When it comes to racing chronographs, most of the designs out there have a distinct sporty look, which of course makes perfect sense—but it also limits their wearability. While racing watches, generally speaking, are not our first choice when it comes to a formal dress code, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chronograph comes as a refreshing exception to the rule. Combining a sporty look with sophisticated elegance, this watch really has it all. Let’s take a closer look, and discuss if the Intra-Matic is indeed a worthwhile investment.
Hamilton: The Brand
Founded in 1892, Hamilton has deep roots in the United States of America. The original Hamilton factory was located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the business spent the first 111 years of its existence there. In their own words “Hamilton watches now have the prestigious Swiss made label, but Hamilton is still American at heart, just as it was when it was first established in Pennsylvania in 1892”. Hamilton relocated both the headquarters and the production facilities to Biel (or Bienne), Switzerland in 2003 when the Hamilton Watch Company became a part of the Swatch Group. The move allowed Hamilton to add the ultimate quality mark “Swiss made” to each watch produced in the new location.
Today, due to its extensive history of producing exceptional quality timepieces, Hamilton is indisputably one of the great ones in the watchmaking industry.
Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Chrono: Overview
The Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is a new recreation of a 1968 signature timepiece that delivers a sporty yet timeless design. With its characteristic panda dial and true 1960’s charm, this timepiece is definitely a statement piece. The watch is a perfect size for most wrists with its 40 mm case width. We are used to seeing bigger cases when it comes to racing chronographs, however, the watch doesn’t look small, as the tachymeter is not located on the bezel, it’s incorporated within the dial’s design as an outer ring, thus expanding the dial visually while providing contrast.
The tachymeter, along with the bezel and the long seconds hand reminds us of a classic racing car dashboard design. The checkered flag waving at the finish line, accompanied by a roaring cheer of onlookers…seriously, cool design.
The Hamilton Intra-Matic is a stylish timepiece with a nod towards vintage design.
The dial of the Intra-Matic comes in three different color combinations and they are all panda dials: white dial with black subdials, green dial with white subdials, and blue dial with white subdials.
The overall design of the dial is very symmetric and pleasing to the eye, providing optimal balance. There are no Arab or Roman numerals as hour markers. There are two subdials total (as opposed to the frequently seen three): a minute subdial closer to the crown and a seconds sundial on the other side. The date window at 6 o’clock position counterbalances the Hamilton logo at 12 o’clock, making the watch symmetrical both vertically and horizontally.
The pencil hand for the hour and minute hand are in keeping with the overall design and do not overpower the highly balanced look of the dial. We appreciate the small, thoughtful details.
The color of the two subdials are paired with the same color for the bezel, and additionally, the Hamilton logo and the chronograph second hand has the same secondary hue as well.
This design solution using only two colors is an interesting touch: the Intra-Matic Chronograph has a very sporty look, which is enhanced by the larger push buttons. However, using only two colors provides a “toned down” essence to this timepiece, expertly bringing together dynamic visuals and understated elegance.
The tachymeter is part of the dial and is not located on the bezel. Due to the thinner bezel the dial of the watch is expanded visually, while comfortable wear is ensured by the 40 mm case width. We love this solution, and it is another example of Hamilton’s expert designing.
The case is polished stainless steel. The width of the case is 40 mm, therefore it’s perfect for most wrist sizes. The distance between the lugs is 20 mm. The sapphire crystal provides good scratch resistance, and the screw-down crown well complements the 100 meters water resistance.
The design of the chronograph pushers plays an important role in creating a vintage, yet evergreen look. They’re not subtle, but proudly showing their heritage resembling old stopwatches. The polished stainless steel finish counterbalances the sporty look and brings a touch of elegance.
The Hamilton Intra-Matic comes with the H-31 automatic Swiss movement.
The H-31 is a powerful automatic chronograph movement featuring an extended 60-hour power reserve. This 27-jewel movement is based on the ETA/Valjoux 7753 caliber. There is a custom designed H pattern on the oscillating bridge, and it is engineered for increased accuracy and an increased 60 hours power reserve instead of 42 hours.
Leather Strap / Stainless Steel Bracelet
All color variations are available with either a high quality leather strap, or a beautifully engineered mesh stainless steel bracelet.
We absolutely love both options. The leather strap is a no-brainer for most watches, however the mesh bracelet is not the easiest pairing for all watch designs. The Hamilton Intra-Matic pulls it off effortlessly—if you love a touch of retro, definitely check out the mesh bracelet option.
Pros and Cons
Let’s take a look at the summary of pros and cons, in our humble opinion:
- The 40 mm case width is perfect for all wrist sizes.
- Elegant design with historical heritage.
- All three color variations looks great.
- H-31 automatic movement with 60-hour power reserve.
- We miss a see-through caseback option, as it’s always mesmerizing to look at an automatic movement – especially if it’s a chronograph.
Summary: Takeaway and Final Thoughts About Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono
The Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is an inspired reimagination of a 1968 signature timepiece that delivers a sporty yet timeless design. The 40 mm case width, the dial design working with only two colors, and having the tachymeter a part of the dial and not on the bezel makes this watch very elegant that can function as a dress chronograph as well. The automatic chronograph movement (H-31 caliber) provides a 60-hour power reserve. This timepiece is robust and graceful at the same time, and would be a great addition to any watch collection.
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