Certainly Hamilton introduced a lot of interesting color to its lineup at this year’s Baselworld show, but I think this year’s theme for the brand is engineering excellence. Hamilton came strong this year with new offerings that feature innovative mechanical movements and uncommon materials. The new Khaki Pioneer Automatics perfectly capture the brands efforts to fly past the status quo, inside and out.
Hamilton’s Khaki Pioneer Automatic Chronograph has been a favorite among Hamilton’s aviation collectors as it’s a perfectly sized and affordable mechanical chronograph with an interesting movement inside to boot. With it comes to the new three-handers, Hamilton didn’t just render the obvious steel automatic. They did release a steel auto (more on this one below), but they didn’t stop there. The brand launched four new versions featuring aluminum cases: one in black, blue, khaki green and sand.
Aluminum is an interesting choice for a watch case, for two particular reasons. First, aluminum is a light metal, and its lightness is one of the reasons its a popular material on airplanes. For an aviation-inspired watch brand to manufacture its watch cases from similar materials as airplanes makes total sense. When you wear this watch, you hardly notice it’s there. Second, aluminum is a relatively soft metal, so its prone to dents and scratches. In order to combat this, Hamilton anodized the aluminum, a process that hardens the material and prevents further corrosion. It’s also this process that enables Hamilton to achieve striking colors for the case. Each of these four watches comes with a matching NATO strap with hardware that coordinates with the case.
Like the existing Pioneer Auto Chrono, all of these new watches feature 41mm asymmetrical cases and sapphire crystals. There are two crowns on the right. The top one at 2 o’clock operates the inner rotating countdown bezel while the one at 4 o’clock is for winding the movement and setting the time and date. Powering these new automatics is Hamilton’s brand new H-10 caliber, which features 80 hours of power reserve and a date indication. Design-wise, these new three-handed automatics take their cues from their Chronograph ancestors, resulting in a clean and legible aviation inspired dial.
While most of the attention has been on Hamilton’s aluminum variations, there will be a new stainless steel three-hand automatic variation of the Khaki Pioneer Auto. This version shares the same case shape, dial and movement as the aluminum watches but will feature a black dial (and potentially additional colorways) and will come on a nylon strap just like its more colorful brethren. The steel version is great if you prefer more conventional metal for its proven durability and versatile aesthetic.
What’s also great about the steel version is that at $995, it retails for a little less than the aluminum versions, which will go for $1,145. Both are priced very competitively and are solid offerings at their price points. You can pick up these new Pioneer Autos in November of this year at Hamilton’s online shop, Hour Passion boutiques and other authorized dealers.