Hamilton was founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the U.S. and began the production of pocket watches. From the very beginning, the focus was on quality and accuracy. This is what has made Hamilton the internationally renowned watch brand it is today.
The first series of Hamilton pocket watches with the title 'The Watch of Railroad Accuracy' were delivered. Accidents on the railroads were all too frequent as there was no common method of timing. Hamilton's accurate watches solved the problem.
As an official supplier to the U.S. Armed Forces, Hamilton expanded on our reputation for producing quality precision timepieces by equipping servicemen. This also signalled the beginning of the shift from the production of pocket watches to wristwatches.
Hamilton's first foray into aviaton also marked the beginning of our prestigious history of serving the flying community. A Hamilton aeronautical watch accompanied the very first American airmail service between Washington, D.C. and New York.
An early aviation milestone was reached when Admiral Richard E. Byrd used a Hamilton watch during his pioneering 15 hour 57 minute flight over the North Pole. He was the first aviator to reach the Pole, circling it for 13 minutes before returning to his base.
A precision Hamilton watch was key to helping pilots on the first flight from California to Hawaii to find the islands in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. A mistake of a few degrees would have resulted in missing the islands completely.
Hamilton Piping Rock Watches made their debut in 1928 and specially engraved versions were presented to the New York Yankees after they won the World Series in 1928. Members of the team included some of baseball's most famous names, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
By now renowned for accuracy in flight, Hamilton was the official watch of the four major American commercial airlines of the day. Hamilton was also selected as the official timekeeper for the very first coast-to-coast service from New York to San Francisco.
Two Hamilton watches – a Boulton and a Flintridge – appeared in the film ‘Shanghai Express’ and were important devices that advanced the movie plot. This was the earliest appearance of our watches in a Hollywood movie.
Hamilton stopped producing watches for consumers to focus on the enormous task of supplying the Armed Forces, producing over one million timepieces including wristwatches and marine chronometers and earning an Army-Navy E award for excellence in manufacturing.
The film ‘The Frogmen’ was nominated for two Academy Awards. It was the movie that made Hamilton famous in the world of cinema, showing our robust and practical military watches in action on the big screen. It is one of our defining movie moments.
Hamilton revolutionized the watch industry by producing the world's first electrical battery operated watch. The Ventura's unique, futuristic, shield-shaped design, created by renowned industrial designer Richard Arbib, caused an instant sensation.
The Ventura's popularity reached new heights when it appeared on the wrist of megastar and figurehead of the Rock and Roll movement, Elvis Presley. The watch was chosen for the legendary performer's character in his musical comedy 'Blue Hawaii'.
Designer Richard Arbib went on to create other electrical watches for Hamilton after the initial success of the Ventura, each with an asymmetric design. Perhaps the most dramatic of these was the Altair, which was produced in a limited edition of 1,600 pieces.
Stanley Kubrick approached Hamilton in 1966 to create unique timepieces for his new, futuristic film, '2001: A Space Odyssey'. The Hamilton design team provided him with a wristwatch and a desk clock that proved almost as iconic as the film itself.
The Pulsar made waves as the world's first digital electronic watch. The display was created using LEDs activated by a button on the side of the solid gold case. Hamilton produced only 400 pieces, which sold for $2,100, more than the price of a car at the time.
On May 16, Hamilton was sold to SSIH, which was the previous name of what is now the Swatch Group. Although part of a new group, Hamilton was still located in the U.S. and retained our reputation for producing quality, precision timepieces.
After years of futuristic designs, the 1980s saw classic pieces return to the fore. Hamilton revived and reintroduced designs from the 20s through to the 60s. Old favorites like the Boulton, Ardmore, Wilshire and Ventura led the trend for classic watches.
Hamilton's close relationship with Hollywood intensified with appearances on the wrists of characters in major movies including 'Men in Black', 'Lethal Weapon 4', 'Independence Day', 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' and 'Die Hard' to name but a few.
Hamilton transferred both our headquarters and production facilities to the heart of watchmaking country in Biel, Switzerland. The move allowed Hamilton to begin adding the ultimate quality mark 'Swiss made' to each watch produced in its new location.
Hamilton began our partnership with leading aerobatic pilot and official brand ambassador, Nicolas Ivanoff, and became heavily involved in the exhilarating worlds of air racing and aerobatics with the Red Bull Air Race and the Swiss Aerobatic Association.
Hamilton hosted the very first Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards in Hollywood to celebrate the heroes who work behind the scenes. The recognition of the off-screen talent was underlined by the presentation of the awards by top movie actors and directors.
In collaboration with movement specialist ETA, Hamilton developed its own personalized automatic calibers, H-21 and H-31. Three years later the H-10, H-30 and H-40 followed, each offering wearers an extended power reserve of up to 80 hours.
Hamilton worked closely with our new aviation partner, the famous rescue service Air Zermatt, to develop the Khaki Flight Timer. Hamilton also began working with top air squadrons from all over the world, securing our status as the favorite watch of pilots.
Building on the success of the Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards in Hollywood, Hamilton extended the awards to the booming Chinese movie industry, recognizing the contribution of off-screen talent, without whom movies would not be the same.
Hamilton continued its close associaton with the world of movies, collaborating with designers working on the smash-hit movie 'Interstellar', a film in which time plays a key role. Hamilton worked with designers to develop a unique piece for the lead character.
Again Hamilton appeared on the big screen on the wrist of the main character in Ridley Scott's epic adventure, 'The Martian'. The Khaki BeLOWZERO underlined the strength and determination of the character Mark Watney who is left behind on a mission to Mars.
After appearing in more than 450 movies, including 'Interstellar' in 2014 and 'The Martian' in 2015, Hamilton provided a Khaki X-Wind automatic chronograph for the character Jake Morrison, a pilot, in the sci-fi blockbuster 'Independence Day:Resurgence'.
Hamilton celebrated the 60th anniversary of the iconic Ventura, which was first launched in 1957 and was the world's first ever electric watch. The Ventura has gained a legion of fans since it was first launched, including superstar Elvis Presley.
Hamilton became the Official Timekeeper of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. Featuring 14 of the world's best aerobatic pilots, all competing for the prestigious title of world champion, the race features stages in eight different countries.
Hamilton is proud to celebrate our first century of timing the skies. Since 1918, 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.