Hamilton, mass-produced anachronisms

For the record, guess who in 2011 A.D. still runs a Website designed for Internet Explorer only?

Hamilton watch company

…And to add insult to injury, they require me to upgrade from Explorer 7 to a more recent version.

The browser you are using is not supported by this website, please upgrade to the latest version of Internet Explorer.

I mean, when a platform drops from 96% of market shares to 44%, it is probably time to stop regarding it as THE standard.

I am constrained to use a Microsoft Windows platform during the day, but luckily I can run Unix-like software at home, where the alternative browsers don’t crash several times a day.

But I digress… back to the topic.

Hamilton Pan Europe

Earlier this year, Hamilton did unveil the Pan Europe, a re-edition of one of their watches from the 1970’s. Although this limited edition was quite stylish, it was a failure from a purists point of view.

The biggest blunter was probably the decision to base the watch on a Valjoux 7753 integrated movement, with the winding crown at 3 o’clock; which ends up looking like something completely different from the legendary modular chronograph Calibre 11 of the original model. We know for a fact that it is possible to replicate the look of calibre 11, since TAG Heuer assembles Dubois-Dépraz modules on the ETA 2892-A2 to position the crown at 9 o’clock.

The size was also increased from 41 mm to 45 mm and that many details seems to have been left to chance: the type font is completely different on the bezel and the tachymetric scale. Brands like Tudor , Baume & Mercier and Longines have accustomed us to more faithful re-editions.

Hamilton Pan Europe comparison at Watch Talk Forums

Hamilton also unveiled at BaselWorld 2011 the re-issue of their Thin-O-Matic collection and a new line of chronograph in its Team Earth collection.

The new Thin-O-Matic will be available in 2 sizes: 38 mm and 41 mm. The vintage model was motorized by the Hamilton-Buren intramatic calibre, which was 4.2mm thin thanks to the use of a micro-rotor. Purists have been commenting on Hamilton’s choice to use the ETA 2824-2 in the re-edition, since it is not the slimmest calibre of the Swatch Group. To cut Hamilton some slack, I will argue that the 2824-2 is only 0.4 mm thicker than the intramatic. Sad thing though that is no longer features a micro-rotor.

Hamilton Team Earth

Hamilton Team Earth morphingThe 3-hands automatic version of the Team Earth was released last year, and I really though it was a fresh retro-inspired design until this year’s chronograph made me realized that it is based on the German school (see my essay on Flieger watches). This detail is a bit anachronic since Hamilton is advertized as an American watch. But why should I be surprised: Hamilton also have their own German-inspired FliegerUhr, ze Khaki Pilot.

Hamilton Khaki Pilot

Anyway, I dont mean to sound like I’m bashing Hamilton. They make serious efforts in trying to release collections that pay tribute to their heritage and I can undestand that due to the Swatch Group policy, they can only move within the price range that they have been assigned with.

They are definitely steering in the right direction, and their current watches pack a lot of fun in a competitive price. A nice detail is their logo, which they print differently on the dial based on the collection.

Posted in brand of origin, design blunter, ETA 2824-2, historic designs, legacy, Limited edition, militarophilia, Valjoux 7753 | 1 Comment

One Response to Hamilton, mass-produced anachronisms

  1. The first one looks like the old Heuer Autavia…

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