With a substantial, even intimidating, stainless steel body that measures more than 46 millimeters in diameter, the new hand-wound Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer (ref. H78190) deck watch can easily serve both as a big wrist watch and as a small desk clock.
Established in 1892, this year the (formerly) American watchmaking brand Hamilton plans to celebrate its 120th year in business.
Although around 40 years ago the brand was purchased by a Swiss consortium and since then makes its watches in Switzerland, the company doesn’t want to forget its American roots.
During the World War II, Hamilton supplied the U.S. Navy with its own marine chronometers that, as you probably know, were usually delivered in special wooden boxes that protected the clocks both from the elements and clumsy hands.
The new Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer model not only tries to mimic the design of war-time deck watches with its blued hands, easy to read Arabic numerals, the signature railway-style minute track and the inevitable running seconds indicator at 6 o’clock, but also comes in a stylized presentation box.
Crafted from Hevea wood (also known as rubberwood, since it is one of natural sources of latex) the box is equipped with a specially modified winding system that allows you to wind-up the watch without taking it off. I must also admit that the presentation box looks good enough to sit on a desk even in a well-furnished study, although, judging by the photos, this is definitely not a work of art.
As the watchmaking brand puts it in its press release, the watch is powered the well-known ETA/Unitas 6498 hand-wound movement, which is known for its robustness and reliability although I have an impression that in the future it will be more difficult to repair than more modern calibers.
You have probably already guessed, the watch will be issued as a limited edition model with a total run of just 1892 numbered pieces. Of course, when a wristwatch is issued in a batch that comes dangerously close to two thousand pieces it is sort of stupid to expect it to become a highly thought-after collector’s item any time soon: there will just be too many of them. However, the fact that the timekeeper’s production is limited -even at such ludicrous number- gives hope that the gadget’s resale value won’t plummet as fast as that of an ordinary timekeeper that is usually sold by dozens of thousands per month.
Not sure about pricing, but I don’t think that it will be too expensive while the stock lasts.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
See also: Archimede Deck Watch R (Ref. UA7952)
Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer hand-wound watch (ref. H78190) specification
Price: Approx. €3000
Movement: Manual, ETA / Unitas 6498, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 17
Movement frequency: 18,000 vph
Movement decoration: No data
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Power reserve: 46 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 46.50 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Silver, with velvet finish
Hour markers: Black
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Top stitched brown leather strap with stainless steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating
Case back: Transparent