Hamilton launches collaborative Capsule Collection with Mad Men’s costume designer Janie Bryant Hamilton launches collaborative Capsule Collection with Mad Men’s costume designer Janie Bryant

Hamilton launches collaborative Capsule Collection with Mad Men’s costume designer Janie Bryant

D.C. Hannay

There is a school of thought that nothing is truly original, and everything that exists now is just a riff based on something that has gone before (and many times is just a pale shadow of its forebears). And with the amount of sequels that Hollywood pumps out on an endless basis (hey, it was already a hit…why reinvent the wheel?) I’m often inclined to agree. But the best of human artistic endeavour does more than merely ape the past. It advances. It evolves. It takes the audience somewhere new, retaining a slender thread that leads back to the past, but views that history through a different lens.

One of the best (in my view) television shows in recent history was Mad Men, which took a look at the New York City advertising world of the early 60s through to the early 70s. It did so with a razor-sharp cynicism that flew in the face of the typical gauzy haze of Camelot-era nostalgia that sometimes informs our memories of the era. More often than not, it hit on all cylinders, and so much of that was due to the look of the show, which was absolutely note-perfect. From the casting, to the production design and costumes, it was without peer.

It’s safe to say that Mad Men would not have had its impeccable look if not for the work of the show’s brilliant costume designer, Janie Bryant. A respected veteran who’s worked on hits like Deadwood and Why Women Kill, Bryant is known in the industry as something of a virtuoso when it comes to authenticity. From the tailored early-60s lines of Don Draper’s suits, to the conservative, somewhat frumpy outfits worn by meek “new girl” and eventual girlboss Peggy Olson, Bryant’s eye for the last little detail is unmatched. Her vision extends down to little touches that many might overlook, even down to the timepieces worn by the cast. And now Hamilton (whose watches have appeared in film since the 1930s) is collaborating with Bryant on a new capsule collection. 

Using three models from Hamilton’s American Classic series as a jumping-off point, Janie took the ball and ran with it, reinventing the look and aesthetics of the series, and yes, advancing something from the past to someplace new and unexplored. 

The series is ostensibly geared toward women, but my attitude on the subject of gender identity and how it relates to watches is simply to wear what you like, as long as you’re comfortable with the fit on your wrist. 

Which leads us to the Intra-Matic Automatic Chronograph, clocking in at a decidedly unisex 40mm case size. The automatic chronograph features the H-31 movement with a 60-hour power reserve, a sapphire crystal, 6 o’clock date window, and water resistance of 100 metres. So the proportions and specs are squarely on-target for a wide audience. But with Bryant’s flair for drama, the two variants, available in beige or yellow gold PVD have been transformed into glammed-up scene stealers. The beige gold version plays beautifully with a matching dial and indices, paired with a soft rose pink leather strap. It’s a look at once timeless and right on trend.

Need a bit more flash? The yellow gold model, with its contrasting black and gold “evil panda” dial (with gold sub-dials) is as amped-up as it gets, especially on its metallic gold leather strap. If you’ve got the attitude to pull it off, it’s a stone-cold winner.

Hamilton x Janie Bryant Capsule Collection

From the bold and badass, to the seemingly subtle and reserved, we move to the Ardmore Quartz. A classic art deco interpretation of the rectangular tank case with a vintage-inspired sub-seconds dial, the Ardmore case is sized at 18.7 x 27mm on a 14mm leather strap. The yellow gold PVD case version sports matching gold Roman numeral dial indices, contrasting with a gorgeously iridescent silver white opaline dial. You can bet that Mad Men’s Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) would have accessorised it with her withering gaze and ever-present pen on a chain.

Hamilton x Janie Bryant Capsule Collection

The other variant is equally stunning, featuring a stainless-steel case with a silver sunray dial and contrasting gold PVD hands and dial indices, and an irreverent flash of silver on the metallic leather strap. It’s an utterly rock n’ roll design cue on an otherwise restrained timepiece.

Hamilton x Janie Bryant Capsule Collection

The final model in the Hamilton x Janie Bryant Capsule Collection is the delicate Lady Hamilton Vintage Quartz, with a 17mm x 15mm rectangular case on an elegantly thin ring-adorned bangle bracelet, perfect for petite wrists. Based on designs from Hamilton’s storied past, these designs veer decidedly into cutting-edge territory, with PVD finishes in decadently rich purple and goth black. The purple variant gets a moody black dial, accented with diamonds at 3, 6, 9, and 12, and the black features 12 golden orb-shaped applied indices on a silver sunray dial. Both versions feature Swatch Group-sourced ETA 280.002 quartz movements and sapphire crystals. Two very different, yet equally moody looks. Either one would be right at home at a Tim Burton-themed costume ball.

The entire capsule collection perfectly captures the style of their more classic ancestors, while bringing the aesthetics kicking and screaming into the 21st century’s cutting edge of fashion. Bryant has once again done a remarkable job at reinventing the designs of the past for today’s tastes. 

Hamilton x Janie Bryant Capsule Collection pricing and availability:

The Hamilton x Janie Bryant Capsule Collection is available now via Hamilton’s website and authorised dealers.

Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Automatic Chronograph, Price: $2295 USD
Hamilton American Classic Ardmore Quartz, Price: $595 USD
Hamilton American Classic Lady Hamilton Vintage Quartz, Price: $645 USD