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A comprehensive archive of HAMILTON Watches. Each model or type is featured with detailed pictures & specifications to tell you virtually everything you need to know about HAMILTON wristwatches we've handled since 2005.
The HAMILTON Watch Company was established when the Keystone Standard Watch Company was forced into bankruptcy & sold at a sheriff's sale to a group of Lancaster entrepreneurs whose "objective was to build only watches of the highest quality". During this same year, a merger took place between the newly established Lancaster, PA based watchmaking concern & the Aurora Watch Company of Illinois. A decision was made to name the new company after James HAMILTON, owner of a large tract of land which was granted to him from William Penn & included what is now the city of Lancaster. The new company would be known as The HAMILTON Watch Company.
HAMILTON Watch Company was housed on a thirteen acre complex in Lancaster. HAMILTON eventually took possession of 'Aurora's' machinery shortly after incorporation. with quality being HAMILTON's primary goal, the company set out to manufacture "America's Finest Watch". The first watch made under the HAMILTON name was an 18-size 17-jewel pocket watch in 1893. Within the next six years, HAMILTON had developed a reputation for creating pocket watches of the highest caliber of quality. During HAMILTON's first fifteen years, only two size movements were produced - the 18-size & the smaller 16-size.
Its first series of pocket watches, the Broadway Limited, was known as the "Watch of Railroad Accuracy" & HAMILTON became popular by making accurate railroad watches. HAMILTON introduced its first wristwatch in 1917. This watch was designed to appeal to men entering World War I & contained the 0-sized 17-jewel 983 movement originally designed for women's pendent watches. The introduction of the 0-sized wristwatch was the start of a line of wristwatches that included some of the finest American wristwatches made. In 1928 HAMILTON purchased the Illinois Watch Company. Some of the most collectible early HAMILTON wristwatches include:
Many models came in solid gold & gold filled cases.
During World War II, production of consumer watches was stopped, with all watches manufactured being shipped to troops. More than one-million watches were sent overseas. The company was extremely successful in producing marine chronometers & deck watches in large numbers to fill the needs of the US Navy. This achievement was a milestone in industrial history & represents the only time a true precision timekeeper was produced on a mass production scale.
In 1951, HAMILTON rebuffed a hostile takeover bid by the Benrus watch company. The fallout from the failed takeover action culminated in HAMILTON Watch Co. v. Benrus Watch Co (206 F.2d 738, 740 (2d Cir. 1953), a Federal proceeding that is considered to be landmark in the realm of Federal anti-trust case law.
In 1957, HAMILTON introduced the world's first battery-powered watch, the futuristic, Richard Arbib designed Ventura. This watch design is in production today under the new Swatch Group HAMILTON brand, with a quartz movement.
In 1962, HAMILTON entered into a joint venture (60% owned by HAMILTON) with the Japanese watchmaking firm Ricoh to produce electric watches meant primarily for the Japanese market. The electronic components were produced at HAMILTONs Lancaster, PA factory while production of the mechanical works & final assembly was undertaken in Japan. Although production levels of HAMILTON-Ricoh watches was high (over 1000 per month), demand was low & consequently, the HAMILTON-Ricoh partnership was unable to compete with the substantial market presence of Seiko. The partnership was dissolved in 1965, with the remaining HAMILTON-Ricoh electronic movements (marked "Ricoh 555E") re-cased as "Vantage" & sold in the US.
Wikipedia contributors. HAMILTON Watch Company. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. September 3, 2007, 19:58 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/withindex.php?title=Hamilton_Watch_Company&oldid=155479696. Accessed October 12, 2007.