A short time in the past I reviewed what might be the preferred discipline watch available on the market, the Hamilton Khaki Area Mechanical. While it is an awesome watch in some ways, it did not fairly hit the spot for me, and that is as a result of, to be sincere, I discovered it a bit uninteresting. I do know that is type of the purpose of a discipline watch, however I am no soldier caught within the Vietnamese jungle. I am a watch geek who desires a discipline watch as a result of I like its aesthetics. And that is why after I had the KFM, I used to be left wanting a discipline watch that was just a bit bit nicer. Fortuitously for me, Hamilton makes one other discipline watch that I believe is simply what I am after. That watch is their Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer Mechanical.
It is primarily a reissue of the Hamilton W10, which the corporate equipped to all three branches of the British army from 1973-1976. It additionally makes the title Pilot Pioneer one thing of a misnomer, because the design is for a basic service watch, moderately than one particularly designed for pilots.
Why The Pilot Pioneer Prices So A lot
Up to now, I have been extremely essential of the Pilot Pioneer’s retail worth of £720, primarily as a result of it is nearly twice the worth of the Khaki Area Mechanical. That watch has very comparable specs and styling, but it surely prices solely £395. Nonetheless, lately I’ve begun to marvel if the distinction within the costs of those two fashions is not just because the Pilot Pioneer prices that rather more for Hamilton to make. Virtually each side of it’s completed to the next commonplace, and I would not be shocked if that meant its manufacturing prices have been nearly double that of the KFM. And, if Hamilton applies the identical share markup to each watches, then that may end result within the massive distinction within the retail costs.
So, let’s check out precisely why I believe the Pilot Pioneer is a lot nicer than the Khaki Area Mechanical…
A Basic Case Measurement
Let’s begin by wanting on the case. Similar to the unique W10, the Pilot Pioneer has a tonneau/cushion-shaped case with a brushed end. The brushing retains the watch wanting toolish, but it surely additionally seems extra refined than the bead blasting seen on the Khaki Area Mechanical.
The scale of the case is a modest 36mm, with a lug-to-lug of 41mm, and a thickness of 10mm. That is just about the identical measurement as the unique Hamilton W10, and I am glad to see Hamilton resisted the urge to upscale the look ahead to a contemporary viewers. I discover that the watch wears fairly true to those dimensions as properly, so it’s going to little question be too small for some folks.
So as to add to the authenticity of the Pilot Pioneer, Hamilton opted to suit it with a boxed mineral crystal that mimics the form of the acrylic crystals discovered on the unique W10. It sits good and proud from the case, which helps the watch to essentially nail the classic look. Nonetheless, I am confused as to why Hamilton did not go together with a sapphire crystal. Sapphire could be way more scratch-resistant, and the truth that the Pilot Pioneer solely makes use of a mineral crystal is frankly inexcusable. Although the one factor the mineral crystal on the Pilot Pioneer does have going for it over the sapphire on the KFM, is that it has a double anti-reflective coating. This severely reduces any glare, and subsequently I had no hassle in any respect in telling the time in shiny daylight.
The Pilot Pioneer additionally has 100m water resistance, double that of the KFM. It is a small enchancment, but it surely signifies that I really feel much more comfy taking the Pilot Pioneer for a swim than I do the Khaki Area.
As you’d anticipate from a army reissue, the Pilot Pioneer comes on an 18mm grey NATO strap. It is a good high quality NATO that is definitely much better than a budget ones you should buy off eBay. The one draw back is that the tip and pin holes have a leather-based cowl that makes the strap too thick to tuck again on itself.
The Pilot Pioneer Has A Beautiful Dial
Nonetheless, it is the dial that actually demonstrates simply how a lot of a step up the Pilot Pioneer is over the KFM. While the dial of the KFM is flat and useful, the dial of the Pilot Pioneer is filled with totally different finishes that draw the attention from one spot to a different. For starters, the dial itself has a sandpaper-like end to it. It is refined, but it surely imparts simply sufficient texture to forestall the dial from being uninteresting.
Then there’s the print. The markings are similar to these discovered on the unique W10, with a railroad minute observe, Arabic numerals from one to eleven, and an arrow on the twelve o’clock place. Hamilton even used their interval appropriate brand with an italicised font. All that is fairly commonplace for a discipline watch, but it surely’s set off by way of faux-aged lume on the minute observe and handset. Fauxtina could be very a lot a find it irresistible or hate it function, however personally, I believe it units the dial off properly and provides the watch a much-needed pop of color. Nonetheless, I’ve to say that while the creamy lume does assist give the watch a classic aesthetic, it is not all that shiny.
Lastly, the easy sword handset is polished with a rounded floor. This small element signifies that they catch the sunshine barely otherwise relying on the angle, and look that bit extra fascinating over a flat handset.
General the dial of the Pilot Pioneer stays as simple to learn as you’d need a discipline watch to be, but it surely throws in sufficient element to make the well-trodden army design really feel a bit extra distinctive.
A Look At The Pilot Pioneer’s Motion
Similar to the Khaki Area Mechanical, the Pilot Pioneer makes use of Hamilton’s H-50 motion. It is primarily a modified ETA 2801-2, and it has 17 jewels, a 3Hz beat price and a formidable 80-hour energy reserve. The longer energy reserve is clearly very welcome on a handbook wind watch like this, and the H-50 appears to be a dependable replace to the confirmed ETA caliber.
So, for me no less than, the Pilot Pioneer knocks the socks off the Khaki Area Mechanical. It is merely a a lot better completed watch, and in consequence, it actually looks like a step up from the KFM. In fact, should you choose the extra useful look of the KFM, then that is high quality. I am not making an attempt to let you know your wong to love that watch extra. In spite of everything, it principally gives you an identical options for lots much less cash. It is simply that as somebody who’s owned each fashions, together with numerous different discipline watches, I actually like these small particulars on the Pilot Pioneer that set it aside from different military-inspired watches. The one letdown is that mineral crystal, and I do not suppose I am going to ever determine why Hamilton selected it over sapphire. However, it is a small damaging to what’s in any other case an enthralling and well-executed reissue of a traditional army discipline watch.
With the extent of ending that the Pilot Pioneer has, I perceive why Hamilton has priced this watch at £720. However regardless of all of the enhancements over the KFM, I nonetheless can not help however really feel that it is on the costly aspect for the general package deal it delivers. Which is why, should you do wish to get one in every of these, I like to recommend that you simply do what I did and purchase it second-hand for 35-40% off the RRP. At that worth, I believe it makes much more sense to spend that little bit extra and get the Pilot Pioneer over the Khaki Area Mechanical.
You should purchase the Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer immediately from Hamilton’s web site right here.