Hands-On: Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC Watch
A little while ago, in one of our Hot Take articles, we already introduced the new Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC watch to you.
As soon as this watch was released, I knew I had to line one up to review. I caught my first glimpse of this model in September when I visited Hamilton, but I wasn’t able to spend much time with it then. After the release, however, Hamilton kindly gave me one for a few days. Before I headed off to put the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC through its paces, however, I got the chance to attend the launch event in New York.
From New York to New Jersey
The launch of the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC happened in New York City. During the day, however, we took a trip to New Jersey to the Schott NYC headquarters. We met the people behind the brand and got a glimpse of their company. Jason Schott, COO of Schott NYC, was gracious enough to give us a tour of the whole facility. He was open, not only about the partnership with Hamilton but also about a bunch of other things. Jason gave us a brief rundown of Schott’s history, explained their production process, and shared with us stories of some of their VIP clients (that list is endless by the way). This little peek behind the curtain was rather interesting and helped us better understand the inner workings of the company. But I took home something else. I saw how passionate Jason and his whole team was about their collaboration with Hamilton. And this puts the watch into a different perspective.
Later that evening, back in the Freehand Hotel in New York, Hamilton and Schott NYC unveiled the fruits of their labor — the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC. Sylvain Dola, CEO of Hamilton and Jason Schott from Schott NYC took the stage to talk about the partnership. As it turned out, the Swiss-American watch brand was the “instigator”. Though it is worth mentioning that the lovely people at Schott didn’t need too much persuasion to get on board. And after spending some time with them, it is easy to see why Hamilton was so keen to work with the team. The people behind Schott NYC are knowledgable and approachable. Hanging out with these guys, talking about watches, jackets, or just a general mooch around the subject of the “American Spirit” was a treat. Furthermore, you could hear Alfredo Bellaveglia’s (Head of Product Management at Hamilton) thoughts on the design process.
Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC
The Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC is a large watch. The diameter is 46mm with a thickness of 12.5mm and 22mm strap width. From lug tip to lug tip, it is a whopping 52.7mm. I have a 7.5” wrist, and while it doesn’t look disproportionately large on me, it may do if you have a smaller wrist. Since we are looking at a military-inspired timepiece, we mostly have brushed surfaces. To break the monotony, you can see some polished parts, like the bevels on the lugs, the crown guard, and the thin bezel. That’s it. The back, just like the front, is brushed. Four screws hold the display back in place. Speaking of the back, the display window is not huge — there is plenty of space around it. The caseback is engraved with useful information, such as the water resistance (20 bars or 200m), the limited-edition number (XXXX/1,892), and the model reference (H647350).
A large watch means there’s a large dial with plenty of space to play with. Although there are indexes and numerals all around, the dial is well-balanced and easily legible. The base color is military (well, khaki) green, though, with the dark brown strap, it comes off looking an even darker shade of green. As far as the layout is concerned, we have an outer ring, and after a bit of a step, an inner, center dial. The outer dial has a 60-minute scale with Arabic numerals (except for 3-6-9, or, better yet, 15-30-45) while the center dial displays the numbers from 1 to 12. As the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC has a day-date feature, there is an aperture for those at the 3 o’clock position cutting into the inner dial.
The branding is also not too conspicuous; the Hamilton logo is below the upside-down triangle at 60 (or 12) while the name is in the inner dial. Above the 6 o’clock marker, we have the common model name and the movement designation (automatic). A triangle at the 12 o’clock position is another military nod — a marking commonly used on air force watches back in the day. However, on this timepiece, it is upside-down. Large sword hands with lume — the same lume as you’d find on the 60-minute index — improve legibility. One smart thing worth mentioning is the cut-out on the hour hand. Its tip would cover the hour track of the inner dial, so there is no lume there, which lets you see the actual hour numeral underneath. Just as consciously designed is the cut-out of the minute hand, which is precisely matched to the lume of the hour hand, meaning it does not obscure the hour hand when it passes over it.
If you turn the watch over, through the display window, you have a great view of the heart and soul of the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC. Hamilton’s H-30 caliber uses the ETA 2836-2 as its base with substantial modification. We get 80 hours of power reserve thanks to the improved mainspring. Some additional changes include the refining of the entire kinetic chain (from the barrel to the escapement).
Furthermore, the H-30 has 25 jewels, operates at 21,600vph, and the aforementioned day-date feature. Pull out the screw-down crown to the first position, wind it clockwise, and you set the date, counterclockwise, and you can set the day. The H-30 is an excellent caliber, and with the 80 hours of power reserve, a very useful one too on a daily basis.
Enter Schott NYC
So far, we talked about the watch, but there wasn’t much Schott in there. Well, simply because the New Jersey-based company is not into watches. They’re into leather goods and more. So, you know what’s coming now. We’ll talk about the strap of the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC. Schott NYC is responsible for the leather accessories such as the strap and the pouch the watch comes in. For a big watch like this, you need to have a thick, sturdy strap. The strap is not tapered and slightly less than 6mm thick, 22mm on both ends. It takes a while for it to break in, but once you’re through, it is comfortable to wear. The buckle is Hamilton’s signature with the H buckle pin and two sets of holes.
Schott did not only provide the straps to the Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC but also a special pouch – or travel case if you will – that comes with every timepiece. When we visited the factory, they showed us how they did each pouch individually, in-house. The attention to detail is simply second to none. This is Schott’s philosophy, something that, I’m sure, Hamilton will happily stand behind too. The center of the pouch has a leather strip with strap holes. You can secure the watch to that and store it flat in the pouch. There are also two side pockets and a smaller cut out for cards. The inside is lined with a soft fabric to prevent scratches. Of course, on the inside of the pouch embossed in the leather, we can find both the company’s logos.
We have talked about the looks, the movement, and the accessories now let’s talk about the price. You can pick up a Hamilton Khaki Pilot Schott NYC for €1,095 (German retail price), which is more than friendly. Especially if you consider the fact that the watch is a limited edition, with an automatic movement that has an 80-hour power reserve, and commemorates the collaboration between Hamilton and Schott NYC. Both companies are known and appreciated in their respected fields. This collaboration is a sincere way for them to celebrate the American spirit and create something great in the process. Trust me, I saw how invested these guys were in this watch, and it comes across in the finished product.
I want to thank the whole Hamilton team in the US as well as in Switzerland for their help and support. If you wish to visit their site, please click here.