The new Hamilton Railroad Pocket embodies an American traditionBorna Bošnjak
Hamilton’s history is a rich one. After taking over existing manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania and establishing the Hamilton Watch Company in 1892, the brand was first focused on producing accurate railroad pocket watches, before shifting production to wristwatches after WWI, eventually only producing military watches during WWII. The new Hamilton Railroad Pocket watch focuses on the earliest moments of the brand’s history, incorporating period-correct design cues using modern manufacturing techniques.
A large case allows for the expansive opaline whiteness that is the Railroad Pocket’s dial, with contrasting numerals in inky black and stark red. The large Arabics are executed with flowing serifs, circling a step in the enamel-like surface. The hand design is a throwback to Hamilton’s pocket watches of old, finished in shiny black lacquer to match the numerals. For the sake of at-a-glance legibility, Hamilton prints the minute markers and all the numerals, which is another connection to the original designs. Just above the pinion, Hamilton uses their post-WWII logo which doesn’t quite fit with the turn-of-the-century aesthetic of the rest of the watch and the typeface used on the rest of the watch.
A small seconds sub-dial intersects the concentric circles of the dial and dial step, allowing extra-accurate timekeeping that would’ve been crucial during the time of rapid railroad expansion.
Modern materials, vintage form
During the early times of the Hamilton brand, the brand produced movements in 16-size (~43mm) and 18-size (~45mm), which would likely require cases of a similar size to the brand new Railroad Pocket, which measures in at 50mm in diameter. The stainless-steel case certainly does have plenty of modern refinements, the most notable of which are its 50-metre water-resistance rating.
Another modern upgrade is the inclusion of a domed sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating, which will help the durability of the Railroad Pocket, considering it doesn’t have a protective front cover.
The Unitas ETA 6497 movement is a sensible choice for any pocket watch. With a 12 o’clock crown and 6 o’clock sub-seconds, its simplicity and robustness helped its iterations make their way into everything from clones and homages to five-figure Panerai and Omega watches.
In the Railroad Pocket, the manually wound movement with 50 hours of power reserve is hidden behind a solid caseback, which is engraved to commemorate the 130th anniversary of Hamilton’s founding. It also denotes the limited-edition number, as the Railroad Pocket is limited to 917 pieces.
Hamilton Railroad Pocket pricing and availability:
The Hamilton Railroad Pocket is available now from Hamilton. Time+Tide are an authorised dealer of Hamilton Watches in Australia. Should you be interested in securing this watch please contact us directly at [email protected]
|50mm x 11.95mm
|Domed sapphire crystal
|Stainless steel chain
|ETA Unitas 6497, 50-hour power reserve, manual winding