Friends, I just received my new Hamilton Thin-O-Matic, and to my horror, it is everything I feared it would be.
First of all, the watch looks completely different from all the pictures online. This is not a watch that photographs well, so when you see it in person you quickly realize that it is a different watch altogether than what you were expecting. Allow me to explain. The pictures online make you think that you'll be getting a boring white dial, and hands so polished that they contrast poorly and almost disappear into the dial.
But instead in real life the watch has a nice creamy silvery dial that looks almost as good as the vintage dials in high end watches from the 50's and 60's. The hands stand out from the rest of the dial, and are beautifully polished. The markers have depth and look like the kind you'd expect to find on a very expensive watch. I tried to take a picture that would show this exactly, but again the bloody thing refuses to let me take a picture of it that will show the full depth, texture, rich color, and amazing sharp and clean contrast. This is as good as I got.
To make things worse, as you can also see from the picture above, despite being a 38 mm watch the large dial and thin bezel make this watch wear larger on the wrist. It feels more like a 40 mm watch than a 38 mm. On my huge 7.75 inch wrist, it actually looks perfect. This sets a very dangerous precedent. Vintage inspired watches are either supposed to look tiny or have to be huge and look like porcelain dinner plates strapped to one's wrist. What kind of a statement am I making by having a dress watch that looks just right on my wrist (neither big nor small.)
To add insult to injury, the watch looks a lot more expensive and high end than what it really is. This leaves me without the usual justifications that one makes for spending so much money on a watch. The fit and finish is far above anything I expected to get for my measly $450 (from a well known and respected gray dealer) and even at the full retail price of $845, it looks like it's well worth the money.
I'm sorry, but there is something wrong when a watch is so well priced and gives you so much for the money that you are robbed of the traditional excuses one must make to justify the price tag. What fun is it if I can't sit there telling myself that it was well worth it because such and such movie star is paid to wear my watch, or because the company's advertisement department takes a picture of some diver or pilot who was paid to pose with my watch, or because the watchmaker had a history of innovation in the 1950's or 1960's that justifies the crazy prices. And no, I can't even make the time tested excuse that some world leader or guerrilla fighter wore my watch and therefore I have to pay through the nose to get one similar to it.
This Hamilton looks like it was worth every cent I paid, and a lot more.
And folks, there is one final blow to my ego... the design itself. In real life it looks almost like a genuine vintage watch. I put it next to some of my vintage Rado Green Horse from the 60's and I could barely tell that one was made 50 years after the others were made. It is just a clean, crisp, classic design. This should not be so. What kind of an example is Hamilton trying to set by creating a watch that is not overly large, overly bulky, has a cluttered face and tacky writing, or a monstrous crown that looks like a canteen cap? I honestly expected some modern cheesy rendition of a 1960's watch, and not something that would not look out of place in the 60's.
In conclusion: It looks too classy, the fit and finish is too good for the price I paid, the size is perfect for a modern dress watch that was inspired by a vintage watch, and the overall watch looks a lot better than the pictures online led me to believe.