picture how important it must have been during World War II for paratroopers to calculate safe drop speeds. For determining ground speed whilst in flight. For calculating fuel consumption and determining the correct speed for bomb drop trajectory. Now picture Hamilton’s Model 23 - a pocket watch developed at a crucial time for the US Army Air Force during the Second World War. The compact timekeeper was also used for navigational purposes alongside other equipment whilst in flight. And now a modern pilot-inspired chronograph by Hamilton pays homage to the original design of the Model 23, with a bicompax chronograph dial laid out in the North-South axis, and a reliable hand-wound movement. Its name? The new Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer watch. It mixes a very vintage-inspired aesthetic with some superior timekeeping technology to create a timepiece that feels both new and familiar all at the same time.



About the Hamilton Khaki watch collection


One guarantee when you opt for a watch from the Hamilton Khaki watch collection is that you’re paying for a very honest design. Its functionality is simple and to the point. Its design - clear and concise. The watchmaking expertise built into every timepiece is palpable and feels almost transparent when worn against the wrist. You can almost feel the ticking heartbeat within each tool watch, yet its complexity is concealed behind layers and layers of superior technology, along with years of know-how and horological experience.


Hamilton has been around for quite some time and if there’s one thing that the brand can hand-on-heart declare itself an expert in - it’s developing military-inspired timepieces. The new Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer watch comes in an automatic version and a hand-wound version. It’s the automatic variant we’re going to look at a little more closely in this review. Whether a neophyte or an experienced veteran, the watch is an affordable, practical and all-round solid timepiece for wearing every single day of the week. Hamilton has such a rich heritage in creating timepieces for both the military and aviation industry that really, you can’t discuss one without the other. There has been the X-Wind and the Aviation Converter to name just a couple of recent examples but the Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer watch is a distinctly vintage-inspired model that captures the qualities and key characteristics of the pocket watch perfectly. It’s important here to note that out of the million watches Hamilton supplied during the Second World War, 27,000 pocket watches of the Model 23 type were provided to the armed forces. The Model 23 was slim and very legible. It had a railway military track around the edge of the dial, as well as instantly recognisable cathedral-shaped hands and easy-to-read numerals.



A watch with a utilitarian, no-frills design


Part of the charm of the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer watch is bound to be its straightforward and no-nonsense design. The automatic model measures a smaller diameter of 38mm compared to its 43mm manual-winding counterpart. The latter is also available in a choice of stainless steel or bronze. The smaller automatic model is crafted from stainless steel and integrated with 100-meter water resistance. It has an oversized onion-shaped crown that adds to its retro charm, along with a bidirectional rotating bezel with a mineral glass surface. Its brown leather strap and matching stainless steel buckle secure to the wrist to create a stylish and incredibly timeless aesthetic.


The dial of the new Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer automatic watch is a matte black grained base that features clear and concise Arabic numeral hour markers partnered with a railway minute track and cathedral shaped central hour and minute hands that have been crafted from nickel. The hands and indexes are finished in a striking vintage-inspired radium-coloured lume to enhance an authentic and traditional feel across the display. The dial is also protected by a double domed sapphire crystal with a double anti-reflective coating.



A classic three-hand dial design conveys a very simple no-frills look about it, whilst the back of the case puts on a much more complex show. The Hamilton H10 Calibre is the brand’s name for the Powermatic 80 movement, which shares its architecture with the ETA 2824 base. Its extended power reserve of 80 hours will prove particularly useful if alternating the timepiece with another luxury watch over a few days or the weekend. Its revised kinetic chain and Nivachron balance spring contribute to an overall smoother mechanical performance on the wrist.



Although new to the line, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer watch will certainly appeal to those with a soft sport for vintage-inspired designs, not to mention military and aviation industry-tailored wristwatches. Overall, the new Khaki Aviation watch combines a clear and legible trial with advanced timekeeping, an improved power reserve and a reliable self-winding movement.


You can secure an order on the new Hamilton Khaki watch by visiting the three new releases here or call our Jura Watches sales team on 01335 453453


Technical Specifications of the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Automatic watch

  • Case; 38mm – stainless steel – 11.4mm height – bidirectional rotating bezel in black oversized onion crown - double domed sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating -exhibition sapphire crystal glass caseback
  • Dial: Matte black – grained – vintage-inspired Super-LumiNova-coated hands and indexes – Arabic numeral hour markers – cathedral-shaped hands 
  • Movement: H10 Calibre – self-winding – based on the ETA 2824 – Nivachron balance spring – 80-hour power reserve – 28,800 vibrations per hour
  • Strap: Dark brown - leather strap - stainless steel pin buckle
  • Reference: H76205530
  • Price: £855
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