Hamilton’s relationship with military forces and pilots is undeniable and strong. In the past, the brand has been one of the main suppliers to the American and British forces, resulting in some undeniably cool models with a simple no-nonsense look. We recently saw this spirit in the Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph, a vintage watch revived for the RAF. But it’s not the only model in the collection based on such a theme… remember 2019’s cool and compact W10-inspired Pilot Pioneer…? Well, it’s now back in two new fresh colors. And actually, it’s nothing historically relevant, but still cool.
In 2019, Hamilton brought back one of the most iconic pilot watches of its past, a small and quirky watch once made for Royal Air Force pilots, known under the code W10. W10 watches (mid-1960s) were first produced entirely by Smiths in the UK. But in the early 1970s, Smiths was replaced by Hamilton for W10 production. Manufactured for the British Ministry of Defense from 1973 to 1976, these models had a distinct case typical of the era known as the tonneau or helmet shape. The W10 was issued mostly to pilots and had a hand-wound movement. Although the overall design has been modernized, the basics of these watches are very close to what was once found in the Dirty Dozen.
Then came a re-edition in 2019, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Mechanical, first released in the faithful and historically relevant Black Edition. A hand-wound movement and a case that’s almost as small as the original watch bring surprises… It’s pretty unusual to see a 36mm launch on the market these days, although it really works in this case. This W10-inspired re-edition model.
Now that the model has established its presence in a classic and reliable version, it’s time for Hamilton to play a bit with colors. Sure, some would argue that this watch should have a black dial and nothing else. I personally understand this, at least in terms of historical relevance, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun. And the idea is not to replace the traditional black dial, but to complement it with more options, everything has to be right, right?
So what’s the deal for the 2022 collection? Well, nothing has really changed in terms of design, proportions and specifications. The once successful recipe is still there and delicious with the black edition. It’s just about the addition of new colors, which results in a very new look for the W10 re-edition. But first back to the watch.
All Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Mechanical Case Small. More than 99% of watches on the market these days are smaller. Like the original watch it reproduces, this modern take on the W10 features a typical 1970s pilot-shaped case, with integrated lugs and a slightly resected crown on the caseband. Fully brushed, it has a screwed caseback and is water-resistant to 100 meters. On top is a hardened mineral box-shaped crystal with a double anti-reflective coating. And the case measures 36mm in diameter, lug-to-lug just over 41mm. And as mentioned in our previous articles on this watch, the compact tool watch really has something special… the charm of old watches!
The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Mechanical features Caliber H-50, a modernized version of the hand-wound ETA 2801-2, with a slower frequency (3Hz vs 4Hz) but an improved power reserve of 80 hours. Here again, there is a historical link, as the old W10 was powered by the ETA 2750, the predecessor of the ETA 2801 (same construction, different escapement and addition of stop-seconds).
As for the dial, the classic pilot look is undeniable, as are the traditional features of watches delivered to the MoD and RAF. It features a highly legible railroad minute track with luminous hour markers. For low-light clarity, these have different shapes based on their location (rectangles, dots and triangles) and are coated with Super-LumiNova. The lance-shaped hands are in keeping with the historic watch and are luminous. However, the grained dial is now available in two new colors.
The first is a bright and still rather silvery-white dial with black contrasting tracks and numerals. This version of the Hamilton Khaki Aviation is worn on a gray NATO strap and has the reference H76419951. The other watch feels more surprising in this military context, but still very cool. Reference H76419941 comes with a blue dial, white tracks and markers and is worn on a color-matched blue NATO strap.
Availability & Price
New white and blue editions of the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Mechanical for 2022 are available now from the brand and retailers. Retail price is the same as the Black Dial Edition, meaning EUR 845, USD 845, CHF 845 Or GBP 740. History, quality and good value for a watch coming from a respected brand.
For more details, please visit www.hamiltonwatch.com.