The sporty Jazzmaster Seaview collection is available as a 42-mm GMT, huge 46-mm Automatic three-hander, as well as the medium-sized 42 mm Hamilton Jazzmaster Seaview AutoChrono (ref. H37646331) version that is briefly reviewed here. Priced at around $1.5K, the new range will be one of the most affordable offers in Hamilton’s current lineup.
As you may already know, an overwhelming majority of the so-called “affordable” automatic chronographs is powered by nothing more impressive than a cheap ETA 2892 base movement.
Being essentially a simple three-hander with a rudimentary (i.e. having nothing but a “date” wheel that makes 31 revolutions per cycle and forces you to correct the reading after any month that has less than 31 days in it) calendar, the movement is turned into a chronograph utilizing a chronograph module (usually made by a third-party specialist like, say, Dubois-Depraz or Soprod) put atop of it to expand its limited functionality.
This kind of marriage lets watchmaking brands to obtain a dirt-cheap (especially if you compare the wholesale price of the modified caliber to the retail price of a watch that is often higher than $1000) movement for their products, but predictably reduces the reliability of the product and makes it more difficult to fix the caliber if something unexpectedly breaks down: not only parts are more difficult to find, but also not every service professional is trained to fix add-on modules made by brands other than ETA S/A.
The new Hamilton Jazzmaster Seaview AutoChrono (ref. H37646331), on the other hand, sports a natural-born chronograph movement ETA 7753 that, even though being more expensive, is also a lot more dependable and robust having fewer stress points and, well, fewer parts to break down. Being essentially the same ETA Valjoux 7750, but with a pair of extra jewels and a different layout for its three chronograph sub-dials, the mechanism gives you the usual functionality that you expect from a modern chronograph. It also brings you a lot better “value for money” ratio, but that’s sort of obvious, I suppose.
Also, while the cal. 7750 has its sub-dials located at “12,” “6” and “9” o’clock, the cal. 7753 features the “3-6-9” configuration: so, it’s basically a matter of personal preferences.
For some unknown reason, the caliber is also slightly more expensive than its sibling, but the price differential is usually absorbed by the retail price of an assembled watch.
From the visual perspective, the AutoChrono has a surprisingly distinctive (some may call it “polarizing, especially, the rose gold-plated model that features a black dial with Cotes de Geneve decoration and a sporty black leather strap,) appearance: it certainly one of those “poor man’s Rolex” that has flooded the market during the last decade.
Well, I don’t like the gold-plated models, because they tend to wear much faster than real gold or a real steel version and because I always prefer the real thing over imitation, but it still looks, well, distinctive.
Its rotating bezel features the usual 60-minute diving scale, but even the traditional 15-minute timer doesn’t look like it is directly ripped-off from a Submariner, which is great, although it lacks the legibility one expects from a diver (although, let’s be honest here: a watch that is rated for 100 meters of water resistance is far from being a true “diver.”) The dial layout, on the other hand, is legible and is not too busy with unnecessary details, which is a plus. Even the date window at 6 o’clock looks cool, providing the dial with more balanced looks.
There will also be a polished stainless steel version, which will be available with either a rubber strap or an SS bracelet.
Considering the brand’s traditionally high build quality, good reputation of the ETA 775x family, and the humble MSRP, I just can’t recommend this model strong enough if you are into the styling that was chosen for this piece.
See also: Hamilton Khaki X-Mach “aviator”
Hamilton Jazzmaster Seaview AutoChrono (H37646331) specification
Price range: €1295 (MSRP) / USD $1700 (Retail)
Movement: Caliber ETA 7753, automatic, 27 jewels, 28,800 vph, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, date
Power reserve: 44 hours
Case: Steel or pink gold plated
Size: 44.00 mm
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet or black rubber strap