While most horological eyes have been turned towards Geneva this week for SIHH 2014, a smaller, quieter, but no less exciting, unveiling occurred in frost bitten, snow sunken New York City. At Swatch group’s new Hour Passion store and showroom, located on 34th street, Hamilton revealed a handful of their 2014 novelties. These watches, typically first shown at Basel (and will be in more depth at that time), ranged from sporty to dressy to completely and utterly surprising. Without a doubt, Hamilton is going to have a good 2014, as many of these releases are going to turn heads.
Seeing the line all at once, it seems as though they are pushing their creativity farther than before, building on the history of the brand, while striving to make a contemporary statement. Everything seemed a bit more refined, whether the padding in a leather strap, a new faceted buckle design or the quality of case finishing. They’ve also put an emphasis on the mechanical sides of things, introducing a few new calibers, the H-10, H-30 and H-40, all of which feature 80hr power reserves, like the Powermatic cousins over at Tissot.
Building off of the success of the Pan-Europ chronograph released a few years ago, Hamilton has created this simple, sporty 3-hander with day/date. Featuring a 42mm barrel shaped case, rotating external bezel, bright red seconds hand and tall applied markers, this new model speaks to the 70’s and racing watches. Though it lacks a tachymeter, as it lacks a chronograph, they did create an interesting seconds index which is red for the first 15, then black the rest of the way.
Inside is the new H-30 movement, which is the day/date variation of their 80-hr movement. The Pan Europ will be available in either charcoal gray with black bezel, or blue with blue bezel. It will also be available with either a woven NATO or a leather strap. The Pan Europ will run around $1095 – $1145
Utilizing the skeletonized movement (H-20-S) that was developed for last year’s Jazzmaster Viewmatic Skeleton, Hamilton created a pilot watch inspired variation for their Khaki line. This is watch you have to see in the metal to really appreciate. As someone who is not typically a fan of skeleton watches, I was quite surprised and intrigued by this design. The pilot watch and plane inspirations are very clear in the textures and layout.
The large X shape over the movement speaks to a propeller while the perforated mesh speaks to intakes, exhausts, and other industrial details. Yet, despite the complexity of the movement and layered pieces, the watch remains quite legible, thanks to well implemented indexes and bold hands.
There are two versions that will be available, a steel case, light dial model with black leather strap and a PVD case, dark dial model with a gorgeous golden/honey leather strap. Both version are very appealing in their own ways, though the dark color has something unique and a bit sinister about it. Instead of using white lume, they used a pale, beige lume that looks aged and murky, which plays off the PVD in a cool way. The 42mm case used on both has a stealthy curved profile that adds to the aggressive look. The steel model with run $1295 while the PVD will go for $1345 (subject to change).
Pilot Pioneer Automatic
We know you all loved the Pilot Pioneer Automatic Chronograph we reviewed a few months ago, so I have a feeling you’ll love this too; I know I did. This new addition to Hamilton’s pilot ranks takes the beautiful asymmetrical case based on their RAF issued chronographs (read this article on that topic for more detail) and utilizes it, cleverly, for a dual crown design. When I saw this, I immediately kind of geeked out over the fact that this was a mix of two of my favorite vintage case designs, the aforementioned asymmetrical and that of “super compressor” dive watches, which were known for their dual crowns at 2 and 4.
But, back to the watch… The Pioneer Auto has a very similar dial design as the chronograph in terms of numerals and indexes. Outside of the main dial, things get different, with a silver 24-hour ring, which adds some nice contrast, and then the internal countdown bezel. The countdown bezel is different than an elapsed time bezel in that the numbers are running the other way. You control it via the crown at 2, which is screw down, if I remember correctly.
This one wears beautifully. It has the same diameter as the chronograph (41mm 12-6, 43mm 9-3), but wears easier since it is much thinner. The dual crown design paired with the vintage military pilot dial works perfectly as well, creating a very masculine and serious watch. This one is powered by the H-10, so it’s got the extended 80hr life as well, which is great. The Pilot Pioneer Auto will cost $995 on leather, $1045 on bracelet. Considering the price and looks of this one, I think it will be a hit.
Jazzmaster Railroad Automatic Chronograph
Couldn’t talk about Hamilton without talking about at least one chronograph. Playing off of Hamilton’s history as a manufacturer of railroad pocket watches, this new chronograph takes details of both pocket watches and trains themselves. The first thing that strikes you about this watch is its size, around 44mm, and its completely rounded sides. The whole thing is like a brushed steel pebble. This is meant to give it the feel of a pocket watch. Details like the guards around the pushers and crown shape are meant to evoke this as well.
The dial has a clean, classic design that speaks to the streamline aesthetic of trains from the early 20th century. It’s bold and a touch aggressive, while having a gentlemanly refinement. The particular standout element, to my eyes, was the large spiral tachymeter in burnt orange. A clearly vintage element, the spiral, which is larger than your typical one, is decorative, yet makes total sense on a Railroad Chronograph.
The Railroad chronograph is powered by the H-21 60-hr chronograph. It will be available in the black/orange variation seen here as well as a silver dial with blue accents, which sounds like it will be a winner too. The price for this watch is $1995 on a strap, and $2045 on a bracelet.
Last, but far from least, were the most surprising watches they had to show. These are not like other watches we’ve seen from Hamilton… at least not since the 30’s. The Flintridge is a design with, clearly, a flip up top that covers and protects the dial and crystal underneath. Originally, like the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, this design was meant for sport. Now, the concept and execution speaks more to a fairly abnormal dress watch. The modern interpretation, which is available for both men and women, has a bowing rectangular case with decorated lids. The ladies version has an aperture at 6, through which you can diamonds on the dial. Etched lines radiate outwards from the aperture for a cool effect. Inside is a simple and clean dial with a cluster of diamonds around six. Finishing this version off is a beautiful blood red faux-croc leather strap, which I implored them to make for men as well.
The men’s version takes a much more dramatic and textured approach. There are two apertures, one at 6 and an arched opening at 12, which show the day and date, respectively. There is then a dense pattern of small spike shapes, called Clous de Paris, within a heavy metal border. The look immediately reminded me of eccentric luxury cars from the early 20th century, such as Bugattis and Rolls Royces.
The lid flips up, pivoting above 12, to reveal a fairly classic Jazzmaster style dial. It’s a light silver with elegant applied markers and thin dauphine hands. They added the texture from the lid as well, to tie it together. I was glad to see a tamer interior with a design that is fairly timeless, as the watch as a whole is unlikely to be a daily wear. The full-day/date also works well with the design and concept. They pair the mens with a dark grey faux-croc.
The men’s watch measures 37.2 x 40mm, which might sound small, but definitely doesn’t look or feel it with that much metal. In fact, on the wrist it feels quite large. While this watch certainly isn’t for everyone, there is something oddly compelling about it. Perhaps it was the initial shock of something so out there and a bit risky, but I could see wearing this watch with a suit to garner a bit of attention. If not the dense metal poking out from your cuff, then the spy-esque motion of flipping the lid to check the time will certainly turn some heads.
Both watches are limited editions of only 999 pieces per gender. The men’s is powered by the H-40 movement, which once again has 80-hrs of reserve, so when you lose this watch between couch cushions when partying in the Hamptons, you have a few days to find it before it stops ticking. It will cost around $1395. The women’s version is powered by an ETA 2681, which is a small diameter automatic. Women’s price TBD.
And that’s it for now. No word on expected release dates for these models, but it will likely be rolling through 2014. We’ll also have more to show you during or after Basel, including the new Hamilton X-Wind and another chronograph (you might have briefly seen on our instagram, though it’s gone for now) that will likely have you figuring out what watches you can sell off to buy. Good start for 2014…
by Zach Weiss