A hands-on preview of Hamilton’s 2015 novelties
It is the second consecutive year that Sylvain Dolla, the CEO of Hamilton would do a North American tour, presenting their upcoming collection of men’s and ladies’ watches that are officially launched at Baselworld. This year, I had the pleasure to be invited to this special event, to go trough all the new Hamilton watches with the main man itself.
At last year’s edition of Baselworld, Hamilton has unveiled a plethora of new movements: the H-10, H-30, H-40 boasting an impressive 80 hours of power reserve and the H-22 small second with 42 hours of power reserve. This year, Hamilton continues to putt these calibers to work, often in cases with a design that is familiar to the fans of the brand.
With its new collection, Hamilton sticks to its niche of high quality timepieces offered at an affordable price, with a design anchored in their deep American roots.
The 2015 collection
This year is the 80th anniversary of Elvis Presley and for the brand it is important to honour the memory of the King with an updated Ventura. The original Ventura was launched in 1957, designed by the famous American industrial designer Richard Arbib. It was the first electronic watch ever made and thanks to its unmistakable triangular shape it became a star on the wrist of Elvis in his “Blue Hawaii” movie.
The new Ventura keeps the same shape while making it more contemporary. Hamilton managed to develop a domed sapphire crystal that follows the shape of the case and a special lug system permitting beside the use of rubber or leather strap, the use of a bracelet too. Offered in quartz or automatic, it is expected to retail for $1,200 to $1,500 depending on the movement.
Railroad Small second
With this model, Hamilton is going back to its early days when they were supplying the the railroad community with pocket watches. The case of the new Railroad Small Second features an alternation of polished and satin brushed surfaces.
This is a classic Railroad piece equipped with a beautifully decorated skeleton calibre, developed exclusively for Hamilton. It is expected to retail for CAD $1,500.
Viewmatic Skeleton Lady
Talking of skeletonized watches, it is noteworthy that Hamilton has a lineup of skeleton watches for ladies that recognize the visual appeal of a movement. The new Viewmatic Skeleton Lady has a mother-of-pearl dial and the bezel is decorated with diamonds.
The Railroad Lady collection will keep the same shape and responding to the request from Asia, this year, Hamilton will offer a selection of blue strap with its ladies’ watches. Apparently blue straps are really popular in Japan and Korea.
Hamilton will add to the Jazzmaster collection a new Day Date model with 80 hours of power reserve and a limited edition GMT, with 999 pieces. The GMT has a black PVD coated case and the dial features different shades of anthracite grey to create a subtle contrast.
Hamilton Chrono Worldtimer
This is quite an interesting piece that Hamilton developed in collaboration with aerobatic pilot Nicolas Ivanoff, incorporating features that pilots will certainly appreciate. With minutes being more important for pilots than hours, the easy-to-read centered chrono counter has a 12 minutes spanning, with the first four being highlighted with yellow marking, reflecting the length of a freestyle program in aerobatics competitions.
At 10 o’clock, the pusher will switch between the chronograph and the worldtimer function. The H-41e
quartz movement, powering this model, was specially developed for Hamilton. It is not official yet, but it will probably go for $1,700 with the launch date being set for September or October.
Khaki Takeoff AC Air Zermatt Limited Edition
Developed in collaboration with their long-time partner, the Air Zermatt helicopter rescue team, the Khaki Takeoff AC Air Zermatt Limited Edition is a striped down version of last year’s hit, the Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono. This 42 mm black PVD coated eye-catcher is powered by the H-10 automatic calibre.
Khaki Field WWII
Back in 1941, the US Government mandated Hamilton to produce a reliable timepiece corresponding to the high standard of the Army. The result was the iconic Hamilton Khaki Field, that every soldier leaving for Europe was wearing. To be able to keep up with this huge order, Hamilton has stopped the production of commercial watches and focused all its energy on this model. By the end of the war, there were one million watches that left the factory, quite a feat considering that things were done manually. It helped Hamilton to enhance its standards and learn new ways of producing watches.
This year they have reinterpreted the Khaki Field WWII watch in a new Automatic model keeping the same colour of the dial, which is not dark green, it’s not grey, it’s a green that is quite sophisticated as it turns into anthracite.
Another point of pride for Hamilton is the Marine Chronometer, it was a special timepiece on a gimbal, produced in 1942, that ended up as a standard equipment of every American battleship in WWII. Hamilton was the only brand that managed to do this marine chronometer following the specs of the Navy and for this, it received the prestigious Army-Navy “E” Award.
While smaller as the original model, the new Marine Chronometer keeps the exact same design elements, the numerals, the case and the blued steel hands. It is powered by the automatic H21 chronograph offering 60 hours of power reserve.
The watches from Christopher Nolen’s Interstellar
Richie Crammer, the prop master in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, contacted Hamilton 18 months ago asking for a classic American watch with the hands standing out. This was a great occasion for Hamilton, as this watch had to play an important role in the movie on the wrist of Jessica Chastain. In the end Hamilton has produced only ten pieces of this watch, six of them being offered to key people in the movie and the rest staying in Hamilton’s museum.
I asked Sylvain Dollan, if there is any chance that this model would be mass marketed? He told me that they had many requests, but they are not interested to commercialize it. Christopher Nolan was personally involved in every single detail of this piece and it was a nice challenge for Hamilton to come up with it in six weeks, instead of the usual 12 to 18 months.
Another Hamilton that appears in Interstellar, on the wrist of Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) is a Hamilton Khaki Pilot Day Date. Unlike the Murph’s watch, this model is part of Hamilton’s core collection.
I’m going to wrap up this preview with another really cool piece that you can’t find in any boutique. A special edition piece developed for the Royal Canadian Airforce’s Snowbirds Demonstration Team.
During their career as fighter pilots, only a handful will be chosen to become a Snowbirds for a period of two years. Every year half of the pilots will go to another team and when they become Snowbirds, they can order their special edition Hamilton Snowbirds.
2015 is announcing to be a prolific year for Hamilton and we are looking forward to keep you updated with the latest details about their collection.
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For more details about Hamilton, head over to www.hamiltonwatch.com.