Founded in 1870, the Illinois Watch Company was primarily known for its pocket watches favored by American railroad workers. The Hamilton Watch Company arrived on the scene almost a quarter century later, but by 1900, more than half of all U.S. railroad conductors, engineers, and workers made sure their trains ran on time with the help of a Hamilton. In 1928, Illinois was purchased by Hamilton.
During the 1920s, most men’s Illinois wristwatches were sold to jewelers, who would put their own cases on them. Of the Illinois watches that were cased at the factory, models included the Square, Canby, Cushion, Champion, Special, and Atlantic.
The late 1920s were Illinois’s prime period. Instead of plain and generic names, these new models were called the Picadilly, Marquis, Ritz, New Yorker, Beau Royale, and the top-of-the-line 14-karat gold Consul, which some collectors consider the finest American wristwatch ever made. These were designed in high Art Deco, with silver pinstripe dials, tiny second hands, and cases of two-tone gold.
After the sale to Hamilton, Illinois watches from the 1930s embraced the Streamline Moderne design. Their names leaned to the preppy (Chesterfield, Wentworth, Andover, Rockliffe) and were almost identical to Hamilton watches of this era, which were named after famous explorers (Stanley, Livingstone, Byrd). These antique Hamiltons are quite collectible today precisely because their movements were made by Illinois.
Of course Hamilton has its own history of wristwatch making. It got into the field because of World War I, when it produced wristwatches for servicemen entering the military. In the 1920s it launched a line of modest, Art Deco masterpieces, with names that evoked the Americas—Piping Rock, Langley, Coronado, Spur. Many of these watches feature white-gold cases with enamel inlays.
In the 1936, Hamilton offered the twin-dial Seckron and in 1938, it introduced its own version of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, which Hamilton called the Otis. Other collectible antique Hamiltons from the 1930s include the Mount Vernon, Andres, and Oakmont...
The 1940s were largely devoted to making wristwatches for the U.S. military—one rectangular, twin-dial steel watch from this period was even known as the Bomb Timer. Then, in the 1950s, Hamilton proceeded to make a slew of conservatively styled watches named, seemingly, after archetypal American dads—Ryan, Craig, Grover, Brent, Carlton, and Alan, to name but a few.
For Hamilton, the 1950s were only in part about tradition. In 1957, it introduced the world’s first electric watches. Designed by Richard Arbib, whose previous credits had included the fins of both World War II bombs and 1950s automobiles, these new late 1950s-1960s watches had space-age, asymmetrical shapes, with equally space-age names like Ventura, Spectra, Altair, Polaris, and Gemini.
By 1971, Hamilton had embraced the electric revolution so completely that its Pulsar would have no moving parts at all, but that would be the last gasp for the once-proud American watch maker, which was sold that year to the company that is today known as the Swatch Group.
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Crime Report: Car keyed in See's Candies parking lotValley Sun, December 12th
The point of entry was a smashed-open second-story French door accessed by a ladder, and the exit point was the victim's front door. The suspect stole a jewelry box with a Hamilton wristwatch inside, in addition to 11 other wrist watches. As he left...Read more
Watches in the moviesWorld Tempus (press release), December 9th
Making a prop watch for Murph, the daughter in the film, was really interesting, because two critical emotional moments are based around the Hamilton watch. Before Matthew McConaughey leaves for space, he gives her the Hammilton watch, and she ...Read more
Locals get chance to be part of global spectacleNorthern Advocate, November 28th
ASSESSING: Whangarei District Council's Peter Gleeson (left) and Fifa's Aaron Hamilton watch the final of the Jim Wishart Tournament in Tikipunga in September while discussing the number of volunteers needed in Northland for next year's Fifa Under-20 ...Read more
Hamilton Watch Plays Pivotal Role In Oscar Contender 'Interstellar'Forbes, November 27th
I am the editor-in-chief and co-founder of QuillandPad.com. Beyond that, I contribute my horological expertise to a variety of magazines, websites and publications all over the world. With more than two decades' experience covering the watch industry...Read more
5 Things 'True Detective' & 'The Notebook' Have in CommonBustle, November 24th
The mystery has FINALLY been solved! The leading roles for True Detective Season 2 have been fully cast after many rumors, memes, and industry speculations. Joining Vince Vaughn and Collin Farrell will be Tim Riggins (I'm sorry, I mean Taylor Kitsch...Read more
An Old-Fashioned Plow-A-Thon in IllinoisRFD-TV, November 21st
NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) Occasionally, modern farmers will they'll pull their old fashioned plows out of the shed and turn some furrows with them just for fun. That's what happened this past weekend in Champaign County, Illinois. Watch the video above...Read more
Hamilton — Vidéo. Interstellar interview- Prop Master - Ritchie Kremer ...WorldTempus, November 7th
— Voici la montre Hamilton Unique développée en étroite collaboration avec l'équipe de production d'Interstellar et en exclusivité pour le film. http://goo.gl/Qr3A09. Dans le film Interstellar, le temps joue un rôle crucial. Hamilton a collaboré...Read more
Pearl Jam Debut New Song 'Moline' in Moline, IllinoisCBS Local, October 20th
Every major city has its own song and last night a small town in Illinois was treated to the same by Eddie Vedder. Before taking the stage in Moline, Ill., the Pearl Jam frontman wrote up a tribute to the Mississippi River-adjacent city. “Moline, it...Read more