Two pop music icons celebrate birthdays on January 8: Elvis Presley, who died in 1977, and David Bowie, who passed away in 2016. Both of them have been honored in the modern day with special-edition timepieces — and in Elvis’s case, it’s a contemporary version of a watch he actually wore and made famous during his lifetime. Read on to discover more about the Raymond Weil Limited Edition Freelancer David Bowie and the most recent Elvis-inspired models in the Hamilton Ventura collection.
The Raymond Weil Limited Edition Freelancer David Bowie collection pays tribute to British rock icon, who would have turned 72 this year — and continues the brand’s tradition of celebrating musical pioneers and milestones. (Other limited editions in the collection have used the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and the Les Paul Gibson guitar for their inspiration.) The watch’s round, 42-mm stainless steel case and galvanic, circular satin-brushed dial host several design cues specifically inspired by Bowie and his work. The stylized red lightning bolt at 12 o’clock comes from the cover of Bowie’s 1973 album Aladdin Sane, and the pop-art “Bowie” logo above the 6 o’clock position is the same one designed by Andy Warhol for the cover of the artist’s 1974 album Diamond Dogs. Printed on the caseback’s sapphire crystal is a rendering of a famous 1974 portrait of Bowie by legendary photographer Terry O’Neill. Inside the case is a mechanical, self-winding movement, Caliber RW4200, with 26 jewels and a 38-hour power reserve. The watch, which comes on a black calfskin leather strap with red stitching and folding clasp with push-button security system, is limited to 3,000 numbered pieces, priced at $1,595.
The Hamilton Ventura, launched in 1957, was widely acclaimed as the world’s first electrical battery-powered wristwatch and made even more famous when Elvis Presley wore it in his 1961 movie, Blue Hawaii. To mark the iconic timepiece’s 60th anniversary in 2017, Hamilton launched a trio of new models inspired by the original.
All three of the watches feature the Ventura’s hallmark unconventional curved case design and feature on their dials, as a tribute to the 1957 original, the large electricity symbol that proudly touted the watch’s breakthrough technical innovation. Two of the models are available in different case sizes and are outfitted with modern Swiss quartz movements; the third is available in one large case size and equipped with a mechanical, self-winding movement.
The Hamilton Ventura Classic is a vintage-look tribute piece available in two executions. One (pictured above) has a stainless steel case treated with a yellow-gold PVD coating and mounted on a brown teju-patterned leather strap. Its white dial has 2N gold hour and minute hands and a red-tipped seconds hand. The other Classic (below) evokes Elvis’s late-1950s rebellious days with its use of denim, a fabric that became popular in that era. The polished, stainless steel case frames a 3D-printed blue-jeans-pattern dial, with nickeled hands for the hours, minutes, and seconds, and attaches to a strap made of blue denim with a pin buckle. Both Classic models come in two sizes — 24 mm by 36.5 mm, and 32.3 by 50.3 mm — and contain quartz movements. The dials are protected by period-appropriate mineral crystals. Prices are $895 for the gold-PVD models and $845 for the denim-dial version.
Distinctively more contemporary — but still unmistakably a Ventura — is the Hamilton Ventura Skeleton, which deftly combines the model’s retro-futuristic look with an ultra-modern, skeletonized dial execution that calls to mind the look of a microphone that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll may have used when recording his early hits. Inside the 42.5 mm x 44.6 mm polished steel case, and glimpsed through the dial’s geometrical crisscross pattern, is the Caliber H-10-S automatic movement, with an impressive 80-hour power reserve, developed for Hamilton by the Swatch Group and skeletonized especially for this model. The hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova and the central seconds hand is in bright red. The crystal is sapphire, with a nonreflective coating. The watch is available on either a black rubber strap with steel pin buckle (pictured) or a stainless steel bracelet with butterfly clasp. It is priced at $1,695 on a strap and $1,745 on a bracelet.