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The Many Handwinding Flavors of Hamilton
Words by Windup Watch Shop

There’s something special about hand winding a watch. Sure, automatics are great, but the great thing about them is that they don’t really need you to keep doing their job. The most interaction you’d have with the crown on your automatic is maybe setting it should the power reserve run out over a long weekend. Handwinding watches require a bit more work, but that few minutes of winding in the morning before your day begins is a great opportunity to interact with your favorite watch. Romanticism aside, there are some key physical benefits as well. Most importantly being that since there’s no automatic winding rotor section needed for the movement, handwinding movements tend to be thinner and able to be housed in smaller cases that may wear better on your wrist. One iconic brand that’s still actively embracing handwinding watches is Hamilton. With the huge success of their Khaki Field Mechanical, it’s clear that enthusiasts still want handwinding watches, especially when they’re as solidly built, packed with features, and as functional as the Hamiltons below. Let’s take a look at three handwinding Hamiltons in the Windup Watch Shop and what makes them special.


Khaki Field Mechanical (38&42mm)

Based on a US military specification, this handwinding field watch from Hamilton is the quintessential field watch. A legible dial with 12- and 24-hour scales, vintage-inspired syringe hands, and a sturdy matte stainless steel case round out a solid spec that’s ready for adventure. The Khaki Field Mechanical is available in a classic 38mm and a more modern 42mm, excellent for a wide range of wrist sizes. We wouldn’t be talking about this watch if it wasn’t handwinding. Inside, you’ll find Hamilton’s own H-50 caliber that features 17 jewels, hacking seconds, a 21,600 bph frequency, and a class-leading power reserve of 80 hours. Even though you’ll have to hand wind the watch, you’ll only need to do so every 3 days. 


Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer

Based on the design of a WWII-era pocket watch, the Khaki Aviation Pilot Pioneer takes the bold size and classic styling of a classic pocket watch and sizes it down for use on the wrist. A highly textured dial is housed in a 43mm case with a rotating countdown bezel. The off-white printing on the dial gives off a vintage look. On the right side of the case, you’ll find an oversize onion-shaped crown which makes winding the watch and setting the time a breeze. Inside, an ETA 6498-1 mechanical movement keeps track of time. This Swiss-made movement features 17 jewels, a beat rate of 18,800 and a 53 hour power reserve when fully wound. You can see it in action through the sapphire crystal caseback, adding to the charm of a hand wound movement.


Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical 

Based on a 1970s military spec for the British Royal Airforce, the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Mechanical is as true to the original as they come. Measuring in at a compact 36mm wide by 42mm lug-to-lug, the Pilot Pioneer Mechanical makes for an especially easy wear. Featuring a fully brushed case and a box-shaped sapphire crystal up top, the watch exudes vintage charm. The textured dial is printed with a mix of white and tan, giving off the impression of aged lume. Slick detailing like the vintage Hamilton wordmark and highly legible numerals result in a watch that looks more new-old-stock than it does new. Of course, this watch also features a handwinding movement. Inside is one of Hamilton’s H-50 movements, featuring all the same power reserve and specifications as the Khaki Field Mechanical above.


Hamilton has always been true to their roots, and their focus on handwinding watches proves that even further. Whether you’re looking for an iconic field watch, a pocket watch-inspired timepiece, or a faithful recreation of a British RAF pilot’s watch, Hamilton has you covered. Head over to the Windup Watch Shop to learn more about these interesting watches from Hamilton.