Punching above its weight
Some brands just have that "it" factor. Pinpointing exactly what makes a brand unique can be tricky, but in looking at Hamilton watches, it's easy to tell. Many watches from Hamilton's current line-up have just that- this intangible quality about them, especially when viewed in conjunction with their price.
Hamilton has the name. Hamilton has the heritage. But what truly makes Hamilton one of the best bang-for-buck buys on the modern market, is neither of those things. Hamilton's appeal (although many of the brand's fans would hate to admit it) comes from its status as an entry-level brand in a big, big machine. This means it can offer incredible value due to it having the economy of scale on its side. Unromantic? Maybe. Realistic? Undoubtedly. Should you care? Well, that depends on whether you prefer elitist prestige or an excellent product. That's your personal decision to make. So once you've made it in favor of the latter, let's check out 10 watches that offer big brand performance for not much money at all...
I don't want to lose all my arrows on the first shot, but the Hamilton Intra-Matic Automatic is really one of the highest value propositions you will find on the market. Admittedly, this comes down to entirely subjective aesthetics. However, as extensive and various as tastes may be, it's hard to imagine too many watch lovers strongly speaking out against the Hamilton Intra-Matic. It has the perfect combination of classic styling and excellent functionality (it's powered by the souped-up Hamilton caliber H-31 automatic movement, which is based on the ETA 7753 but boasts a boosted power reserve of approximately 60 hours). It has the kind of build quality that you'll struggle to find from anything but a group brand at this price. The Hamilton Intra-Matic Automatic Chronograph makes Hamilton's involvement with the Swatch Group pay on every level. And, at just over $1,500 on Jomashop.com, it is a hard-to-beat pick-up.
White-dialed field watches are not for everyone. However, before you discount the strange combination of rugged usability and elegant aesthetics, there's a certain versatility to this watches' design that demands any watch lover give it a second look. The Khaki Field King collection is a (very) wallet-friendly line from Hamilton with dial styles aplenty. This one, however, stands out as the smartest of the bunch.
This watch definitely has a pleasing vertical symmetry (with the day indicator stretching between the 11 o'clock and 1 o'clock hour markers and the date sitting just below it). This makes for an easy-to-read layout that is rarely seen in watchmaking. The most common day/date complication you will see in watchmaking calls to the dial of the Rolex Day-Date. However, even that dial eschews the opportunity for total vertical symmetry, placing the date indicator at 3 o'clock. Having the date indicator at 3 o'clock is a typical format since it can be read immediately as the watch poked out from beneath its wearer's cuff. However, perhaps the success of this model fed into the fact that we get something unusual. We get something special. And for under 400 bucks, that's something to be very, very happy about.
Staying within the same "land" collection, the Hamilton Khaki Field Hand Wind Watch is one for lovers of minimalism and sporty styling. This all-black number does away with the day display for a cleaner and stealthier visage.
While faux-rad lume (the brownish luminous material intended to simulate aged luminous compounds used in the early and middle of the 20th century) splits opinion within the industry, it gives this model an undeniable heritage feel that should not be ignored. If you're looking for a watch with a military vibe and an affordable ticket price, this could be the one for you.
Pilot's watches are just as popular as ever, but finding a well-designed model from a reputable brand at a suitable price can be difficult. Aside from German independent brand Laco, several others nail the old-school Flieger aesthetic in a way most Pilot Watch fans desire.
Hamilton, however, has you covered. There are numerous options (and we will feature another on this list just below), but the Khaki King Pilot is one of the most striking. Hovering around the $650 mark, the King Pilot represents a whole lot of material for the money. A fearsome, 46mm-wide black case with an edge-to-edge sapphire crystal that gives the impression that the dial markings are literally leaping out of the watch is what you get in return for your investment. If you're looking to make a statement, this is the watch for you.
If you appreciate the pilot watch aesthetic, but you'd prefer something a little less "in your face" you should consider getting the Khaki Pilot Black Dial Men's Watch on Jomashop! This piece is pretty similar to the "king" version but toned down a notch.
For starters, the case has been changed from black to silver. The diameter has also been dropped from 46mm to 42mm. Therefore, the Khaki Pilot doesn't have the same "bog-eyed" look as the Khaki King Pilot. It's a much more demure watch and perhaps more versatile because of it. At under $400 on Jomashop now, it is a great all-rounder.
If, however, it's a little too quiet for your tastes, while the King Pilot seems a bit much, there may be a compromise within the collection awaiting your selection...
Where to start with this one? A deep blue sun-ray dial? Check. Bright green luminous dial markings paired with crisp white numerals resulting in an unforgettable aesthetic? Check. Below $600? You know it… The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Automatic Blue Dial Men's Watch is undoubtedly a show stopper that also gets away with its own eccentricities by measuring a tight 42mm.
Inside this eye-catching watch is the Hamilton Calibre H-40, a modified ETA base movement with a stunning 80-hour power reserve. The day/date complication is easy to read. With the day sitting at the top of the dial, and the date sitting between the center and 6, it is super clear. This one is a lot of fun for not a lot of cash!
The Breitling Montbrilliant period is one of the brand's most memorable eras. More specifically, the most well-known model to come out of the Breitling factory was definitely the Breitling Navitimer. While Breitling has toned down its styling in recent years (probably for the better), it's still hard to beat the flashy braggadocio of those glitzy Navs from yesteryear.
Luckily, Hamilton has you covered for a modern, almost under-the-radar alternative. The Hamilton Khaki Aviation Converter Automatic Black Dial Men's Watch looks like nothing else on the market and is sure to scratch the itch many watch lovers have had in the past. Of all the selections thus far, this one pushes the bank balance furthest. It has a current price on Jomashop of just under $850. That's not a lot for one of Hamilton's most modern models, with the added value reflected in the black case, gold bezel, and intricate dial design.
The Hamilton Ventura is one of the weirdest, most recognizable individual watches in the history of watchmaking and the silver screen. First popularized by Elvis Presley in his film Blue Hawaii, the Ventura line has since been featured in other high-profile Hollywood productions, most notably the Men in Black franchise.
Its odd dimensions of 50.3 mm x 32.3 mm may freak you out at first, but it wears like nothing else. If you're curious, I'd say Jomashop's price of $575 makes this potential return on this quartz classic worth the punt.
The Pan Europ from Hamilton is a bundle of things at once. It's colorful, robustly built, and has an excellent movement (Hamilton Calibre H-30 with a power reserve of 80 hours). It's visible through a case back display window, uncompromisingly retro styling (it looks like a C-shape-cased classic from the 1970s heyday of dive watches), and has a strap that looks like something you might expect to find in the dystopian universe of Mad Max.
Another screwball for the watch fan looking to stand out! For under four figures and 38% off, this model packs a punch.
Reasonably the best has been saved for last. For a relatively recent addition to Hamilton's Aviation line, the Khaki Pilot Pioneer Watch, upon its release, won over fans worldwide. Why? Authenticity, pure and simple. There are very few watches that can instantly take you back to the time their style first called the wrists of intrepid pilots home. At under $600 (and 30% off), this watch embodies the perfect balance between heritage and specifications. Be mindful of its small dimensions! However, while it wears larger than the 36 mm x 33 mm suggests, it will not fit all wrists. Might be a good idea to try before you buy, but is still a watch that is, as an object, almost beyond reproach.