The now Swiss-owned and former American-based Hamilton brand is the one that is responsible for the world’s first electric wristwatch, as well as for the world’s first electronic watch Hamilton Pulsar. Now it is going to start selling its new Hamilton Khaki X-Mach Automatic (ref. H766860): the world’s first mechanical timepiece featuring a real Machmeter gauge!
Right, pilots among us will soon be able to put a real Machmeter on their wrists.
For the non-pilots among us, I must explain that a Machmeter is a special flight instrument that measures the ratio of the true airspeed to the speed of sound and when that ratio reaches “1.0” it means that you travel at the speed of sound, as simple as that.
Simple in theory, right.
In practice, however, a Hamilton Khaki X-Mach‘s proud owner is supposed to calculate the speed of his or her airplane manually feeding the watch the pressure altitude and the calibrated airspeed values.
I don’t have a pilot’s license yet, but I somehow feel that in a real plane, which is capable of breaking the sound barrier there must be a dedicated gadget that does all these procedures automatically and with a lot better accuracy (and it doesn’t steal too much of your attention from actually piloting the plane, too.)
So, the Machmeter here is merely for design’s sake, and, giving Hamilton’s designers their due, it serves its purpose well. At least, the Machmeter is not that banal as an ordinary tachymeter scale, which is also a pure decoration these days.
The rest of the story is more or less prosaic.
The Khaki X-Mach sports the omnipresent Valjoux 7750 self-winding ebauche.
We’ve already seen this industry workhorse it in such timepieces as the vintage-inspired DOXA Ultraspeed, more military-looking Victorinox Alpnach, a monstrous Victorinox AirBoss Mach 6 Power Gauge and the gorgeous Chopard Mille Miglia GT XL Chrono Speed Black chronometer.
Show me a high-quality automatic chronograph watch and I will show you a 7750 happily ticking inside its case.
Talking about cases, in this particular, err, case, err, the case is a 44mm PVD-treated stainless steel job that comes fitted with either a black or brown leather strap or a more modern-looking rubber bracelet.
Just like some other recent chronograph models, the X-Mach’s pair of push-pieces serves both practical and decorative purpose and also provide the crown some extra protection.
As to the dial, it perfectly serves its purpose of telling you the time thanks to its jet-black face and contrasting white-colored hands and Arabic numerals.
However, I highly doubt that you’ll be able to operate the “CAL. AIR SPEED” and the “PRESS. ALT. THOUSANDS of FT.” scales unless you have a pair of eagle’s eyes.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Hamilton Khaki X-Mach specification
Price range: 1245 Euro / $1645 USD / 1895 CHF (all ‘retail’)
Movement: Caliber ETA Valjoux 7750, automatic, Swiss Made
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Complications: Machmeter, date, day of week
Case: Stainless steel, transparent case-back with sapphire crystal
Diameter: 44.00 mm
Dial: Black with white numerals and indices
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Brown or black leather or rubber strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective