Hamilton Watches, founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892 and now based in Bienne, Switzerland, represents the perfect combination of American spirit and Swiss precision. Typically best known for its field and pilots’ watches, Hamilton has a strong military heritage; during World War I, General "Black Jack" Pershing used a Hamilton watch to time troop movements, and he made sure his officers were equipped with Hamiltons as well. Later, the likes of the British Royal Air Force were also issued the rugged and dependable timepieces, and that legacy served the brand well when it transitioned back to civilian watches.
Since 1932 Hamilton has also been closely allied with the cinema, and to date Hamilton watches have appeared in over 500 major movies, from Shanghai Express starring Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s to Interstellar, The Martian and the Men in Black trilogy. Most recently the brand created one of its coolest watches ever for Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski, which perfectly suited his daredevil character. “Our involvement in the creative process helps us create or provide watches that complete characters and even advance the plot of a movie,” as Hamilton puts it.
This connection to the movie industry led Hamilton (now part of the Swatch Group which also owns Omega, Blancpain and Breguet) to establish the Behind the Camera Awards in 2006. A more industry-focused version of the Academy Awards, now an important fixture on the Hollywood calendar, the BCAs “recognize the invaluable work of talented individuals operating behind the scenes. Without their hard work and dedication, making a movie would not be possible.” And while not all of the directors, producers and cinematographers Hamilton honors may be household names, the celebrities who work with and admire them and who present the BAC awards certainly are.
In conjunction with its partner Los Angeles Confidential magazine, Hamilton recently presented the landmark 10th edition of the Behind the Camera Awards, with a more star-studded lineup than ever. Held at the hip and historic Exchange L.A., this year’s host was the award-winning actor and comedian Tony Hale, best known for playing Gary Walsh in Veep. BCA winners are selected from movies released during the year or qualified and presented at the most recent festivals of Cannes, Toronto and Venice as well as the Festival of the American Film Institute.
Among the notable winners and presenters this year were costume designer Mary Zophres of First Man, presented by Ryan Gosling; cinematographer Robert Richardson of A Private War, Presented by Jamie Dornan and Rosamund Pike; visual effects supervisor Dan DeLeeuw of The Avengers, presented by Elizabeth Olsen and Joe Russo; producer Graham King of Bohemian Rhapsody presented by Rami Malek; “breakthrough” director Paul Dano of Wildlife, presented by Jake Gyllenhaal; and production designer Hannah Beachler of Black Panther, presented by Angela Bassett.
“Thank you all for making great movies that make us dream, cry and laugh,” Sylvain Dolla, CEO of Hamilton International said at the beautiful ceremony. “Movies drive our imagination, encourage us to see the world with a new perspective, and tell stories that inspire us.” Gosling, of course, drew the most oohs and ahs. In presenting the award for his astronaut epic, he declared, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Mary, and it’s my great pleasure to present her with this much-deserved recognition.” Previous BCA presenters have included Natalie Portman, Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington, Matthew McConaughey, Mark Wahlberg, John Legend, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell, Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Lenny Kravitz, Jon Hamm, Harrison Ford, J.J. Abrams, Christoph Waltz and Diane Kruger.
Hamilton also used the occasion to present a brand new watch in homage to its cinematic connection, the special edition Jazzmaster Regulator Cinema, which was gifted to all honorees and presenters at this year’s awards. The 42mm automatic features a stunning asymmetric design that evokes the turning reels of vintage movie cameras and has a special caseback printed with movie film. We had the privilege of attending this year’s awards and wearing our favorite Hamilton watch, the Intra-Matic Auto Chrono. A modern interpretation of an original Hamilton design from 1968, the 40mm automatic timepiece’s black and white “panda” dial gives it a retro feel that is also exactly of the minute.