Hamilton is usually not a brand we cover much on Monochrome, maybe because they are positioned a bit on the lower side of the range, with various quartz offers. Yet, from time to time, the previously American brand, now under the umbrella of the Swatch Group, can surprise us, especially when look at their rich history. This year, for the upcoming 2017 edition of Baselworld, the brand will have something simply cool, a nice, vintage-inspired and affordable automatic chronograph., with iconic roots. Here is the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68.
Chronographs have been a great part of Hamilton’s history, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, coinciding with the Swiss ear of the brand, once it acquired Büren and moved to Biel, and later becoming part of SSIH (subsequently The Swatch Group). Some great watches have been made at that time, some becoming collectible iconic, such as the Fontainebleau (powered by the Chronomatic Calibre 11). Another one have been important and is today rather sought after by vintage collectors, the 1968 Hamilton Chronograph B (alongside the Hamilton Chronograph A). This watch was noticeable for its “reverse panda” dial (white counters on a black dial). This two-register watch was first available with a hand-wound movement. Later, it will be featured with the Büren / Hamilton / Heuer automatic Calibre 11, recognizable with its crown on the left side.
This automative-oriented 1960s chronograph is today the inspiration for a more modern, yet vintage-style chronograph named Hamilton Intra-Matic 68. With this watch, Hamilton took great care to preserve details of several 1960s / 1970s chronographs, including the look of the 1968 Chronograph B and the automatic movement with date of the Chrono-Matic versions. Thus, it shows the same case design, rather clean and sharp, with narrow bezel, pump pushers and crown on the right side and pointy lugs. Visually at first, the resemblance is rather impressive – and overall quite cool.
The dial of the new Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is also paying tribute to these vintage chronographs, with a “reversed panda” layout, slightly differing though by the addition of a white tachymeter scale on the periphery. Just like the vintage automatic versions, a date is integrated at 6 – maybe not compulsory but in line with the current customers’ needs. This dial, as well as the hands, are curved (a nice detail for a watch of that price). The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is secured to the wrist by an also vintage-style perforated leather strap, again quite automative-inspired. One thing has changed though: the diameter. Forget about the 36mm case of the original one. The dimensions are modern, maybe a bit too much. The case has moved up to 42mm, making it a rather big watch. Yet, once again, it answers current customers’ requests – even if to us, a 38mm / 39mm case would have made more sense.
Inside the case of the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is an also modern movement, yet well known, the automatic Hamilton automatic H-31 calibre. This movement is based on the Valjoux 7753 (the one with 3-6-9 or 3-9 layout), yet improve to offer 60 hours of power reserve (instead of 48 hours), and with an improved spiral for better chronometric results.
The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chronograph will a limited edition of 1,968 pieces, for the reasonable price of Euro 1,995.
Specifications of the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68
- Case: 42mm diameter – stainless steel, polished – sapphire crystal on the front – 100m water resistant – screw-down crown
- Movement: Hamilton H-31 (improved Valjoux 7753) – automatic – 60 hours power reserve – 4Hz frequency – bi-register chronograph with date, hours, minutes, small second
- Strap: black perforated leather on steel pin-buckle