The 2023 Boulton Quartz is a watch from Hamilton’s American Classic collection. Indiana Jones can be called an American classic too. The two pair up in the fifth and final adventure movie starring the whipping archeologist, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. It’s a movie that takes place in 1969 with, for the first time, “Indy” wearing a watch. And that battery-powered watch plays a golden, vintage mechanical timepiece with such ease, it deserves an Oscar. Let’s take a closer look at this method-acting newcomer.
The big question for many a quartz watch is: how do I come across as a mechanical timepiece? By just displaying the hours and minutes hands, it forgoes the ticking central seconds hand that immediately reveals the insides of the watch — please, can we leave the rare deadbeat seconds out of this? But what do you do as a Hamilton American Classic Boulton M when the watch you’re “playing” has a very distinct small seconds sub-dial? You can’t just skip that feature. It would completely alter the look, and with that, credibility would go flying out the window. A good thing about small seconds is that they’re small (duh!) and, therefore, less conspicuous than central seconds. And that’s how the Hamilton Boulton Quartz manages to pull off a great performance on the silver screen. But how does it act in real life?
After close examination and some time on the wrist, I concluded that the €775 Hamilton American Classic Boulton M (H13431553) acts as a serious alternative for a range of square and rectangular watches that star in the upper price echelons. The Boulton first stepped onto the scene in 1941 in a slightly smaller case with a hand-wound movement inside. The new Boulton Quartz is a tiny bit more modern in size. Its case measures 27 × 31.6mm (excluding the lugs), 7.8mm thick, and 41.5mm from lug tip to tip. It’s a steel case that looks like it’s made of yellow gold because of the colored PVD. The shape of the case is rectangular, but the edges are softened, giving the Boulton a svelte vintage look. It’s just like Harrison Ford playing Indy, don’t you think?
Inside the case beats something you might not want to know about, but it is the ETA quartz caliber 980.163. There’s nothing to write about apart from it being a 15-jewel movement. There’s nothing to see either as the movement hides behind a closed case back. Would the watch have been cooler if it had housed a solar-powered quartz movement? From an aesthetic perspective, no, but from a technological and evolutionary perspective, yes. The time has come for Swatch Group and ETA to start developing next-generation quartz movements that use the power of light — Hamilton Boulton Quartz and the Power of Light kind of sounds like an Indiana Jones type of flick.
There are a couple of Boulton Small Second Quartz watches in the Hamilton collection already, but the Indiana Jones watch is different. The standard models have Roman numerals, for instance, and that gives them a much more formal look. The classic Roman numerals seem to clash with the rounded edges of the Boulton, whereas the Arabic numerals on Indy’s watch appear very much congruent with the shape of the case. Also, the warm golden color of the case with the raised numerals and hands in the same shade on a silvery white dial creates a warm and comforting retro feeling. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this timepiece a sports watch, but the shapes, colors, and style of numerals do give it an informal look. Let me put it this way: the regular Boulton Small Second Quartz looks like it belongs in an office, and the special movie version needs to be out and about. How do you write about “wrist feel” when you can’t even usually tell that the watch is on your wrist? The size, shape, and weight of the watch make it an easy-to-wear timepiece that will sit well on almost any wrist. And yes, you will forget you even put the Hamilton American Classic Boulton M Boulton on if not for the watch’s handsome looks. You don’t have to wear it with khaki and a floppy hat to look good. Furthermore, you’re not wearing a prop. The Boulton Quartz that Indy dons in the movie wears like a proper watch. And it’s one that will match almost any outfit. As I found out while wearing the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, a rectangular, classically styled watch both adapts to and uplifts what you’re wearing. That even goes for a jeans-and-sneakers-based outfit. Yes, the strap measures an elegant 18mm wide between the lugs, and because of the faux-alligator print, it looks a tad traditional. Indeed, a tad too traditional, obvious, and too stiff for my liking. But by quickly and easily changing the strap with the quick-release pins, you can style the Boulton exactly to your taste without any serious effort. Why not go for a strap that matches your favorite belt, shoes, or whip perfectly? But whatever you do, don’t pick a strap with contrasting stitching. I really don’t want to act like the style police or anything, but I just see too many straps with contrasting stitching. These creations overshadow the look of a subtle, classic, and sophisticated watch. There’s a time and a place for everything, and that includes straps with contrasting stitching. End of stitching rant. Buying a vintage watch from the 1940s is not for everyone. It takes commitment and serious amounts of time to gain enough knowledge to spot something good. And after managing to find something you like in the right condition and for the right price, you need to do it right by wearing it with great care. As I said, vintage is not for everyone. But if you want vintage looks while insisting on modern build quality and the carefree wear that comes with it, something retro can be a very interesting alternative. The Hamilton Boulton Quartz, with its golden glow, attractive price, and classic looks, could be the perfect watch for someone who loves the style of the 1940s. The style minus the hassle that comes with finding and wearing Hamilton American Classic Boulton M an 80-year-old timepiece, that is. The method-acting Boulton Quartz will have you steal the scene in the theater that is your life — did I overact a bit here? The Hamilton Boulton Quartz could also very well be the starting point. It could be the very beginning of a great watch adventure into the wonderful world of real vintage timepieces. Just like you’ll want to become a globetrotting, daredevilish archeologist after watching Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, you’ll want to explore the world of watches even further after strapping on Indy’s Hamilton Boulton Quartz. Well done, Hamilton.