Hamilton and I go way back. I used to live in Lancaster, PA, the birthplace of the Hamilton Watch Company for a couple of decades. I have visited the historical Hamilton buildings (now the Clock Towers Apartments) many times and have talked to many former Hamilton USA employees.

I have also become a collector of Hamilton timepieces, owning several early Hamiltons (including some pocket watches) and a few modern watches, including an Elvis 80 Ventura. Because of my love for Hamilton, I have a special relationship with the people at the modern day Hamilton, and every year they invite me to view the new collection before anyone else has a chance.

This year, we met in Morges, Switzerland, at a beautiful B&B and restaurant called La Maison d’Igor.

There, Hamilton president Sylvain Dolla and his team were waiting for us, ready to show us all the newness and let us take pictures on the grounds.

Hamilton president Sylvain Dolla and Keith W. Strandberg
Hamilton ODC X-03

Overview

“Last year, we had a very good year in our top four markets–USA, Japan, Italy and Korea,” says Dolla. “And we have recently had some great developments: we are now the official timekeeper of the Red Bull Air Races, with branding on the pillars and on TV; we are hosting the Behind the Camera awards again this year in China, and we have been continuing our work in Hollywood.”

Staying in the Hollywood realm, one of the most exciting introductions for Hamilton this year is the new Hamilton LAB timepiece, the ODC X-03, which was created in partnership with prop master and architect Nathan Crowley, with whom Hamilton worked on the timepieces for “Interstellar.” The watch’s three time zones are powered by one mechanical and two quartz movements.

“We met Crowley at the Behind the Camera Awards in LA in 2014, and he was really cool,” remembers Dolla. “He told me that he was trained as an architect, so I thought it would be cool to do a watch together. It was great to work with someone from outside the industry. It was certainly a challenge to make this watch, because he had a bunch of new ideas and we had to figure out how to make it.”

The ODC X-03 (named after the spaceship in “Interstellar,” the “Odyssey”) is limited to 999 pieces worldwide.

Hamilton ODC X-03
Hamilton Khaki X-Wind

That’s Bull

To celebrate its new position as Official Timekeeper for the Red Bull Air Races, Hamilton is introducing a new Khaki Air Race collection, powered by mechanical movements for a crazy low price of around $700.

“We want to continue to grow with the younger generation, and we offer their first mechanical watch,” explains Dolla. “If we want to be champions of the younger generation, we have to focus on value.”

Hamilton is also introducing two new X-Wind timepieces, a three hand version and an Auto Chrono with a reversed chronograph movement, so the pushers are on the left side of the case.

Hamilton Khaki Air Race
Hamilton Khaki X-Wind
Hamilton Ventura 60th Anniversary

Vintage Taste

This year is the 60th anniversary of the iconic Ventura, and Hamilton is celebrating with new additions to the Elvis 80 collection, including a skeleton Ventura that is designed to look like one of the old microphones the King used to sing into. They also have a denim version and one in gold PVD.

Also, this year Hamilton is revisiting its first auto chrono, which was launched in 1968. The Intra-matic 68 is a faithful reinterpretation–with vintage style, but with modern technology. I tried this watch on and it really looks great—classy and sporty and vintage, all at the same time.

The Khaki Frogman introduced last year was a huge hit, inspired by the watches Hamilton made for Navy Frogmen back in World War II. This year, Hamilton is making the stunning red bezel that was only on the larger model last year available on the smaller model.

After two hours of seeing the new product, I wasn’t even close to being ready to go. I thought the new offerings from Hamilton were very well done and priced very well. I could have stayed all afternoon, examining the product and taking pictures, but the office was calling and I had to leave this little oasis of everything Hamilton.

I think a visit to Lancaster, PA, this summer is warranted, to retrace the steps of this hugely important brand to the history of American watchmaking and watchmaking in general.

Well done, Hamilton!

Hamilton Ventura 60th Anniversary
Hamilton Intra-Matic 68
Hamilton president Sylvain Dolla and Keith W. Strandberg