Hamilton may be a Swiss brand now but its roots are firmly American. Consider the Hamilton watches of the early post-war era. Starting in the 1950s, when the brand was working on its first publically-available electric watch, it tapped Richard Arbib — whose design work embodied American retro-futurism — to design what would become the iconic Ventura as well as several other funky case designs. His designs set the tone Hamilton watches over the next couple decades, and while the brand eventually cooled it on the avant-garde design language, it was a glorious era of bold watch design. These vintage Hamiltons are still fairly common on the vintage market, and not particularly sought after, so even the most exceptional versions can be found at reasonable prices.
Hamilton Victor Electric
What we like: Before the advent of the quartz-regulated watch, Hamilton pioneered the earliest electric watches. Rather than being regulated by a quartz crystal, it used a balance spring that was powered by magnets. Hamilton’s first electric watch — the Ventura — is a funky icon but later watches like this Victor were a bit more subtle. It’s still a unique piece, with asymmetrically-placed lugs and a crown at the corner of the case.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition with some signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition showing some signs of age.
Hamilton Accumatic A-504
What we like: The asymetrical Regulus is another well-known electric Hamilton. Once it was retired, Hamilton used the leftover cases to create the short-lived Accumatic A-504 by fitting an automatic movement in place of the electric engine. The Accumatic A-504 is a particularly rare watch. It’s a great combination of the funky design ethos of the early Hamiton electrics and a more desirable mechanical movement.
From the seller: This one works well, sets and winds smoothly. Beneath the dial is an unadjusted Swiss Hamilton 689A automatic movement with 17 jewels that runs strong and was bench timed for 24 hours. Light scratches on case.
Hamilton Odyssee 2001 Automatic
What we like: Hamilton’s avant garde case designs caught the attention of Stanly Kubrik and, as such, the brand ended up making a one-off cuff-like watch for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Since the design would have been to difficult to produce at scale, Hamilton toned things down for the commenerative timepeice that was made well into the early ’70s. The watch still keeps a retro-futuristic edge thanks to a flying-saucer-esque case and a dial adorned with ultra-modern font.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition with signs of minor use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with patina to the luminescent elements.