The industry is very much enjoying a protracted romp through its back catalog, and while the desire for true novelty and innovation persists, this current fascination with the past has unearthed some throwback gems. Hamilton has a long association with the aviation industry, having supplied the U.S. Armed Forces with timepieces throughout the 1940s. Those military credentials were further compounded by the brand supplying the British army from the late ’60s until the early ’70s. Originally produced between 1973 and 1976, the Hamilton W10 was one of the most popular models at the time. And now, 43 years since its discontinuation, an extremely faithful remake hits the shelves today. The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical watch benefits from a host of 21st-century updates, but is essentially the same watch, aesthetically speaking. And if you don’t believe me, check out the lead image: The one in the middle is the original.
Period-appropriate case dimensions of 36mm across (9-3), 33mm down (12-6), and 42mm lug-to-lug will not be for everyone, but such a boldly diminutive model will surely earn plaudits from advocates for authenticity. The stainless steel case has been mattified to reduce glare and teamed with a textured black dial set against polished hands for excellent legibility. Additionally, the box-shaped crystal has been treated with two layers of an anti-reflective coating so it provides a sharp view of the dial from most angles. A simply decorated pad-printed dial is brought to life by pairing a crisp white chapter ring with a faux-radium luminant.
Under the hood, the real update can be found. The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical is powered by the modern H-50 caliber. It is a hand-wound movement, which has earned its stripes in some of the brand’s best-loved watches from the Khaki series. Its most notable trait, which is especially impressive given its small size, is a massive 80-hour power reserve, which means this watch will run for more than three days on a full wind.
Adding to the military feel of the piece are the NATO straps supplied with the watch. There is a choice between a durable storm-gray textile and a vintage-brown leather. As mentioned, the lead image at the top of the page also shows the original (which appears to be fitted to something akin to an admiral gray NATO). When seen side-by-side, it very is easy to appreciate how little Hamilton has chosen to mess with the source material on this occasion. The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical is available now, priced at $845 on the gray strap (H76419931) and $895 on the brown leather strap (H76419531). Learn more at hamiltonwatch.com.
Update: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the diameter as 33mm. This is actually the diameter of the case along its vertical axis (from 12-6). The external width of this model is 36mm.