Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical, small but perfectly formed

Hamilton’s field watches are an excellent choice for buyers seeking something simple, sensible and serene. With their clean-cut good looks and robust mechanical movements, they’ve been a fan favorite since 1261 AD (1973). The new Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical continues the tradition, only looking backwards. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to . . .

tell the 36mm HKPPM apart from ye olde square-cased W10 pieces.

Unlike its forty-year-old ancestors, the new old Hamilton field watch offers an anti-reflective coating, non-radioactive lume, an H-50 handwinding movement with 80 hours of power reserve, and a two-year warranty. It’s also good to 100m underwater, in case you find a field with a sinkhole, obvs.

The case is a real doozy, large enough to draw comparisons to a refrigerator. It’s period faithful and scratch-resistant, but the satin finish draws attention to the company’s description of the timepiece as a “reinterpretation of a vintage military watch produced for the British Royal Air Force in 1973.” ’73 is vintage? I guess that makes me an antique. Anyway . . .

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical textured dial

You may notice the lack of a date window. Period correct as it is, it’s still a blessing when a watch face doesn’t spoil its symmetry trying to fit a square date into a round dial. And while I can’t find a lume shot of this timepiece, it sure looks like they’ve got the glow-in-the-dark thing sorted out.

Bonus! You can’t really see it that well in the product shots, but the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical’s dial has texture! I know: I’m a geek. But the 70’s-era camera and binocular case-inspired dial texture floats my boat. I don’t know why more watch makers don’t pebble-up their dials, or at least give it some interesting surface to catch the light and draw the eye.

As does the $845 price tag. Still there’s no getting around it: in today’s market, the 36mm Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical is a small watch. For lovers of faux vintage watches, that may be a feature not a bug. Hamilton’s going to find out.

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