The 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania founded watch brand Hamilton not only produced precise timepieces for the railroad and field watches for soldiers on the ground, but also precise watches for the timekeeping in the sky. However, not so much for the military but primarily for the pilots of the U.S. Airmail. That was 100 years ago – many more fields of aviation joined since. For the aviation jubilee this year Hamilton launches a limited edition of their Khaki X-Wind series with its typical cross-wind calculator.
In 1918 for the first time Hamilton equipped pilots of the U.S. Airmail with their watches and wanted to set a sign in contributing to a punctual and safe delivery of important letters and parcels. Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd wears a Hamilton watch during his first flight across the north pole in 1926, also Lieutenant Albert F. Hegenberger and Lester J. Maitland are equipped with Hamilton timepieces on their maiden flight from San Francisco to Honolulu in 1927.
Nearly one century later, movie heroes like pilot Cooper from blockbuster ‘Interstellar’ wear the watches from the Swiss-American watch brand (it belongs to Swatch Group since 1974). There is also much more action going on in the sky today. Especially at the ‘Red Bull Air Race’ of which Hamilton became official timekeeper in 2017 and since 2005 participates with their own team. At a speed of up to 370 km/h and forces of up to 10 G the pilots manoeuvre their lightweight machines between narrow, 25 meter high pylons through a six kilometres long slalom-course. Of course there is not much time to also look at the watch, but it is all about the nostalgic of past times when the functionality was in focus. Today, the ‘Red Bull Air Race’ is primarily a symbol for an advanced and sophisticated way of time keeping.
The first Khaki X-Wind (Ref. H77616533) from 2005 had a unique cross-wind calculator. X-Wind stands for cross-wind. The pilots were able to calculate the impact of cross-winds on a dedicated flight route. For this, the wind direction needs to be placed into the inner bezel, the speed into the outside bezel. The cross-wind speed is displayed between the two right sided pushers on the outer disc – the drift angle is displayed on the inner disc. Finally this number has to be added with the actual degree-position of the airplane in order to receive the correct drift angle number.
The new COSC-certified chronometer movement H-21-Si with a power reserve of 60 hours and a day / date function runs inside the 45-mm case. The first Hamilton chronograph movement with a spring in silicon (Si in the movement name stands for silicon). It is shock resistant and anti-magnetic what leads to a higher precision, especially for pilot watches that are often exposed to magnetic fields (airports). The hands have been slightly adjusted for a greater readability and are covered with Super-LumiNova in sand colour that glow neon green in the dark. The new Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Limited Edition (Ref. H77796535) is limited to 1.918 pieces and is available with a leather strap and an H-shaped buckle in the typical Hamilton aviation style, or a stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp.