A few years ago Hamilton commemorated the Ventura with an automatic-winding reproduction of the original. This is ironic, because one of the distinguishing features of the original Ventura was that it was the world’s first electric, battery-run watch. This year a second of Hamilton’s world firsts is being celebrated at Baselworld. Hamilton’s Pulsar was the world’s first working digital watch and this year marks its 40th anniversary. Once again an automatic movement will replace the original electric one, but it will nonetheless display the time as its original did. Mix Pulsar and “automatic” and you get the 2010 Hamilton Pulsomatic.
Just like a regular automatic-winding movement, the one inside the Hamilton Pulsomatic allows the watch to store and convert kinetic energy using an oscillating rotor. The power reserve of the Cal. H.1970 mechanism can reach up to 82 hours. While power is generated mechanically, the time is calculated electrically and is displayed digitally. ETA originally developed mechanisms of this style to join the quality and durability of automatic with the accuracy of quartz. The extraordinary ETA Autoquartz movements where discontinued in 2006, but still make appearances under different forms within watches made by Swatch Group companies.
The Hamilton Pulsomatic is traditionally futuristic. The watch looks much like many of the first digital watches. The 39mm wide stainless steel case is rounded and simplistic like the original that it is based on. The time is displayed on a black LCD screen which is protected by a domed sapphire crystal and replaces the original LED display. The crystal reflects the quasi-rectangular shape of the case and is marked counter-intuitively with the phrase “Automatic Swiss Made.” The bracelet has also benefited from some improvements since the Pulsar of the 1970s. The stainless steel elements are thicker and they are linked together more solidly. Instead of the entire bracelet being brushed-finished, both brushed and high-polish finishes are used on the Pulsomatic.
When the the Pulsar was released in 1972, it was received with plenty of buzz and excitement. Now on the 40th anniversary of the world’s first digital watch ñ Hamilton’s first concept began measuring time on May 6th, 1970 ñ the Pulsomatic revives the innovative spirit that created the original. The automatic winding, digital Hamilton Pulsomatic is a futuristic classic reborn, with definite improvements like a stronger construction and a durable automatic movement.
Written by Marco who sells Hamilton Watches at Matt Baily.