For generations, the name Hamilton was synonymous with the best of American watchmaking. The Lancaster, Penn.-based Hamilton Watch Company emerged in 1892 out of the ashes of the bankrupted Keystone Standard Watch Company.
Over the years, Hamilton was responsible for a number of innovations in watchmaking, producing some of the most accurate railway watches around. With the Ventura in 1957, it pioneered the first battery powered wrist watch.
Hamilton watches are a triumvirate of accuracy, craftsmanship and design. It’s the reason today they’re so prized among collectors and command a premium in the vintage market.
I own two: a 1939 Dodson and a 1941 Endicott. Both are still going strong, needing nothing more than a servicing every three years or so.
A number of modern watches are produced under the Hamilton imprimatur–now a Swatch Group brand. But they’re Hamilton watches in name only, with no real kinship with the once venerable American company. Instead of the elegant jeweled movements the company once produced in its American heyday, they’re mostly generic Swiss made quartz movements.