Hamilton’s PSR is a Throwback to the Iconic Pulsar, a “Solid State Wrist Computer”

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It’s hard to believe, but when the Hamilton Pulsar was introduced at a press conference in 1970, the very idea of a time telling device that didn’t have any moving parts or a ticking sound was quite incredible. Now, 50 years later, we mostly get the time from our cell phones (even if just to set our mechanical watches) which run silently in the background of our lives, like so many other parts of our technological world. The Pulsar, with a digital display, was advertised as a “solid state wrist computer” at a time when personal computers were still well over a decade away from being a central part of our daily lives. Looking back, it’s tough to underestimate just how futuristic the original Pulsar was in 1970. Now, for it’s 50th anniversary, Hamilton is rereleasing the Pulsar in the form of the new Hamilton PSR. In terms of appearance, it’s a dead ringer for the original Pulsar P1, but it has few updates thanks to modern tech that modern consumers will appreciate. Let’s take a look.


Hamilton PSR

  • Case Material: Stainless steel / Gold PVD
  • Dial: LCD/OLED hybrid 
  • Dimensions: 40.8 x 34.7mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire     
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters             
  • Movement: Digital quartz
  • Strap/bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
  • Price (Steel): $745
  • Price (Gold PVD LE): $995
  • Reference Number: H52414130, H52424130
  • Expected Release: Summer 2020

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The PSR has a distinctive, wide footprint and a brushed case with almost industrial feel to it. It’s paired with a bracelet that gives it a 70s sports watch feel. Hamilton has remained true to the dimensions of the vintage watch that inspired the PSR, with a case measuring 40.8 x 34.7mm. The PSR will be available in two versions, one in stainless steel, the other in gold PVD. The gold version is limited to 1,970 examples, and is itself a nod to the very first Pulsar, a solid gold watch that finally made it to market in 1972, and sold for an eye-popping $2,100.

Like the original Pulsars, the new PSR tells the time digitally through a display where the dial would normally be on a traditional wristwatch. Pressing a button on the side of the case illuminates the display, and you see bright red numerals that temporarily read out the current time. Unlike the original 70s version of the watch, however, modern LCD technology allows the time to be permanently visible in daylight conditions. There’s no backlight, so power consumption is kept to a minimum.

This is a different approach than we saw Bulova take with their Computron release last year, which lacked an “always on” display, much to the chagrin of some modern watch lovers (but to the delight of others, who remember the charm of having to push a button to see the time). Hamilton has reached a middle ground by mixing OLED and LCD technology, allowing users to get the undeniably fun sensation of activating the time telling at the push of a button, with the added convenience of a display that can be read at a glance in good lighting conditions. 

The Pulsar is an interesting piece of watchmaking history, and a great example of how something thought to be futuristic many years ago can age into a design that clearly brings to mind thoughts of the past. The PSR is a fun throwback that offers a deep hit of nostalgia but also some real functional improvements. Hamilton

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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