This is the big news of the new year for Hamilton. With an all-new design in the form of a complete range comprising eleven models, the Jazzmaster Performer opens a new chapter for the Swiss-born American brand. We told you about them when they were first released, and now we’ve taken them in hand to give you our opinion.
Performer: a sporty take on the Jazzmaster
From modern and functional watches with a touch of sportiness. This is probably what best defines these new Jazzmaster Performers. We were sceptical about their inclusion in the Jazzmaster collection, but on closer inspection we soon realized that the collection was far more extensive than we had imagined: almost 200 models with equally varied styles ranging from classic-retro to theurban-modern. And from Hamilton’s point of view, it’s just as well to use a name that already has echoes, to make a stronger impact. In any case, it’s a most logical addition, filling a gap in its catalog while at the same time looking to the future. At a time when all watch brands are playing the “revival” card, it’s very interesting to see an established brand, and a Swatch Group one at that, indulging in a more perilous exercise.
Let’s start with the cases, which share an interesting build. A plunging curved profile convexly towards the bottom of the can, to create a illusion of ultra-thinness once on the wrist, especially on the 3-hand models, which are 11mm thick (compared with 15mm for chronographs). We also appreciate the vertical brushing, remarkably fine, with a satin-finish chamfer capping the whole and ending at the bottom of the horn. On all sides, the finishes alternate judiciouslyfrom the polished base of the bezels to the circular brushing of the bezels, or the central links of the steel bracelets. Hamilton has taken great care, and it shows. Note also thetightness of 10ATMwhich is almost a novelty in the Jazzmaster collection, and gives these new watches their full meaning. The way the brand has applied photoluminescence is also interesting, with fine lines that give them a touch of elegance at night while creating a certain link with the Jazzmaster name. Finally, and this is one of the major arguments, their automatic movements, calibers H-10 with 80-hour power reserve for the 3 hands and H-31 with 60 hours for chronographs which, coupled with their Nivachron balance-spring to confer amagnatic properties, set them apart from many competitors.
What we regret
Our greatest pleasure would be to see the fixed black bezel evolve on the 3-hand models. This desire for evolution, admittedly highly subjective insofar as it’s a matter of tasteis motivated by the very thickness of the bezel: something seems to be out of place, perhaps because of its thinness, which contrasts with what we usually come across. We could mention thechronograph thicknessbut it’s a chronograph. The world often forgets that the 12mm of a Cosmograph Daytona, the benchmark of its kind, is far from normal. Secondly, while the chronograph push-buttons display superb lines, they are quite hard to triggerwhich can make their use more restrictive. Also, even if some people like the principle, the fact that the chronograph date needs to be set on the other side of the caseThis requires more dexterity in use, as it’s impossible to do by hand. You need to use a pencil or other small point (ideally non-metallic to achieve this). Finally, let’s look at the question of pricing. Even though they are rather well positioned on the market, at €1125-1270 for the 34 and 38mm models, and €2395-2545 for the chronographs, other equally established brands – from the same group – offer similar technical specifications at more attractive prices.
Our opinion on these Hamilton watches
We keep repeating ourselves, but Hamilton made a good choice. Strategically, it’s smart. Watches are well thought out and well made. Design-wise, it’s more subjective, so the discussion remains very much open to individual tastes. We love the chronograph with blue sunray background which is true to form, from the indexes to the buckle, and which also deserves a steel bracelet. The same goes for the version with a light blue dial in 34mm which contrasts with what is usually seen on the market, and which represents a new departure. very interesting proposition for ladies (and not only ladies). If their charm works, which we hope it will, our best recommendation is still the same: go and try them on your AD!