The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono watch hands-on
If you're a fan of vintage chronographs with cilindrical push buttons and panda dials, Hamilton has just introduced the new Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono; a two-counter-chronograph with a true historic pedigree. In 1968, the brand with American roots launched a two-counter-chronograph in two versions. One version sports a panda dial, while the other version sports a reverse panda dial with only two counters on a black background and white registers or vice versa, 36mm of diameter and an automatic winding movement. It is one of the most popular vintage watches on the market and one of the hardest one to find also. It is beautiful and well-balanced, it has been re-launched in an almost faithful way that includes the historic Hamilton logo typical of the Intra-Matic collection.
It is unbelievable how much Hamilton wanted to faithfully bring back the historical design of the original chronograph. Everything has been done exactly like on the first Intra-Matic, though reinterpreted, keeping in mind that the new Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono case almost reaches the 42mm diameter threshold in size. The only element that hasn’t probably been brought back as it originally was is the glass; a flat anti-reflective sapphire has replaced the original one made of hexalite, that was also curved.
The tachimetric scale is of the same white color as the two large registers; on the left is the one of the continuous seconds, while on the right hand side is the one of the 30 chrono minutes. On the original model, the tachimetric scale was black on a black background with a non-linear scale that reached up to 1,000km/h against the 400km/h and linear scale that appears on the modern Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono.
The two registers are not only bigger than the original ones in relation to the width of the dial, thus occupying a big part of it, but they are also centered between the vertical rotation axis of the hour and minute hands and the minute ring but without touching it, whereas on the original Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono the two registers were tangent to the minute ring; a feature that is common among two counter watches of that time. The new Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono reference is the Chronograph B version of the original watch, while the A version used to indicate the version with the white dial and the black counters.
The central hand of the chrono seconds is “snow white” in colour – as Hamilton calls it – and so are the tips of the applied indices made with Super-Luminova®. The date is vertically inserted at six o'clock within a window with a fully black background that doesn’t overly affect the dial of a watch that could easily do without it and not lose one inch of its functionalities but rather gain in style and vintage flavor.
On the case-back of the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono there is a nice motif with a star Hamilton’s H that breaks up the full polishing of the case, the case-back, the buttons and the crown. Another important novelty is the introduction of a leather strap with a pin buckle and holes that reminds us of a Rally strap.
The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono is equipped with the H-31 caliber; a revised and corrected version of a Valjoux 7750, in which the power reserve moved from 42 to 60 hours (one of the results of the continuous improvement work on the calibers manufactured by ETA that are transversely mounted by the Hamilton and Mido brands in particular).
The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Chrono retails at a price just above 2,000€ (just 1968 pieces will be made); an exceptionally competitive retail price if you think about the average market price of an automatic chronograph with a Valjoux movement, a beautiful reverse panda dial and the fact that you can hardly grow tired of a chronograph like this! This timepiece has become exceptionally popular in recent years, and that’s why Hamilton probably thought about bringing it to life and revamp the great history that this watch brings with it.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®