Looking for a decidedly unsmart watch that does nothing but tell the time and maybe promote a 22-year-old film franchise that’s returning to theatres this month with another sequel? Hamilton Watches is once again resurrecting the world’s first digital watch but with an updated display that now pays homage to the distinct style of The Matrix films.
The Pulsar P2 2900 LED digital watch, co-developed by the Hamilton Watch Company and Electro/Data Inc., is best known for showing up on the wrist of the world’s most famous gadget aficionado, James Bond, in the film Live and Let Die. The watch was originally released in 1972 for $US2,100 (A$2,961) (the equivalent of paying $US13,000 (A$18,327) for a watch today) and was not only the first to swap analogue hands on a dial for an LED digital screen displaying numbers, but the P2 2900 was also one of the first watches to use a quartz crystal to keep accurate time — technology still used in cheap digital timepieces today.
Finding a vintage Pulsar P2 2900 for sale isn’t terribly difficult today, nor are they prohibitively expensive to buy. They just might not work as well as you’d expect them to, which is why last year Hamilton Watches created a modern clone of the Pulsar called the Hamilton PSR. It works just like the original did, but instead of only displaying the time when a button on the side of the watch is pressed, it switches from using an always-on LCD screen to an OLED which makes the time much easier to read in bright light. For 2021, Hamilton is updating the PSR to the PSR MTX which, as the vowel-less name implies, takes inspiration from The Matrix with the red numbers on-screen now displayed in green, and the metal housing and bracelet now finished in black metal.
The steel version of last year’s Hamilton PSR sold for $US750 (A$1,057), but the new PSR MTX option will go for a little over $US1,000 (A$1,410) (995 Swiss Franc) and will be limited to just 1,999 pieces — the year the first Matrix film was released. Aside from retro styling, an updated green display, and the movie’s iconic digital rain pattern inscribed onto the case back, the PSR MTX literally does nothing else. There’s no date functionality, no timer, no stopwatch, and no alarms: it just tells the time. But if you don’t want your wrist constantly vying for your attention, the lack of functionality might actually be its best selling point.