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Hamilton has its roots firmly in the U.S.A. where it was established in 1892. Lancaster, Pennsylvania was the site of the original Hamilton factory and the company was based there for the first 111 years of its life.
Hamilton first made its name during the early days of the American railroads. As the country built its crucial infrastructure, Hamilton began supplying accurate watches that were credited with helping to prevent and reduce accidents by synchronizing timing on the rails.
In 1918, as the age of aviation developed, Hamilton began timing the skies and our watches helped to keep the new coast to coast U.S. Airmail service on time. Since then, Hamilton has been synonymous with the world of aviation.
Innovation has been one of the biggest keys to Hamilton’s success with major developments appearing in the mid 20th century that changed the world of watchmaking forever. In 1957, the Ventura became the world’s first electrical watch powered by a battery and Pulsar, the world’s first LED digital watch, followed in 1970. Since 2011, Hamilton has produced together with ETA its own movements, that allow for extended power reserves of up to 80 hours to be incorporated into certain calibers.
For almost 90 years, Hamilton has been known as the Movie Brand, owing to our close association with Hollywood. Hamilton watches first appeared on the silver screen in 1932 in the Marlene Dietrich movie ‘Shanghai Express’. In 1951, our watches had a starring role in the major Hollywood movie ‘The Frogmen’. Ten years later, the Ventura appeared on the wrist of megastar Elvis Presley in his musical comedy, ‘Blue Hawaii’. Our watches have since appeared in over 500 major feature films, including recent box office hits ‘Interstellar’ and ‘The Martian’ and are always chosen by production designers. The Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards began in 2006 and honor the heroes behind the scenes of major movies.
Since 1974, Hamilton has been a part of the Swatch Group and, in 2003, we moved our HQ and production to the center of watchmaking country in Biel, Switzerland. Hamilton watches now have the prestigious Swiss made label, but Hamilton is still American at heart, just as it was when it was first established in Pennsylvania in 1892.
From the railroads to the skies, the depths of the ocean to the urban jungle, with automatic or quartz movements, Hamilton watches represent the perfect balance of American Spirit and Swiss Precision.