Hamilton has recently updated its Jazzmaster family with a new automatic chronograph that sports a fairly fresh Caliber H21 automatic movement that we have already seen inside the Khaki Aviation X-Patrol model presented back in February 2012. Based on the time-proven ETA Valjoux 7750 blank caliber, the movement features an upgraded energy storage module with the maximum power reserve extended over 60 hours.
The watch itself features an easily recognizable design. Compared to previous iterations of tri-compax automatic Jazzmasters, the new Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono (Ref. H32596551) has its three sub-dials rearranged for the sake of better legibility.
From now on, the small-seconds indicator stays at 9 hours, while the 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph totalizers moved to 12 and 6-hour positions respectively. The small date window stays at its usual place at 4 o’clock.
Although dress watches can rarely boast their nighttime legibility, the new Jazzmaster is good when it comes to reading time in total darkness. All of its hands (excluding only the central chronograph indicator), as well as the applied hour markers, feature thin strips of Superluminova ensuring adequate readability when there is not enough light.
As for the styling of the dial, I must admit that it looks a little bit TOO simple, not to say cheap. The culprit here is, of course, the Clous de Paris pattern stamped on the sheet metal with the hour markers and chronograph sub-dials applied right atop of it. Just like on some 100-dollar Fossil.
To my taste, the Jazzmaster could look much better if Hamilton decided to “personalize” the stamp for the dial’s layout like, for example, on this Cuervo Y Sobrinos Historiador Retrogrado (Ref. 3194.1A). On the other hand, in my time, I have seen a number of a lot of more expensive timekeepers with the same easygoing approach to design.
Besides the dial, the watch looks wonderful (if only a bit too thick, but that’s a problem of all timekeeper powered by Valjoux 7750 and its derivatives) and nicely executed. The new Jazzmaster elegantly combines polished and satin-brushed surfaces on the case, horns, and chronograph push-pieces, and its setting crown is nicely personalized with the stylized “H”.
Another pleasant thing about this timekeeper is its power reserve. Although definitely not designed to accompany you to a beach party, the watch features a practical water resistance rating of 100 meters, which means that the mechanism will not be ruined if you drop it accidentally into a bathtub or spill a flagon of wine over it.
Can’t say anything about MSRP*, but you can buy it online at a competitive $1000.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
* UPDATE ON PRICE: The MSRP is actually $1725, which is not that bad for a wristwatch that is powered by a refinished (and probably fine-tuned) version of the legendary ETA Valjoux 7750 caliber.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono (Ref. H32596551) specification
Price: $1725 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Hamilton H21 (base ETA Valjoux 7750), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 30
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 60 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Dial: Silver-toned, Clous de Paris motif
Numerals: Arabic (on sub-dials)
Hour markers: Luminous, rose gold, applied
Hands: Rose gold, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Brown leather strap with stitching and stainless steel branded pin buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective