Review: Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator
by Adam Harris
Today’s modern regulator timepieces, like the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator, have separate dials to display the hours and the minutes, a style mainly found on precision timekeepers.
Many people believe that a regulator timepiece or dial is arranged only with a central minute hand and subsidiary dials for hours or seconds, but that was not always the case.
Henry S. Montgomery was Santa Fe Railway’s general watch and clock inspector from 1896 to 1923; by 1906 he perfected a dial with upright minutes (from 1 to 60) printed on the outermost part of pocket watch and clock dials.
Two dials or one dial? The main reason for a regulator timepiece is accuracy, hence compensated pendulum or “tourbillon” and ease of reading the time.
Based on their history of creating marine chronometers, it is not surprising that The Hamilton Watch Co. continues in that tradition with their Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator. This is not a homage watch to a previous Hamilton design but is a beautiful original designed modern piece.
The leather strap and deployment clasp are easily adjusted and set to allow the watch to fit over a 10" hand, something few if any metal deployment straps allow. Closed, it will fit up to a 7" wrist—a gorilla could get this watch on and wear it!
The movement is a regular ETA movement caliber 2826-2, first launched in 2006, 25 jewels and running at 28,800BPH, and adapted by Hamilton and called H12. Surprising to me is the 2826-2 movement incorporated a date, something Hamilton decided to omit. The movement and rotor can be clearly seen through the exhibition case back.
The exceptionally clear and easy to read eggshell colored dial is very well finished and has a large gold center minutes hand. It is surrounded by a minutes track with bold raised-gold minute numbers from 60 to 40 minutes. At 10 o’clock the hour dial is generously sized with raised gold batons at 5.30 with an equally nice running seconds dial (Arabic numerals) every 10 seconds. The dial is uncluttered and easy to read at a glance. It is fitted with a flat sapphire crystal.
The stainless steel case is also very beautiful, with polished and brushed steel parts. The brushed steel lugs have a nice curved design, helping this 42mm (1.65") watch fit snugly to one’s wrist. The case back is marked Swiss Made, Water Resistant 5 Bar/72.5 Psi, Caliber H-12, Sapphire Crystal.
Here is a similar and clearly marked “Regulator” timepiece on display at the NAWCC Museum. Photo by Adam Harris. Courtesy of the National Watch & Clock Museum. Adam Harris.
Another example of a traditional regulator. Photo by Adam Harris. Courtesy of the National Watch & Clock Museum. Adam Harris.
Hamilton Jazzmaster. Keith Lehman.
Hamilton Jazzmaster worn on wrist. Adam Harris.
Hamilton Jazzmaster. Adam Harris.
The Hamilton Watch Co. is no stranger to precision timepieces; it led the world in marine chronometers like this piece from 1918. Adam Harris.
Chronometer Watch, c 1918. Hamilton Watch Company. Photo by Adam Harris. Courtesy of the National Watch & Clock Museum.
The Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator is a very nice dress or daily wear watch, one that certainly turned heads here at the Museum; visitors and staff remarked about it.
It took about a day to get used to reading off the two separate dials for hours and minutes, but reading the minutes is very fast and precise.
The power reserve seemed a bit less than I expected at about 30 hours.
My only negative comment was why it lacked a small date window.
It is a very cool watch and surely one that will become part of our regular wristwatch display. Thanks and acknowledgment to The Hamilton Watch Co. for donating this and other pieces to the NAWCC Museum.
Adam R. Harris
Guest Wristwatch Curator NAWCC Museum
Hamilton Jazzmaster resting on a watchbox. Keith Lehman.