HANDS ON: The Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton and Ventura S HANDS ON: The Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton and Ventura S

HANDS ON: The Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton and Ventura S

Fergus Nash

One of the best things about Hamilton is the way in which they’ve continued to deliver to the customers they’ve always aimed to please — watch lovers without astronomical budgets. Although mechanical watches are inherently a luxury to some degree,  Hamilton continue to hit the spot with some of the best value Swiss watches out there. The Ventura was the first-ever electric wristwatch to be powered by a battery, a concept almost as striking as its sci-fi inspired looks. In 2022, mechanical movements now have the impressive edge, and Hamilton have introduced three new Ventura references to honour its spirit.

Hamilton Ventura XXL

The case

Hamilton Ventura XXL

Regardless of whether you know the Ventura as the Elvis watch or the Men in Black watch, chances are you’ve seen this wild case shape before. The asymmetrical design was synonymous with Hamilton’s futuristic aspirations, trying to set themselves apart from anything that had come before in both technology and design. The two new versions of the case present very different readings on the core shape, with one stretching the size out, and the other leaning into the mid-century classiness.

Hamilton Ventura XXL

The Hamilton Ventura XXL is large by name and by personality, embracing the boldness of the design by extending it out to a bold 46mm. It’s not as if the Ventura needed to be any more present on the wrist, but leaning into the spectacle of the watch really works in its favour no matter how big your wrists are. By comparison, the 38mm Hamilton Ventura S is a lot more along the lines of the refined nature that the original Hamilton Electric version had. It’s also much more wrist-friendly, making it more suitable to being gender neutral.

The dial

Hamilton Ventura XXL

The Hamilton Ventura S is offered in two dial colours, a striking sunburst black and an almost champagne-like sunburst beige. These two neutral colours make for easy outfit pairings, increasing the versatility of the watch given that the case shape stands out on its own. The black will most certainly be the most popular and safest choice, however the taupe dial with matching strap does have a lot of sleek, modern appeal. The simple lines as hour markers keep the triangular dial uncluttered.

The Hamilton Ventura XXL continues its bombastic nature within the skeletonised dial that peers directly into the automatic movement. It’s quite ironic how the older mechanical technology is now seen as more special and even futuristic than an electric one at the time, but this dial does feel like peering behind the hull of a spaceship. Surrounding the movement, the black dial remnants have a tasteful sunburst finish all well.

The movement

Both of these watches use ETA movements as you’d expect from Hamilton’s Swatch group ownership, and both movements utilise a Nivachron balance spring for increased accuracy, reliability, and magnetic resistance. The Ventura S uses the ETA C26.101 which seems to be a fairly standard variation on the 2824 formula, with 48 hours of power reserve and a 28,800vph beat rate. The Ventura XXL Skeleton openly bares its ETA C07.901, a version of the Swatch Group’s now-famous movement with 80 hours of power reserve thanks to a slowed beat rate of 21,600vph.

The strap

One big drawback to a case shape as unique as the Ventura is the way the strap integrates into the case, so unless you’re getting a strap custom made by an extremely competent maker then you’re going to be stuck with the stock option. On all models, the strap is a soft matte rubber with a pin-buckle arrangement. The colour is matched to the dial, which just gives the beige watch even more of a light, summery vibe.

The Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton and Ventura S pricing and availability:

The Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton has an RRP of $1,790 USD, while the Hamilton Ventura S has a very reasonable cost of $1,095 USD. To buy Hamilton watches in Australia, go to the Time+Tide shop

Case Material Stainless Steel
Case Dimensions 46mm x 11.25mm / 38mm x 10.65mm
Water-Resistance 50m
Dial Skeleton / Black / Taupe
Straps Rubber
Movement ETA c07.901 / ETA C26.101
Power Reserve 80 hours / 48 hours
Complications Hours, minutes, seconds
Price $1,790 USD Ventura XXL / $1,095 USD Ventura S