New Hamilton Thin-o-Matic In Store ¶
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As I’ve mentioned in the blog before, we are seeing a return to classic and simple designs in the luxury watch industry after years of huge and bold sporty watches. The overall trend is to renew old designs and maintain classic elegance, but in the bigger sizes we are now accustomed to. A perfect example of this trend is the new Hamilton Thin-o-Matic, an updated re-edition of a classic dress watch from Hamilton’s golden age.
The original Thin-o-Matic was exceptional for using an extra-flat automatic movement in a simple round case with an easy-to-read dial. It was a perfect example of the traditional and conservative 1960s watch. It utilized a Buren micro-rotor movement, whose technology would become the basis of the first automatic chronograph calibre developed in the late 60s in a joint venture between Buren, Dubois-Depraz, Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton – the famous Calibre 11 movement that featured a Buren-style micro-rotor inside the movement. The Thin-o-Matic has become a collectible piece in recent years, helped in part by the popularity of 1960s elegance inspired by TV shows like Mad Men. I hate to repeat a typical watch blog cliché, but it is true: watches like the Thin-o-Matic exude the much-sought after Don Draper elegance – timeless, effortless style that never appears forced.
The new Thin-o-Matic is part of a series of retro designs from Hamilton and was announced at Baselworld 2011 alongside the Pan-Europ limited edition chronograph. In an interesting move, Hamilton has made it available in two sizes – a traditional 38mm diameter, as well as a more modern 42mm. The 38 isn’t a ladies model, it’s simply a scaled-down copy of the 42. Why would they release two distinct sizes? Well, the 38 is a near-perfect recreation of the original design, while the 42 has a more up-to-date look. Being a vintage nut (who also has tiny wrists) I like the proportions of the 38mm more, but for most people the 42mm will be the way to go. So Hamilton has both bases covered – traditionalists like myself will take the 38, fashion conscious buyers can opt for the 42.
The new Thin-o-Matic uses a tried-n-tested ETA 2824 Swiss automatic movement with date. A closed caseback keeps the thickness to a minimum. A lightly domed sapphire crystal tops off the nicely sculptured stainless steel case. A variety of straps and bracelets are available – the 38 here has a coarse-grain calfskin (looks like buffalo), while the 42 has the traditional Hamilton croc-pattern calfskin. Two metal bracelets are available – a vintage-look expansion link item and a more modern stainless-steel link bracelet. Dials are either metallic silver or a black finish with applied polished hour markers and finely pointed dauphin style hands. A gold plated version with a champagne or black dial is also available.
On the wrist the Thin-o-Matic wears very well, in either size. The 38 might sound small by today’s standards but it appears larger on the wrist than the numbers would suggest. The 42 is a good size, not too big and the extra real estate makes it a standout piece. Both are clean and legible, a must for a classic dress watch. Finishing overall is very good, with fine detail on the cases and dials and good quality straps. As with all Hamiltons the prices are excellent for the quality and finishing, both versions retailing for under 1000$ Canadian. In my opinion the Thin-o-Matic is a no-brainer if you are looking for an excellent quality dress watch that is very reasonably priced – but looks much more expensive.