Hamilton Watches

The Hamilton Watch Company was an American watch manufacturing company. It was established in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892. It specialized in producing high-quality pocket watches and wristwatches. Today, The Hamilton brand exists in name as a division of a major Swiss assembler of production-grade quartz and mechanical wristwatches.

Company History

The Hamilton Watch company was founded as a result of Keystone Standard Watch Company’s bankruptcy. The latter was sold at a sheriff’s sale to a group of entrepreneurs from Lancaster, Pennsylvania whose objective was to build a watch manufacturing company. That same year, the company merged with Aurora Watch Company of Illinois. The new company became known as the Hamilton Watch Company.

In 1962, Hamilton went into a joint venture with Ricoh, a Japanese watch making firm. The aim of the collaboration was to produce electronic watches for the Japanese market. The partnership was subsequently dissolved in 1965 after an unsuccessful run against its market competitor, Seiko.

Later on, Hamilton acquired the Buren Watch Company in Switzerland. The two companies operated jointly from 1966 to 1969. Hamilton used Swiss movements for its watches, while Buren used several components manufactured by Hamilton. This venture also resulted to the development of the innovative Hamilton/Buren Microtor system.

Eventually, Hamilton ceased all its American manufacturing operations. The entire manufacturing operations were shifted to the Buren factory in Switzerland. By 1972, the partnership was dissolved due to decreased sales of Hamilton-Buren products.

The Hamilton brand was bought by Salon International de la Haute (SIHH). This company used the Hamilton name for a number of branding efforts in the 1980’s. The Hamilton brand was eventually bought by the Swatch Group, Ltd. in the late 1990’s.

Modern Hamilton watches no longer utilize “in house” movements. Instead, they use movements developed by the Swatch Group, Ltd.

Company Milestones

  • Hamilton created for itself a reputation as a manufacturer of high caliber pocket watches in only six years after its establishment. With the release of the Broadway Limited, Hamilton’s first series of pocket watches, the company also became synonymous with accurate railroad watches.
  • Hamilton released its first wristwatch in 1917. It was designed to appeal to men entering the First World War. It contained a 0-sized movement, which was originally designed for women’s pendant watches. The 0-sized movement in wristwatches started a line of some of the finest American made wristwatches.
  • Hamilton watches had always been in the list of luxury watch collectors. Some of its most collectible early Hamilton wristwatches include The Rectangular, The Spur, Oval, The Coronado, Tonneau, The Square Enamel, The Byrd, The Pinehurst, The Piping Rock, The Glendale, the Langley, The Flintridge, and The Cambridge.
  • With the onset of World War II, Hamilton was extremely successful in producing and supplying marine chronometers and deck watches to the US Navy. The company’s achievement was hailed as a milestone in industrial history.
  • Introduced in 1957, the Hamilton Electric 500 was the first battery-powered watch.
  • The innovative Hamilton/Buren Microtor was the first patented wristwatch to eliminate the external oscillating weight characteristic of most winding automatic wristwatches. However, Universal Geneve also conceived the same concept at the same time. Universal Geneve used this concept in its Polerouter series. The official title “first Microtor” is still being disputed, although Buren patented its design in 1954 and Universal Geneve applied for patent in 1955.

Hamilton Watches


  • Air Chrono Quartz
  • Aviation QNE
  • Chrono Auto
  • Chrono Quartz
  • Eto
  • GMT Air Race
  • Tachymiler
  • X-Wind Automatic


  • Navy Automatic
  • Navy Frogman Auto Chrono
  • Navy Frogman Automatic
  • Navy GMT
  • Navy GMT 3T
  • Navy Regatta
  • Navy Regatta Alarm
  • Navy Seaqueen
  • Navy Sub


  • Field Auto Chrono
  • Field Automatic
  • Field Mechanical
  • Field Quartz
  • Field Mechanical Officer
  • King Automatic
  • King Quartz
  • King Scuba
  • Officer Auto Chrono


  • Action
  • Automatic
  • Chrono Auto
  • Multi Touch
  • Sunset and Twilight

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