Objective. Central blood pressure (BP) and vascular indices estimated noninvasively over the 24 hours were compared between normotensive volunteers and hypertensive patients by a pulse wave analysis of ambulatory blood pressure recordings. Methods. Digitalized waveforms obtained during each brachial oscillometric BP measurement were stored in the device memory and analyzed by the validated Vasotens technology. Averages for the 24 hours and for the awake and asleep subperiods were computed. Results. 142 normotensives and 661 hypertensives were evaluated. 24-hour central BP, pulse wave velocity (PWV), and augmentation index (AI) were significantly higher in the hypertensive group than in the normotensive group (119.3 versus 105.6 mmHg for systolic BP, 75.6 versus 72.3 mmHg for diastolic BP, 10.3 versus 10.0 m/sec for aortic PWV, -9.7 versus -40.7% for peripheral AI, and 24.7 versus 11.0% for aortic AI), whereas reflected wave transit time (RWTT) was significantly lower in hypertensive patients (126.6 versus 139.0 ms). After adjusting for confounding factors a statistically significant between-group difference was still observed for central BP, RWTT, and peripheral AI. All estimates displayed a typical circadian rhythm. Conclusions. Noninvasive assessment of 24-hour arterial stiffness and central hemodynamics in daily life dynamic conditions may help in assessing the arterial function impairment in hypertensive patients.