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Hamilton presents the Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton, the latest reissue of its famous classic. The 1957 icon was the world’s first electric watch and stood out for its unusual triangular design with a pulse line. Whether the new interpretation can keep up with this milestone and what Elvis Presley had to do with the watch, you can read in this review!
A watch for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll
Although the watch manufacturer Hamilton is now part of the Swatch Group, its roots lie in the United States, where the company was founded in 1892. With its unusual design, the watch has always attracted movie stars and singers. Because of that Hamilton’s watches are strongly represented in Hollywood. Elvis Presley was also a self-confessed fan of the unconventionally designed timepieces. One of his favorite models was the Ventura, which Hamilton launched in 1957. The watch was considered the world’s first electric and evoked associations with science fiction among customers, earning it the nickname “watch of the future.” In addition to the triangular outline, the pulse line that adorned the dial was its trademark.
Almost 65 years later, Elvis Presley’s favorite watch has become a true legend. This has prompted Hamilton to reinterpret the timepiece once again and introduce it as the Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton in honor of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. However, the new edition has not become a mere copy of the original from the 50s. Hamilton’s approach is more radically chosen. The watchmaker itself claims to have slightly altered the triangular contour of the timepiece to improve wearing comfort and ergonomics. The most striking innovation, however, is the dial – or rather what remains of it. It has been almost completely skeletonized, which gives the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton an even more extreme appearance. What remains is the characteristic pulse line, which is now complemented by a zigzag pattern.
The first appearance makes a statement. But whether the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton has serious potential to follow in the footsteps of its great role model, I would like to find out in the test.
The first impression: futuristic and extraordinary!
The pictures published by Hamilton didn’t lie. When I unpack the Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton Auto on my table, I look at something I have never seen in this way. The watch does not miss its radical effect at all. The combination of a triangular, very ergonomically shaped case with a coating in rose gold, the skeletonized dial and the angular pulse line make a very extravagant impression. I quickly realize that this is what Elvis must have loved about this watch. Combined with a black rubber strap, the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton looks very futuristic. It is important to keep in mind that the basic concept of this watch is already almost 65 years old!
There are many remakes of famous original models in the watch industry. The art of a successful remake is to give the icon a contemporary look without losing the model’s original charm. Hamilton’s homage is at first glance recognizable as a Ventura, yet a very different watch. The minimalist dial of the original has been dispensed with. The skeletonized version creates a stir and enhances the extravagance of the triangular case. Together with the rose gold pulse line, this design illustrates another unique selling point of the old Ventura: its electric drive mode.
In fact, Hamilton has refrained from this electric movement. Through the skeletonized caseback, you look at an automatic movement.
The Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton on the wrist
You have to want to wear a Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton. The extravagant watch underlines an extraordinary character on the wrist. Those who wear the watch with pride and self-confidence will benefit from this effect. Despite its unconventional case, the Ventura is never too overdressed and thus does not attract negative attention. The design and high-quality materials give the watch a very classy and style-conscious appearance. Somehow, this timepiece seems to be made for special people – and thus for everyone who wants to try something new after several round watches. Perhaps it is also that certain “American Spirit” that is so characteristic of Hamilton.
Swiss craftsmanship is evident here: the triangular case
Besides these American roots, Hamilton’s Swiss virtues also come out in the design of the Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton Auto, primarily in the very good workmanship of the materials and in the technology.
When it comes to the case, the watchmaker had the recognizable goal of not reconstructing the triangular shape one-to-one, but improving it. The case shape has become much slimmer, which gives the watch an ergonomic and dynamic design. Stainless steel is used here, which is particularly robust and durable. The PDV coating in rose gold gives the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton an elegant and high-quality look. The engravings on the caseback are top-notch in terms of craftsmanship.
To make the skeletonization perfect, Hamilton has fully glazed the caseback, which gives a stunning view of the inner workings of the watch. On the front and back, Hamilton has installed sapphire crystal, which protects the finely crafted components of the dial and case from impacts. The crown at 3 o’clock is also coated with rose gold and fluted, which improves operation.
According to the manufacturer’s specifications, the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton is designed to withstand a maximum water pressure of a moderate 5 bar. However, I advise you to take the watch off before going for a swim. The Ventura is not designed to be used as a diving watch. Water splashes are no problem, though.
Endurance of the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton movement
So now, if you look through the glass caseback, you can marvel at the heart of the Ventura, the Swiss-made automatic movement. Hamilton no longer relies on the 50s charm here, but on modern technology and innovation. The Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton is powered by a self-winding H-10-S caliber. Hamilton itself claims to have dispensed with an escapement regulator. Moreover, the kinematic chain from the mainspring barrel to the escapement was refined. All this results in the H-10-S caliber having a power reserve of up to 80 hours! That’s about double what most automatic movements achieve.
It must be praised that even when remaking a classic, the watch company still has the ambition to equip the watch with the latest technology. The “Hamilton” lettering and logo are engraved on the rotor. Knowing the advantages of the automatic caliber, you tend to take off the watch from time to time and look at it through the case back.
An electrifying dial
“Electrifying” would probably be the most appropriate term to describe the extraordinary look of the dial. This is probably where the most serious change has happened to the watch. Except for the remaining vertical zigzag lines and a black frame, the dial is almost completely skeletonized – and to a very high standard! Skeletonization is expensive and technically demanding. Hamilton has done this very well here, in my opinion.
Running horizontally is the characteristic pulse line, which has also received the PDV coating in rose gold. The interplay with the visible movement and zigzag lines actually leads me to immediately associate the design with electricity. A very successful allusion to the original electrically powered model, in my opinion. Certainly, the main focus of the dial is no longer on particularly good readability. But that is also secondary with this watch and in principle not bad.
The bracelet – futuristic and made of rubber
I wonder if Elvis already knew about rubber straps. When designing a futuristic looking watch like the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton, rubber is almost a given. The material is durable and resists all environmental influences. It practically does not age. I particularly liked the inside, which is embossed with countless Hamilton Hs that form a pattern. The buckle matches the rose gold case perfectly. I could not complain about the wearing comfort during my test days. It was very good.
My conclusion about the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton: a watch, Elvis would have liked!
Hamilton manages to rethink the 1957 Ventura and bring it into 2021 – a feat that not all remakes manage. You just have to give the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton credit for reinterpreting the icon and not looking like a weaker copy of the original. The skeletonization as well as the caliber give the new Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton something new. Because of that this watch has the potential to become a true icon.
In the design of the watch with the reference number H24525331 you can seee the extravagance of Hollywood. At the same time it reflects the Swiss precision and quality.
Sporty or chic? This is the question the customer must ask himself when buying a Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton. For the market launch, Hamilton is releasing the reinterpretation in two different color designs. If you like it sporty-technical, you’ll reach for the model with black PDV coating and red pulse line. I find the watch presented here rather elegant. Both models have the black rubber strap. The recommended retail price is CHF 1,795.00
The futuristic Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton Auto is thus just the thing for anyone who wants to wear something out of the ordinary on their wrist! A watch that Elvis would definitely have liked!
More about Hamilton and the Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton
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More Pics & Info here: HAMILTON VENTURA ELVIS80 SKELETON: A FUTURISTIC LEGACY