The Pan Europ is actually a revived model from the 70’s, originally a chronograph that was brought back by Hamilton in 2011, as a highly successful limited edition model. One year later, in 2012, Hamilton released the non-limited version of this chronograph, powered by a modified Valjoux 7750, the H-31, with a power reserve of 60 hours.
At the 2014 Baselworld, Hamilton, introduced the latest version of the Pan Europ, this time, a three hands, day-date model with a brand new movement, the H-30. There are two dial versions for the 2014 Pan Europ Auto, when Hamilton asked me which one should they send me for this review, I asked for the blue dial with the NATO strap, because personally I find it to be more fun.
The Pan Europ Auto at a glance
Movement: H-30 with 80 hours of power reserve, 25 jewels, Nivachoc choc absorber
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day and date
Size: 42 mm
Case: Stainless steel
Dial: Blue / Gray
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Strap: Comes with both leather and NATO
Lug width: 22 mm
Water resistance: 5 bar (50 m)
As you can see from the image above, the grey dial has a more sober look; something to consider when deciding between the two models.
The first thing that I noticed and I liked about the Pan Europ is the combination of colours: stainless steel, dark cerulean blue, bright red and white. These are the colours that the Hamilton designers have used both for the case and the NATO strap.
Size-wise, the 42 mm diameter of the case and short lugs, make this watch really comfortable even for a person with a small wrist as I am. The height is proportional and the watch can easily slip under a shirt
Being water resistant to 5 bar (50 m), the Pan Europ is not exactly a watch to take diving, but true to its origins it comes with a fun, unidirectional rotating bezel, with an aluminium ring.
The blue dial with rectangular stainless steel hands, offers excellent readability. The SuperLuminova coating of the hour and minute hands as well as the stainless steel index inserts ensure, you’ll be able to check the time in dark places too. At three o’clock, the day and the date windows are easy to read at a glance, thanks to the large, legible fonts.
The size of the crown and its shape offers a good grip; winding the movement and setting the time is a smooth procedure.
The Pan Europ comes with a open case back protected by a sapphire crystal, but if you want to enjoy the movement more often, then I would recommend using the leather strap. The NATO strap will cover this case back and as mentioned before, the buckles are short, leaving a narrow space between the spring bars and the case. Taking off the NATO strap is not as easy as with other watches, the model I got was so tight, my only solution would have been to use a spring bar tool.
How does it feel on the wrist?
You know that a watch is special when it makes you feel in certain way. It’s like a perfume; it can make you feel successful, sophisticated, confident and strong. If you snap a watch on your wrist and you don’t feel anything, then you better leave it in your draw or sell it because your cellphone will tell the time, you don’t need a watch for that.
As soon as I put on the Hamilton Pan Europ, with its blue and red NATO strap, I felt at least ten years younger, relaxed, witty and overall happy. Is it because of the size, the proportion of the watch, its colours? I’m not sure. All I know is that the Pan Europ was not a timepiece I would forget that I’m wearing. Whenever I would check the time, or I would just explore its many details, it would make me smile.
Its 80 hours of power reserve is enough to take it off on a Friday and put it back Monday, but that would be a real shame. This is a fun piece that should be given privileged wrist-time on a weekend, or during a vacation.
The Canadian MSRP for the Pan Europ Auto is $1,245 and it will get you a kit with both the NATO and the leather strap.
More about Hamilton at www.hamiltonwatch.com.