I love things that are quirky and out of the ordinary. They spice up “normal” life and make the world interesting. Of course, not all quirky things have a place in our hearts. But if an avant-garde asymmetric watch was good enough for Elvis, it’s good enough for me. Let’s check out the Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton Automatic.
Since breaking ground in 1957, the iconic Hamilton Ventura has evolved and stood the test of time from a design perspective. It has stayed relevant even as our wrists have grown in size. Hamilton came out with the Ventura XXL 13 years ago to cater to the big fellas. This year, the Ventura XXL Skeleton Automatic is not only a 46mm statement piece, but it’s also a mechanical showcase of a brand-new skeletonized movement.
The one-of-a-kind case
Even today, 65 years after its debut, the Hamilton Ventura is no less “out there”. I can only imagine how a triangular style touted as the world’s first electric wristwatch would have raised eyebrows back in the day. Just like the Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton that we reviewed last year, the new Ventura XXL Skeleton Automatic is more triangular than the original but feels similar in theme. The XXL is larger — 46 × 45.5mm in size — and comes in a polished stainless steel case. The geometric terraced case has rounded edges for a less aggressive (or more approachable) feel. It measures 11.25mm thick, has a lug width of 23.5mm, and provides 50 meters of water resistance.
An arresting open view
Housed in this uniquely-crafted case under a double-AR-coated sapphire crystal is the H-10-S skeletonized automatic movement (ETA C07.901 base). Hamilton has done well in designing the black triangular dial, giving it large, stylish openings to display this circular caliber. The nickeled hands are slender to provide the best possible view of the engine beneath. The hour and minute hands also have a coating of Super-LumiNova to aid legibility at night. That said, I’m not sure that precise time-reading is exactly what you’re after with this watch.
An equally attractive rear
What you can admire, however, is not only the intricate inner workings but also the captivating beats of the balance. The hairspring spiraled inside the balance is made from a high-tech material called Nivachron, an exclusive alloy with exceptional anti-magnetic properties. And it’s not just the dial side that displays a lovely view. You can also flip over the watch and see the action from the back. Mind you, what we are reviewing is a sample, but according to Hamilton, the caliber normally features snailing and perlage decoration. Still, it’s always pretty neat to see a customized movement with a branded oscillating weight and a logo carved on a bridge.
Going the extra mile
Even the case back is specially designed with an arrow-shaped sapphire crystal to fit onto the solid steel frame. It would have been an easier job to just have a case back with a circular opening to show the movement. But when the design is this high-level, a cop-out just wouldn’t do. Instead, it is ever so stylishly done with a monogrammed plate to fill up the rest of the window. The Ventura XXL Skeleton Automatic is out to impress, not only with its design but also with its performance. As such, the movement offers an 80-hour power reserve, which is perfect if you have a few other watches in rotation. To complete the look, the watch is mounted on a thick black rubber strap and secured with a pin buckle.
Final thoughts on the Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton
The Hamilton Ventura was/is not just a design marvel. We all know that developing anything out of the ordinary is a costly practice. It also takes thinking outside the box to find ways of realizing and executing an unusual creation. As Hamilton proudly says, the Ventura is “first and foremost an engineering feat”.
Style-wise, I find the Ventura XXL Skeleton Automatic so cool it aches, but that doesn’t mean it will appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, Hamilton has clearly done a great job in making the Ventura historically interesting and culturally relevant to us. With the much-hyped Elvis biopic hitting the big screen as we speak, it may be time to channel your rock-god persona with the Ventura rather than a sequined Vegas jumpsuit.
The price for the Hamilton Ventura XXL Skeleton Automatic watch is €1,765 including VAT. For more information on the Ventura collection, visit Hamilton’s website.