One of my favorite times of the year is when SIHH kicks off in Geneva. While the Richemont brands put extraordinary horological muscle on display in Switzerland, Hamilton holds court in midtown Manhattan, showing off their latest novelties before they hit the booths in Basel. Watch lovers and journalists are ogling over expensive timepieces in one part of the world while relatively affordable wristwatches are being unveiled quietly in the states.
A big part of Hamilton’s show this year is an extension to its Navy Pioneer line, all larger versions of the existing 40mm Pioneer Auto. One of these watches (and my personal favorite) was the Khaki Navy Pioneer Automatic Chronograph, a 44mm chronograph version of the brand’s popular marine chronometer series. Thing is, although the case is upsized, the silver dial remains clean and balanced with proportional chronograph registers. From pictures alone, it’s not a watch that you can immediately tell is oversized, and the wire lugs limit the lug-to-lug distance that usually is responsible for making watches in the 42-45mm range appear huge on the wrist.
Behind the dial is Hamilton’s caliber H21 automatic chronograph movement that comes with 60 hours of power reserve. This modified Valjoux 7750 doesn’t have a running seconds, yielding a symmetrical and still dial. The new Khaki Navy Pioneer Automatic Chronograph will officially debut at Baselworld this year on a brown leather strap priced tentatively at $1,895. If your wrist can handle it, it’s definitely a piece worth checking out.
Two new automatics will be announced as well, both clocking in at 43mm. One will be in stainless steel and another with a PVD-applied rose gold coating and a lighter brown strap. The former is an upsized version of the Pioneer Auto currently on the market with a central seconds hand.
Powering these three-handers are Hamilton’s calibers H32 (rose gold) and H10 (steel). All of these additions feature the signature Navy Pioneer look: a polished steel case, a knurled bezel and a leather strap on wire lugs. Pricing for the rose gold will be around $1,245 while the steel will be around $995.