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The Adventures of Hamilton

The Adventures of Hamilton

In the world of watches, brands often take from their history of watchmaking and moments of history in which they were included, implement that into their marketing and place it at the forefront of their brand image. While seen across brands such as Omega, Breitling, Rolex and many others, one brand has quite an illustrious and rich history that is often overlooked. The brand in question is the silver screen regular we know as Hamilton. 

Hamilton is predominantly known for its military history and its military-inspired timepieces via the Khaki Field, Aviation, and Navy lines and has since evolved using contemporary materials and movements. Hamilton caught the eye and became a significant supporter of the American military in 1914, leading Hamilton to shift their focus from pocket watches to the manufacturing of wristwatches, and they never looked back. 

In 1926 marks one of the earliest feats with the assistance of a Hamilton watch. Admiral Richard E. Byrd became the first pilot to take his aircraft on a successful North Pole excursion and return to base safely. The 15-hour and 57-minute flight was timed all by a Hamilton watch on his wrist. Hamilton pilot watches were the key to advancement and safe flights for early aviators, so much so that today, Hamilton is the official watch of four major airline companies. 

Fast forwarding to the Second World War, Hamilton would cease all production of watches to the public to focus predominantly on supplying timepieces to the U.S. Armed Forces. From 1942 to the end of WWII, Hamilton produced over one million timepieces (wristwatches and marine chronometers), earning them an award for manufacturing excellence. 

1957, the design icon we know as the Hamilton Ventura was born. The Ventura was the first electric wristwatch created by industrial designer Richard Arbib. It became a true watchmaking icon due to its implementation of an electromagnetic coil, which would begin the bridge between quartz and mechanical. The “shield” design was very unique and caught the eye of many, including Elvis Presley, who wore the Ventura while filming “Blue Hawaii.” 

The mention of Blue Hawaii is the perfect segway into another incredible feat: Hamilton’s tie-in with the silver screen. The first movie to feature a Hamilton watch was the Josef von Sternberg film Shanghai Express, thus leading Hamilton to be seen on the silver screen with the likes of Elvis Presley (Blue Hawaii), Roger Moore (Live and Let Die), Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black), Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society), Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar), and so many more.