Timing the Change: a legacy of ground-breaking moments

At Hamilton, innovation is in our blood

At Hamilton, we’ve always been proudly at the forefront of ground-breaking developments. Whether it’s about the technology, design or utility of wristwatches, we’ve been dedicated to pioneering new ideas from the beginning – in fact, since our watches ensured the smooth running of the American Railroad over a century ago. Today, our contemporary wristwatches continue to tell the stories of Hamilton’s crucial milestones through the decades.

For instance, the Khaki Pilot Pioneer is only our most recent pilot watch beloved by aviators and flying enthusiasts. Since 1918, we recognized the importance accurate timing would play in the new world of aviation, and aerial navigation. We began by providing watches for the first U.S. Airmail service, and have been creating precise, reliable wristwatches for the flying community ever since. Modern pilots find Hamilton watches as dependable as their forebears did a century ago.

In 1932, we began our enduring relationship with Hollywood, when actor Clive Brook sported an original Hamilton Flintridge wristwatch in that year’s biggest movie, Shanghai Express. Since then, Hamilton watches have been on the big screen over 500 times. Whether we’re talking about the Khaki Field Murph, which first featured in the science fiction blockbuster Interstellar, or the iconic Ventura famously sported by Elvis Presley in 1961’s Blue Hawaii and part of the official Men in Black uniform, every appearance marks another proud milestone for Hamilton.

Innovation inside the watch

The Ventura was also a milestone all on its own. A truly revolutionary moment for watchmaking, it was the first ever wristwatch with an electric, battery-powered movement. Developed by Hamilton engineers over the course of a decade, the game-changing timepiece was revealed to the world in 1957.

Over a decade later, we went further still: in 1970 Hamilton brought the world the very first digital wristwatch – the astonishing Hamilton Pulsar, a timepiece that set the tone and style for wristwatches for years to come.

Even before inventions like the Ventura and the Hamilton Pulsar, we strived to meet the highest accuracy standards. During World War II, Hamilton proved the only company able to mass produce reliable marine chronometers for the Navy, even receiving the Army-Navy “E” Award for Excellence in War Production five times. With precise timepieces in high demand, Hamilton produced not only chronometers for the Navy, but also over one million wristwatches for US soldiers. Our modern Khaki Field Mechanical continues the legacy of these sought-after military classics.

The distinctive new Chrono-Matic 50, a remarkable chronograph, reminds us of the moment, in 1969, when Hamilton collaborated in the creation of the world’s first automatic chronograph movement, the legendary Caliber 11. It was an evolution in the watch world of near mythical significance today.

SPRINGING INTO THE FUTURE

In 2020, we’re taking another leap forward, centered around one of the tiniest but most crucial watch components of all: the balance spring. This is the miniscule spiral whose constant ‘breathing’ in and out regulates the accurate timekeeping of a watch. This year, we’re applying radical technology to this little spiral at the heart of a watch, in the form of NivachronTM – a revolutionary new alloy for making balance springs.

This is a complex, titanium-based alloy with strong magnetic resistance, excellent shock resistance and consistent performance under temperature variations. What does this mean? Quite simply, that Hamilton watches can deliver even more reliable and precise timekeeping for decades to come.

At Hamilton, the evolution of the wristwatch is never finished. These milestones, and our history of perseverance and problem solving, will continue to inspire innovation at Hamilton as we journey into the future.

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