This Swiss manufacture actually has American roots. It was first incorporated in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and produced its first watches in 1893. Hamilton went from building pocket watches to wristwatches and was famously in many a big-screen movie throughout the 1950s and ‘60s. Today, owned by the Swatch Group, it continues to be actively involved in the world of film (and even sponsors the Behind the Camera awards), aviation, and more. Its best-known lines include the iconic Ventura, the Jazzmaster, and the Khaki.
The Hamilton Watch Company was founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA. At first, Hamilton only produced pocket watches. It was not until WWI, when Hamilton became one of the official suppliers to the U.S. Armed Forces, that a shift in production to the more convenient wristwatch occurred.
They made a name for themselves in the early days of the American railroads, when accidents were frequent as no reliable timing method existed. Hamilton was already well known for its quality and accuracy. This precision helped solve the railroad’s problem and earned them the title: The Watch of Railroad Accuracy.
Hamilton has a rich aviation history – A Hamilton aeronautical watch was on the wrist of the pilots who flew the first U.S. Airmail service between Washington D.C. and New York City in 1918. Hamilton was in Admiral Richard E. Byrd’s pocket when he became the first pilot to reach the North Pole in 1926.
Hamilton’s contribution to aviation history continued, and their technical advancements helped early aviators make critical calculations of time, distance, and direction. By the 1930s, they were the official watch of the four major American airlines. Today, they are the Red Bull Air Race World Championship and the Swiss Aerobatic Association’s official timekeeper.
In 1957 Hamilton unveiled the Ventura, the world’s first electrical battery-operated watch, revolutionizing the watch industry. The Ventura caught Elvis Presley’s eye, who wore it in the musical comedy “Blue Hawaii,” instantly propelling the watch to stardom. The Ventura is considered the ancestor of all quartz watches today.
In the early 1970s, Hamilton presented the Hamilton Pulsar Time Computer, the world’s first digital watch. The watch was in solid gold and retailed at $2,100, more than a car cost at the time. A re-edition was introduced in 2020, one edition in stainless steel, and one in yellow gold plated.
The Piping Rock was the first Hamilton watch featured in a movie in 1928. Today, Hamilton is known as the Movie Brand, and Hamilton watches have featured in over 500 major feature films – ‘Men in Black,’ ‘Independence Day,’ ‘Talented Mr. Ripley,’ ‘Die Hard,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘The Martian’ to name a few. The Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards began in 2006 and honors the heroes behind major movie scenes.
In 1974 the Swatch Group acquired Hamilton. They moved the headquarters and the factory to Switzerland in 2003, adding the “Swiss made” label to all of their watches, but remaining American at heart.
The Swatch Group acquired Hamilton in 1974. They moved the headquarters and the factory to Switzerland in 2003, adding the “Swiss made” label to all of their watches, but remaining American at heart.
During WWII, Hamilton stopped selling watches to consumers and focused entirely on supplying over one million wristwatches to the U.S. Armed Forces.
The Khaki Field is the ultimate military watch. The collection includes sturdy and resilient army style watches in a range of case sizes, from 38 mm to 50 mm powered by a Swiss quartz or automatic movement.
The Khaki Aviation reflects Hamilton’s rich aviation history and experience by working with leading air squadrons and pilots. A pilot’s watch collection with different sizes to fit any wrist, whether you are looking for a 3-hand watch or a chronograph.
The Khaki Navy line is Hamilton’s diving watch collection, inspired by ocean explorers. Available in a variety of case sizes and materials, with rotating bezels and luminescent displays for easy legibility underwater. Included in this collection is the BeLOWZERO Auto, which was featured in the blockbuster movie Tenet.
The Ventura was unveiled in 1957, transforming the watch industry. It caught the eye of Elvis Presley, who thrust it into stardom. The Ventura looks just as good as it did in 1957 with its unconventional case and design. A true Hamilton icon.
The American Classic collection represents Hamilton’s American heritage and history. Classic watches for both men and women in a range of styles and materials. This collection includes the reedition of the famous PSR Digital Quartz timepiece.
The Broadway collection is a collection of watches for the style-conscious urban man. With watches starting with a case size of 40 mm to 46 mm and a sophisticated design that is perfect for both daytime and night.