Courtesy of: Hamilton
The RailRoad collection represents an era in Hamilton’s history that dates back over one hundred years. The only method of timing that the railroad companies possessed in those days was pocket watches. The quality of Hamilton watches is amazing.
The accuracy and safety of the entire system was dependent on the precision and reliability of the staff’s timepieces. Hamilton was an important provider of pocket watches to American railroad staff and patrons, which explains why they were know as the “watch company of railroad accuracy.”
The models in the American Classic RailRoad collection retain some of the features of the pocket watches that Hamilton built in the late Nineteenth Century.
The rounded sides of the case, the shape of the crown, and the font of the numeral hour markers are directly inspired by the vintage timepieces. The rest of the features are new, and while the watches portray a classic elegance, they offer a unique contemporary style.
Two of the three RailRoad models use Valgranges automatic movements. Valgranges, which is one of the movement manufactures most recently acquired by the Swatch group, is reputed for making extraordinarily robust, high-grade movements.
Just looking at these mechanisms is an indication of their quality. Both the brand new A07-511 calibre that powers the 44mm RailRoad and the A07-211 inside the Auto Chrono are much larger than any of the ETA movements. With a diameter of 36mm, these are almost a centimeter wider than the infamous 2892 caliber.
Aside from a more robust construction the size has several other positive effects on the movement. The larger, heavier rotor winds the watch more efficiently; the positioning of the seconds and the date, which will be discussed further on, is adapted for large dials; and finally, the the sizable plates and bridges of the movements offer a dashing view through the exhibition back of the RailRoad watches.
Courtesy of: Hamilton
The sapphire crystal on the front of the new Hamilton watches is remarkably shaped. A sculpted magnifying lens adorns it. As mentioned before, the large mechanical Valgranges movements that power the RailRoad watches allow for strategic placement of the functions.
The date being so close to the outer edge of the dial allows the magnifying lens to be streamlined with the case features. The subsidiary dial for the seconds of the 44mm Auto also takes advantage of this. Apart from providing balance to the dial, this also represents how Hamilton pocket watches always had the sub-dial of the seconds placed opposite the crown.
Hamilton has mastered the balance between size and elegance. The Slim 43mm is an example of this. similarly, the RailRoad watches display a look based on traditional elegance but a good diameter that is not quite oversize but up to date with contemporary tastes.
The smallest of the three releases sports a 38mm diameter and is designed primarily for women. The other three-hand automatic is 44mm wide and the chronograph 46mm. While 46mm may be considered to be oversized, it retains the elegance that the American Classic Hamilton watches are known for. The large case also allows all the elements to be bold but well proportioned.
The crown is quite large and shaped as if a vintage onion crown was chopped in half. On either side of the crown, decorative shoulders are present and serve as the base of the chronograph pushers on the RailRoad Auto Chrono. The lugs are also quite wide.
The best way to complement a bold elegant watch is to fit it with bold elegant straps. The two models for men are presented with alligator-style grain leather straps. These bands have a thick base and are padded in the middle for even more volume.
Their strength and comfort is evident from the lining on the underside, which is made of a siliconized rubber. A stainless steel link bracelet is also available for each model. It gives the larger models a robust feel, and the 38mm benefits from the bracelets stylishness.
In 2010, Hamilton is really taking advantage of their history to create some of the most beautiful timepieces at the entry level luxury range.
The RailRoad collection pays tribute to an important era for the brand and does do so with style. Some of the aspects of the vintage pocket watches, like the position of the seconds, and shape of the case, are replicated from vintage pocket watches, but many of the main features, like the case size and the beautiful Valgranges automatic movements, are contemporary.
With the 38mm automatic version starting at $895 and the larger sizes starting at $1445, Hamilton, as always, makes sure to offer incredible value to its fans in all of its Hamilton watches.