April 30, 2012
by Ariel Adams
For a solidly made Swiss watch at a price that won’t make most people’s heads spin around, Hamilton is one of the few good options. In fact, between Hamilton, Tissot, Certina, and Longines, the Swatch Group has the sub $4,000 Swiss made mechanical watch market almost cornered. This Hamilton Cushion in the Jazzmaster collection is a solid mechanical watch buy for under $1,000.
Inspired by vintage designs – but certainly modern – the Jazzmaster Cushion is a great mix of both worlds. The name comes from the case shape witch is… well a cushion. Though, Hamilton didn’t want to give the watch just a basic cushion shape. In the images you can see the architectural corners and sides that give the piece a lot of visual style. Details like that make this watch interesting.
The polished steel case is 43mm wide but wears larger thanks to the cushion shape and the tapered leather strap. This version of the watch has a sort of anthracite toned dial, while a silvered dial version is also available. I further believe that the Jazzmaster Cushion comes in chronograph form. Thanks to the relatively flat bottom and short lugs, the watch wears well (and comfortably) on most any wrist.
Dial legibility is quite good. Hamilton got the length of the hands right as well as the overall proportions. The dial style certainly hearkens back to “long ago”, but doesn’t feel old. There is a mix of sport and sophistication, resulting in an ambiguous hybrid design that still seems to “just work”. The Arabic numeral “12” at the top of the dial helps ground the look of the face which otherwise has diamond style baton markers. The elements are all applied which helps the dial from feeling flat.
Over the dial is an AR coated sapphire crystal and the case is water resistant to 100 meters. While the crown might look inset, it is comfortable to operate. Legibility is actually not bad either. Dials like this can often have the hands blend into the dial, but that is not as much of an issue here as it can be in other designs. There are thin strips of lume in the hands and hour markers.
Inside the watch is a Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement that is visible through an exhibition caseback window. You can see how much larger the watch case is compared to the movement. A hint about this is the placement of the date window on the dial. Hamilton creates an intended ring which helps the date window from looking like it is oddly placed in the middle of the face.
Attached to the case is a supple leather strap. The brown leather has an alligator print, but it is well done. All the right texture and shine is there, and the strap is very soft and cushioned. Sometimes fake alligator straps are only printed with the texture – and those look horrible. Not the case here. The strap is further tapered a bit to enhance the look of the case.
This is overall a pretty satisfying watch if the look appeals to you. It has a handsome quality to it and feels reasonably priced given the level of workmanship. Just what a Hamilton timepiece should be. Retail price is $845.