The Hamilton Electric 500
Electro-mechanical watches were the first wristwatches to use a battery.
The beginnings of the wristwatch revolution can be traced to
the first battery-powered watch. Hamilton Watch Company, Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, announced the Hamilton Electric 500 in January 1957.
Although it had a balance and hairspring, the new movement replaced
the mainspring with a tiny battery.
Key players in developing the technology of the electric watch
were Hamilton's director of research John Van Horn, the firm's
chief physicist Philip Biemiller, and master technician James
Futuristic watch designs were developed to reflect the Hamilton 500's
The new Hamilton watches even looked revolutionary on the outside,
thanks to designs from Richard Arbib. Although the first production
model, the Van Horn, was conventional in appearance, other models
like the Ventura, the Victor, and the Spectra were asymmetrical
Hamilton electrics suffered from technical problems, but they
remained in the firm's product line until 1970. Next Cool Watch