We’ve always associated digital watches with Casio and Timex – those two brands have made the most prominent models in the category for decades, after all. Oddly enough, it turns out neither one originated digital watches. Seiko, technically, released the first digital watch, but gave it an analog face, similar to smartwatches today. The familiar digital layout that showed the time in plain numbers, though, was pioneered by the Hamilton Pulsar Time Computer, making it an absolute innovator in that regard. Sadly, that digital LED watch didn’t grow its tooth long, as its run abruptly ended after cheaper, more energy-efficient LCD-based digital watches came out, making the model quite the rarity in this day and age. At least, that was the case until now when it finally gets a well-deserved revival in the form of the Hamilton PSR.
Why is this kind of a big deal? Well, remember Live and Let Die with Roger Moore? That version of James Bond wore the original Pulsar. Jack Nicholson, Elton John, and Joe Frazier did, too. Seriously, the model was that big at the time, making it such a culturally-significant timepiece. And now, you can wear one just like it.
The Hamilton PSR mirrors the likeness of the original, so it looks just like the classic watch from 1972, albeit with the Pulsar label on the bottom right of the case replaced by Hamilton. Why not use the original branding so it can look exactly the same? From what we can dig up, the Pulsar trademark has long been sold to another watchmaker, which is why they’re rebooting with a different name this time around. By any name, though, the darn thing still looks as good.
Inside, the watch is a different beast altogether. While the original timepiece required you to press the button on the side for the display to turn on and show the time, the new watch displays the time permanently like any modern digital timekeeper, although it retains the same red glow. Instead of the old LED tech, it uses a hybrid LCD and emissive OLED, with the former allowing it to show the time without draining the battery rapidly and the latter kicking in when you press the button to make the screen easier to read under bright sunlight. Sadly, this new tech isn’t enough to make it a Bond watch in this day and age, but the whole thing still looks pretty nice.
The Hamilton PSR has a case measuring 40.8 x 34.7mm (width x height), making it just the right size to adorn your wrist for a good chunk of folks. Made from stainless steel, the case is rated for 10 bars of water resistance and gets topped with a sapphire crystal glass finished in anti-reflective coating. That case is paired with a stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp buckle.
Two models of the Hamilton PSR will be released: one in stainless steel and one that’s gold-plated, with the latter limited to 1,970 pieces. Price is CHF 745 (around $755) and CHF 995 (around $1,010) for the stainless steel and the gold-plated variants, respectively.