Since the early days of aviation, timing – and watches – have been key to progress. Without precision, the finer points of flying would not be possible. An element of risk taking, pushing boundaries and daring to be different typical of Hamilton is also essential to success. This is the story of how Hamilton became synonymous with the world of aviation.
Hamilton is a trusted partner and Official Timekeeper of the high-octane Red Bull Air Race World Championship; an event that focuses on speed and precision and requires split-second timing from a company that understands the world of aviation. With death-defying maneuvers performed at breakneck speed, it attracts the very best pilots in the world, all of whom dream of being crowned king of the course.
Hamilton is the proud partner of military squadrons including Patrulla Aspa from Spain, air rescue services such as the famous Air Zermatt, demonstration teams and aerobatic pilots around the world. Many have chosen Hamilton for our reputation as pilot’s watch specialists, intrigued by one of our innovations. Many have requested a new feature that Hamilton has then created specially to meet their needs.
As events such as the Red Bull Air Race have come into being, and greater possibilities in flight are being discovered all the time, the need for watches as flight instruments has increased. What’s important is that they’re able to withstand the testing surroundings they are placed in, as well as meeting pilots’ ever-evolving needs.
As a result, the Hamilton collection now includes watches with the ability to log up to 20 flights, with two time zones, and equipped with numerous calculators including those for landing speed, drift angle and fuel requirements. It is our continued close collaboration with pilots that has helped keep Hamilton at the cutting edge of aviation innovation in watches.
To understand the depth of the links Hamilton has with aviation, we have to go back to where it all began in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having gained a reputation for accuracy with our railroad watches, Hamilton started creating basic pilots’ watches.
In 1918, the early investment paid off as Hamilton watches were chosen to be the official timekeepers of the first U.S. Airmail flights between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York. These were important links that helped the U.S. economy flourish as the speed of communication increased.
In the 1930s, as commercial air travel became the norm for wealthy Americans, our reputation for producing aviation watches saw Hamilton become the official watch of the country’s four major airlines. Hamilton was also selected as the timekeeper for the first non-stop coast-to-coast service of 15 hours and 20 minutes from New York to San Francisco. It was a golden age and Hamilton was taking aviation watches to new heights.
From open cockpits through cargo and commercial airlines to aerobatic masters, we’ve come a long way since 1918. Along the way, accuracy, innovation, a taste for adventure and a focus on precision have all contributed to making Hamilton the choice of professional aviators to accompany them in the cockpit. Hamilton is proud to celebrate our first century of timing the skies.