I've spent a week with my new beauty and I think I can put together a fairly decent review of it.
We all know the movement particulars by now, but none of them hit home until you actually handle the watch. One massive improvement to this model compared to the blue L.E. is the exhibition case back. This movement is way too beautiful to keep buried behind stainless steel without any way to look in. It does have the Valjoux "wobble" that just makes me grin a little whenever it happens. The "H" logo on the bridge of the movement is also quite exceptional. After having another 7750, a Sellita SW500, SW200, the Invicta version of the 8R28 chronograph, and an ETA 2824, it does brighten up the view just that little bit more, especially for this price point.
Here's a compare and contrast with my Oris diver with a $1,400 MSRP:
and the H31 in this for $1,956 MSRP:
You'll can get this movement in a less expensive Hamilton (not cheaper, less expensive), but with this Pan Europ, the whole really is more than the sum of its parts. Hamilton also wasn't lying about the 60 hour power reserve. I've had this watch since Tuesday night and it hasn't stopped working yet. I've only worn it three times because of work, and I haven't had to rewind the watch at all. The other improvement to the movement has been accuracy. After a week where it's been in the watch case, it has only lost 5 seconds. To get that accuracy out of my other autos, I have to wear them constantly. Incredible.
At 45mm, it's perfect for my 7 5/8" wrist and the rotating bezel has no slop in it whatsoever. The Pan Europ also has the AR coated sapphire crystal which Hamilton hypes in this year's catalog. It sounds minor, but makes a huge difference.
It's not all perfect, however. The leather strap it comes with is crap. It's dry, scratchy, and feels a little worse than the $20 croc embossed strap I bought for my grandpa's Invicta Pro Diver. The end of the strap is also showing wear from the tang buckle. I do love the curved spring bars that makes any normal strap look like it's custom cut to the shape of the watch case, but there's no reason that couldn't use a variation on the rallye strap and deployant they used for the Blue LE since they cost almost the same amount of money. I've junked the strap for a Hirsch croc with the "H" deployant logo and feels perfect and looks great. I need a little work with my camera setup, so I don't have any pictures of this yet, but I'll probably have some by Monday.
The lume is also disappointing, but you aren't buying the watch to be a lume monster anyway. It's C1 SuperLuminova that goes white-to-green and is bright enough to illuminate the silver dial just from the hands, but it's there only for 20-25 minutes before it's dark as night again. With there not being any room for much lume period, why not go with T25 tritium tube? The hour markers and hands are about the perfect size for them and there's no licensing cost for them like the T100s. It's a minor gripe, but a gripe nonetheless. My camera setup doesn't like low light setups, so I'll try to have a better picture later.
And for the least significant gripe, like other Valjoux 7753 variants, you cannot change the date from the crown. There's a little dimple that looks like an auto helium release valve that moves the date wheel. A bamboo skewer seems to work the best to trigger the device, and if this thing ever runs out of power, it's going to get annoying especially if I go one day over the date I'm looking for. It's not Hamilton's fault, but I do wonder what the hell the designers were thinking when they made this back in the 70's when the 7750 CAN use the crown to change the date. Oh well.
So to sum up, the watch is almost perfect. The price is right and it kills the desire for a Panerai for me, especially the Ferrari models. The only thing that needs fixing is the strap which you can do yourself very easily. The only sad thing is I don't know what to do for a next watch. I've got a column wheel chronograph in the Monaco. This watch is better than any other 7750 series out there. A new Planet Ocean chrono is way too much. The older Planet Ocean is an idea, but for that money I'm buying a Spring Drive GMT, but which one? The Marinemaster Spring Drive hits the diver/lume monster/gmt hole in my collection, but we are now in the $4,000 range and used ones are rarer than an honest politician. Then there's the Grand Seiko diver that I'm not even sure how much it is, but is JUST gorgeous.
Either way, it's a nice problem to have.