The stark contrast of the grained black dial lends increased legibility to the beige-tone hour and minute hands, and marked Arabic numeral indices, recalling the vintage patina to the dated watches of its kind. These, however, are coated with modern-day luminosity using Super-LumiNova®, where adding to that, the white lacquered outline on the main hour and central seconds hand are a heightened visual feature that’s consistent with the original RAF models.
A Hamilton watch is, for one, a handsome piece of equipment. And with a history as old as theirs, they have the blueprints to prove it.
The latest mechanical chronograph from the American-founded brand pays homage to the military-issued watches of the 1970s, more specifically the chronographs Hamilton used to produce for the British Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots. Seen here for the Khaki Pilot Pioneer line, the new watch recalls details of the utilitarian timekeepers back then, preserving all the features necessary.
Housing the chronograph function that’s made possible by the H-51-Si mechanical chronograph movement is a sleek, brushed stainless steel case (sized at 40mm). The symmetry is a little skewed on the right side, where added thickness is provided to protect the crown and pushers.
Other throwback features in the looks department include the dome-shaped ‘box’ crystal and a textured brown leather strap with matching stitching. But for a watch of this century, the technology upgrades are in the manual-winding calibre that has a silicon balance spring for precision's sake.
And while the original issue was made for real pilots in mind, the casual, no-nonsense configuration of this pilot chronograph wears well into the weekend and beyond, thanks to its 60-hour power reserve.
So here we are, 50 years into the future since the military watches of the '70s and still we’re recreating one in its liking. It’s straightforward, it does the job, and it looks good. What’s not to like?
Explore the new Khaki Aviation Pioneer Mechanical Chronograph here.