Hands-On With The Hamilton Jazzmaster Skeleton Auto Watch
Hamilton further expands its collection with a new jazzy case to showcase the H-10-S movement. The Jazzmaster occupies the dressy-casual void that seems distant from the Khaki Field and Scuba watches. With a variety of dial hues and case shades, the Jazzmaster is sure to complement a plethora of styles.
Jazz may not be an obvious inspiration for a wristwatch, yet it is not uncommon. Just this year, I went hands-on with the Oris James Morrison. While the Hamilton may be less overt in displaying the source of inspiration — the Oris has a trumpet symbol on the back — the roots remain. Hamilton has a longstanding association with the arts, mostly in Cinema. But watches like the Ventura are well-remembered for Elvis Presley sporting one in “Blue Hawaii” (1961). The King also wore the Ventura during his post in West Germany for the US Army.
Carving out a name for itself
Music plays a big part in our lives. Therefore, it makes sense for Hamilton to cater to those who lean more on the creative side than the sportive side. Yet the most prominent influence in the design is the carving of Hamilton’s own “H” logo into the dial. It may be less clear on the white dial on the silver-toned steel model, so let me point it out for you.
The silvered layer forms the vertical lines of the “H”
On the first layer of the dial, the white dial, in this case, you have the bridge, which runs across the horizontal axis of the dial, supporting an outer ring that carries the hour markers and minute track. Going down a step is the silvered layer that forms the vertical lines of the “H”. The formation is almost in an “X” pattern, but if you observe the helpful Hamilton logo nearer the 3 o’clock index, you can see the resemblance. As far as I can ascertain, this second layer is not a supporting construct, rather more decorative. But you do get the repetition of the minute numerals in five-minute increments around the circumference of this layer.
Beneath this pattern is the movement itself. As I mentioned before, the H-10-S has similar movement architecture to the ETA 2824 but has been heavily modified, reducing the operating frequency to increase the power reserve to 80-hours. It’s impressive to see some of the mechanism from the front side and via the sapphire case-back. And even if the rotor somewhat impedes the view, at least you are only looking at the gears and springs as opposed to staring at your skin all day. But it does lead to a little personal niggle in regards to the name.
The “Auto” part is a given, but “Skeleton” is open to interpretation
Hamilton calls this the Skeleton Auto. The “Auto” part is a given, but “Skeleton” is open to interpretation. My perception is that the dial layout on the Jazzmaster is more an “open-heart” style. Let me explain: The art of skeletonizing involves removing material from the movement and dial while maintaining integral rigidity. It is a painstaking craft that takes years of expertise and experience to perform with impeccable finishing and transparency. However, the Hamilton Jazzmaster more so exposes the movement from the dial side by skimping away the brass dial to form the Hamilton “H” logo. While the finishing is still highly presentable, the majority of the construction is mostly intact.
Touch of gold
Even so, it is positive that the watch’s legibility does not suffer as it often does with a fully-skeletonized movement. The sword hands do not get lost amongst the movement bridges and the alpha indices are consistent for each hour. A slight gripe of mine is the gap between the tip of the minute hand and the minute track. But I suppose you also have the five-minute numerals on the inner sector to compensate for this. The 40mm case comes in either bare stainless steel or the same material with a gold PVD coating. On the case flanks, you have a subtle flaring of the lugs that ever-so-slightly draws a line towards the crown.
I recommend the bracelet option
The Hamilton Jazzmaster is available with a choice of straps and even a five-link bracelet. A bonus is the brushing on the bracelet that blends seamlessly into the similarly finished lugs. With the strap and coating options, the Jazzmaster ranges from €1,067 for either black or white dials on leather, to €1,116 for the bracelet option. The gold PVD version goes for €1,164 on the leather strap. Considering the close price proximity, my wallet would vote for the bracelet option. You can read more about Hamilton watches on Fratello here.