Hamilton’s electric movements were the result of a ten-year R&D process which Hamilton dubbed “Project X.” While the Hamilton Ventura—with its Space Age, retro-futuristic silhouette—is perhaps the most iconic case design that utilized the movement, Hamilton also produced several different watches based around that ground-breaking caliber. Perhaps the rarest of these is the Meteor.
To design the case of the Meteor, Hamilton enlisted the aid of the same designer who conceived the Ventura, Richard Arbib. A graduate of the Pratt Institute, Arbib designed bombs during the War, and then afterwards designed automobiles for Packard, Hudson, and General Motors. Inspired by the bombs and automobiles he penned during and just following the War, Arbib followed up the Ventura with the Meteor in 1960.
Like the Ventura, the Meteor bears an asymmetrical case, which Arbib softened slightly. The top of the case suggests a square cushion case (subtly foreshadowing the designs that would come later in the 1960s, such as the Heuer Camaro, for example) but then takes a surprising turn, ending in a fin-like protuberance.
But perhaps this is not surprising for Arbib, who, after all, was the man who put fins on Cadillacs.
The 10k gold-filled case was accompanied by a either a silver dial or a black-and-gold dial, featured here. Only 1500 of the black-and-gold variants were produced, out of 3000 total produced in two years of production, making them exceedingly rare. This particular Meteor features a case and dial that’s blessedly untouched, a rarity in these already-uncommon watches.
Combining a nouveau electric/mechanical movement with an unforgettable space-age design is perhaps the ultimate expression of retro-futurism, and results in a timepiece which, whether it sings to you or not, is unquestionably a thing of beauty.
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