Vintage Hamilton Watches

December 26, 2009

The Hamilton Watch Company was founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892. It produced its first watch, designed by H.J. Cain, in 1893. (Now that is a very desirable vintage pocket watch for anyone to add to their antique pocket watches collection.) Also that year, Hamilton Watch Company introduced “The Broadway Limited”, a railroad pocket watch known for its reliabiltiy and used extensively by the railroads. It was so good, a version was adoped for the American Expeditionary Forces worldwide. A wristwatch version inteoduced around WWI where it was used as the timepiece of choice for many adventures – including being the first watch to scale Mount Everest, used by Admiral Byrd on his North and South Pole expeditions and by many other famous early 20th century adventurers.

In 1928, the Yankees won the World Series and Hamilton Watch celebrated by introducing the Yankee Wrist Watch along with another famous watch of that time period, the Piping Rock – both quality, cutting edge timepieces of the day. Growing on this reputation, they captured the hearts of the airlines in the 1930s and became the official timepiece of TWA, Eastern, United and Northwestern airlines.

In 1940, Hamilton Watch closed their doors to consumer sales and concentrated exclusively on developing watches for the military. During the WWII era, close to one million Hamilton Military Watches were produced.

In 1957, Hamilton Watch creates one of the most dramatic changes ever to watch design when it introduced the Hamilton Electric – the first electric watch. This marked the beginning of the end for windup watches (although there are still a small number of high end watches that still require winding.) And in 1959, they deveped the Venture, a sleek watch designed via the inspiration of the Cadillac tailfins of the 1950s. This watch rapidly becomes the in watch for the cool people of the 50s – even being chosen by Elvis Presley as the watch he wore in his movie Blue Hawaii.

Continuing their tradition of innovation, the Pulsar is rolled out in 1972. This is the first of its kind digital watch and was designed and manufactered in its Pennsylvania headquarters. Since that time, Hamilton Watch designs have continued to be cutting edge and very desirable to own and collect.

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