The history of Hamilton Watch and Elvis Presley goes all the way back to 1961, when the King of Rock‘n’Roll wore the ground-breaking Ventura in the movie “Blue Hawaii.” Elvis wore his own Ventura throughout his life and the Ventura became known as “the Elvis watch.”
The original Ventura, designed by then-outside industrial designer Richard Arbib, has been a best-seller for the brand since its introduction in 1957. In addition to “Blue Hawaii,” the Ventura featured heavily in the “Men in Black” trilogy, looking both vintage and futuristic.
Redesigning an icon can be a huge risk for a brand, as the new design runs the risk of alienating established lovers of the watch and failing to gain traction with new buyers. Hamilton has revisited and modernized the Ventura design several times, in various sizes, while still keeping the original in its collection, something that not many companies have been able to do successfully. In fact, I can’t think of another watch from the 1950s that is still for sale in its original design, making the Ventura that much more special.
This year, Hamilton introduced another all-new version of the Ventura, officially called the Ventura Elvis 80.
80 for 80
The Ventura Elvis 80, unveiled in January of this year, is designed to commemorate what would have been Elvis’s 80th birthday. In a bit of serious serendipity, the Ventura Elvis 80 Auto uses the new H-10 movement, which offers a remarkable 80 hours of power reserve. Most mechanical watches offer between 42 and 46 hours of power reserve, not enough to get through the weekend. The 80 hours that the H-10 offers means you can take off the Ventura Elvis 80 on Friday evening, put it on your nightstand and it will be still be running when you put it back on your wrist on Monday morning.
The Ventura Elvis 80 is also available in a quartz version. Both the auto and the quartz versions are in 42.5 x 44.6mm steel cases, and the surfaces are alternately brushed and polished. The iconic triangular shape, the unique sloped sapphire crystal covering the rounded dial, the orange second hand and a choice of black rubber or leather strap rounds out the design details.
“Working on the new Ventura Elvis 80 was about the reinterpretation of an icon, the first electric watch from 1957, which despite its 50 years, remains a futuristic model!” says Sylvain Dolla, president, Hamilton Watch. “To keep its revolutionary character, the triangular shape has been preserved. The sloped sapphire crystal and a curved dial give the new Ventura Elvis 80 a very contemporary and technical design. Another objective was the perfect integration of leather, rubber or metal bracelets which was of course a design challenge for this unique triangular shape.”
Like all of Hamilton’s watches, the Ventura Elvis 80 is very reasonably priced – the Auto version is $1,495/1425 chf/1,295 EURO, while the quartz version is $1,045/995 chf/945 EURO.