Hamilton Takes to the Skies With the Smartflyer Hybrid-Electric AircraftBy Bhanu Chopra
Hamilton’s story is full of firsts. They were at the forefront of developing timepieces that would help synchronize the rail system in 1912, making train travel safer. They were the first to create an electric timepiece in 1957 with the unique shield-shaped Ventura. In 1969, Hamilton played a pivotal role in the creation of the Caliber 11 — the world’s first automatic chronograph. Their Pulsar Time Computer, revealed on The Tonight Show in 1970, was the first digital watch with an LED display.
Hamilton also has a long history of injecting their old-fashioned American spirit and Swiss precision into the exploration of our world. Beginning a kinship for the flying community that would carry them to the present day, the first US Airmail pilots were accompanied by a Hamilton aeronautical watch in 1918. When Admiral Richard E. Byrd completed the first flight to the North Pole, he timed his historic flight with a Hamilton watch. Hamilton supported the aviators with precision tool watches as they made their first Pacific crossing from California to Hawaii.
Vivian Stauffer, CEO of Hamilton, is an experienced pilot and an avid outdoor explorer in his own right. With Stauffer at the helm, Hamilton is helping launch another first for the aviation industry: hybrid-electric flight.
In 2016, a team of passionate aviation experts and engineers headed by Rolf Stuber began to work on the concept of Smartflyer, a hybrid-electric aircraft. Their efforts resulted in the successful creation of the prototype SFX1, a four-seat aircraft that uses electric technology to generate 50 percent less carbon dioxide, 60 percent less noise, and costs 33 percent less to fuel and maintain than traditional small planes. The award-winning design is slated to begin production for the first hybrid-electric engines in our airspace in 2023 and Hamilton will be there to support yet another pioneering first.
Stauffer is aware of the significance and emphasized, “For over a century, we’ve acted as co-pilot to daring aviators, and we’re excited to continue our legacy of innovation by partnering with Smartflyer. Just as Hamilton’s pioneering spirit inspires us to push the limits of watchmaking, the sky will only be the beginning for the revolutionary SFX1. With a shared focus on precision, we’ll take this cutting-edge technology from the drawing board to aerospace itself.”