When it comes to my horological timepiece preferences, I derive a lot of my tastes from my father.
Ever since I was a child, I had an amazing fascination for the American classical watches that rose to prominence in the 1920s and 30s.
My father has a very unique collection of these watch sets; from the Minerva Chronograph to the Cartier Santos, his passion for the vintage chronometers is truly limitless.
So, on his 70th birthday, when I decided to get him a watch which captures the trademark style of the 20s, I was indeed at a loss.
With the ever growing popularity of smartwatches and trendy timepieces, the American classics have significantly fallen out of vogue.
But only after a thorough and exhausting search, did I finally come across a brand that took the traditional and modernized it.
Hamilton watches are quite a unique watch manufacturing brand in today’s market, and I would like to tell you about my experiences with them.
Hamilton Review 2019: Their History
Though Hamilton may not be an American watch manufacturing brand anymore, they do have their origins in Lancaster, PA.
Back in 1892, Hamilton purchased the bankrupt Keystone Standard Watch Company, and ever since then, they had grown into a powerhouse in the field of American horology.
As that time was the period of the rise of the railroad industry, Hamilton had solely based their timepiece designs on being exclusive railroad pocket watches. But they soon based their focus on wristwatches when the smaller timepieces grew in popularity after World War I.
Hamilton’s unique relationship with aviation is another well-known factor that inspires a majority of the companies models.
Their pilot’s watches are perhaps one of the most popular and the longest running series of products in that line. And they soon became the official watches for airlines like the Trans World Airlines back in the 1930s.
Later on, during World War II, Hamilton solely based their watches to serve the needs of the U.S military and stopped selling their models to the public.
Then they were purchased by the Omega and Tissot Holding Company known as Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère, and later became a subsidy to the Swatch Group, a merger of SSIH and the ASUAG.
Even though owned by a Swiss company, I found the Hamilton range of watches to be true to their horological ethos, which is still American. So, all of their watch series have a strong tie to their original traditions.
May it be their military-inspired Khaki series or the aviation-inspired Pilot set, the Hamilton watches stay very American.
But what makes this traditional brand a slowly growing trend in recent times is how they are capable of catering to a variety of customer demands. All of their series are designed with a particular theme in mind; from aviation to military, music, technology, and cinema, they have a wide range of unique collection that a customer can choose from.
And each of their watches significantly varies in affordability as well. When it comes to the price range, their watches can go as low as $400 and as high as $6,000, depending on the build and the series you pick.
Additionally, though Hamilton once used American in-house movements in all of their designs, they now house swiss ETA movements ever since becoming a subsidy of the Swatch group. The ETA movements are one of the more reliable watch mechanisms in today’s market; not only do they promise amazing quality but great efficiency as well.
In my experience, Hamilton’s fantastic range of watch collection has a timepiece for everyone no matter what their taste or style preference. If you want something that goes perfectly with a dress up, then the Jazzmaster is your collection of choice. If you want something active, the Khaki Field or the Khaki Frogman can be your best bet.
Hamilton takes the very traditional and gives them a very stylish and contemporary feel. But today I would like to talk about two of their series that my father absolutely adores – the Khaki Field and the Khaki King.
The Khaki Field models, till this date, stand a testament to Hamilton’s tie to the military’s days of old. This timepiece collection goes all the way back to 1910, the year Hamilton started a line up especially for the military.
Though in essence and spirit this series may not have changed much, in their modern day rendition, differences do lie when it comes to minor stylistic features and build.
The Field Auto Chrono in black PVD is perhaps the most celebrated watch of this line-up, and it’s also the one that I gifted my father. He just loves its dark features and aesthetics, along with the stippled rubber strap and the textured dial with a red highlight on the hour hands.
The Khaki King is another one of my father’s personal favorites, and it is one series that perfectly represents aviation engineering in physical form. Their absolutely stunning and sporty cases house a cutting-edge drift-angle calculator.
It is a feature that a pilot uses to calculate and precisely record crosswinds on flights. The Khaki King series is perhaps the first set of watches in the world to support this feature.
And to top off the amazingly stylish yet futuristic design, the series is given a silvertone stainless steel case with a PVD coated unidirectional bezel. It’s a watch collection that’s always on the go.
Where does the Hamilton disappoint?
The Hamilton’s biggest weakness lies in the disparity of build quality between its models. The timepieces of the lower price range are not as consistent in quality as the mid-range or high-end models.
The body of the lower end pieces is not as durable, and the crystal present in the dial would often break as it’s quite prone to physical damage.
The Hamilton range of watches is the perfect buy for anyone who is looking for a wristwatch that perfectly captures the essence of the timeless American vintage watches. With one of the most versatile watch collections up for offer and the best in quality and build, it is no surprise why this watch brand is taking over the market by storm.
Hope you enjoyed my Hamilton watches review today.
Till next time!