Hamilton intends to give the wearer of the H64715885 Pilot watch the feeling of being an early American pilot. With many throwback aviation features, I think they mostly hit the mark, too. The design has some distinctive German B-Uhr elements as well, but since Hamilton likes to stick to its American roots, their marketing materials will never mention any sort of German influences.
Beyond the aviation theme, this is a timepiece characterized by a bold design that incorporates pleasing design flourishes and intricate craftsmanship. Some modern and unusual twists add a bit of a contemporary feel to the vintage charm of this large pilot’s watch. Let’s dig in to some of the finer details, shall we?
Measuring 46 millimeters wide, the H64715885 is a very large case. The small, fixed bezel is in keeping with the aviation watch tradition of maximizing the dial area so it is as large and legible as possible. Even though it is thin, the bezel is still worth admiring, with a nice polished finish juxtaposed against the brushed finish of the rest of the case. The back of the case features four exposed screws.
Sapphire crystals are used on the front as well as the back, where the automatic movement is showcased. With the help of a screw down crown, this watch is rated water resistant up to 200 meters.
The large crown guards flow organically up from where the lugs recede into the case, adding some interest to the side of the case.
Because this watch has such a thin bezel, the dial is absolutely huge, taking up most of the 46-millimeter width. Those with small wrists are in danger of appearing to wear a clock on their wrists, but with such an attractive design, it still manages to look good. The dial design is uncluttered and simple for the most part, with easy-to-read numerals and hands. Like many aviation watches, the hour numerals are displayed on the inner perimeter, with minutes on the outer perimeter. A large triangular marker at the 12 o’clock position points down, which is in breaking with the tradition upward-pointing triangles on aviation watches. Some pilot watch enthusiasts may take great exception to this design decision, but I don’t mind it at all.
Embossed, applied minute numerals have a shiny metallic finish and really stand out from the gray dial, especially when viewed from a slight angle. This watch is big enough to retain the outer numerals with the day and date display, which sits inside the 15-minute marker, in place of the 3 o’clock hour numeral.
The markers and hands on the H64715885 Khaki have wonderful lume, easy to read at a glance in the dark, even from a distance. The hour and minute hands on this watch are a thing of beauty, with negative space used to great effect. The hour hand’s cutout takes up the pointed tip of the hand, allowing for viewing of the hour numerals. The large minute hand features a cutout on the inside of the hour markers, starting right where the negative space on the hour hand ends. The lengthy silver second hand uses an arrow tip.
At least to my eye, the leather calfskin strap, even at 22 millimeters, looks slightly too small for this large watch. It doesn’t look terrible, just out of the ordinary, giving a distinctive retro feel to the watch, as Hamilton intended. It’s a nice-looking band, with alligator print and contrast stitching. Hamilton’s signature H-shaped tang on the buckle adds a nice little flourish.
The automatic H-30 movement is based on the ETA 2836-2, with some improvements added such as an improved mainspring for an increased power reserve (to 80 hours).
It includes a hacking feature that stops the second hand while the time is being set in order to increase accuracy, an important function for actual military pilots who used these watches during the World Wars.
The H64715885 Khaki Pilot dares to be bold, with the exceptionally large dial making a statement. Be warned, for better or worse, people will notice this watch when you wear it. It doesn’t scream for attention like some watches, but its huge dial tends to draw in admirers nonetheless.
While it strays from a true vintage aviation design in a couple of areas, it still manages to achieve Hamilton’s goal of putting the wearer in mind of early 20th century aviators. This watch also comes with a pamphlet discussing Hamilton’s history of aviation watches to get you excited about your new purchase. If 46 millimeters is just too large for your wrist, or if you prefer not to draw too much attention to yourself, Hamilton also offers this design in a smaller, 38-millimeter configuration. MSRP is $995 on Hamilton’s website, but you would be wise to shop around before shelling out that much.