Hamilton is a brand that has slowly been gaining popularity over the years.
Whilst this is a good thing, the negative is that you will be hard pressed to find a new Hamilton Watch for under S$1000 nowadays – where previously you could.
What is a little odd though is that I have subsequently sold any Hamilton Watch I bought and now I do not have any. 🙂
DS and I were out a few months ago and we picked up this nice Pan-Europ for about $840.00. Nice daily beater that looks really unique.
One of the questions I am often asked is – are Hamilton watches Swiss or American as alot of their branding indicates that they are an American brand.
In the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s, America was the premier watch manufacturer in the world. They made watches by the thousands from 1852 till 1957. American Waltham Watch Company made 35 million watches from 1867 to 1956. Elgin produced 55 million. Hamilton, produced almost 4 million from 1893 to 1942 and continued to make watches until 1969.
The Swiss however, over time, started making better-quality pieces, and so they made an inroad into the US market. Bulova, Gruen, Omega, Font, Felsa, A. Schild, ETA, and many other brands and ebauches came into being during those years. Parts (until recently) were readily available.
After World War II many people went to watchmaking School on the GI Bill. This produced a flood of watchmakers in the marketplace, and as a result, watchmakers cut their prices so drastically that it was hard to make a living.
What finally led to the demise of Hamilton and many other US watch brands was when the Accutron and the electric watch and then the quartz watch made its debut in the 50’s and 60’s. Like many Swiss watch brands like Olma, Titoni, Sandoz and Rado, many of these brands have been bought by investors and some of the brand names have been relaunched.
Hamilton today is owned by the Swatch group and most of their watches are powered by ETA movements – which Swatch also owns. Their designs are a little bit unique. One of my favourites is the Hamilton Galaxy that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones wore in the first and second MIB movie.
I have also always liked the 5-hand Pan-Europ so who knows, there could be a new Hamilton in the collection sometime soon.