The Hamilton Pulsar was a legend as the first digital watch ever made back when it was released in the early 1970s. Hell, it was on James Bond’s wrist in Live and Let Die all the way back in 1973, not to mention actual people like Elvis, Jack Nicholson, and Elton John. The space age design and LED screen of the Pulsar P2 made it a huge hit through the 1970s, though its popularity did wane with more competitors in the space emerging. The Pulsar name no longer belongs to the brand, which is we now see the release of the Hamilton PSR digital watch.
The PSR is introduced in two versions that mimic the Pulsar P2, which was the version that came after the P1. The first Pulsar was the P1, which was solid gold, cost $2,100 (which is more than $13,000 today), and was limited to 400 pieces. Fortunately, Hamilton chose to settle for gold PVD plating with the PSR reissue, which is limited to 1970 pieces. The other PSR is modeled after the steel P2 and will not be limited.
Both editions share the same case and hybrid. LCD/OLED display. Hamilton claims that, when activated, the red OLED numerals as well as LCD display makes it so the time can be easily read even when outdoors in the bright light. I quickly took the watch outside to give it a test, and reading time was, indeed, a breeze. It also doesn’t hurt to have an AR-coated sapphire crystal over the display. Having no backlight, the battery life should be considerable.
The Hamilton PSR shares the vaguely cushion-shaped case of the original, measuring 40.8mm-wide and 34.7mm lug-to-lug. Water resistant to 100M, both versions come with a matching bracelet that is surprisingly nicely finished, and wearing the PSR makes it clear that Hamilton does not see this simply as a fun novelty (in non-watch-world parlance). It’s a solidly built revival of the first digital watch, and there is clearly pride in that history.
The Hamilton PSR is bound to draw comparisons to another digital watch that was recently brought back, the Bulova Computron LED ,which I saw last year at Baselworld 2019. The Hamilton PSR is priced over twice as much as the Computron, but not without good reason. The case and bracelet quality and finishing are strikingly different, even before you consider things like the LCD/OLED screen with sapphire crystal on the PSR. Just as how two digital watches, or two quartz watches, or two mechanical watches are not the same — despite the same time-telling method — neither are the Bulova Computron LED and Hamilton PSR. They do represent some of the most fun you can have with a digital display for less than $500 for the Bulova and under $1,000 for the Hamilton.
The new Hamilton PSR in stainless steel (Ref. H52414130) is priced at $745, while the Hamilton PSR in stainless steel with yellow gold PVD (Ref. H52424130) is priced at $995. Both will be available later this year and you can learn more at hamiltonwatch.com.