Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Auto Review
Hamilton was founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892. Now headquartered in Switzerland, Hamilton is well-respected in the watchmaking industry for making reliable and stylish timepieces. Hamilton watches tend to be priced in the $750 – $2,000 range.
I own several Hamiltons and generally have had good experiences with their watches.
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The Jazzmaster Regulator is definitely one of the most unique watches you can get for its $1,275 MSRP. Powered by Hamilton’s own H-12 automatic movement, the Regulator comes with the specs you can expect from a four-figure Hamilton: sapphire front/rear crystals, stainless steel all around, an excellent leather strap, and a deployment clasp. I think it’s a great looking watch, too. If you want something mechanical and decidedly different from what most will have in their collection, the Regulator Automatic is worth your consideration.
Hamilton Regulator Automatic Technical Specifications
Approximately 40 hours
Operating the Watch
The Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator has no complications and is straightforward to set. It is recommended to turn the crown 10 to 15 times before setting the time, as this charges the mainspring so that timekeeping begins as soon as you are finished setting the watch.
Watch the complete user manual here.
How To set the time:
- Pull crown to the furthest position (position 2). Turn the crown clockwise to set the time.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Aesthetics & Design
There are a few color combinations available, with the cream/rose gold being what is represented here.
Hamilton has chosen an asymmetrical layout for the Regulator. It’s a handsome watch that tends to get attention due to its unique layout. Not a lot of people have seen a watch with a face like this one, and the color combination also commands a glance or two. The overall package captures attention without looking for it- in my opinion, this is the sign of a well-designed watch.
Hamilton has paid attention to the details. The hour dial is brushed, whereas the seconds dial is finely grooved for a nice contrasting texture. The dueling-finishes continues on the exterior, with a polished steel case that features brushed lugs and a brushed Hamilton-engraved deployment clasp.
The movement is sparsely decorated save for a brushed and engraved rotor. The H-12 movement fills the exhibition window nicely
Paired with a luxurious crocodile-grain leather strap, the Jazzmaster Regulator is no doubt a handsome watch. It looks prominent but not overbearing on the wrist. Unfortunately, these same things also make it difficult for the Regulator to be worn down- this watch definitely makes more sense when there’s a cuff nearby.
Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Build Quality
Hamilton’s playground is in the $500 to $1,500 market, and they are definitely here to stay. Like the excellent Jazzmaster Day/Date and Jazzmaster Auto Chrono, the Jazzmaster Regulator sports build quality and a level of finish that sets Hamilton apart from other manufacturers.
Crystal, Case, and Dial
Both the front crystal and exhibition window are done in sapphire, and of course during the time I’ve owned the watch (several months now) there has been no visible wear to either surface. Both the front and rear crystals appear brand new.
The case has also proved to be resilient, showing only minor signs of use after several months of wear. The polished stainless steel surfaces are still gleaming nicely, and the brushed surfaces have not lost their soft mat finish.
I feel very confident in the aesthetic longevity of the Jazzmaster Regulator.
Strap and Clasp
The strap is very much like the one on the Auto Chrono. It’s thin but not dainty, feeling light but not delicate. This gives the Regulator a feeling of lightness on the wrist, despite packing an automatic movement inside a stainless steel case.
The deployment clasp also feels strong and secure, refusing to release when tugged with moderate force. It clicks into place snugly, with minimal play in the mechanism. It has yet to “accidentally” release, giving me confidence to wear it all day without worry.
More About the Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator
Inside the Regulator is the Hamilton-exclusive H-12 automatic movement. Developed with ETA, and currently used exclusively by Hamilton, the H-12 automatic is a very cool movement indeed: it separates the minutes, hours, and seconds onto separate dials. The minutes are represented by the large full-face dial, and the hours and seconds on the off-axis subdials.
It has a 40 hour power reserve despite being only 6.6mm tall. It is a hacking movement and is quite accurate, deviating by just 3 seconds when I tested it (by no means is that test to be considered definitive, by the way).
ETA is the industry standard for reliable and versatile Swiss automatic movements. I am confident that the H-12 will hold up well over time.
Value for Money
It’s tough sometimes to look at a watch in this price range and compare its value. The reason for this is because value can be subjective, especially if you’re the kind of person to place a lot of value in the hidden qualities of a watch. Namely, the movement.
If you find value in bespoke movements, the H-12 inside the Jazzmaster Regulator is as safe of an investment as I think you can make for around $1,000. For $1,000 (or a little less on Amazon) you’ll be the only person on your block to wear a Swiss watch with a genuinely bespoke automatic movement.
Sure, you could get a Raymond Weil or Baume and Mercier for around the same price, but those won’t come with an in-house movement. If cool movements are what tickles your fancy, the H-12 inside the Regulator is a pretty good one.
Taking into consideration the sapphire crystals, excellent quality of build and finishes, and the premium leather strap and deployment clasp, the Regulator really does show its value. This is a watch that will cost somewhere around $1,000 to put on your wrist, and once it’s there, it’ll stay there for several decades (or more) with proper care.
Where to Buy
Hamilton Jazzmaster Regulator Review Conclusion
My thoughts The regulator uses the Hamilton-dervied H-12 automatic movement, and in the cream/rose gold color combo, it's a real looker. Everywhere you look it is clear to see where Hamilton put its attention- everything is meticulously crafted. It's a great looking watch, no doubt, and it's got one heck of an engine powering it.