The world’s first digital watch is making a comeback with the Hamilton PSR
On 18th March 2020, Hamilton launched the new Hamilton PSR, reviving a watch that changed the history of digital watches when it was first introduced in 1970 - the Hamilton Pulsar.
Renewing this iconic timepeice - with its 1970s style and technology - not only sets forth a stylish and unique timepiece to the watch community, but also serves as a timely reminder of where and when the digital world began 50 years ago, and what digital timekeeping once meant. Just as it was then, the new PSR remains the epitome of cool, and a watch for those wanting to make a statement, and reminds us as watch enthusiasts how far digital watches have come since they first hit the scenes in the 70s.
- The Hamilton PSR has been produced from stainless steel, the limited edition version of which is available with a yellow gold PVD coating.
- Both watches feature cases in the inimitable wide cushion style of the P2 with dimensions of 40.8mm x 34.7mm (as seen in the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die with Roger Moore).
- The watches are water resistant to 10 bar (100m).
- The Hamilton PSR features a hybrid display mixing reflective LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and emissive OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) technologies - a key difference from the previous version. Pressing the button will once again bring up light red OLED numerals in the familiar ‘digit dot’ style, while the LCD display ensures that time is also permanently visible in daylight conditions.
- With no backlight, the display has very low energy consumption.
- Movement: digital quartz
- Glass: sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
- The Hamilton PSR will be priced at USD 745 for the stainless steel design, and USD 995 for the limited edition gold PVD-coated version.
- The watch will be available from May 2020.
The history behind the Hamilton PSR, in Hamilton’s words
The original Hamilton Pulsar was one of the emblematic creations of the space-age era. Its groundbreaking technology disrupted the market, and its futuristic looks made it a favorite of forward thinkers and style leaders including Jack Nicholson, Joe Frazier, Elton John and Keith Richards. With the Hamilton PSR, we’re proud to bring back the unmistakable style of the digital watch that changed the world.
Now let’s go back to where it all began: May 6, 1970. This day stands as one of the most significant moments in wristwatch history; the day when, during a press conference in The Four Seasons restaurant in New York City, Hamilton revealed the very first digital wristwatch. Named the Pulsar after the pulsating neutron stars that emit beams of radiation at ultra-precise frequencies - this seemed an object straight out of science fiction, with no moving parts, no ticking sound, and unmatchable durability and accuracy.
But the science was real. This ingenious ‘solid state wrist computer’, developed by Hamilton in its hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, would change the way we tell time forever.
The public received its first glimpse of the Pulsar prototype on the US TV program The Tonight Show, when host Johnny Carson demonstrated its unique functionality: pushing a button on the side of the watch made the time flash in red LED numerals on the dark screen, while holding the button for longer revealed the passing seconds. The watch could be set via a unique magnetic bar hidden in the bracelet.
The inaugural Hamilton Pulsar, the P1, launched to market in 1972, with an original, space-age design to match its groundbreaking technology. With an avant-garde cushion case and bracelet in 18 ct yellow gold, it was an unmistakably elite product, with a $2,100 price tag that matched the cost of a family car. Elvis Presley was among the pioneers who snapped up one of 400 models.
By the following year, the wrist computer was ready for the general public. The stainless steel Pulsar P2, with a more rounded case design and an improved chip module, launched in 1973, pioneering the nascent market for digital watches. Produced in large volume, it was a colossal success. Among those to wear it were Keith Richards, Joe Frazier, Elton John, Giovanni Agnelli and U.S. President Gerald Ford. It was the epitome of cool.
Thanks to Hamilton, an entire new genre in timekeeping was born.
Hamilton uses a unique combination of Swiss precision and American spirit to create versatile and unique timepieces for aficionados and style conscious individuals. Hamilton has a long history, having been established in the late 19th century, and has achieved numerous milestones, all of which have contributed to making Hamilton the internationally renowned and well respected watch brand that it is today.
It’s clear that innovation is a fundamental value of Hamilton Watches, a trait that has led to many major developments in the mid 20th century that changed the world of watchmaking forever. As they put it so well on their website, Hamilton is pioneering, practical, precise. And we couldn’t have put it better ourselves.