Have you come across the Swiss brand Hamilton while shopping for the best luxury watches around the globe?
Since this brand has become a staple for exquisite watch choices for many, you may have some questions in your mind.
One of the most popular ones is, “Is Hamilton a luxury watch?”
You may be excited to find out whether the Swiss brand counts as one of the luxury brands you’ve been eyeing.
So, let’s learn more about the brand and how it creates its timepieces.
By then, you will find the answer as to whether this Swiss brand truly makes it to the list of luxury watches.
What Is a Luxury Watch?
Everybody gets thrilled when talking about luxury watches, which is especially true to watch enthusiasts and collectors.
If you are new to the game, you may not be too familiar with the brands that make the cut.
As with any industry, knowing the basics is essential. Hence, let’s get a deeper dive into what luxury watches are.
With all the numerous brands emerging all over the globe, there is no single definition or fixed criteria for luxury watches.
That said, luxury watches have a general standard and a common feature.
These are all made with extraordinarily exquisite and high materials.
Craftsmanship for this type of watch also stands out among others, and lastly, luxury watches come with a hefty price tag.
The Hamilton Brand
Now let’s talk about Hamilton and everything you need to know about its collections and standing in the industry.
As we move on to discover its history, reputation, origin, and brand, you can then gauge whether it counts as a luxury watch.
Hamilton was founded in the United States of America in 1892 and spent its first 111 years of existence in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
They also built their first manufacturing plant in this location.
Here’s a quick look at the brand’s history:
- Hamilton for the Army, Aviation, and Marines
During this time, there were problems with inaccurate timekeeping in U.S. railroads, which led to several accidents that had people killed.
Since the brand was known for having accurate pocket watches, they received the opportunity to create a solution.
They were contracted to design and produce accurate timepieces for rail workers.
Since their creations were a success for railroad scheduling, the “The Watch of Railroad Accuracy” title was given to them.
Meanwhile, soldiers who needed handy timekeeping options patronized their brand during World War I.
Among other companies that did it, they also took the responsibility to provide reliable watches to the Armed Forces.
This went on until 1917 when the company finally released its first wristwatch.
The brand continued to prove its excellence in 1918 when the first U.S. Airmail service used a Hamilton aeronautical watch.
At this point, it established a name for being among the top makers of aviation watches.
Its creations continued to impress until World War II when they became the chronometers for marines.
Hamilton was given its name by the railroads of America.
As the country’s significant infrastructure grew, Hamilton began producing precise timepieces to complement them.
These creations helped prevent and reduce accidents by synchronizing train timing as the country built its infrastructure.
- Hamilton for Celebrities
As Hamilton’s popularity soared during the war, their creations were still patronized even past it.
Their timepieces were showcased in several major Hollywood movies by some of the biggest celebrities.
Among them is Elvis Presley, who expressed his admiration for Ventura’s electric watches.
He liked the Hamilton Ventura that sported a triangular shield as its feature and used it in a musical comedy in 1961.
Being the pioneer of electric watches in 1957, they made options of different non-traditional asymmetrical case styles.
They moved on to acquire Switzerland’s Buren Watch Company in 1966 and developed another innovative function.
They came up with the first automatic watch movement and patented it.
It was to get rid of the external oscillating weight that standard watches had.
They then integrated a lighter weight into the movement.
The Swiss Watch With an American Spirit
The switch happened in 1974 when the SSIH, Swatch Group’s predecessor, bought the Hamilton.
At this time, the brand remained to produce their timepieces in the U.S.
They continued to make quartz and mechanical timepieces for Americans.
During the 1980s, the classics came back and had Hamilton create wonderful pieces yet again.
Post the Swatch Group’s formation, the brand got the title of being a Swiss brand with an American spirit.
From this point on, they continued to provide ETA-equipped Swiss movements in American-themed cases.
In 1969, the brand halted its American production and switched to manufacturing everything in Biel, Switzerland.
In 1970, they were able to release the world’s first digital watch called the Pulsar.
Fast forward to two years, they introduced this unique watch to the public with a push-button that gives a time display.
Design and Make
We know that you can’t wait to know about the build and make of Hamilton watches.
As they are known for producing top-quality timepieces with accurate and reliable movements, we are here to tell you how these are made.
To provide you with options and designs to choose from, they utilize varying materials with unique qualities.
Known to be a subsidiary of the Swatch Group, they have the right to claim a “Swiss-made” tag.
Hamilton watches’ movements are inspected and assembled in Switzerland.
By law, a Swiss watch must produce 60% of its movements domestically.
Hence, the remaining 40% of its movements can be assembled in foreign origins.
The rest is usually made in South East Asia and China since these countries offer lower production costs.
When it comes to material, stainless steel is the primary one for most of their watch casings.
Those that belong to a higher tier usually utilize titanium, a robust and lightweight material.
You can also find some models with ceramic, which is a widely used material in the Hamilton watches’ bezels.
Regardless of the material, you can expect every piece to come with a sapphire crystal.
This gives their timepieces a scratch-resistant feature.
If you want to know what this type of material is, it is the next best thing after a diamond.
It is a common material used for high-end and luxury watches.
As for the straps, you can choose among the materials such as leather, steel, and rubber.
Hamilton is also known for having expertise in creating automatic calibers.
In cooperation with the Buren Watch Company, it then produced the first micro-rotor movement.
It led to 1969’s first automatic chronograph that indicated a start for complex improvements.
The company’s success in this field owes it to its H-31 and H-21 chronograph movements.
Following these are the H-40, H-10, and H-30 calibers that extend the power reserve up to 80 hours.
Apart from those, they are known for a luminescent feature in dials, watch hands, and indices.
They also have water resistance wristwear with up to 1,000 meters, among others.
With every brand comes the aspect of reliability during use.
Hamilton values this trait; hence, they offer a two-year limited warranty for manufacturing and material defects.
In rare situations where a Hamilton watch comes with problems under the following instances, you can have them replaced or fixed for free.
However, this warranty only comes with timepieces that certified merchants sell.
If you are considering purchasing one, it is good to note that there are limitations to the warranty.
That includes the battery life, normal wear and tear, and any damage caused by accidents or negligence.
As mentioned previously, getting one from an unauthorized distributor can void the warranty.
Though their warranty program is one that you can depend on, there is no need to worry about your watch too much.
Hamilton produces timepieces that are likely to last for a long time.
In fact, some Hamilton watch collectors attest that well-maintained watches last for more than 25 years.
The controversy on whether a Hamilton is a luxury watch usually ends when they talk about prices.
Since the brand stands by its promise of delivering quality, they have set out different collections for every user.
Here is a brief description of their watches and price range:
- Lower Priced Hamilton Watches
Though these pieces are available and are in a more affordable range, they still come with good quality.
They come with water resistance that can take up to 165 feet and have a quartz movement.
A stainless steel case and scratch-resistant sapphire glass usually come with these pieces.
If you are curious about the price, they are usually available at about $400.
- Middle Priced Hamilton Watches
You can expect middle-priced Hamilton watches to come with a sapphire glass.
In terms of water resistance, they are guaranteed to have a higher water resistance level than those that come at a lower cost.
You can get your Hamilton watch in manual or automatic variations.
As for the price range, they usually fall between $400 and $1000.
- High Priced Hamilton Watches
Those that come at this range definitely have premium quality and capabilities.
They have water resistance that can reach up to 1000 meters and sapphire glass.
The great part about these pieces is that they come with high-tech features like tachymeters.
You can expect to get these at a price range above $1000. At the most, their most expensive watch is above $6000.
Is Hamilton a Luxury Watch?
Though Hamilton is a subsidiary of the Swatch Group, their watches are not considered luxury watches.
Despite the excellent quality and accuracy their watches offer, they don’t make the cut because of the cost to buy one.
Unlike other luxury watches such as Rolex and Patek Philippe, you can buy most of their pieces for under $500.
That said, their movement and precision are still a premium compared to their price range.
In addition to this, the Hamilton brand is one with rich history and resilience.
Getting one may not give you what other luxury brands offer, but they provide more value than what you can expect from their price.
So, Is It Worthy To Buy a Hamilton Watch?
Now that you know how the brand revolutionized their work over decades, we can say that their timepieces never failed to impress.
Their quality, design, and pioneered features made them stand among the best brands out there.
So even if the answer to the question, “Is Hamilton a luxury watch?” is no, Hamilton is better than standard watches, which give value to their price.
You can choose among the different Hamilton classes according to your preference and gender, as well as whether for adults and young professionals.