The Hamilton Boulton – A Timeless Classic

Note from Ranch Racer: A big Love ‘N Watches THANK YOU to Jason Tricoli for providing our very first Reader Review. Jason is a member of our local Redbar Sacramento chapter and took time out of his busy schedule, which included preparing for his wedding and honeymoon, to spend some time with the Hamilton Boulton and give us his thoughts on the piece.

Reader Review by Jason Tricoli (follow Jason on IG at @synergyst)

While purchased by the Swatch Group in 1974, the Hamilton Watch Company remains an American classic. In 1957, they introduced the world’s first battery operated watch. This movement would power the Ventura and was a favorite of Elvis Presley. Another Hamilton design from the 1940s is the Hamilton Boulton. Square and rectangular watches were more popular during this era, and the Hamilton Boulton became a classic of that style. Here we see it reintroduced in a form that pays respect to the history of the Hamilton brand.

The watch is offered in a few different case sizes. The model I am reviewing is the large size. Be aware the dimensions are listed as 27mm x 31mm, but this measurement does not include the lugs which span 41mm in total. That being said, it is nice to see Hamilton offering this watch in a variety of sizes considering that historically this was a popular style with both men and women. This watch is also a scant 9mm in height. On my 6 and ¾ inch wrist this large version of the watch is right at home.

The case is fully polished and has a very gentle curve throughout. The sapphire crystal is also gently curved. The knurled crown is signed with the Hamilton logo. The dial of this watch is a stunner. At first glance, it appears a simple silver white, but upon closer inspection it is a beautiful shimmer dial. The roman numerals have a lacquer like finish, and jump off the dial. They curve around the edge of the dial in a style slightly reminiscent of Salvador Dali.

Both the alpha style hour and minute hands as well as the small second hand are blued steel. They provide an excellent contrast to the monochrome of the dial and add an overall elegance to the watch. The dial features a railroad style minute track around the outer edge with marks for the minutes and slightly bolder marks for the hours. The small seconds sub-register is recessed into the dial. If you look closely, there are also layered concentric circles on the sub dial. This sub register adds a bit of complexity and interest to the dial. It also serves to balance the Hamilton logo and printed name at the 12 o’clock position. Overall, this art deco style dial is dripping with classic elegance.

The movement in this piece is the ETA 980.163. This is a 15 jewel quartz movement. I know quartz can be a dealbreaker for some; however, with a small second hand, the quartz tick is much less noticeable (as is the mechanical sweep for that matter). This movement is also silent, and will not produce the loud tick that you find with cheaper quartz movements. The overall finishing of the watch is very high, and I think the quartz movement was chosen as a cost saving choice to price this watch at $595 retail.

The strap is very comfortable and features quick release pins. The blue color of the strap helps to accentuate the blue hands of the watch. The pin and buckle keeper is signed with the Hamilton name. While I am a stickler for leather bands (often replacing stock ones), I felt this leather strap was a keeper. However, if it is not for you, the lug width on this watch is 18mm which makes finding other strap choices a breeze.

Overall, this is a very nice update of a classic styled watch. If you enjoy its classic styling, but don’t like the risks and challenges of purchasing vintage watches, the Hamilton Boulton could be an excellent choice for you. Personally, I would have preferred a mechanical movement. However, the execution of the dial and overall finishing of the watch is very good. MSRP on the piece is $595 and additional info can be found on Hamilton USA’s website

Perpetual Girl’s Take:

Hamilton actually sent us two sizes of the Boulton which they’ve named “Large” and “Medium”. Jason reviewed the larger 31mm case size. The smaller version’s case measurements are 27.4 mm by 23.5 mm, and 8.64 mm thick. When we first received them for our hands-on reviews, I initially thought the larger Boulton would be more in line with current trends for women – that being larger watches. After trying on both the men’s and women’s Boultons, I really fell in love with the smaller version of the watch. With its Art Deco style, the smaller case size was elegant and beautiful, and easy to wear alone or with jewelry. The dark blue leather band is lovely, and a unique shade of blue. It’s obvious that Hamilton truly went the extra mile to add to the quality and fine details of this timepiece all while keeping the charm of vintage Boultons. This watch would be the perfect gift, and would stand the test of time.

Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Hamilton Boulton (H13421611)
  • MSRP: $595 USD
  • Who we think it might be for: You love extremely classy, vintage style rectangular watches, but don’t want to purchase an actual vintage piece.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen? This is not my personal style, but the watch is undoubtedly classic. PG was really impressed with the quality, and would buy herself one.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: While the small seconds sub-register balances out the dial, I dislike how far it cuts into the IV roman numeral.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: Classic styling, gorgeous shimmer dial, and blue hands.

Technical Specifications from Hamilton

  • CASE
    • Material: 316L Stainless steel
    • Case Size: 27 mm x 31mm (41mm lug to lug)
    • Thickness: 9mm
    • Crystal: Curved Sapphire
    • Case Back: Screwed down with Hamilton Logo
    • Water Resistance: 5 atm
    • Inter-lug Width: 18 mm
  • MOVEMENT: ETA 980.163 (15 jewel quartz)
    • Functions: Time Only (small seconds)
  • BRACELET
    • Blue leather strap with padded backing and quick release pins
    • Clasp: Signed pin-buckle