For a few years now, Hamilton has made vintage re-editions one of its specialities, becoming among the unmissable names for accessible retro-inspired watches. Often sporty, sometimes military-inspired and most of the time specialized watches with great design, the brand has recently released successful models such as the Aviation Converter collection, the Digital PSR, or the Khaki Pilot Pioneer. One of the watches that somehow started to put the brand under the spotlights was the 42mm 2017 limited edition Intra-Matic Chronograph, later remodelled with a smaller case, but always automatic. This year, the brand launches a reproduction of the watch that came just before the Chrono-Matic, a bi-compax, hand-wound and nicely executed model named the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H. And we have a look at it, in the metal, right now!
While the Intra-Matic here, and more recently these new editions here (including a 3-hand model), were inspired by late 1960s automatic chronographs powered by the legendary Calibre 11, the watch we’re looking at today goes even deeper into the brand’s history. Not by much, though, just a couple of years before. All the models in the Hamilton Intra-Matic collection are directly inspired by an existing watch, the Chronograph A that was launched by the brand in 1968. Before the brand updated this watch with an automatic chronograph movement, the first executions were powered by a hand-wound Valjoux 7730, a well-known, industrially-produced movement that has powered countless 1960s and 1970s watches.
The Hamilton Chronograph A had a sleek, typical late-1960s style with sporty panda or reversed-panda dials and a bi-compax layout. And the watch you see in the photo here has not only inspired the whole Intra-Matic collection but is now used directly to create a new model, the Chronograph H.
The 2021 Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H
At first, we could have expected Hamilton to just change the movement of the existing Intra-Matic Automatic Chronograph, simply removing the part for the self-winding mechanism. However, and we clearly won’t complain about that, the brand has decided to give more exclusivity to this new Intra-Matic Chronograph H, with multiple elements updated or changed compared to the Automatic version, but also by making it even closer to the original 1968 Chronograph A.
Not everything has changed with this new hand-wound version. The overall spirit – that of a late 1960s panda or reversed-panda chronograph, characterized by its sleek design, not utilitarian but not dressy either – is still present and the filiation between the automatic and hand-wound models is clear. The distinctive elements, for instance the sharp, angled lugs or the oversized crown and pushers, as well as the basics of the dial, are shared. Yet, almost everything in this new model has been subtlely remodelled.
As its automatic counterpart, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H is presented in a versatile 40mm case in polished stainless steel. However, the architecture of the case has been changed. Previously a 3-part architecture, this new Chronograph H has a 2-part case with the bezel blended with the mid-case. Also, while the overall thickness is almost identical – here, at 14.35mm – the height is differently distributed, as the hand-wound Chronograph H replaces the flat sapphire crystal with a new domed crystal. The caseband is thus a bit thinner and the watch benefits from this charming domed sapphire that adds a retro look to the watch.
Despite being a slightly racing-oriented watch, this new Chronograph H is comfortably water-resistant, at 100 meters. The crown is also new, with more pronounced notches while the pushers are still largely sized. The caseback is screwed and made of solid steel, so the movement remains hidden – which isn’t too bad, as it probably won’t bring much to the overall appeal of the watch. On the wrist, the modernized proportions are certainly visible, however, the watch is compact enough to exude the desired vintage feel you’d expect from this collection.
This new hand-wound Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H also brings back the two styles that were available back in the late 1960s. The first version opts for an off-white dial with black sub-counters, while the other is its opposite, being black with off-white sub-dials. The choice for this slightly warmer tone of white is wise, avoiding a too technical look. Another point of differentiation has to be seen on the tachymeter scale, which now has the same colour as the rest of the dial (it is executed in contrasting colour in the automatic), making it lighter, more subtle – this is especially true on the white model.
For the rest, the dial is pleasantly executed, with nickeled hands and faceted hour markers, both equipped with inserts of light cream coloured Super-LumiNova – again for a more vintage charm. The dial remains discreet in terms of literature, with a new “mechanical” mention at 6 o’clock and, an important thing to note, the date window has been removed. Overall, it looks balanced, sleek and pays tribute to the historical model in a very pleasant way.
Under the caseback is a new movement, the calibre H-51 that has been specifically developed by the Swatch Group for Hamilton. The base remains well-known, being the architecture of the Valjoux 7753, yet without its automatic winding plate. It has also been upgraded, with a revised kinetic chain and mainspring, so despite keeping the frequency at 4Hz, the movement now stores up to 60 hours of power reserve.
Altogether, there will be 4 versions of this new hand-wound Intra-Matic, as each dial colour will be available either on a black calfskin strap with a steel pin buckle, or a mesh stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp.
The Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H Hand-Wound will be priced at EUR 1,895, CHF 1,995 or USD 2,045 on black leather strap or EUR 1,945, CHF 2,075 or USD 2,095 on mesh bracelet. They are now available.
For more details and to place an order, please visit www.hamiltonwatch.com.