alexander hamilton portrait by john trumbull 1806

From Broadway to Basel: The 2018 Hamilton Novelties and their Smash Musical Accompaniments

With several new releases introduced at Baselworld, we decided to highlight each of the novelties by also tying them to Hamilton, the musical.

By Barbara Palumbo

If you’re interested in affordable Swiss watches but you haven’t seen or heard of the award-winning musical Hamilton, you might want to come out from that rock you’ve been living under and join the rest of us over here in Reality Land. Hamilton – the musical –  is a still-running Broadway show which was written and composed in 2015 by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life and death of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton – the watch brand – has a lightly different American history, however one that still has ties back to some very famous first settlers that even pre-date Alexander Hamilton, himself. Let me explain...

Back in 1892, long before the business moved its headquarters to Bienne, Switzerland, the Hamilton Watch Company was incorporated in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The plot of land on which the company’s facility was originally built was once owned by a lawyer by the name of Andrew Hamilton (no relation to Alexander) which is how the brand decided on its name. But Andrew Hamilton wasn’t just any lawyer... he was the family lawyer of one William Penn – the founder of the state of Pennsylvania – and Hamilton also served as Attorney General for the then colony of Pennsylvania from 1717 until 1724, which is when he travelled to London to formally oversee the will of William Penn after his death in 1718.

With those early-American ties being what they are, it seemed fitting to introduce the newest Hamilton novelties released at Basel by associating each one of them with a song – and a character – from the world-renowned Broadway musical of the same name. So, here goes nothin’.

Jazzmaster Thinline Automatic

Song: That Would Be Enough

Associated lyrics: “We don’t need a legacy. We don’t need money.”

Character who’d wear it: Phillip Hamilton

40mm. Stainless Steel. Sleek. Simple. Classic. Automatic. Yes, indeed, that *would* be enough, but Hamilton made it so that you can easily swap your strap colors, too. The Jazzmaster Thinline Automatic is very simply “no fuss, no muss” but in a way that still allows the wearer to look like he cares about how he looks. And the EasyClick system means the colorful calfskin straps can be removed and replaced in a matter of seconds without tools. Automatic ETA 2892-A2 movement with date function, sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, four color options, and water resistant to 50 meters. For $945.00 USD, you surely won’t need a lot of money or even legacy to pick one up.

Jazzmaster Lady Automatic

Song: The Schuyler Sisters

Associated lyrics: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, and when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I'mma compel him to include women in the sequel!”

Character who’d wear it: Angelica Schuyler

At 34mm in diameter for the Jazzmaster Lady Auto or a slightly larger 36mm for the Jazzmaster Viewmatic Lady Skeleton, the women’s version of this Hamilton staple shows us that the brand is making sure that women understand that automatic watches are not just for men (all watch lovers – not just men – are created equal!). Both versions come with a stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, and are water resistant to 50 meters. The Jazzmaster Lady Auto contains the automatic ETA 2671 movement with date function and the Skeleton version houses the automatic movement H-20-S. Both are available in either a dual-color leather strap with pin buckle or a stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp.

Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm Soldier

Song: Guns and Ships

Associated lyrics: “Sir, he knows what to do in a trench. Ingenuitive and fluent in French, I mean.”

Character who’d wear it: Marquis de Lafayette

The new 38 mm Khaki Field Mechanical pays homage to the brand’s original 1940s version in a way that is both a nod to the past and a hat tip to the future. The smaller size, military-style NATO strap, and hand winding movement give the watch a lightness that is only offset by the weight of its stainless steel case. And the sapphire crystal, mechanical (2801-2) movement, two muted color choices (that would match both guns and ships), and $475.00 price tag really just complete the package. C'est magnifique !

Khaki Pilot Day Date 42mm

Song: You’ll Be Back

Associated lyrics: “You'll be back, time will tell. You'll remember that I served you well.”

Character who’d wear it: Thomas Jefferson

As part of the brand’s 100-year anniversary of when Hamilton watches started “timing the skies,” they’ve released the Khaki Pilot Day Date 42mm in three different versions. Easy-to-read dials accompanied by sand-colored Super-LumiNova® indexes and numerals that glow neon green in the dark give this timepiece a true Pilot’s watch feel, and the day window at the 12 o’clock marker is reminiscent of analog cockpit instruments often found in older planes. Add on an 80-hour power reserve and day date function thanks to the H-40 automatic movement, 100-meter water resistance, distressed looking leather strap (on the associated models), and sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, and you’ve got yourself once heck of a trusty flying companion, which is how you’d know “you’ll be back”.

Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Limited Edition

Song: Satisfied

Associated Lyrics: “Three fundamental truths at the exact same time…”

Character who’d wear it: George Washington

This limited edition watch’s design is based on the original Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono, only this version has a few tricks up its sleeve. The Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Limited Edition has a 45 mm stainless steel case which houses the H-21-Si chronograph movement; the first Hamilton movement with a silicon hairspring. The reason that’s vital to this particular aviation-style watch is because silicon allows the movement to be more precise as the material is non-magnetic and not as sensitive to shocks. Additionally, the movement has been precision certified as a chronometer by the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). The multilevel black dial allows the eye of the onlooker to venture back and forth between the three counters (hence, the lyrics above), the day date window at 9 o’clock and the turning inner bezels. Limited to 1,918 individually numbered pieces with either the stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp or the rugged brown leather strap, the Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Limited Edition is also water resistant to 100 meters (just in case one falls overboard when crossing the Delaware), measures 45 mm in diameter, and has a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides.

Air Zermatt Editions

Song: Right Hand Man

Associated lyrics: “Can I be real a second? For just a millisecond? Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?”

Characters who’d wear them: John Adams and Aaron Burr

The Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Air Zermatt Limited Edition 45 mm and the Khaki Pilot Auto Air Zermatt Special Edition 42 mm are two new watches that were created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Air Zermatt Mountain Rescue Team; a partner of Hamilton watches since 2011. The former of the two timepieces contains the H-21-Si chronograph movement and will be limited to 100 pieces with a leather strap. The movement in this watch is the same used in the Khaki X-Wind Auto Chrono Limited Edition written about above. The Khaki Pilot Auto Air Zermatt Special Edition contains the H-40 automatic movement equipped with an 80-hour power reserve and is available with either a leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. This year’s editions are third and fourth in the Air Zermatt series made in collaboration with the rescue team. Both movements are housed in stainless steel cases and both watches are water resistant to 100 meters, have sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating and contain nickeled hour and minute hands coated with Super-LumiNova®, and blue and white lacquered seconds hands with the Air Zermatt logo as the counterweight.

Red Bull Air Race 2018

Song: History Has Its Eyes on You

Associated Lyrics: “I know that we can win. I know that greatness lies in you.”

Character who’d wear it: Alexander Hamilton

The Red Bull Air Race 2018 edition time piece isn’t an automatic watch. Nor is it a mechanical watch. And it certainly isn’t highly complicated. What is highly complicated, however, is the act of flying one of the planes that competes in the race, and that’s something I know firsthand. Last year I had the privilege of flying with one of this year’s Red Bull Air Race winners, and with Hamilton sponsoring the 2018 editions of the race, it’s something I hope to get to do again (because, like above, history has its eyes on the winner). The race focuses on speed and precision with pilots taking roughly one minute to complete a 3.7 mile course, all while performing death defying maneuvers as they navigate the low-level track.

The Red Bull Air Race 2018 timepiece is a 44 mm stainless steel quartz chronograph available with either a black leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp. The watch has a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and is water resistant to 100 meters though unfortunately not bullet resistant in a duel.

I’ll end this article with my favorite lyric from Hamilton that directly relates to why it’s written in the first place:

“Why do you write like you’re running out of time? Write day and night like you’re running out of time?” – from the song, Non-Stop

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