Hamilton sent a shockwave through the industry in 1957 with the world’s first production battery-powered wristwatch, the Electric. Available among other designs in a futuristic triangular case and pulsing electric graphic on the dial highlighted the new tech, and it became an icon when Elvis Presley wore it in the 1961 movie, Blue Hawaii. The design made a comeback in 1988 with a near carbon copy of the original but sported a more accurate and reliable quartz movement. The latest Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton mixes the winning formula of the original with the Ventura Skeleton Limited Edition for an edgy, modern throwback.
The stainless steel case maintains the famous Ventura triangle in a contemporary size, measuring 42.5mm x 44.6mm. This is the same as the other Ventura Elvis80 models first introduced in 2015 to honour what would’ve been Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday. The new case also comes in two flavours with either black or rose gold PVD coatings. There are subtle case extensions on the top and bottom, starting in the centre and tapering to the left, which recall the larger, stylized shields that extended from the original and 1980s reboot models. There’s an almost random mix of polished and brushed surfaces, and the signed crown sits within its own segmented plate.
The main sapphire crystal conforms to the unconventional shape and flows down the right side like a waterfall. The sapphire exhibition case back is curved to hug the wrist and displays a round automatic in a triangular space, same as earlier Ventura Elvis80 models. The surrounding space is less stylized this time with a matte black surface. A black rubber strap with a steel pin buckle comes standard and features a proprietary “puzzle piece” connection to the case. It’s all a bit quirky for sure, but that’s what makes a Ventura model special. Water-resistance is rated at 50 metres.
The dial really differentiates these latest Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton models from the others. It’s skeletonized in a similar way to the Ventura Skeleton Limited Edition (featured in the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming), but straight, web-like lines are replaced with ‘electric’ zigzags reminiscent of the original 1957 theme. Reinforcing this is the classic zigzag across the dial’s centre that’s a first for the Ventura Elvis80 line. It is red on the black model and gold on the rose gold model. The indices are grey and white on the black model and gold and white on the rose gold model, with the white being Super-LumiNova. The hour and minute hands are also filled with white Super-LumiNova and are silver on the black model and gold on the rose gold model, while the seconds hand matches the zigzag on the dial (either red or gold). So, there’s a lot going on, but it’s not overly busy. Behind all of this is the automatic movement that’s clearly visible with Côtes de Genève.
The movement is Hamilton’s H-10-S automatic, based on the ETA C07.111 or Powermatic 80. It has 25 jewels, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with an 80-hour power reserve, and is the same as the other Elvis80 models. Seen from the exhibition caseback, the rotor is partially open-worked with Hamilton’s logo and plates are decorated with perlage. It’s a time-only piece with central hours, minutes and hacking seconds.
Both versions of the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton retail for CHF 1,795, which is on the upper end of the Ventura collection, and are available now at Hamilton’s website.