With the situation improving in many countries, the easing of COVID-19 restrictions paves the way for us to return to watch events. We had to pleasure to join the Hamilton team in the beautiful Alpine village of Zermatt, with the pyramid of the Matterhorn rising as a dramatic backdrop, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their partnership with the famous Air Zermatt rescue unit. A perfect opportunity to go hands-on with the limited-edition watch released on that occasion, the new Khaki Aviation Converter Auto Chrono Air Zermatt.
Founded in 1968, Air Zermatt is a transport and rescue unit in the Swiss Alps. The company has been at the forefront of mountain rescue and saving lives for over 50 years. With a team of 75 pilots, paramedics, technicians and support staff, a fleet of 11 helicopters, and a training school, it is a world reference in the field of aerial rescue. Hamilton long-standing ties with aviation require little introduction and the brand has been partnering with Air Zermatt for a decade now. This partnership has given birth to several Air Zermatt x Hamilton special edition watches since 2011. To celebrate these 10 years of collaboration, Hamilton now releases a new limited-edition watch based on its recent Aviation Converter collection, with a chronograph drawing its colours from the rescue team’s glacier-blue logo.
Presented in 2020, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter stands out in the brand’s collection for featuring a logarithmic “slide-rule” bezel. Invented in the 1940s, such rotating bezels enable pilots to perform crucial computations on the ground before take-off and while in flight, for factors like airspeed, distance, fuel consumption or flight time. The bidirectional crenellated bezel and its logarithmic E6B gradations interact with the fixed scale around the dial. In this instance, it is combined with a chronograph and paired with a tachymeter scale. While modern electronic devices have taken over, it surely gives the watch a super technical (and complex) look.
The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto Chrono is 44mm in diameter but, if you are ready for a watch that size, it remains quite comfortable on the wrist thanks to the curved lugs. The Air Zermatt limited edition is presented in steel with satin-brushed surfaces highlighted by polished details. The black dial features glacier blue chronograph counters and blue details for the graduations. The small seconds hand and the tip of the central second chronograph hand are highlighted in red. The blue accents surely bring a fresh modern touch to this edition, distinguishing it from the traditional slide rule watches.
As you might have guessed from the dial layout of the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto Chrono is powered by a 7750-based chronograph movement. But there is more than meets the eye… The automatic calibre H-21 Si inside does rely on the tried-and-tested Valjoux cam-and-lever architecture but with several noteworthy updates. Its balance spring is in silicon and therefore is unaffected by magnetism – which is definitely an asset in a cockpit… or behind your desk. The balance still ticks at 4Hz, but the kinematic chain of the movement has also been optimized, which results in a power reserve beefed up to 60 hours (vs 42 hours for a traditional 7750). The displays include hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph with central second, 30min and 12h counters and the day/date indication. The Hamilton Calibre H-21 Si can be seen via the screw-down exhibition caseback that features an Air Zermatt logo transfer. The crown is screw-down and the watch is water-resistant to 100m.
The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto Chrono Air Zermatt comes on a black calf leather strap with an Air Zermatt rivet and two sets of holes to match the signature Hamilton H-buckle.
Availability & Price
Released in a limited edition of 988 pieces, it will they will be delivered in a packaging inspired by the Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) device carried aboard Air Zermatt’s helicopters. Price is set at CHF 2,295, EUR 2,145 or USD 2,395, which seems, as often with Hamilton, excellent value for the money.
For more details, please visit www.hamiltonwatch.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.