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Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date: H64615135 on a Metal Bracelet: A Great Basic Watch:

Hello, folks. For the first time in almost three years, I have bought a new watch and I have returned to the site. More correctly, my company gave it to me as a Christmas bonus. The watch is the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date, H64616135 on a metal bracelet.

This is the first Hamilton I have owned. I am very excited to enjoy a watch from a thriving brand with a no nonsense heritage. In the past ten years, my quartz collection has included a Victorinox Officer's Watch, Seiko Kinetic Diver (Japanese Model), and reissue of the original Casio G. During the same time period, my mechanical collection has included a 1960s Omega Seamaster, Oris TT1, Raymond Weil Parsifal, Longines HydroConquest, Tag Heuer Link Chronograph, Baume and Mercier Capeland S Chronograph, an EBEL Sportwave Diver, and an EBEL Men's Brasillia. My current collection consists of the Hamilton I have just received, the 1960 Omega Seamaster, the two EBELs, and the reissue of the Casio G.

Over the last ten years, I would like to think that I have learned something about horology, manufacture/brand quality, and value. The two EBELs, regardless of market value, have been the best watches I have owned, from the standpoint of movement accuracy, movement quality, case fit, case finish, and comfort. The most fun watch I own has been the reissue of the original Casio G (I am twisted, but it is the only watch worn by Astronauts in my possession and it cost less than $50.00). The most personally valuable watch I have owned is the 1960s Omega Seamaster, it belonged to my deceased father.

With all these watches, the following questions come to mind: Why pick a Hamilton, and, this Hamilton in particular? Why now, instead of 10 years ago, when most people start with them for their first mechanical piece? How does this watch compare to the others in the collection?

I have previously thought about buying a Hamilton because of the brand's heritage and all American style. I never pulled the trigger until now. Four factors came together. First, three or so years ago, I saw the movie Interstellar and found the design of the pilot day date compelling. Second, my now 13 year old daughter is being confirmed in May, I have decided to buy her a watch, and I was thinking about the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic 38mm as a gift. Third, my company offered me the gift of my choice to myself as a bonus, the amount of the gift would pay for a solid entry level Swiss Watch, and the amount of the gift would not pay for a vacation for two (my daughter and me) or a mid tier luxury watch (Longines, TAG Heuer, etc). Fourth, I have never owned a Hamilton and wanted to experience a Hamilton Watch.

After I decided on the Khaki Pilot Day Date, I called Leslie Gold Watch Company in Los Angeles. Leslie Gold is an authorized dealer for many brands, including Hamilton. Everyone there was curteous, efficient, and knowlegeable. Mark offered me an incredible discount on the Khaki Pilot Day Date, assured me that I would not have to keep it if it did not have the ETA 2834-2 movement, supra, and promised me shipping in two weeks. I took the bait, used my bonus, and ordered the watch.

Two weeks later it arrived at my door. Everything was as promised, even the ETA movement. I have now had the watch for two weeks and feel comfortable reviewing it and comparing it to other watches I currently own and have owned:

1. Crystal: 10/10: The crystal is slightly domed, synthetic sapphire, with internal anti reflective coating. I regard this as the perfect choice because the inner anti reflective coating prevents glare, the outer portion is virtually scratch proof, and there is no anti reflective outer coating to rub off and otherwise mar the display.

2. Dial and Hands: 9/10: The dial is beautiful to behold. Outside of TAG Heuer, the only watches I have seen with a full day and date complication are dress watches. This watch successfully marries the traditional American Pilot watch style with dress watch elements, making it the perfect daily wearer.

The entire dial is flat, in a black ink and vaguely sunburst color.

The first thing I notice when wearing the watch is a 60 minute outer track with painted super luminova C1 markings, in white, and an inverted triangle that occupies the 11, 12, and 1 minute positions.

Beneath the painted 60 minute outer track are applied and non luminous arabic metal markers at the 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 minute positions. Beneath the inverted triangle and the markings for the the 11 through one minute painted track is a cut out window to display the full day of the week. The day display is not surrounded by any engravings and is black on white. Just below, and flanking, the 30 minute marker, in small type, are the words, "Swiss Made," in all capital letters.

The next ring sits just underneath the applied markers and day window cutout. The ring is painted and shows the hours of the day, also in arabic numerals, with hash markings for the minutes. At the six o'clock position is an unadorned cut out for the date, also in black on white, the same as the cut out for the day. The numerals on the inner ring are non luminescent.

Confined by the inner ring is the Hamilton name in trademark type in the upper third of the dial, and the text "Automatic," in the lower third of the dial. The font for the Hamilton log is larger the font for word, "automatic," but, to my eye appears the same type.

Now, all this sounds very busy, but as the attached pictures I believe prove, it works. The black on white day and day cutouts perfectly match the painted white outer and inner rings. The applied metal markers, day display, and date display dress up the dial and add necessary depth to the watch face. So, the dial is sporty, with dressy elements, rather than dressy, with sporty elements. The words "Swiss Made" are to remind us of the watch's pedigree.

I would have given the dial a perfect 10 out of 10, but the luminosity is disappointing. I would have loved the dial even more if the applied markers and inverted triangle were also luminous. My understanding is that most pilot watches are disappointing for luminosity.

The watch hands are particularly attractive. They are partially skeletonized metal, filled with C1 Superluminova, and glow brightly. The skeletonization is quite interesting. The first 8/10ths or so of the hour hand are filled with the Superluminova, and leave a small opening at the arrow (?) tip to display the markings for the hour and date of the month markings. Conversely, the outer half of the metal arrow (?) minute hand is filled with Superluminova, and the inner half is skeletonized. The sweeping arrow pointed seconds hand is not luminated and rendered in the same metal as the hour and minute hands. I have deducted a point because I would have preferred the arrow tip of the second hand to be filled with Superluminova.

3. Case: 8.5/10: Grading the case is tricky. The case is constructed from surgical grade stainless steel, modular in construction, and slightly asymmetrical with crown guards that flow out from the case. The finish is a mix of lightly satin finished brushed and polished surfaces.

The bezel ring is very thin, highly polished, and so well done that it seems very scratch resistant. The case body is finished is in lightly brushed satin, with high polish finish on the the lug shoulders as on the bezel. The lugs flow at a gentle downward angle from the case.

The brushed satin finish is very light and looks to scratch quite easily.

As in my previous reviews, I have deducted a point for the non use of industrial grade steel (a la Rolex). I have only deducted half a point for the superficial finishing. I have not deducted any points for the modular construction. My EBEL, Longs, and Oris have all been modularly constructed. Likewise, my TAG Heuer, Longines, and Oris were no better finished, with a similar light coat of satin, and cost much more.

4. Case Back: 8.5/10: The case back is a truly pleasant surprise. It protrudes slightly, is of the screw down variety, and is rendered in the same light satin brushed finish as the rest of the case. The outer ring of the case back is all steel, with the following words, in all capital letters: "Swiss Made," for pedigree; "Water Resistant 10 Bar/145 psi (100 meters), for water resistance; "Stainless Steel," for case materials; "Sapphire Crystal," to describe the top crystal; "2834-2," to identify the movement; and the watch model number.

The surprise is less the outer ring, than the large, circular, sapphire crystal display back. I checked with the Hamilton Service Center to confirm the display back was made of sapphire rather than mineral crystal. My Oris only had a mineral crystal display back. My Longines did not have a display back. My Baume and Mercier did not have a display case back. My Raymond Weil also used a sapphire crystal for the display case back, but cost much more. The only other watch I know of that uses a sapphire in lieu of mineral for the display back is Tissot. Well done Swatch Group!

Again, I have deducted a point for the non use of industrial grade steel and half of a point for the superficial finishing.

5. Crown: 9/10: The crown is goldilocks sized, not too large, not too small, rendered in the same quality high polish as the thin bezel and shoulders, with knurls, and signed and well brushed Hamilton letter "H." The crown is of the pull out variety. It turns for winding the movement, adjusts the day and date at the one o'clock position, with a satisfying click, and adjusts the time at the second position. The crown does not wobble and is smooth in all operations. I find the pull out crown perfect for this watch. The feature makes changing the time easier and the gaskets in the case still ensure water resistance to a 100 meters, more than enough for anything that is not a dive watch. Again, the only reason I have deducted a point is for the use of non industrial grade stainless steel. Again, it is as nice as my former Link, Hydroconquest, and TT1.

6. Movement: 8.5/10: I am awarding the ETA 2834-2 watch movement a score of 8.5 out of 10 precisely because it is an elabore grade workhouse movement that is completely honest and transparent in what it is, and does not pretend to be something else.

The ETA 2834-2 is tried and true. The movement is minimally decorated. The only real decroation is the lightly vertically striped skeletonized rotor with the modern Hamilton letter "H" logo. Especially pleasing is that although this watch uses the ETA 2834-2, the rotor is the newer design.

I know that the 2834-2 only has a power reserve of 38 hours. The 2834-2 in my watch is not overly accurate either. It is gaining about 7 seconds per day.

This iteration of ETA 2834-2 is more accurate than the ETA 2824-2s in my former Oris and Hydroconquest, and the 7750 in my former TAG Heuer. And, even though the movement is only elabore grade, and not top or COSC grade, it keeps times as well as the top grade 7750 in my former Capeland S Chronograph, which came in at a much higher price point. The movement is no match for the chronometer grade 2892-2 movements in my EBELS. But, remember, my EBELs cost even more than the Baume and Mercier.

The elephant in the room is why I did not want the 60 hour power reserve version of this movement that Hamilton is now offering. Simply put, I just did not think the movement suited this watch. The Khaki Pilot Day Date is a no nonsense, completely transparent tool watch. It is not from the American Classics and JazzMaster Collections. So, I felt that the 2834-2 perfectly fit the bill. If anyone is wondering whether or not Hamilton has used the old case labeling and put in the new 60 hour power reserve movement, I assure that they have not. My watchmaker has examined the movement and assures me it is an ETA 2834-2.

7. Bracelet: 8.0/10: The bracelet is as pleasant a surprise as the case back. It is integrated into the case, with a tri link design, and a slight taper. The middle links raise slightly above the outer links. The end links are solid. The links connect by a pins and collars. The bracelet has what I think are half links. There is no rattle and only a slight amount of lateral play. Until recently, the pin and collar method was the standard in the Mid Tier Luxury Watch Segment. The finish is consists entirely of the same superficial satin brush finish as the case, except for high polish on the beveled edges of the middle links.

The bracelet reminds me very much of the bracelet on the latest model TAG Heuer Aquaracer, which I have sampled, and which enters at a much higher price point than the Hamilton. Without hesitation, I can say that this bracelet rattles less than the bracelet of my Hydroconquest and Link, and the finish is the same quality. So, like everything else, the bracelet punches above its weight. Like the case and case back, I have deducted one and a half points for the use of non surgical grade stainless steel and the superficial finish. I have deducted half a point for the use of pins and collars instead of screws.

8. Clasp: 9/10: Everything that is true about the bracelet is true about the clasp and more. The clasp is foldover, both pieces are machined and nothing is stamped. For some reason, the satin brush finishing is deeper on the clasp than the rest of the watch. The outer portion of the clasp contains a micro adjustment mechanism, with the word "Hamilton" nicely etched in the trademark type. The trademark typed name "Hamilton" is also nicely etched on the inner portion of the clasp. The clasp operates by a push button release, much like the latest generation TAG Heuer Aquaracer and previous iterations of the Bond Seamaster I have handled. The clasp is indisputably better than the clasp on my former Hydroconquest and Link. I have deducted a point for the use of non industrial grade stainless steel. As is the recurring theme through this review, the clasp is better than it should be at the price.

9. Comfort: 9/10: Caveat: I am comparing the comfort of this watch to my EBELs, which have soft lines, with rounded edges on the bracelets on case, and are renowned for their comfort. Now, please do not get me wrong, the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date is very comfortable, it just feels like a watch, not jewelry, like my EBELS. People have written reviews in which they say the watch wears large at 42 mm, because of the thin bezel and large dial. However, I find the watch wears very true to size. The lug to lug distance is slightly less than 49 mm and the watch is only 11 to 12 mm thick. I have a 6.5 to 6.75 inch wrist, the lugs do not hang over the edges of my wrist, and the watch, once I became used to the relatively flat case back, proved very comfortable. The bracelet is also very comfortable, and I have experienced no hair pulling. My biggest issue was becoming used to a watch with square angle shaped links, versus rounded links. All in all, I place the watch comfort on par with my Capeland S. Chronograph.

10. Value: 10/10: What can I say? I find that this watch successfully competes with watches that cost more than twice as much, with every bit as much quality and care in its construction, and its own distinguished heritage. I do not know if the best thing about my Pilot Day Date is how much watch I have received for so little money or how true to the brand's heritage it is. The watch is completely honest and surprises me in the best possible ways.

Final Score: 89.5.

I cannot recommend this watch enough, to a first mechanical watch buyer, or a mature mechanical watch buyer, similar to myself. Thank you for your consideration. Pictures are forthcoming.
 

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Pictures are forthcoming.
Thanks for this detailed review. I look forward to you photos.

You have certainly written a much more detailed analysis of this model than I wrote about my 46mm Hamilton Pilot Automatic. I think we have come to the same conclusion about both models...value is 10/10.
 

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Thank you. I am absolutely stunned that I could receive such a high quality product for so little money. Watch manufacturing has certainly improved over the last 3 years.
 
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