Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical

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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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