As I sit here writing on this grey Wednesday afternoon, I have the pleasure of looking down and seeing a Hamilton GMT Jazzmaster strapped to my wrist.
Why is this such a pleasure to look upon you may ask? Well for 3 reasons: 1) The face of this watch has a map of the world which is stunning to look at. 2) it’s currently telling me what time it is in Las Vegas, which is where I was supposed to be back in March if the wonderful COVID hadn’t intervened. And 3) Because it been away for a month being repaired down in Southampton.
Now I know that sounds a bit worrying when I’m about to review this but have faith dear reader that when I get to the story of it breaking, it does indeed have a happy ending. Now on to our main event of the evening.
History of Hamilton:
The Hamilton Watch Company is an American watch brand that was founded in 1892 and produced its first watches and pocket watches in 1893. They were based in the USA out of Lancaster Pennsylvania until 1969 when they moved to Switzerland after acquiring the Buren Watch Company and all their factories in Switzerland.
In the early days of the company they made a name for themselves making watches for pilots, in fact, in 1918 a Hamilton watch was on the wrist of a pilot doing the first Washington DC to New York airmail service.
During WW2 they stopped producing for the public and instead produced over a million watches for the US armed forces. In 1957 they revolutionised the industry by introducing the world to the first-ever electrical battery-operated watch, The Ventura.
Over the years Hamilton has made many technological improvements and advancements like the Hamilton Pulsar, the worlds first digital watch. After years of being based solely in America and being an American company, they were sold to a group that we now know today as Swatch.
You may not realise it, but Hamilton watches have been in the public eye for years. From the 1950’s with the legendary Elvis wearing their electric Hamilton 500 in the movie Blue Hawaii to newer films like Men in Black, The Martian, Die Hard, and the soon to be released Tenet.
In fact, Hamilton had another watch featured in the film Interstellar which was also directed by Nolan, that being the Khaki Pilot Day-Date.
From every angle, this is a great looking watch. I had the brown calf leather strap with stainless steel clasp on mine and its fantastic. The strap did take a couple of weeks to mould to my wrist but now it’s one of the most comfortable watches I own.
The face is stunning, with a map of the world on the face and a list of cities on a separate dial around the edge of the watch. This is adjustable and means you can line up the city with the 4th hand. The hands have luminescence on them and there are small dashes on the houses which also have luminescence.
The 4th hand which tells the international time is on a 24-hour clock and is painted blue so you can easily distinguish it from the other chrome hands. You set the 4th hand like you set the date, by pulling the crown out to the first notch.
Feel on the wrist:
Like I said above the watch band does need wearing in, but after a few weeks it will sit snug on your wrist. The weight for me is perfect, its heavy enough to let you know it’s there but doesn’t get tiring over the course of a day. The case size is 42MM which covers my wrist perfectly and because of how busy the face is it doesn’t feel too big or boring when looking at it.
When driving it sits still and doesn’t move around, while doing something like the washing up you can sit easy knowing the watch has a depth of 100M water resistance and while writing this very piece it is hardly noticeable.
This is an area for me the watch really shines. With a battery life of up to 50 hours you don’t have to worry about taking it off at night and having to reset the time in the morning, it has a real get up and go vibe to it.
Setting the time is smooth, sleek, and actually a nice experience with the crown being easy to operate. The real party piece of the Hamilton though is the outer dial. Being able to change this in an instance to align your chosen time zone is a real joy to do and something that most average watch wearers won’t see on your standard watch. The clasp is easy to get on and off but not as easy as my Tag Heuer Monaco.
On Monaco the end part of the clasp can rotate giving the user a little more wiggle room to get the watch on and off. The Hamilton doesn’t have this with the end of the clasp being set in place, meaning it can sometimes be a bit of a faff getting the watch on in a rush.
After dinner thoughts:
Now normally this is the portion of my review where I would give my honest thoughts but there is one part that I have omitted from the review so far, that part being that it broke. While halfway through writing this a piece became dislodged and stopped the automatic movement from working.
As someone who isn’t on Rolex money this was concerning as when you spend £995 on a watch you kinda expect it to last longer than 8 months. I got in contact with Swatch straight away, obviously frustrated that the watch I bought to be my new daily driver had broken and I must say they were fantastic.
Straight away they addressed that this shouldn’t happen and that they were as concerned as me as to why this had happened, unfortunately, we are in the middle of a pandemic so I had to wait 2 months before they were back in the office and able to get a protected package out to me. Within 2 days of people going back to work I had a fully insured Hamilton package sent to me and off the watch went.
Now came the hard part, waiting. After a few weeks, the watch came back, a small D shaped clip had come out and jammed, this was fixed back into place, the watch was polished and cleaned and they even gave it a service.
Both the people I was emailing with and Swatch themselves in Southampton were nothing but professional and amazing throughout this experience. Its pretty much the reason I’d buy another from them, apart from the build quality and overall amazingness of the watches.
- Stunning design
- Great weight
- Fantastic build quality
- The 24-Hour feature
- Fantastic customer service
- The strap has started to wear after under a year of wearing
- It did break after 8 months
- The luminosity isn’t the brightest
Anyways back on to my thoughts. If you are looking for a GMT under £1000 id honestly say this is worth it. I had no idea who Hamilton was before this watch and from now owning it for close to a year I can say they are 100% a company ill be buying from again.
I do have a few issues with the watch, mainly the fact it broke, but with the customer service, I received it put all my doubts to bed.