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Hamilton Limited Edition: Khaki X-Wind in Details and in Films
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Hamilton Limited Edition: Khaki X-Wind in Details and in Films

Everything you need to know about X-wind and its appearance in movies
Mar 06, 2021

Introduction

Hamilton X-Wind was crafted in honor of the US' first airmail service. On May 15, 1918, the first airmail service flights were made between Washington and New York. These airlines officially set up airmail services in the United States.  However, the US had no commercial airlines at the time, so airmail service was carried out by air force pilots (Army Air Corps Main Ruben Fleet and Lt. George Boyle) and aircraft. The airmail service's first flight delivered four bags of mail including a letter from the Postmaster of Washington to the Postmaster of New York. President Wilson himself put the letter in one of the bags. On that day, each crew member received a new watch from Hamilton in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Thus, it marked  the beginning of Hamilton's history with aviation.

Hamilton X-Wind

Someone in Hamilton had a good understanding of marketing campaigns and saw an opportunity to associate their watch with US Airmail. Over the years, Hamilton advertised their watch as "The Watch of Airplane Accuracy" in reference to the flight on May 15, 1918. It was the first of many memorable collaborations between pilots and other aviation explorers and Hamilton. This year marks the centenary of this association with a special timepiece; Hamilton Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Limited Edition. A hamilton khaki series that only came out in 1918 pieces and is based on the 2018 X-Wind model. I had my first longer encounter with the watch during the Red Bull Air Race in Budapest and is now here for a hands-on overview.

Case

At first glance, the Hamilton X-Wind Limited Edition looks bigger than other timepieces. It measures 45mm in diameter, 14mm thick and 53mm from lug end to lug end. However, on the wrist the watch sits comfortably on, it doesn't bother me at all. I have a slightly large wrist that measures 7.5 ”, which is comfortable if I want to wear a larger watch. In the case - like on the dial - from Hamilton X-Wind there's a lot going on. The chronograph crown and pusher located on the left make it a destro watch (right hand). Lower pusher starts / stops the chronograph, upper push resets. The crown that is screwed with a Hamilton “H” in the center is slightly protruding. The right side of the case also has 2 knobs that are screwed in. This controls the inner rotating scale.

The two inner scales combined with the usual steel swivel bezel are the instruments that give the Hamilton X-wind the name; crosswind calculator. This is a feature you don't see often on a watch, but very useful for pilots. Just be honest here; the majority of Hamilton X-Wind Limited Edition owners do not know how or when to use this function. Still, it's an interesting feature that's pretty cool once you learn how to use it. The entire casing is brushed with a few small polished elements like the sides of the crown or pushers. The X-Wind is part of Hamilton's Khaki collection, most of which feature military-inspired watches. Military watches (as well as most pilot watches) were never polished to prevent the sun from shining on them. A brushed case also looks optically smaller than a polished one.

Limited Edition Tribute Group to 1918

The back of the case is screwed in with the sapphire crystal attached. It has a crystal-like anti-reflective coating on the front. Even though the window is rather large, there is still enough space around it to display the most important information about the watch. This is; water resistance (10 bars or 145 psi), Limited Edition number (in this case 1814/1918) and the fact that the watch is made in Switzerland. Also visible on both the back case and dial, is the movement grade: a certified Chronometer. The rotor is unbranded, but instead shows a cross-wind calculator scale. Hamilton logo adorns the propulsion engine, under the rotor.

Dial

As mentioned earlier, a lot is happening to the dial. First of all, the three subdials cover the 12-3-6 o'clock position. The date of the day, as you have with most destro watches, is 9 o'clock. The index is short but all very large numbers are covered in the Super-LumiNova, like a sword hand. The hands and numbers are sandy yellow, but glow green in the dark, which I think is pretty cool. The 30 minute subdial at 6 has the Hamilton logo in it with a barely noticeable dark gray. The sub on 3, which is the seconds counter, has a plane gyroscope motif. It's just a decoration. The 12-hour submarine in 12 has a white crosshair, this is the simplest of all 3. The entire dial has an almost glossy and glossy black finish. Despite all of the above, the dial is easy to read.

H-21 Caliber Movement

The X-Wind's movements are of their H-21 caliber. Technically this is the ETA / Valjoux 7750 with some modification from Hamilton. The most noticeable difference is the power reserve. The normal ETA 7750 movement has a power reserve of around 42-44 hours, while the H-21 has 60 hours. This is the result of the silicone hair springs found on the H-21 making it the first Hamilton caliber chronograph with such a modification. Other Swatch Group brands such as Certina or Tissot also use a similar silicone hairspring in their movement and that caliber is also excellent especially when you consider the price range of the watches on offer. Silicone hairspring, as you know, are neutral to magnetization so that the watch not only has a longer power reserve, it also becomes more accurate. In addition, the H-21 on Hamilton X-Wind has been certified by COSC.

180 Degrees

Some of you may be wondering why the crown and pushers are on the left side of the case. This is nothing new in this line of models. Several previous Hamilton Khaki X-Wind models also have this layout. This is a design requirement. See, the pilots need to access the crown, which controls the bezel if they want to calculate the crosswind. They can only do this if the crown is on the right, given that the pilot wears his watch on the left wrist. So Hamilton took the movement and turned it 180 degrees leaving the right side of the watch "empty" and making room for an extra crown on the side of the case. This is why the start / stop of the chronograph is at the bottom (while the top one) and the top one is the reset button (while the one at the bottom).

H-Strap

We come to the part of the Hamilton X-Wind in my opinion, which is the strap. First of all, let me say that the quality of the straps is good. It's quite thick, 5.3mm, with seams around the edges. The H-shape buckle is a great idea and fits the watch perfectly. What this rope lacks, however, is a lack of courage when it comes to patterns. The straps look too sterile for my taste. This is an area where Hamilton can and should tread. And please remove two fake snap buttons from each end. This rope is 22m wide, non-tapered and relatively soft - for its thickness. Hamilton also offers X-Wind on the bracelet.

Appearances in Film

It looks like science fiction film directors want you to believe that our future has room for only one watch brand: Hamilton. Interstellar, The Martian, and most recently Independence Day: Resurgence, all feature a watch from the Swiss company on their protagonist's wrist. While I found the storyline a little unbelievable, however, it is the most plausible part of the Independence Day script: The Resurrection. There are four Hamilton watches featured in the film: Auto Chrono Pilot (on James Ritter, as Lt. Whitmore) Jazzmaster GMT (in Jeff Goldblum, returning from the first film as David Levinson, Director of Earth Space Defense) a Thin -O -Matic (on Bill Pullman, returning as former President Whitmore) and X-Wind Automatic Chronograph at Liam Hemsworth. Maybe there is a scene on the cutting room floor from the first film, showing the devastating attack on Switzerland with only Hamilton surviving?

Liam Hemsworth wearing hamilton watch

The latest blockbuster is the sequel to Independence Day, which original fans demanded in the 1990s, expected to be seen in the 2000s, and was shocked when it was announced in 2014. It finally hit theaters, and failed to be caught. the magic of the first film, I have to admit I found it very entertaining with a way of shutting your brains out. In terms of scale, the new film is definitely bigger than the first, but bigger doesn't mean it's more exciting.

hamilton khaki x wind in movie

But where does the Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono fit into all of that? The watch makes several cameos, all of them more subtle than Hamilton's "Murph Watch" on the Interstellar, although the same cannot be said about the watch itself.

It measures a whopping 45 mm - including knob and pushers - and there are several of them. In fact, if you put your finger on each knob and a pusher on the watch, you won't have time left to adjust its function.

Three screw knobs control the time, day, date, and deviation functions (more on that later), and two presses control the chronograph feature on the Hamilton Automatic X-Wind. Oddly, it's on the left side, and the lower pusher starts and stops the chrono, while the top pusher resets. Why? As the watch is powered by a modified Valjoux 7750 which has been reversed, so that the pilot can easily access the drift function crown, on the right side. As a non-pilot, I found it quite awkward (although many might find operating the chronograph with the thumb more natural than I do) although the larger power reserve is a definite plus (60 hours, vs. around 46 for the standard 7750. ).

The positions of the two crowns are important to make fast calculation of crosswinds. This involves adjusting the interior and exterior bezels, and a little math. I'm not too sure how useful it will be for pilots - I'll leave it up to them - but I'm afraid this is one of those watches that tells people who haven't flown the instrument cockpit already telling the professionals. Breva's Genie 01 was guilty of this a few years ago (although the Genie 01 wasn't really meant to be a pilot watch). However, the calculation of drift due to crosswinds is very important in air navigation, especially in dead counts, where the position is calculated based on the compass direction, speed, elapsed time from the last position, and most importantly, the lateral drift due to the crosswind, so this is a legitimate critical function. The crosswind calculations can be seen in the table on the E6B standard pilot manual flight computer and the miniaturization of some of the E6B's functions on the watch - especially the calculation of fuel consumption - has been going on over the years, with the Navitimer perhaps the most well-known example, so the X-Wind is at least at good company.

Where the Hamilton Khaki X-Wind will really impress non-pilots is in terms of build quality. It also has great workhorse moves, and lots of functionality for money. Obviously a lot of thought has gone into the finer details of the design, although I'm sure some will take a look at it and see branding exaggerated. The H emblem appears on the crown and buckle, and the business signature is etched on the winding rotor. But it's hard to find a watch packed with so many features for just $1,130.

Some Thoughts

The Hamilton X-Wind costs $1,130 in a leather strap. On a steel bracelet, this is a little bit more. Let's take another look at what we get for this price; Swiss-made chronograph certified chronograph featuring a crosswind calculator, a silicon hairspring with 60 hours power reserve, a tough yet wearable case, which is an impressive pilot's watch. I believe the Hamilton X-Wind has a lot to offer for this money. Due to its large size, I suggest that anyone planning to buy one should head over to AD and try the watch first. If you like big, the Hamilton X-Wind pilot chronograph will not disappoint you. Checkout today on Gnomon Store!

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