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Matthias Breschan, President, Hamilton, tells Hiren Kumar Bose how the company has gone beyond the obvious, creating its own code and coming up with innovative watches
Hamilton has been a trendsetter of sorts. What do you think will be the trend in the use of metal?
Since the past three or four years, pink gold and rose gold have been very popular. Rose gold always has a cyclical tendency. It does very well for some years, then is usage goes down and then it comes up again. We think that 2009 will still mean very good sales for rose gold, though I think the trend will now slow down.
What did Hamilton have on offer at BaselWorld?
A lot of watch brands brought in watches with black PVD. Almost all of them had at least one model in black PVD. We went one step further by integrating new technologies, different colours either on the dial and/or the case of the watch.
Can you tell us about your futuristic looking watch?
It’s a watch for a science fiction movie. Naturally it needs to be very futuristic. It cannot be even close to anything that is in the market. We were told that they need three time zones to be integrated into the watch. That’s why the watch has three movements that are integrated with the crowns. They cannot unfortunately tell you everything, like the storyline, because it is confidential. In fact, they are starting to shoot the movie only by the end of this year and it should come out in 2010. When you have a spaceship, very often, the spaceship has an aisle like an airplane, and when you cut out a piece from that aisle, it gives you exactly the shape of the watch.
Has the watch been given a name as yet?
We have a code name right now. It is called ODC-2. We are still reworking some cosmetics on the final watch before it comes out. The ODC X-02 Quartz already has its eye on Hollywood movie appearances with its design being inspired by the watch Hamilton originally made for Stanley Kubrick’s 1966 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Hamilton’s relationship with Hollywood goes back a long way. Do the studios directly approach you?
Studios call us for special functions and developments. So for us, it is very important to actually work with them. We do not care who the actor is.What is important for us is developing a super special watch for the movie.
We have a close relationship with Hollywood and may be in the future we would build a relationship with Bollywood too. We are not looking at product placement but a close relationship with them. We have worked for a movie called Amelie with Hilary Swank, which will be coming out in September. It is about Amelia Earhart, the first lady who flew over the Atlantic. In fact, in 1937 when Amelia flew over the Atlantic, she did wear a Hamilton watch. We cooperated with the studios, trying to find out which watch was the original one and Hilary Swank will be wearing that Hamilton watch in the movie.
What about your recent launches?
Hamilton has American Classic and Khaki watches. Within Khaki, we have diving watches and aviation watches. Three years ago we brought out a watch called X-Wind and for the time, there was a real flight calculator integrated in the watch. When you go around here you see a lot of brands that say they have pilot watches but then when you look at the watch it has nothing to do with aviation or the pilot. It is just a co-pilot watch but there is nothing really; there is no function inside the watch.
So it was for the first time that we really had a flight calculator coming out on this X-Wind. When you are flying from point A to point B, you always have a cross wind. Depending on the strength and the angle of the cross wind, the pilot needs to calculate the aviation angle in order to get the fastest time to point B. And this watch allows you to make these calculations. This year we have come out with a new flight calculator. The watch is called the X-Mach, like the sound of speed. And it comes out in two versions. The watch is actually a calculator that allows you to calculate the mach speed because the sound of speed changes. One mach is exactly 1,225 kilometers per hour, but this is only true when you are at sea level, with 15 degrees temperature outside, and there’s no wind. And then as soon as you go up and the air pressure changes, the wind changes, the mach speed changes, the sound of speed changes. But the thing is that every commercial airplane is constructed to fly at a very precise mach speed. The whole construction is done like this, in terms of aerodynamics, fuel consumption, resistance, reliability, everything. So basically, the pilot during the whole flight always needs to stay at exactly the same mach speed, but the same mach speed never corresponds to the same ground speed because of the changes in air pressure. The pilot either increases or reduces the engine power from time to time. He also needs to change the flight level and the altitude. To calculate the mach speed, there are two determining parameters. It is pressure altitude in feet and the calibrated airspeed. The pilot has this information in the cockpit and thanks to these two parameters, he is able to calculate the mach speed. If the pilot on your flight back to India has a problem, you just give him the Hamilton watch and you can go to sleep. He will safely bring you to India.