Gents electric watch, triangular case, Hamilton Watch Co, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, 1956. One of a small number of pilot lots produced by the company prior to its commercial release in 1957. The company donated samples from the pilot lots to museums in 1958.

Hamilton released the 'World's First Electric Watch' at a press conference on 3 January 1957. The asymmetric styling of the case accentuated the non-traditional movement inside. Production ended in 1969, with new mass-production techniques and innovations superseding the Hamilton electric watch.

Physical Description

Black dial has hours marked by gold dots and lines. Works and battery have been removed and placed in plastic. Battery powered electric movement. See also Trade Literature. Contents from List of Parts Field: Trade Literature


The beginnings of the wristwatch revolution can be traced to the first battery-powered watch. Hamilton Watch Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, announced the Hamilton Electric 500 in January 1957. Although it had a balance and hairspring, the new movement replaced the mainspring with a tiny battery.

Key players in developing the technology of the electric watch were Hamilton's director of research John Van Horn, the firm's chief physicist Philip Biemiller, and master technician James Reese.

The new Hamilton watches even looked revolutionary on the outside, thanks to designs from Richard Arbib. Although the first production model, the Van Horn, was conventional in appearance, other models like the Ventura, the Victor, and the Spectra were asymmetrical and futuristic.

Hamilton electrics suffered from technical problems, but they remained in the firm's product line until 1970.

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