The Hamilton Intra-matic Chronograph H watch hands-on
We asked, and they listened and delivered: here is the Hamilton American Classic Intra-matic Chronograph H in all its beauty or, let's cut a long story short, the Hamilton Intra-matic Chronograph H. What matters the most is that the Swiss-American watchmaker has released a four-piece collection of timepieces that place it ahead of the competition when engineering a chronograph geared towards the most demanding vintage Chrono die-hard fan. The cherry on the cake is that the new offering comes standard with a manual-winding mechanical movement for the first time. You'll read more by reading the article; in the meantime, watchmaking proves it is a business where tradition often wins hands down over innovation, and, case in point, the new one is a jab to those who are eager to innovate or disrupt for the sake of it.
With the Chronograph H, the seventies-inspired manual-winding two-register chronograph reaches new heights and might easily outperform its self-winding sibling while sharing most of the specification sheet; the case measures 40 mm and is paired to either a panda or a reverse panda dial; it houses a large crown and oversized pushers. The Hamilton Intra-matic Chronograph H pays tribute to the 1968 A and B chronographs. Let's ask Hamilton to reissue the Chrono-matic equipped Chrono of the past, with the winding crown placed on the left, too, and we'll end up wearing the coolest two-counters chronograph priced under the 2000 Euros threshold.
Hamilton Watch aimed to offer two similarly sized and performing chronographs, on paper, to different groups of admirers and potential buyers. Housing a manual-winding movement and offering a slightly different style, the new Chronograph H watch is a call to action to vintage watches aficionados, who'll find cues from a long-gone era. The dial comes with baton indexes partially filled with vintage Super-Luminova® and no date window at all, while a glass box sapphire crystal mimics a Chronograph A's plastic glass.
Once secured onto your wrist, you might find yourself disappointed in discovering the case thickness' reduction is negligible. The case moves from 14.7 mm (the automatic Intra-matic) to 14.35 mm you'll measure on the Chronograph H instead. We all want a slimmer case when buying a watch this engineered, yet the two options are comparable in size, back to back. Here is why from a technical standpoint: the new calibre H-51 derives from the self-winding H-31 calibre. While sharing the same baseplate, they also share the same power reserve and a technical layout looking for robustness rather than stand-out features, like a column wheel mechanism or a silicon balance spring, hard to get in this price range.
I think the package is acceptable; you're short on exclusivity under this set of constraints. However, I can't deny I'd love to see the new Chrono slide under the cuff and offer a smaller presence once on your wrist. Here is where both Hamilton and ETA engineers should join their forces to upgrade further a watch whose boldness, touch and feel, outperform the self-winding options and several options out there. Among the upgrades, I'll add the chance to replace a bracelet with a strap, and back, quickly. A quick-change device is something you can't miss across your product portfolio, and I'd love to swap between a mesh bracelet and a strap at the single push of a button.
(Photo credit: Marco Antinori per Horbiter®)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®