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Hands-on: Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Dates Review
Whether you want to fill in the gaps in your collection or just want to know the history of the watch, here is a detailed review of Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Dates.
The Low-key Genius
Before we dive deeper, here's a quick rundown of the brand. Even though Hamilton was at mid-level, watchmakers would know better than to underestimate him. Truth be told, Hamilton introduced a major innovation that directed the watchmaking path.
Some of their work includes the world's first electric watch powered by a battery and Pulsar and the world's first LED digital watch. It is this contribution that shapes some modern watches.
Additionally, some of their watches are Hollywood movie stars. Among them are Hamilton Pulsar on James Bond and Hamilton Khaki on Interstellar. This only proves that the brand is highly relevant in the world of watches.
A Matter Of Life And Death
Although Hamilton now uses the Swiss movement, it has American origins. Significantly, they have their roots in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they help time American railways. It is this connection with the train that begins their long and rich horological journey.
In the past, train accidents were common. The inaccuracy of the watch causes the train to move in an out of sync manner, resulting in a crash. Then again, remember that this was in the 1800's when horological technology was not very advanced. Frankly speaking, the ability to tell accurate time is a matter of life and death.
Because of this, Hamilton began providing railroad companies with accurate timekeeping. As a result, it reduces the number of accidents on the track. So that it got the title "Railway Accuracy Watch". You can say that Hamilton literally saves lives!
From Railroads to Runways
No, we're not talking about a fashion show here. Even if personified, Hamilton Khaki watches do more than qualify to appear at fashion shows. As stated above, the brand is starting to become popular on the track. But the story doesn't end there.
Come 1918, Hamilton decided to venture into the sky. From the train, they began assisting the U.S. Airmail service. track time. They also produce watches that are worn by Royal Air Force pilots. In modern times, these vintage timepieces are considered collectibles and can be sold for a great price.
From there, their relationship with aviation grew with the passage of time. Currently, Hamilton is the official timekeeper of the Red Bull Air Racing World Championship.
Hamilton Khaki is divided into three collections - Aviation, Field, and Navy. And each of them represents three branches of the military. The Field and Navy were both respected in their own right. However, the Aviation collection has very different features that set it apart.
So without further ado, let's see how Hamilton soars through the skies with the Aviation collection.
Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Dates
After a week of owning the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date, I am still impressed by the appropriateness and overall feel of this piece. This watch looks great when it comes out of the box and makes a strong first impression on me. It is my first aviator style watch and my first Hamilton watch. I'm going to try to keep my remarks as factual as possible. My background with Swiss watches is rather short. I own another Swiss automatic, with a dark face Victorinox Officer's Day Date, so some of my observations are based on my experience with those watches, as both watches offer similar features. I purposely chose a silver face with brown leather straps to complete my Victorinox style. If I didn't have the dark-faced Victorinox, I would go for the dark-faced Hamilton with a steel bracelet. The watch is sharp!
Hamilton is the main jewel in the crown of the SWATCH brand. As a brand, they advertise American style, quality and history very well, and how this affects their products today. Hamilton was at the top of my list when I was shopping for my first moderately-priced Swiss watch. I'm a big fan of their product from a style / price point of view, and throughout the decision-making process, I strive to use as many models as possible. Getting in touch with Hamilton was a relatively straightforward affair as they had decent market saturation. My final decision for my first Swiss watch hinges between buying a Jazzmaster's Day Date and a Victorinox Day Date. Victorinox wins because of the final price point, although after wearing this Hamilton I am sure I would be happier with Hamilton in terms of overall build quality.
The Hamilton Khaki Pilot's Day date is a large, easy-to-read watch. I really appreciate that most of the watch faces are dedicated to the hands and large, easy-to-read indicators. The silver background is quite stunning. Brushed silver has an almost pearl-like quality. The inner index paints the hour numbers with dashes of 30 and 15 minutes. This is a relatively small face type, but fairly easy to read. The main index uses an incremented number indicating seconds / minutes.
The figures are raised about a millimeter off the silver background and topped off with a jagged / aggressive finish that gives this indicator lots of contrast against the silver backdrop. This raised minute / second indicator really makes this watch special. The day and date indicators are black text on a white background and truncated to the primary and secondary indexes at positions 12 and 6. At position 12 is a prerequisite for the pilot triangle indicator without visibly compressed. The outer index has tick marks for the minutes and seconds, which in my opinion are painted on a silver background.
The hand complements the pilot-style watch and reaches deep into the face making full use of the space provided. The hour hand has a case at the end allowing easy display of the date window and the inner hour index indicator, and the hour hand is filled with a generous portion of the Superluminova. The minute hand is made in the frame on the body of the hand, with the tip filled with Superluminova. The second needle is a long arrow with no lighting applied. All hands have a brushed steel finish. Note the lume image and the lack of application in the outside index. The lighting works well and after hours at my bedside table I can still see the time, although, a little illumination at the 12 position helps to orient in low light conditions.
As much as I like this dial, I think there is still room for improvement. My biggest complaint is that, excluding the Hamilton logo, there are three different fonts used on the dial. In such a small space, I can't help but understand this font issue. Hamilton is certainly not alone with the use of multiple fonts, but since Hamilton is part of Swatch, and Swatch has an ETA, then why can't they make the design more uniform? My second complaint comes from the first, and that's why the colors between the silver dial and the day / date indicator match better? I'm sure this will add up a bit of cost, but making the colors / fonts more uniform would be a great way for the SWATCH Group to flex their supply lines to create a superior product.
Clock and Crystal Cases
The stainless steel case measures 42mm wide excluding the crown, and the band width is 20mm. From lug to lug, I measured this case at 49 mm in length. The case and crystal are about 11mm thick. The case features a mix of brushed and polished finishes that offer a nice level of contrast between the two. After a week of wearing everyday wear I don't see a single scratch on the polished surface, so I'm sure Hamilton got this match right with a brushed surface where it looks more wear.
The 6 x 3mm knob and crown guard do an excellent job of protecting the crown while still allowing easy access for time adjustments. The watch has a rear case that has a break-down design with four screws for safety. The crystal is made of sapphire with a little dome. The crystal dome is so small that it may not rise more than half a millimeter above the bezel. The minuscule dome adds a warm look to the dial and is a welcome and surprise feature not mentioned anywhere in Hamilton's online description. I added a crystal photo with extreme angles to highlight the dome. I can't comment on the anti-reflection finish on this crystal. Nothing to advertise, but readability, even in bright light, is easy to achieve, and minimal glare.
The watch has an ETA 2834-2 movement. Apart from the Hamilton logo engraved on the rotor, there is nothing special about it. Jane is plain, but functional. Having had the two day / date movement variants of the ETA, I have to say that I like the accuracy, the ability to adjust the winds, and the precision of the day / date indicator which changes right at midnight. The advertised 40-hour spare is fine for an everyday wear watch, but if you're like me and take your watch off on the weekend, then you'll need to wind and tune the watch again on Monday. It's kind of a ritual for me, and I can set the time of day / date pretty quickly at this point, so it's no big deal. Letting the watch run out each week did affect my ability to observe long-term accuracy, but from Monday to Friday, I didn't notice a big difference.
Wow, this rope was stiff at first. After a week, he adapted pretty well. Hopefully, after a month, it will really fit my wrist. This is the first leather strap I have, so I don't know what the average out-of-box stiffness is. The fit and finish of the straps are quite impressive. Her tan skin is quite dark, but it really matches my brown leather belt and shoes. After a week of wearing, there was no visible wear and tear on the skin, so I believe that the quality of the skin and dying is quite high. The stitches are perfect. An interesting and unexpected feature is the "H" buckle used on the strap. The "H" buckle design looks sharp and works well with this strap. Resizing a watch is easy, even with the double row perforation of the strap. The "H" top always slides in. The strap offers minimal adjustment, and should fit a 6 1/4 to 7 3/4 inch wrist.
In comparison, my wrist measures 6 3/4 inches. I have one complaint regarding the straps. I was afraid to remove them for fear of breaking the skin on the lugs. The strap fits snugly between the 20mm wide lugs so there's no clearance for the strap removal tool without prying (and potentially damaging) the skin or lugs. The watch screams "My NATO," but unfortunately, has to wait until the strap is ready to be replaced. It would be great if the case drilled the lugs or a millimeter or more of space to work on the lugs.
Conclusion Review of the Pilot Hamilton Khaki Date
Minor complaint aside, I think you really can't go wrong with this Hamilton watch for everyday wear. At 42mm wide, it's a big watch for my wrist. definitely above the wearable scale for me, but not very strong. Date day watches aren't for everyone, but I like watches for everyday wear. Overall I am quite proud to add this watch to my small but growing collection. I look forward to seeing years of service from this work. Thanks again to Ariel and Hamilton for the opportunity to wear and review this watch.