1892 was a great year for American industry. Not only was it the year the Hamilton Watch Company started production in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, it also saw the birth of Irving Schott, one of America’s greatest clothing entrepreneurs. Hamilton spent its first decades establishing itself as a maker of reliable timepieces for railroad engineers and early aviators. Schott, meanwhile, made his company’s reputation with the Perfecto line of leather and sheepskin jackets, named in honour of his favourite Cuban cigar. By the time WW2 arrived, Hamilton and Schott were drafted into the war effort by the U.S. military, shifting their production to make watches and bomber jackets for the Air Force.
Despite their histories being so intertwined, however, the two companies have never officially worked together — until now. This fall, Hamilton and Schott announced the release of the Khaki Pilot Schott NYC, a watch that pays tribute to both brands’ proud military heritage. The historic collaboration takes Hamilton’s Khaki Pilot aviation watch and pairs it with a leather strap made by Schott at their factory in Union, New Jersey.
Just as the Khaki Pilot, with its wide case and large numerals, is a faithful tribute to the high-flying watches of WW2, the strap itself is made from the same military-spec steerhide used for Schott’s flight jackets. Produced in a limited run of 1,892 pieces in honour of that auspicious year, this collaboration has been more than a century in the making.