Hamilton Chronograph

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The Hamilton Chronograph enjoys more than its share of unique distinctions in the history of watchmaking. Most startlingly, the Hamilton watch got its start not in Le Locle or Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, but in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Lancaster's proximity to the first major U.S. railroads is one of Hamilton's most defining traits, for the watch immediately began a profitable partnership with train conductors and engineers.

In the early days of the railroad industry, derailments and collisions were commonplace. Operators needed a reliable means of keeping multiple trains on schedule, and so it turned to Hamilton and its Broadway Limited to handle the task. Shortly thereafter, the famed pocket watch earned the tagline "The Watch of Railroad Accuracy."

The Emergence of the Hamilton Chronograph

Part of the Hamilton Chronograph's popularity today can be traced to its role as catalyst in the now-lucrative women's watch market. Before Hamilton came along, women's watches were simply smaller versions of the pieces designers made for men. But in 1908 Hamilton introduced the Lady Hamilton, the first watch with a design tailored specifically to women.

Today, shoppers who can't afford to splurge on a classic old watch like the Lady Hamilton can at least pick up a chronograph replica. Even if an imitation lacks the same pinpoint precision that helped Hamilton earn its fine name with the railroads (and the U.S. Armed Services as well), its shining bezels, intricate dials, and elegant bands are virtually indistinguishable from those of an authentic Hamilton. Search online and you'll find a variety of vendors and traders who specialize in Hamiltons, considered by some to be America's most well-respected watch manufacturer.

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