Wings Magazine

Mechanical watchmaking: Hamilton in zero gravity

Always on the lookout for new aerial challenges and technical innovations, from Oct. 5-16, Hamilton tested the impact of gravity on the chronometric performance of its mechanical watch movements in a campaign of parabolic flights.

October 26, 2015  By Hamilton Watch Company

The brand partnered with the pioneers of aviation, supplying them with ever more accurate and reliable tools for the measurement of time.

To this day Hamilton has kept this passion for flying, innovation and precision, and continues to develop pilots’ watches supported by its international ambassador Nicolas Ivanoff. For 10 years now the French aerobatics pilot – one of the best in his field – and his Hamilton watches have withstood accelerations of up to 10G on a daily basis.

It has been demonstrated that accelerations from 0G to 10G have an impact on the human body, and that athletes like Nicolas Ivanoff, capable of withstanding accelerations of this order without an anti-G suit, are rare. However, there have been no studies on the impact these accelerations may have on the precision of that indispensable object, dearly beloved of pilots: the mechanical watch. In fact, the chronometric performance of mechanical watches is always tested when the watch is not in motion and is thus subject only to the earth’s gravity (1G).

Hamilton, whose passion for aviation is allied with a passion for innovation, therefore decided to measure the precision of their mechanical watch movements when subjected to various accelerations, participating in the research initiated by ETA at the beginning of 2013. From May 11-21 a first test and validation phase for the measuring equipment marked the start of the study covering the range 0G to 2G.


In October, at Mérignac in the French region of Aquitaine, this campaign for the testing of Hamilton watches will take place on board the A310 ZERO-G of Novespace in partnership with ETA, and will be realised in the context of the scientific campaigns conducted by the CNES (the French National Centre for Space Studies). A total measuring time of 30 minutes in zero gravity (three flights, each including a ten minute period of zero gravity) will ensure reliable results.

“Since 1919, Hamilton has been the faithful partner of those who believe that the sky is the only limit. This is why the brand has engaged in a campaign of parabolic flights. We share the same passion for pushing back the limits in order to achieve new heights of expertise, performance and emotions. We are proud to take this opportunity of advancing watchmaking research, in partnership with ETA, on the occasion of the parabolic flights which will take place from 5 to 16 October next,” said CEO Sylvain Dolla.


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