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Hamilton Vintage Men's and Ladies Watches Review

Updated on January 6, 2015

Hamilton Vintage

As we mentioned in our review of Hamilton Ladies watches, vintage timepieces often employ precious metals (gold, platinum) and diamonds. This (costly) trait notably distinguishes pre-60s watches from modern ones – during the last few decades Hamilton principally changed direction from jewelry towards more casual and sports oriented watchmaking, producing a series of military, often mechanically complicated collections.

Interestingly, a somewhat similar shift occurred to the very well known Corum brand. Once a manufacturer of fashion timepieces, it changed owners a few times, and today focuses almost solely on high-end complication. Corum still offer jewelry models, but the diamonds serve to emphasize the engineering achievements rather than to add intrinsic value. Hamilton, of course, is not as exclusive, and the company revels in its past by reviving popular models: Dodson, Square, Ardmore, Thin-o-Matic, and others.

Early pocket watches comprise a separate section of vintage items (a limited editions line in today's manufacture offers new ones as well).

Hamilton Vintage Watch
Hamilton Vintage Watch


Men's vintage watches, especially those made between the forties and sixties of the 20th century, exhibit several consistent design characteristics.

First is a tendency toward simple dials where the center is almost entirely unoccupied except by the hands; in some models a separate seconds hand at six o'clock takes some part of this space. Second is the use of medium sized, usually calligraphy painted, Arabic numerals. These try to stick as close to the outside rim as they can, leaving only a ring of small indexes between them.

Overall, it's a highly functional design that occasionally reveal some 20s Art Deco influences, but generally is yet to show the fashion flourishes that became the standard when the Swiss industry boomed again. Perhaps Hamilton Ventura 1957 was the last watch to look both backward and forward in time: later pieces looked only forward.


Because ladies watches are smaller, the functional appearance (effectively a replication of a pocket clock face) can't project the focused busy spirit with the same force of men's timers; instead, the gold and the diamonds come into play, and turn the design in favor of decorative and jewelry.

Many feminine timepieces feature a cocktail bracelet or a leather strap, which also become elements of embellishment.


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