One to watch
Hamilton CEO Sylvain Dolla discusses the brand’s American-Swiss heritage, its 80-year association with Hollywood, digital inspirations and more
Few brands can boast a heritage as glorious as that of Hamilton. Starting out as a predominantly American brand, making several appearances in Hollywood classics over the years, Hamilton took on a hybrid Swiss identity when it joined the Swatch group in 1974. Although championing prestigious Swiss precision, Hamilton remains American at heart and wows watch enthusiasts with stunning new collections year after year. But a few remain eternal favourites, be it the models worn by the American Army, Navy and Marine Corps during the Second World War, the Ventura timepiece Elvis Presley rocked on stage or the more recent appearance of the Khaki Field Murph in Interstellar in 2014. This year, yet another piece is set to make its mark in the cinematic universe with the release of MIB International. Read on as CEO Sylvain Dolla tells us more about the brand’s legacy.
Hamilton is celebrating 80 years of Hollywood collaborations this year, how has 2019 looked for the brand thus far?
“The first half of the year has been exciting with showcases of our 2019 novelties in Abu Dhabi, New York, Tokyo and Milan. But this year, our main focus is Hamilton at the heart of cinema. The last 80 years have seen some of our timepieces make appearances in more than 500 Hollywood movies. To mark the celebrations, we relaunched the Khaki Field Murph watch, which generated a lot of buzz in Interstellar.”
A silver screen appearance is a great way to stay in the spotlight with younger audiences, but how else does Hamilton engage with the new generation of watch enthusiasts?
“One of the best ways to interact with the young generation is through the use of social media. We were one of the very first brands to be active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and we use these channels as a primary link to our end consumers. It is the best way to get feedback and interact with people. Furthermore, the younger generation is very interested in genuine and authentic watches, which is exactly what Hamilton has to offer. We are very successful with the youth especially when it comes to key moments in life, such as graduation or engagements.”
What is Hamilton’s approach to the digital revolution in the watch industry?
“Hamilton is embracing the digital revolution, but not with the help of smartwatches. Our aim is to be at the top of the digital universe, so we put a lot of effort into digital marketing and online campaigns. When it comes to our watches, we focus 100 percent on masterpieces that will last through the times and not become obsolete after a few years.”
How does the brand balance its American heritage with Hamilton now being a Swiss company?
“Our American heritage is definitely a strength as Hamilton is the only brand in the Swatch Group that has roots in the US. Our rich history and culture is a strong asset for us. It helps us define our brand, hence the tagline: American Spirit, Swiss Precision. The DNA of our brand is infused with this heritage and our creations reflect this unique character with timepieces like the Khaki Field line nodding to US military heritage and the Khaki Aviation watch, inspired by the beginnings of aviation in the country.”
How significant is the Middle East market to the brand?
“The Middle East market is important to us. Hamilton is the official timekeeper of Red Bull Air Race and we were present at the event in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia earlier this year. This gave us the opportunity to interact with consumers of the brand. The markets here have strong affinities with bold character timepieces. The Khaki BeLOWZERO and Khaki Aviation watches are very popular with local audiences. This only goes to show that the customer’s interest lies in authentic design and statement pieces.”
Discover more from Hamilton at the Rivoli boutique at The Dubai Mall 04 3398496