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Hamilton Watch, an American Hero!

By Tony on 7/3/2015

Hamilton Watch, an American Hero!

Although Lancaster, Pennsylvania may be out of mind and thought to most of us here in the Chicagoland area, this region of America has become a huge part of history through one simple company. This story shows, on how a watch company that focused on quality and excellence became essential to winning World War II. Hamilton Watch Company is as American as apple pie, and their beginning is something that is interesting and historic itself. “Keep the trains running on time!” Hamilton was the primary supplier for watches and timepieces for the railroads in America. It was the standard and best on the market due to its precision and accuracy of keeping time; essential in the railroad business. In 1891, an incident arose in Cleveland, Ohio where one engineer's pocket watch was inaccurate on the time, causing a terrible train crash. This caused an industry commission to set a standard in timekeeping used by railroads. This catapulted Hamilton as the front runner of all watches (pocket watches at the time) that were used by the railroad industry. This is due to the fact that their precision in time-keeping was far superior to most other watches on the market, at that moment. This led to the nickname "The Watch of Railroad Accuracy" for the company. This accuracy is something that factored into the contributions of America winning World War I and II. 

Hamilton's reputation led directly into World War I, as the official watch of American forces. And with the adaptation and acceptance of wrist watches in the 1930's, it led to the watch being an official timepiece for many pilots and airlines. In the 1940's these accomplishments made Hamilton into one of the best-selling brands in America. Then "The Day That Will Live In Infamy" was upon us. Pearl Harbor launched America into the Second World War, and changed the manufacturing industry and Hamilton immensely. Shortage of Time. With Europe at war, America was in desperate need for military watches and time keepers. With Germany, being the top notch watch manufacture out of Europe, and also being an enemy and add Switzerland surrounded by a world war, a shortage came to the US. Hamilton along with other watch companies were contracted out to produce for the US Military, thus halting consumer watch production. Wartime Production. Like most industries at the time - the watch industry not excluded - had to change their production towards supporting the war effort in any way possible. US watchmakers were actually mandated by federal laws to produce for the US military. Hamilton produced thousands of watches during the war —for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and U.S. allies including the Canada, England, and Russia. 

Timekeeping was essential to planning and executing battles and conflict throughout the war. Whether it was for the infamous planning of D-Day, the timing for airborne attacks in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, or if it was simply getting the men up for early morning air raid attacks; the watch was a staple and essential tool to all military personnel. Synchronization was essential for winning the war. Of course, what is Federal manufacturing without "top secret" and interesting inventions during World War II? Hamilton created a multitude of top secret contraptions that were used for attacks, saving American soldiers lives, and civilian and allies alike. One of the most interesting devices was the "bomb timer", which essential would be used to film the impact of bombs and measure how effective they actually were. One over looked aspect of necessity for keeping the correct time was the naval ships that America had stationed primarily in the Pacific, and even in Europe for transport vessels or submarines. Without accurate time-keeping, a ship could be off course by miles and lead to delays and failed operations. The Marine chronograph was essential. So essential that the US contracted out to many watch makers into creating a top of the line and precise time keeper. Hamilton took this challenge. Having never created a marine chronograph before this truly was a challenge. However, 13 weeks after Pearl Harbor, Hamilton produced two prototypes called ‘marine chronographs’ that were simply astonishing! The accuracy and detail that went into these time keepers made into the wrists of military officers. So much so that Hamilton was honored as one of the staples to winning the war and keeping many of the military men and women safe. Legacy of Excellence. These watches have literally stood the test of time and were essential for US victory on the land, air and sea. Without Hamilton's contributions to the accuracy, precision and excellence they put into their watches, the war may have played out much differently and could have seen numerous more amounts of allied casualties. 

On this year’s Fourth of July, we want to thank the men and women that now fight, and those whom have fought for us and our freedom. We need to remember those people whom manufactured a time piece that brought such great help that lets us enjoy the freedom’s we have today. A Big Thank You to All Veteran’s and Thank You Hamilton.

DGJ
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