Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50
As the year turns to an end, here is a stunning and unexpected Limited Edition watch from Hamilton.
When I first saw the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50, it suddenly reminded me of Ron Howard's movie Rush and the old-school Grand Prix racing, the legendary 24 Hours at Daytona, and the AMA's motorcycle racing. If Hamilton Watch were willing to reinforce the brand's American foothold, I believe they hit the nail on the head.
Hamilton's Chrono-Matic 50 celebrates American heritage and the Swiss industry at once. As the product name suggests, "Chrono-Matic" is celebrating the 50th anniversary of a milestone for the watchmaking industry: in 1969, the legendary Caliber 11, designed and produced by a joint venture of a few luxury brands, hit the market.
I'm not the first person to talk to if you are into vintage watches, I have always looked forward and still do; despite that, I admire the pioneering spirit and the avant-garde culture that made the seventies so trendy. Unlike most watch aficionados, I do not dislike a one-to-one reissue, especially when a given design is a clear winner, to me. Timepieces like the Chrono-Matic 50, seemingly a flagship product, encourage people to get more knowledgable about the brand's history and milestones and increase brand awareness too.
We were teased with the new wristwatch during a community project, entitled "Maestro per un Giorno," organized in conjunction with Hamilton and its Customer Service last September. There, I discovered Hamilton had produced a count-down sports timepiece, in 1972, called "Chrono-Matic." The new one follows the likes of heritage timepieces like the current, and pretty successful, Hamilton Intra-Matic Chrono.
In this specific case, the reissue project was even more ambitious: the 48,5mm (across) by 51,5mm (tall) case, wears smaller than it is, the only letdown being the thickness. It is hefty but holds to the original.
The case shape features an unmistakable egg-like style that helps slim down the overall size. I still can't believe how essential is an excellent design in affecting a product's perception.
Initially, the Chrono-Matic 50 was built as a timepiece geared towards civil pilots: also, its resemblance to an Omega Flightmaster is incredible; after all, they both belong to the same period. The red "Ergal" looking chronograph push-buttons make it the perfect daily watch during your next journey to the International Space Station; aesthetically, the black dial with contrasting white counters (a bi-compax Reverse Panda layout) is faithful to the original, and a curved sapphire crystal has replaced the outdated acrylic glass. Thumbs up to the brushed case finish: build quality is outstanding.
What was the source of inspiration for the 2019 Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50? Please check the photo above, belonging to this listing on eBay; it gives an insight to the Chrono-Matic GMT 141001-3 Count-down: this is the current Chrono-Matic's forefather. The main difference between the two lays under the hood: the GMT adopted the caliber 11.
Apart from the different Chrono push-pieces and registers displacement, due to the caliber 11's architecture, old and new cases are virtually interchangeable. The Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 includes the second rotating crown to set and adjust the count-down ring, whereas it is powered by the Valjoux based caliber H-31 whose improved efficiency guarantees a 60-hour power reserve.
In this regard, the 2019 Chrono-Matic looks more like a tribute to the original rather than a product reissue, and I would have raised the bar from a technical standpoint by adopting a column-wheel mechanism, that ETA can undoubtedly provide. I feel the current option aims at preserving the brand's current positioning and price point accordingly.
If the first Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 GMT Count-Down came out as a timing instrument for civil pilots and a great companion during their journeys across different timezones, the new one is a racing chronograph on a "Rally Strap" in leather.
From sky to earth, showcasing an impressive case, a bold personality, and the old logo, the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 will be built in 1972 pieces, each retailing at € 2,295. Finally, a special thanks goes to friend and biker falcon_crest75 for making this photo-shooting possible.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori for Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®