Since its establishment, Hamilton watches have been associated with tasteful designs and functionality. They are highly regarded for their innovative spirit as well as the unique blend of American aesthetics and Swiss engineering.
The brand was founded 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In the following year the brand initiated production by launching its first watch designed by H.J. Cain – one of the companys founding members. By 1912 the brand was producing their first series of pocket watches. These quickly became popular for their remarkable precision and durability. Following this initial wave of success, in 1914 Hamilton was designated the official watch supplier of the US Armed Forces, gaining instant prestige.
With the launch of the iconic Piping Rock and Yankee watch models in 1928, Hamilton affirmed its position as an industry leader, paving the way in American watchmaking. The brand once again reasserted its vanguard position in the industry, during the Second World War, when it was commissioned by the US army to produce timepieces for the military. To dedicate itself entirely in the production of the finest and most reliable watches for the Armed Forces, the company temporarily ceased producing watches for the general public.
The Hamilton marine chronometers developed in the 1940s were the very first to be created by means of modern manufacturing. Furthermore, these innovative timepieces were heavily relied on by the US Navy, and were often used as an alternative to radio in finding position. Since radio signal could be easily detected and falsified by the enemy, these chronometers played a truly vital role as military equipment during the war. During the course of the war, the brand produced almost 11,000 marine chronometers which met the toughest demands for accuracy and reliability. In gratitude for the exceptional quality of products supplied by Hamilton, the brand was rewarded with an ‘E’ award in 1943, presented for excellence in production of military equipment.
In 1951, the brand instigated its prominent association with the film industry, by appearing in the Oscar-nominated picture – ‘The Frogmen’. Since then, the brand has appeared in more than 450 films. Furthermore, its products have adorned the wrists of eminent Hollywood individuals, including Elvis Presley in the film ‘Blue Hawaii’. By employing a strategy of celebrity endorsement, the brand has further established its legitimacy as an important player in the watchmaking business.
A true pioneer, Hamilton is notable for introducing new technologies in the art of advanced watchmaking. Amongst its most eminent innovations is the Ventura watch – the world’s first electric watch from 1957, as well as the Pulsar – the first LED digital watch released in 1970. In 1974 Hamilton became a subsidiary of the SSIH, later known as the Swatch Group. In 2003, it transferred its production and headquarters from the U.S. to Biel, Switzerland.
In the more recent years, Hamilton has revived its classic models from the 1920s to 1960s. Old favourites such as the Boulton, Ardmore, Wilshire and Ventura models initiated an industry-wide trend of vintage classic watches. To this day, Hamilton offers timepieces of exceptional quality. Their impressive range of models and finishes allows for a more personalised feel, giving a modern twist to vintage designs. Its horological expertise, prominent history and association with the U.S army positions it at the pinnacle of the finest American watchmaking.