If you're hunting for a perfect everyday watch, there are a lot of options out there. You could opt for a modern classic like the Tissot PRX 80, which gives a not-so-subtle nod to the popular integrated bracelet sports watches that were everywhere in the 1980's.
If you fancy something a little more refined – and definitely a more left-field choice – the Hamilton Pan-Europ is well worth your time. This classically styled timepiece fuses qualities from sports watches and dress watches. The result is timeless and elegant, without being too much for a casual attire.
Before we dive in to my time with the watch, let's take a look at some specs. The Pan Europ comes in three colour variants – the pistachio green I'm wearing today, a sand coloured option, and a blue. The first two will set you back £965 in the UK, while the latter is a little more pricey at £1,050, complete with a red, white and blue NATO strap.
The stainless steel cushion case sits 42mm wide, sporting a relatively clean three-hand dial. You'll find the Hamilton logo at the 12 o'clock position, the Pan Europ name at 6 o'clock and a Day-Date complication at 3 o'clock. That dial is surrounded by a colour-matched rotating bezel. The case sits a whisker over 11.5mm thick, making it really easy to wear.
Inside, you'll find a Hamilton H-30 movement. Trace the lineage of that movement back, though, and you'll find the same Powermatic 80 movement used in the PRX range, as well as the Certina DS Action I used recently. It's a solid and reliable calibre, packing an 80-hour power reserve.
That's visible through a display case back on the rear of the device. Surrounding that, you'll also find mention of the 50m water resistance. Elsewhere, a leather strap with a folding buckle is colour-matched to the dial. That's a 22mm strap, which tapers gently down to 20mm at the buckle.
What is the Hamilton Pan Europ like to wear?
At first, I was a little wary of the size of this watch. A 42mm case is right around the top end of what I can get away with, but the cushion case helps out a lot, keeping the lug-to-lug snug and ensuring things aren't too cumbersome.
Let me also take a moment here to talk about the shade of green on offer here. It's really special, offset beautifully by the brown hue of the bezel. It's much more pale than the darker green hues made popular by watches like the 'Hulk' Rolex Submariner, and that makes it really easy to pair with other parts of your wardrobe.
They've done a great job colour-matching the leather strap, too. I'm usually hesitant with this style because even a shade out will really annoy me. I'd much rather a well paired duo of colours than one with two almost-the-same-but-not-quite shades. It's not a problem at all here, though – kudos, Hamilton.
The strap itself is pleasant, too. It's genuine leather and feels really nice – soft and supple, but not so much that it feel flimsy. If you've never used a leather strap buckle like this, it's a bit fiddley to start with. Once you've got it set up, though, it's as simple as a steel bracelet. Even making quick changes is easy – I found myself flitting between sizes every so often as my wrist swelled.
Then there's the dial itself. It's arguably the most important factor in buying a watch. Like the screen on your phone, it's the point you interact with most while you're using the product. This one is really pretty, but in a very understated way.
That gorgeous pistachio green sits on a sunray dial which plays with the light beautifully. There's nothing to clutter it up, either. Day and date complications are perfect for day-to-day use, and sit neatly at the 3 o'clock position. Beyond that, though, the dial is clear of obstruction, letting you bask in that gently colour-changing green hue.
A sloped rehaut sits around the edge. That just pulls down the diameter of the dial slightly, which is a great choice. With a clear dial and a large surface area, you run the risk of it looking a bit bland. That's not the case here though. The hour indices are also recessed into the rehaut, for an added layer of 3D intrigue.
It's not all plain sailing though. While I've definitely grown accustomed to the 42mm case, I'd still like to see a smaller version. Something like 38mm would be perfect here – take the dimensions of this piece but just shrunk down ever so slightly.
Also there's the bezel. It's stunning to look at but functionally pretty useless. The knurls on the outer edge are so miniscule and sit within the diameter of the case below. Add in the polished sections between those knurls and it's basically impossible to turn – you'd need callouses like steel wool to get any traction.
I'd also like to have seen a screw-down crown on here, for a little added water resistance. Sure, it might not be headed with you on your next swim, but it's a great option as an everyday piece. To be unstoppable in that arena, though, 100m of water resistance is needed, to deal with the thrills and spills of life.
Is the Hamilton Pan Europ worth the money?
At £965, the Hamilton Pan Europ sits in a crowded market. It's fighting with the best watches under £1,000 and there is a lot of good horology in that arena.
In terms of value, though, this is worth every penny. It's a solid watch that could comfortably straddle the line between dressy and sporty, without feeling too out of place in either. You'll get a good movement with a great power reserve, as well as all of the complications which are actually useful on a day-to-day basis.
What it comes down to, then, is taste. Do you like the look of it? It's not quite that simple though. See at first glance, I wasn't taken aback by this. It was... fine. I enjoyed the colour palette but wasn't feeling anything too strong about other parts of the design.
Having worn it everyday this week, though, I'm hooked. I've grown accustomed to the case shape and the leather band. I've started to love the package on offer for exactly what it is – an almost perfect everyday watch.
I guess what I'm saying is, if you already like the look, this is worthy of your hard-earned cash. If you don't, don't rule it out just yet. If you're interested in the specs, take the time to try it out. You might be surprised.