Hamilton Brand Ambassador Nicolas Ivanoff, celebrating ten years of partnership with the Switzerland-based watch brand, took to the skies at the 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship on October 17 and 18. Crowds gathered at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to enjoy the thrilling two-day event, and though winning was not in the cards this time, Ivanoff made a good showing flying Hamilton’s bright orange team color. His Edge 540 is a single seat, mid-wing aerobatic monoplane capable of a 450-degree per second roll rate and a 3,700-foot-per-minute climb rate.
As a kid I dreamed of getting into motor racing, but my mother didn’t want me to because she thought it was too dangerous, Ivanoff, who hails from Corsica, shares with more than a little irony. He became a flight instructor instead, but then discovered aerobatics in the early 1990s—quite by accident—when he flew a CAP 10 aerobatic plane for the first time. It was a revelation, he said. I was angry at myself for not getting into this sport sooner. Last year, he won the Red Bull Air Race in Dallas and also finished first at the finale in Spielberg, Austria; his final standing at the Red Bull Air Race World Championship was fourth place that year.
These days, Ivanoff’s talent is also evident in Switzerland, where he is instrumental in the design and development of Hamilton pilot watches. His credits include the Khaki X-Wind and the Khaki Pilot Auto, and most recently, the 45mm stainless steel Hamilton Khaki Chrono Worldtimer—a quartz chronograph that was developed to mark the tenth anniversary of Ivanoff’s relationship with Hamilton. Among its functions, the watch features 24 standard time zones UTC time and date. The first four minutes, which are important to aerobatic flying, are marked in yellow for quick readability.
Hamilton’s history includes more than a few momentous timing opportunities. This well-known Swiss brand, which was actually founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, kept the first American airmail service on track in the early part of the 20th century. Later, Hamilton became the official watch of TWA, Eastern, United and Northwest in the 1930s.
Its history and interest in aviation is a long and credible one and hasn’t let up. Hamilton is the timekeeping sponsor of the EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and since 2013 it has been the official partner of the Free Flight World Masters Tour in France. Hamilton’s association with Ivanhoff and the Red Bull races has been a highly visible one. Red Bull had its inaugural season as a World Series in 2003, hosting races all over the world in which competitors must navigate a challenging obstacle course in the fastest time. This year’s Las Vegas event determined Paul Bonhomme’s fate as World Championship title winner.
The sky is clearly not the limit for Hamilton—check out Matt Damon’s wrist in the newly released movie Martian for an out-of-this-world take on timepieces.