With Lionel as “first tester”, Geoffroy (the one hiding in his hood) as model, and me, who took the liberty of taking it on temporary loan, the Hamilton watch presented today has known quite a few wrists – cheeky thing. Let me just tell you right now, our wrists took an instant shine… #Love
Owned by the Swatch Group, you probably know that Hamilton is a brand with an exceedingly interesting story and a product line of quality watches sold at unbeatable prices on the premium mechanical watch market.
To bring you more low-down, it was high time we put our noses to the grindstone and made the most of our contacts at Swatch. So we snaffled some timepieces from “Men in Black’s” favourite brand.
Let’s start with the Pan Europ model, featured last year at the Basel Fair. With its retro-sporty airs, this baby was inspired by an eponymous model launched in 1971, fitted at the time with one of the very first automatic chronograph movements in the world.
Hamilton was immortalised in 2014 in Hollywood movie – Interstellar, and here it’s making headline news at Les Rhabilleurs, in our first review of the year. Nice!
I must say, Hamilton is fairly good at satisfying all age-groups, amateurs and aficionados alike, and social professional statuses, which we at Les Rhabilleurs don’t have much truck with anyway.
When you first set eyes on the Pan Europ, you get a feeling of robustness with a soupcon of finesse. Its 42 mm-diameter case is quite thin (12 mm thick), making it quite unimposing, engineered in such as way as to perfectly espouse the curve of even a narrow wrist like mine or Geoffroy’s (the man behind the hood). Enough to make its retro-sporty airs instantly appealing.
It takes only a jiffy to get the measure of its colourful dial (not too colourful, mind you) on the wrist. First brownie point.
As for the rest, the back of the case displays an automatic mechanical ETA movement – I’ll come back to that in a moment – and it is all mounted on a rather good-quality textile strap matching the dial.
Dial & Hands
So let’s get back to this dial. Available in two versions, the Hamilton Pan Europ model we tried out displays a blue dial matching a flattering white flange.
Dates and days displayed at 3 o’clock on a circular dial surrounded by angular horns are easy to read. The casing encircles a 120-notch rotary unidirectional aluminium bezel.
The white flange and the Super-Luminova plating on the hands make for impeccable readability. Hour markings between 12 and 3 o’clock are highlighted in bright red as is the slender second hand.
Hamilton was created in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (USA). Now owned by the Swatch Group, it combines an American spirit with the accuracy of state-of-the-art Swiss movements and technologies.
In 2014, Hamilton took its Pan Europ range to new heights with exclusive, new, optimised automatic movement: the H-30 calibre with its power reserve increased to 80 hours.
This is a refinement that differs from its predecessors mainly because everything is laser-adjusted once and for all at the factory, and it cannot be readjusted thereafter. This may be a guarantee of accuracy, but it also totally zaps the need for any independent watchmaker.
A group policy that paves the way for innovation, but clips the wings of independent watchmakers, making us yet more bound to the brand.
We’ve all got our own lookout. Right? One thing is sure though. For a watch sold around €1,000, it’s got a pretty nifty motor.
There’s no doubt about it, this watch has a charm about it that will not leave you unmoved!
Its colour code, wearability and retro look make it appealing to a very wide and varied clientele. The ones in-the-know about Hamilton really love this new take on a brand classic. People who find the Submariner is too pretentious while sporting an Ice-Watch on their wrists, will agree that this watch could really do the trick.
It has to be said that reviews of the Pan Europ are extremely positive. Another brownie point!
So Hamilton has come up with a brilliant compromise between retro (without going overboard) and hi-tech mechanics. Be advised however – this is not a diver’s watch despite the unidirectional bezel. No screw-down crown or water-resistance to 5 bars, so don’t go doing anything stupid in the Maldives.
However, you can change the strap whenever you want because, as well as the improved leather and brushed pin buckle NATO strap, the brand also proposes a black leather/bright red version. It can all be swopped in three goes using a tool supplied by Hamilton.
This is a love-at-first-sight watch you can buy without too much existential rumination, which you’ll never get tired of. Hamilton has played its cards with a great design and a decent colour scheme.
All yours at the very attractive price of €895. The equivalent of an iPhone 6 (32 Go) with at lifetime fifty times longer or more, at least.