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.

ByJohn Biggs

John lives in Brooklyn and has loved watches since he got his first Swatch Irony automatic in 1998. He is the editor of WristWatchReview.

8 thoughts on “Hamilton Pulsomatic Automatic Digital: A Classic Futuristic Watch”
  1. The Pulsomatic, as with the MIIB LCD Hamilton watch released in 2002 is being misrepresented. The Swiss owned Hamilton Watch Company again insinuates they are the same Hamilton company that invented the digital watch. Actually, they have no rights to any claims for the invention or its development.

    Unlike the Ventura, which was developed and manufactured by the American Hamilton Watch Company that was purchased by SSIH in 70’s, the Pulsar was NOT part of that same watch company. In fact, when the first Pulsar was sold, the Hamilton Watch Company was already spit off from the Parent Company who developed the Pulsar.

    For any watch enthusiast who relies on historical facts for his/her watches of interest, I hope they would respect the years of research committed to our website dedicated to the Pulsar LED watch.

  2. It is true that Pulsar was the world’s first working digital watch and this year marks its 40th anniversary. Yet, the world’s first digital watch was an LED watch. It defies logic that a tribute to the first LED watch would take the form of a reverse LCD display. Beyond that, the $1400 price tag will likely cause a stampede away from this watch.

  3. @HDLED
    Well I dont really agree that the Pulsar was the first digital watch, yes it was the first one to be electronically powered but the first digital watch, no. Almost certainly the first digital watch was probably a pocket watch such as the Cortebert Mechanical Digital that was around in the 1890’s, or something similar. A digital watch by definition after all is just a watch that tells the time using “digits” (source: http://www.uniquewatchguide.com/mechanical-digital-watches.html)

  4. Way too expensive. I can understand the original costing a lot – the technology was new and the original was considered absolutely amazing. But these days LEDs are ten a penny, literally. Or perhaps they’re only planning to make a couple of thousand to make it a collector’s piece!

  5. To whom it may concern,

    I have a Hamilton “MEN IN BLACK” lcd digital watch from 2002
    that I purchased in 2007,from a company in upstate New York.
    It works great,and I get many compliments when I wear it.I also
    owned a Pulser P-1 in 14kt.gold I sold that watch a few years ago
    for the gold content,because the watch did not work.I love my MIB.

  6. @alan h. goldberg
    Well, it’s been about a year and it looks like the PulsoMatic is a great big flop. Probably because watch enthusiasts are much smarter and more informed than Hamilton thought. Anyone interested in the watch (especially for that price) will research the watch and find they (Hamilton) are seriously misrepresenting their association with the original Pulsar. Did they really think they could get away with this? Most all Pulsar enthusiasts already know the true history behind the Pulsar . . . . shame on you Hamilton!

    BTW, a digital watch is NOT defined by a Digital display. It is the use of “0”s and “1”s in the programing that make it a “Digital Watch”. Pulsar was the first watch to have an IC with “Digital” programing to convert the quartz time base to a “Digital” display.

  7. To whom it may concern,
    I am trying to find out what type of battery is in my
    “MEN in BLACK” digital lcd watch.The manual does
    not mention anything about what type of battery
    is used.I need the no. and type.

    Thank you,A.H.G.@yahoo.com

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