INTRODUCING: The Hamilton Ventura L 14K Gold Limited EditionFergus Nash
If we’re being honest, most watch brands wouldn’t get away with releasing a watch like the Ventura today. It’s unashamedly weird, full of retro-futuristic quirks that wouldn’t look out of place on the wrist of George Jetson, and most of the references carry a taboo quartz movement. But Hamilton are not most brands. Although the once-American company is now under the Swatch Group umbrella, they have one of the best catalogues where historic models and new releases live side by side and retain excellent quality for reasonable prices. This time though, Hamilton have decided to wallow in the luxury aspect of their mid-century status with a limited-edition Hamilton Ventura L in 14K yellow gold.
When the Ventura was released in 1957, there were a lot of different cases into which Hamilton installed their Model 500 electric movement, but the space-age looks of the Ventura was a perfect match for the exciting technology. At first the watch was only available in a 14K yellow gold case, because for $200 USD ($2,112 USD adjusted for inflation) you would have expected precious metal to accompany such a luxury piece. Unfortunately, despite nearly 10 years of research and development before its release, the Model 500 was plagued with issues. Even if the watch was functioning perfectly, the mechanical gear train put a lot of strain onto the electric power supply and as such, consumed batteries like crazy. But the Hamilton Ventura still sold well anyway, even appearing on the wrist of Elvis Presley in 1961’s Blue Hawaii film. That exact watch sold at auction in 2015 for $38,400 USD, and would surely be worth a hell of a lot more now.
This new limited-edition Hamilton Ventura L is designed to be a near-exact reproduction of the black-dialled reference that was first made available in 1957, with several important tweaks. Although a reissue of the Model 500 would probably sell quite well initially, practically speaking the design is far too flawed to be redeemed by romanticisation. Replacing the smooth-sweeping electric calibre is a modern Swiss quartz movement, ticking the seconds hand in 1Hz increments. The size has also been increased for modern tastes, but only by a small amount. The original measured 31.5mm x 50mm, while the new version comes in at 33.1mm x 51.6mm. One of the most characterful elements of the original was its bi-colour black and gold strap, although the Hamilton Ventura L now comes with a 17mm black alligator-pattern leather strap for versatility and longevity.
The Hamilton Ventura L 14K Gold Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Hamilton Ventura L 14K Gold Limited Edition will be produced up to 130 pieces, with a price upon request.
|Ventura L 14K Gold Limited Edition
|33.1mm x 51.6mm x 9.38mm
|14K yellow gold
|Limited to 130 pieces
|Price on request