Do you hate it when a complete stranger stops you to ask about the watch you’re wearing? Are you a watch introvert and afraid to divulge your strange passion for wrist watches? If either of these applies to you, please do not buy the Hamilton Jazzmaster Face 2 Face II! If, like me, you’re a sick and twisted wrist voyeur and see every social situation as an opportunity to geek out on watches, read on. This may just be the perfect watch for you.
In 2013 Hamilton released the original Jazzmaster Face 2 Face. It was an odd oval shaped watch that was very similar in appearance to the Audamars Piguet Millenary. You can check out a review of that original Face 2 Face written by our very own Patrick Kansa here. It was certainly unique, with a flipping case containing two separate ETA movements powering opposing dials, one a standard three-hander, the other a chronograph. The Face 2 Face received only a lukewarm reception, due partly to the un-Hamilton like $6,000 price tag, and partly to the fact that it was just…well…different.
In 2016 Hamilton followed that watch up with the Jazzmaster Face 2 Face II Limited Edition. Let’s just say that when I first saw it, it was love at first sight. I had to possess it. While still having a steep price tag as compared to other Hamilton offerings, it’s a much more cohesive design, using just a single movement and filling in more of the negative space that the first version suffered from.
That movement is the venerable Valjoux 7750. In this case it’s been heavily modified by ETA for Hamilton (both part of the Swatch Group) to include a longer power reserve, and a “passing through chronograph second hand”. Hamilton refers to the movement as the H-41. The Face 2 Face II is not a small watch, coming in at 53mm wide by 44mm high. However, due to the oval shape that it shares with the original, it actually wears quite nicely. It feels less like a big round wrist puck, and more like an elegant piece of artwork.
Turning our attention to the main time telling side of the case, we find a sunburst silver dial with day and date windows at 3 o’clock. These feature white printing on black wheels, which nicely integrates with the two chronograph registers at 6 and 12 o’clock with circular graining on black backgrounds. Each features turquoise numbers; 10, 20 and 30 on the 30-minute counter, and 3, 6, 9, and 12 on the 12-hour counter.
The running seconds subdial at 9 o’clock is the most unique feature on the main dial. It’s twice as large as the two chronograph registers, and sits on a smoky transparent background that reveals the day and date wheels underneath. It features the old school Hamilton “H” under the 60-second index, with “HAMILTON” under the logo, both in white. I like how the 12-hour chronograph register overlaps the running seconds subdial, which in turn overlaps the 30-minute chronograph register. It adds a sense of depth to the dial. Helping further enhance the multi-level effect are white spokes emanating from the center of the dial, culminating in an outer seconds track for the chronograph seconds hand.
The stainless steel case is housed in a polished stainless “cage”, and rotates on its horizontal access at the generously sized crown with classic Hamilton “H”, and a screw at nine. The two chrono pushers are actually designed to mimic the shape of the sloping lugs; a pleasant, and quite original surprise when you first notice it. Small spring-loaded balls set into the outer diameter of the case click into indentations on the inside of the outer cage, locking the case in place. Rotating the case, we find the pass-through chronograph seconds hand in turquoise. For the most part, this side of the case is used to display the H-41 movement inside, half-hidden by the Hamilton-signed rotor. The bridges feature a handsome circular guilloche pattern.
Printed on an inner track is a tachymeter scale to measure speed, or any activity within a one hour period. Moving out from there is a telemeter track, which can be used to measure distance to a sound. Now I know you’re thinking, “What in the world would I use that for?”, but living in the Northern California foothills, I find myself constantly flipping the case to figure out just how far away that lighting storm is! Finally, we find a Base 30 pulsometer scale for measuring heart rate printed directly on the inside of the sapphire crystal in turquoise. Again, the pulsometer is something I find myself using just for fun. All scales are printed counter-clockwise since the pass-through seconds hand is of course rotating “backwards” on this side of the case. Note that when the case is flipped, it’s the lower pusher that starts and stops the seconds hand, and the upper pusher that resets it since the pushers remain stationary on the outside of the cage.
Finishing off the watch is a high quality black leather strap with turquoise stitching. The underside of the strap is all turquoise, tying it in nicely with the turquoise features on both sides of the dial. A stainless signed deployant clasp completes the ensemble. The Hamilton Jazzmaster Face 2 Face II Limited Edition will be made in a run of 1999 pieces. It retails for $3,995 and can be purchased from Hamilton retailers, or direct from Hamilton. hamiltonwatch.com
- Brand & Model: Hamilton Jazzmaster Face 2 Face II Limited Edition
- Price: $3,995
- Who we think it might be for: Anyone who wants a cool looking conversation starter on their wrist.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? Yes. Serial number 0823 is firmly in my possession.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Better contrast between the main hour and minute hands and the busy dial. It can be tough under certain lighting conditions to see the silver hands.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The unique oval shaped flipping case and the great turquoise accents.
Technical Specifications from Hamilton
- Material: Stainless steel
- Size: 53m x 44mm x 18mm, 54.5mm lug-to-lug
- Weight: 148 grams
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Case Back: Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 5 atm
- Inter-lug Width: 24mm
- MOVEMENT: Valjoux 7750 with custom modifications by ETA
- Functions: Day, Date, Chronograph, Tachymeter, Telemeter, Pulsometer
- Beats Per Hour: 28,800
- Power Reserve: 60 Hours
- Material: Leather
- Clasp: “Tucked Tail” Deployant (strap tail tucks underneath top strap rather than being exposed under traditional keepers)
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