From 1944-1945, Elgin and Hamilton collaborated to produce what was heralded as the most complicated aircraft clock of its time. Two companies manufactured this watch because the US Government issued two contracts in order to ensure redundancy; however, the end result was that Elgin produced some parts, Hamilton others, and they came together to form the AN 5741-1.
The clock featured a 24-hour dial and a 16-jewel movement with a lever escapement and two barrel mainspring assemblies, which enabled an 8-day power reserve . The movement, caliber 37500, had 1-hour and 12-hour chronographs plus a civil date dial.
The Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Automatic Chronograph, announced at Basel this year, takes its inspiration from this groundbreaking navigational clock. In cooperation with Nicolas Ivanoff, French pilot, flying instructor and professional aerobat, Hamilton developed a limited edition model that pays homage to the AN 5741-1. In addition to being an attractive bullhead-style chronograph, the case detaches from the strap and can rest in a special wooden display case that accompanies the watch.
Why detach the case from the strap? Hamilton learned that, when pilots fly, they often remove their watches and place them somewhere on a dashboard in a cockpit. Instead of resting the watch somewhere on the dashboard, would a display case be a better solution? We’ll see. We have yet to see what that case looks like.
The 46mm case has a PVD-applied coating. Inside is Hamilton’s H-31 caliber that features an automatic chronograph with 30-minute and sub-seconds registers exposed on the dial. When fully wound, it will beat for up to 60 hours. This one sits on a black leather strap with matching yellow stitching, rubber lining and a new skeletonized Hamilton buckle. When you remove the case from the strap, you’ll notice the watch has an exhibition case back exposing the movement. The bi-directional bezel is intended for use in timing countdowns, say, for takeoff.
The Hamilton Khaki Takeoff will have a limited run of 1,999 pieces and will retail for $3,295.