Like so many different collectors, I’ve had to withstand the urge to go in many alternative instructions over time. There’s simply a lot cool stuff on the market. Living proof, I’m ardently drawn to mid-century every part from furniture to housewares to atomic jewellery and watches. I don’t gather this stuff, however I like vicariously admiring and studying about something from this fashion interval.
Although I’m not a watch particular person per se (aside from my trusty Apple watch), I’ve blogged about a few totally different luxurious fashions I’d like to personal if cash had been no problem—particularly Corum’s Buckingham Artisan Assortment and colorfully funky watches by Franck Muller. One other one I’d add to the checklist is an authentic Hamilton mid-century watch. I significantly just like the Pacer mannequin, however there are a number of that I take into account to be masterpiece designs.
And to be clear, these watches are what I imagine to be masterpieces by way of design as a result of they’re so very mid-century of their styling. The Hamilton Watch Firm additionally made a line of watches named Masterpiece, usually used for service awards and the like. You may be a type of fashions in case you run throughout a spherical timepiece with firm affiliations and/or an individual’s identify on the again. Satirically, although the corporate known as them Masterpiece once they had been new, these are way more ordinary-looking than the Hamilton watches I love extra, just like the Ventura and the Pacer.
If the Ventura has an atomic look to you, there’s a great motive for that: it was based mostly on a bomb design. That’s proper, the designer of this watch was a World Warfare II artillery designer for the US, in response to watch historian Jarett Harkness. The designer’s identify was Richard Arbib, and he conceived this forward-thinking watch fashion first at a time when the general public was embracing trendy design in all elements of life. This watch fashion was first marketed in 1957.
The Ventura and different modern-styled Hamilton watches designed by Arbib had been revolutionary in one other manner. They had been the world’s first electrical watches. After an extravagant press convention in New York, actually lots of of newspapers throughout America shared information of this innovation. They used a small battery to maintain the mechanism operating, making them forerunners to later quartz watches. These gold timepieces by Hamilton weren’t low-cost both. Promoting relationship to the late Nineteen Fifties affords them at $200 apiece, equating to greater than $2,100 right this moment.
One other enjoyable declare to fame for the Ventura is its look in films and tv. Elvis Presley wore certainly one of these hip watches in Blue Hawaii, and Rod Serling sported one as he hosted the tv collection The Twilight Zone again within the day. The brokers of the Males in Black franchise additionally donned Ventura watches a long time later.
You’ll typically run throughout reissues of the Ventura with gold-plated and stainless-steel instances produced within the Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s. These are typically extra moderately priced than the older gold watches, and since they’re quartz fashions as a substitute of electrical, they could be a bit extra dependable. Newly crafted limited-edition gold watches on this fashion are actually being marketed as properly.
This Pacer can be a Hamilton battery-powered watch with an Arbib-designed case and, at first look, is similar to the Ventura. The truth is, some on-line assets mistake the Pacer for the movie-worn timepiece since they’re so shut in look.
In all honesty—with no disrespect to Elvis, who not solely wore a Ventura however reportedly gave them to others as items—I’m extra enamored by the Pacer’s scaled-back metalwork across the dial. The artistry of the uneven case is extra delicate, and that’s simply extra enticing to me. I even just like the geometrics of the best way the band attaches to the case quite than being hidden behind the metallic.
Including this one to a group is a little more tough than discovering a classic Ventura, nevertheless, since even fewer working Pacer fashions enter the secondary market right this moment. With some persistence, if I ever get critical about proudly owning one, I’d anticipate to pay $400 to 600 for a pleasant instance. It’s not filth low-cost, nevertheless it’s actually inside attain, contemplating the value of the opposite luxurious timepieces on my want checklist.
Different Mid-Century Hamilton Watches
There are just a few different intriguing Nineteen Fifties and ’60s watches by Hamilton, just like the Vega and Everest fashions, with uncommon case shapes. Assume trapezoid, modified protect shapes, and teardrops to get an thought of different choices. You can even seek out uncommon European fashions with double teardrop instances identified solely by their reference numbers, like Mannequin 64010-4 and Mannequin 60007-4.
One problem with these watches is discovering them in good situation and dealing order. So many of those watches had been clearly worn to loss of life by the unique homeowners, and so they simply don’t look all that nice anymore. If I ever determine to get critical about proudly owning one, I’ll probably have some diligent classic procuring forward of me. Within the meantime, I’ll maintain admiring these tremendous cool watches at a distance.
Pamela Siegel is a contract author and writer who has been educating collectors for greater than twenty years. Along with three books on matters referring to antiques and collectibles, she often shares her experience via on-line writing and articles for print-based publications. Pamela can be the co-founder of Costume Jewellery Collectors Int’l (CJCI) and the proprietor of Stylish Antiques by Pamela.
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