So, do you recall a few back when I posted an article about what defines a regulator watch? If not, feel free to head on over here to refresh your memory, and then pop on back to this article. Alright, everyone up to speed? With their large central minute hands, regulator watches might seem similar to one-hand watch designs, but they truly are their own breed. Read on for a hands-on review of a modern example, the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator.As you can guess from the title of this article, this watch hails from the Jazzmaster collection (ref H42615143), which offers more classically-styled pieces. The article linked above goes some into the history of regulators, so we won’t bother to rehash that here. Instead, we’ll dive right into the watch.
While on most any watch the minute hand takes predominance (in terms of sizing), here, it’s absolutely dominating the dial tucked into the 42mm case. This is in large part due to it standing alone, but also the fact that the hour hand (in the subdial at 10 o’clock) is rather miniscule in comparison, just barely larger than the running seconds hand at 5 o’clock. While at first this is off-putting, you quickly get into the swing of what this watch has on tap.
Most of the time, we (or at least I) have some sense of the hour of the day we’re in – we’re more looking to see how many minutes we’ve got until the next meeting or appointment. In that regard, having a large minute hand setting out there by it’s lonesome really helps the “at a glance” read of the time. Should you need to know the hour, however, you can simply drop to that sub-dial in the upper-left and get that bit of info. Speaking of the dial, the overlapping / offset nature was something I wasn’t sure I’d like at first.
After spending some time with the piece, however, I feel it works. In this sort of a layout, it makes things clear that this isn’t a chronograph, or even a watch trying to pass itself off as a chrono. This is something of it’s own nature, of course. Fortunately for us, though the dial layout is a bit different, the watch itself wears just like any other. In fairly short order the bracelet was resized, and it was off for some wrist time. Being as the 42mm case and 22mm bracelet are made of steel, it is a heavier watch, tipping the scales at 172g. For me, however, I got used to it pretty quickly, and it wasn’t an issue.
Telling the time on the Jazzmaster Regulator was about as dead-simple as you could hope for. Basically, we’re dealing with a simple three-hander. Sure, it’s a deconstructed three-hander, but it’s still within that same family. For those who realize what they’re looking at, of course, there’s some bit of marvel at the adjustments to the movement that allow this sort of a layout. Past the technical achievements, there are some nice aesthetics to the watch as well.
While the numerals around the perimeter are on the smaller side, they’re highly polished, and tie in quite nicely to the beveled handset, both catching the light in a stark contrast to the flatter dial. With the sort of anthracite / dark grey color used, this allows the watch be a bit of a chameleon, working in a variety of situations, though it does skew a bit to the dressier side. The WR rating belies that leaning as well – it’s a modest 50m, which should keep it protected from the occasional splash in the sink or some rain.
While the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Automatic was a bit outside of where I normally dive in Hamilton’s catalog, I’m glad I got to spend some time with the piece. Ever since I wrote up that Regulator article, I’ve been intrigued by the functionality and layout. While I’m still not convinced it would be for me in a daily wear sort of situation, it would definitely add some nice variety to the watchbox. Coming in at a price of $1,275 (strap) or $1,325 (bracelet), it’s definitely a watch that’s just a bit different from other three-handers you’re likely to run across. hamiltonwatch.com
Editor’s Note: This is indeed a hands-on review. Through some misfortune, however, we’ve misplaced the photography for this review, so we’re instead running with the stock photos
- Brand & Model: Hamilton Jazmaster Regulator
- Price: $1,275 (strap), $1,325 (bracelet)
- Who’s it for?: Someone who’s looking for a modern regulator watch
- Would I wear it?: Very likely
- What I’d change: Given that this is as heavy as some dive watches I’ve had in, I’d like to see a lighter material used, or perhaps even a thinner case
- The best thing about it: The overall look courtesy of the off-balance dial
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