HAMILTON ELECTRIC: THE RACE TO CREATE THE WORLD’S FIRST BATT

HAMILTON ELECTRIC: THE RACE TO CREATE THE WORLD’S FIRST BATT

Postby koimaster » June 5th 2018, 9:21am

From time to time, we open Worn & Wound up to fellow enthusiasts, collectors, and niche specialists who want to write about a watch or subject we have yet to cover. Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Jarett Harkness, who’s going to tell us all about Hamilton’s important, and often underappreciated, foray into electric watches. And Jarret’s the right person to do just that. He began collecting and restoring Hamilton “Electric” watches in the 2000s, eventually training under the famed Rene Rondeau. Beginning in 2011, Jarett moved from working as a pharmacist to restoring Hamilton Electrics full time. When Rondeau retired in 2015, Jarett purchased the business and inventory, and today he operates his website, unwindintime.com, offering restoration of Hamilton Electrics for clients and sales of restored Hamilton Electrics, as well as other vintage watches.


Hamilton Watch Company created a true icon with the 1957 introduction of the Hamilton Electric watch. It was the first significant innovation in mechanical design since the 16th century. Before 1957, all watches supplied power via a mainspring through either hand winding or kinetic energy (wrist motion with an automatic watch). The Hamilton Electric looked toward a different source, which resulted in a mechanical movement being powered by “an energy cell no larger than a shirt button,” as Hamilton once described it. Although the Hamilton Electric is powered by a battery, the operation is largely mechanical, using no transistors or other electronic components. It marks the first step toward the modern battery powered quartz revolution.

When it comes to the story of the Hamilton Electric, separating fact from fiction can be difficult, especially when some of these misconceptions have been circulating for sixty years. One pervasive misconception is that the watches never worked, or never worked well. And yet, countless examples can be found with original movements, and with watches used so extensively that holes have been worn completely through the cases. It takes years of continued use to cause this sort of wear, and, simply put, people were not strapping watches to their wrists every day unless they were running properly. Hamilton also produced approximately 350,000 Hamilton Electrics over a twelve year run. If these were duds, production would have been discontinued much sooner. Now, that’s not to say that there weren’t some reliability issues with early models (I’ll discuss that a little later), but it was Swiss competition and the coming quartz revolution that ended Hamilton’s Electric production, and not some inherent flaw in the product.


http://wornandwound.com/hamilton-electr ... red-watch/
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Re: HAMILTON ELECTRIC: THE RACE TO CREATE THE WORLD’S FIRST

Postby bobbee » June 5th 2018, 11:10am

Hamilton Watch Company created a true icon with the 1957 introduction of the Hamilton Electric watch. It was the first significant innovation in mechanical design since the 16th century. Before 1957


Whilst totally ignoring the joint Elgin/Lip release in 1952...



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Re: HAMILTON ELECTRIC: THE RACE TO CREATE THE WORLD’S FIRST

Postby TemerityB » June 5th 2018, 11:32am

I'm not fond of the whitewashing of the early Hamilton Electric's problems here - more than a few never kept accurate time or never ran at all. The fact that some of the pieces were fixed, or that the problem was later rectified in subsequent models didn't wipe away the fact that there was a pretty big problem for a lot of people who were paying top dollar in those days. It was the same thing with the early Seiko Kinetics - the early ones crapped out early en masse, while Seiko's response was a pretty close to Invicta-like shrug.

I'm a member of this hobby ... uh, why exactly? Not only do you have companies FUBARing left and right, but then you have a fan boy media that delights in whitewashing what really went on. No wonder Invicta skated with their shenanigans for almost 10 years: More than enough people were willing to ignore consumers who were being bilked en masse, or laugh it all off. Fuck you, watch hobby.
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Re: HAMILTON ELECTRIC: THE RACE TO CREATE THE WORLD’S FIRST

Postby bobbee » June 5th 2018, 11:36am

TemerityB wrote:I'm not fond of the whitewashing of the early Hamilton Electric's problems here - more than a few never kept accurate time or never ran at all. The fact that some of the pieces were fixed, or that the problem was later rectified in subsequent models didn't wipe away the fact that there was a pretty big problem. It was the same thing with the early Seiko Kinetics - the early ones crapped out early en masse, while Seiko's response was a pretty close to Invicta-like shrug.


I had a 1970 cushion case "Masterpiece" example that lost between 40 and 90 seconds a day, soon got rid of it.
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