Here we are – our final review of the year. Somehow, friends, we made it through, and there have been plenty of interesting watch releases to distract us from what was going on in the world for a few minutes. In this case, it was the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto GMT that caught my eye, and we were able to get a loaner in for a bit.
At first glance, you might mistake the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto GMT for a watch coming from another brand (that starts with a ‘B’) that has all manner of aviation watches. At least, that’s what I was reminded of, due to the slide rule bezel. Which, let’s be honest – even on a 44mm case, results in a lot of very small text. I know my eyes aren’t as sharp as they used to be, but you’ll be using some form of magnification I think if you want to use it.
On the flip side, though, the dial itself, and the GMT scale, is no issue at all to read. And, it should be noted, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto GMT is a “true” GMT. And by that, I mean that you set the hour hand independently. For those of us who aren’t traveling much (so, 99% of us) that’s not a big deal. For those jet-setting (or whenever business travel hits again) that means you can keep the GMT hand set on where it needs to be (whether it’s home time or UTC, which is what I do), and you can quickly jump the hour hand backwards or forwards to reflect the new timezone that you’re in.
This is a useful feature, and I do find myself seeing how my own GMTs (which aren’t set the same) could benefit from this sort of capability. Then again, it’s not like I’m jumping timezones. So, functionally (aside from the slide rule bezel) I really dug the watch. And of course, that 80-hour power reserve isn’t anything to sneeze at. That leaves us with style.
In terms of color palette, the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto GMT is the blue-and-steel that has been everywhere this year. So, Hamilton needs to mix it up. First, that electric blue on the dial is hits the light so nicely, and sets off the indices and handset. Just as important, however, is the detailing on the bezel. Sure, that sapphire insert is nice, but I’m talking about the polish and texturing. The texture allows you to easily grip it, and the polish there gives it that bit of shine that elevates the presence of the watch.
If that were it, though, I probably wouldn’t care about that bezel so much. However, some smart designer decided to repeat that whole look – texture, polish, and center line – on the crown as well, and boom, you’ve got a very interesting detail. Sure, it’s a smaller detail, but it really made the entirety of the watch for me.
While I found the bezel to personally be a “deal breaker” for me (if I were looking to buy), I still did enjoy my time with the Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto GMT. At $1,495, it’s a watch that could easily fulfill a “one watch” mentality for someone who finds themself (or wants to find themself) traveling all over the place. And if you do get one – or run across on in the wild – take the time to appreciate the work the designers put into that steel. hamiltonwatch.com
- Brand & Model: Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Auto GMT
- Price: $1,495
- Who we think it might be for: You like the general look of the stuff the big “B” produces, but want something with a distinctly Hamilton feel
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: No – the slide rule bezel just is something that’s simply not for me
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Take this movement and overall design, but slap it into a smaller case without the slide rule bezel
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I really, really liked how the polished “knurling” on the edge of the bezel was repeated on the crown.
Tech Specs from Hamilton
- Reference: H76715140
- Caliber: H-14
- Collection: Khaki Aviation
- Movement: Automatic
- Case size: 44mm
- Dial color: Blue
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Lug width: 22mm
- Power reserve: 80-hour
- Water Resistance: 10 bar (100 m) /145 psi (328 ft)