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Hamilton comes to the rescue with the Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers Hamilton comes to the rescue with the Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers

Hamilton comes to the rescue with the Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers

Tom Austin
  • Celebrating the brand’s connection with rescue aviation, Hamilton has released the special edition Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers 42mm in connection with the Swiss Air-Glaciers helicopter rescue team.
  • Built with direct input from the pilots, Hamilton has used a plethora of specialised materials to achieve the specifications necessary for spending long days on high-altitude rescues.
  • The 42mm titanium pilot’s watch features an ETA-based movement with an 80-hour power reserve and a Nivachron balance spring for improved accuracy in demanding conditions.

When a brand introduces a pilot’s watch, all too often it comprises of a simple recipe, starting with a large dial, a handful of large hour-markers (replicating an aeronautical dial, naturally), a pinch of some large high-contrast hands and a sprinkle of MIL-SPEC design cues. The truth is, often, the closest these watches get to a pilot’s wrist is way back in seat 43A in economy. What if a brand collaborated with actual pilots from one of the most advanced helicopter rescue organisations in the world? Well, that’s precisely what Hamilton has gone and done, and the result is the special edition Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers 42mm.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier case

Hamilton already knows a thing or two about making pilot’s watches. In fact, the American-Swiss brand’s aviation heritage dates back as far as 1918, with pilots in the United States Postal Service wearing Hamilton military watches during the First World War, modified to be easy to read during flight. Since then, the brand has produced some excellent pilot’s watches, and its latest special edition, made in collaboration with Air-Glaciers appears to stick to that trend.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier pilot

The Air-Glaciers are one of the world’s leading helicopter rescue teams stationed in Switzerland, responsible for patrolling the Alps around the clock. They also operating worldwide, offering air-rescue services in some of the most dangerous locations you can think of. According to Bernard Vogal, CEO of Air-Glaciers, “timing is everything in our industry”, and who am I to argue? I can imagine every second counts in any rescue scenario.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier strap

The interesting thing about this watch is that there has been direct input from the helicopter’s pilots themselves to try and make this as good as a pilot’s watch can be. Firstly, materials: the 42mm watch case is machined from titanium, bringing the watch’s weight down by around 45% that of a steel equivalent and offering hypoallergenic properties. Comfort is essential for pilots, so it makes sense for the watch to be as lightweight as possible. All surfaces on the case are brushed to offer that tool-like appearance, along with some gently curved crown guards for protection.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier caseback

Flip the watch over, and you’ll find a novel half-mooned shape exhibition titanium caseback, with the other half engraved with the Air-Glaciers insignia. This is a much better way of doing it than a lazy laser-engraved crystal: great touch, Hamilton. An anti-reflective sapphire crystal finishes things off, with the watch offering a 100m water resistance rating.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier dial

On the dial, you’re greeted with an almost cobalt blue matte finish with large quarter-hour markers and numerical 5-minute markers. The numerical hour markers sit within an inner ring on the dial and are a little on the small side. It does seem like these clutter the dial somewhat, and they wouldn’t really be missed if they were absent. Nevertheless, the dial is extremely legible. This is mostly thanks to the huge, lume-filled arrow hands and the red and white seconds hand sweeping around the bold, angled chapter ring. Tucked away at the 3 o’clock position is a date and day window, which, unlike many date windows, isn’t too obtrusive.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier wristshot

Underneath the dial and visible through that rear window is the Hamilton H-30 automatic movement, based on the ETA 2836-2 albeit with a few changes – such as an updated escapement regulator and main spring, which pushes the power reserve to 80 hours. Importantly, this movement was selected due to the Nivachron balance spring, offering excellent anti-magnetic properties, resistance against shocks, and, crucially, temperature variations. It’s a solid movement used across a wide range of Hamilton watches, and with the subtle day-and-date complications, it is quite a useful one, too.

hamilton khaki pilot air glacier box

Each special edition watch comes supplied with both a brown suede nubuck strap and a blue tactical-style nylon Velcro strap. The nylon strap is well engineered, with a leather lining, matching titanium keepers with a Velcro fastener, and is emblazoned with the Air-Glaciers logo. The packaging is pretty cool too (which is usually the case with Hamilton special editions), arriving complete in its own Pelican R40 Ruck case.

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers 42mm pricing & availability

The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers 42mm is available from the Time+Tide Shop, either online or in our Melbourne Discovery Studio. This special edition will be available exclusively via the Time+Tide Shop and Hamilton Australia’s online store from the 16th of May for one week. Price: US$1,395.

Brand Hamilton
Model Khaki Pilot Air Glaciers 42mm
Reference Number H64655941
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 12.1mm (T)
Case Material Titanium
Water Resistance 100m
Crystal(s) Sapphire front and back
Dial Matte blue
Lug Width 20mm
Strap Blue nylon Velcro, titanium hardware
Additional brown suede nubuck strap
Movement Hamilton H-30, ETA 2836-2 base, automatic
Power Reserve 80 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date
Availability Available now
Price A$2,225
US$1,395
€1,495
CHF 1,295