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Hamilton Intra Matic - The American Retro
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Hamilton Intra Matic - The American Retro

Vintage Nuance of the American Panda
Jan 02, 2021

Introduction

Hamilton is a brand that needs little introduction. Once one of the great American watch brands, Hamilton is now owned and operated by the Swiss Swatch group. Being a brand with a distinct and rich history, Swatch has preserved the underlying aesthetic spirit and brand heritage by continuing to leverage their own archives for new products. These rework issues are likely to remain the same as the original, with the case and dial designs undergoing only minor changes, but materials and movement upgraded to current standards.

The Intra-matic, first introduced (back) at Basel World 2012, is a very loyal recreation of the watch from the mid-60s. With fine, refined details and minimal dials, the watch represents a time when form, graphic elements and a sense of decency defined a casual watch or outfit. The vocabulary of mid-century design is taken by Intra-matic and put in a retro 38mm case or a large contemporary 42mm case.

We had the pleasure of spending a few weeks in the 38mm gold-plated version with a black leather strap, which is perhaps the most stylish of all the watches. Featuring a domed sapphire crystal and ETA 2892-2 automatic movement, this Intra-matic version has a fair price for a watch made in Switzerland, let alone one that is so unique.

Hamilton American Classic Intra-Matic Auto Gold - Leather Ref. H38475751

Case

The vintage Intra-matic theme is immediately evident in its geometric case design, which closely resembles some of the original Intra-matic 60s. Measuring 38 x 44 x 10mm, this watch is small by today's standards, but bigger than its original design. Nevertheless, it totally fits into a dress watch of this style, and is proportionately appealing. The design itself looks simple, but has many interesting features.

From above, the case looks like a cylinder with angular lugs which are quite thin. From the side you can see that the case is not plate-side-shaped, but rather plate-shaped, tapering into a high-domed sapphire crystal and descending to the back of the case. This gives the impression of a watch that is considerably thinner compared to 10mm, and a more elegant and fluid form, despite the geometric design. The lugs were then slightly taller than expected, giving them a stronger, more masculine shape. If you take a closer look, you can also see how the very top of the lugs, where they meet the bezel, passes through the bezel slightly. This subtle detail gives them a clearer appearance from above, as there is a line created in the gap between the lug and bezel.

In 3 is a small crown measuring 5 x 2.5 mm and has a coin edge and a 60s Hamilton H. logo. Although the crown is tiny, it is easy to manipulate and fits the size and design of the case perfectly. On the other side is the rear display case, which nicely showcases the ETA 2892-2 engine inside. Though generally poorly decorated, the 2892-2 rotors have been engraved with a simple design and a large Hamilton logo. The metal on the back of the case has a very soft curve, making it comfortable on the wrist, as well as some basic engraved information. Holds by four small screws.

The gold plates on the case were perfectly applied, as expected, and thoroughly polished. Gold makes the watch look more stylish, but given the case design, it doesn't feel tacky or flashy. While the steel version may be easier to wear for everyday wear, gold makes the watch feel a little special, like something you would only wear on certain occasions.

Call

The Intra-matic has a very simple and minimal dial which is still quite attractive and elegant. The surface is a domed silver sunburst which has a very dynamic quality. When light hits the surface, it is cast in the form of radial lines and fans. Even though it's a light gray color, it's always changing color and has a light quality in the room you're in. Its slightly domed shape then adds another dimension to the dial, giving it a sense of depth.

The dial displays a simple index of long, thin, charcoal-colored lines, one each hour. The lines are thicker for the 12, 3, 6 and 9, giving the watch a sort of orientation as well as a slight "crosshair" look. In 6-position is a window with an outline that displays the date in black on white. This positioning corresponds to a period of time and helps to maintain proper symmetry. 

There are several lines of text on the dial that are well sized so as not to overstep the layout. Just below marker 12 is the 60s "H" logo as well as the "Hamilton" and "auto" letters in all caps. And just above the date window at 6 is the name of the watch, Intra-matic, in all lowercase and at the very bottom it says "made in swiss". While that's a decent amount of text for a dress watch, the style helps make the watch feel like it's retro and takes up what is most likely a weird blank area.

The Intra-matic displays a thin black hand for the hours and minutes and no second hand is active. The hand style fits perfectly with the watch, fits perfectly into the linear index and maintains the overall minimal aesthetic of the dress. The minute hand, which reaches almost to the edge of the dial, is curved with a domed dial. While subtle, it looks under scrutiny and is just the watch's delightful detail.

The lack of a second hand is a bold decision for the modern watch. It stays true to the original and gives the watch a calmer, more serene look that works, but it also removes the kind of aspect the watcher owns the watch, that is, nothing moves on the front side. After owning a few watches without an active second hand, most of which are antiques, this is something people really get used to, but I'm still a little surprised that they are taking this direction in retail watches. Having said that, I thought it was a little risky and I commend them for taking it.

The dial's total appearance is clean, minimal and very attractive. Between the thin forefinger, hour hand, and minus seconds, this watch Talks about the Bauhaus aesthetic. Considering it's from the 60's, this seems a good fit. On the gold version, the silver sunburst dial also captures some of the warm tones of the case. As a dress watch, it really comes together into a simple and elegant piece.

Note that this watch is also available with a black sunburst dial that features a marker and white text. Although I've never seen it in person, I imagine this combination really to be the most casual and perhaps the most masculine, dropping a silver sheen for something simpler and harsher.

Movement: ETA 2892-2

At its core, the Intra-matic contains the ETA 2892-2 21 jewel automatic movement. The hack, this twisting of the hand displays the date, 42 hours of power reserve, and a frequency of 28,800 bpd, although the hack is debatable because there is no second hand. 2892-2 initially as a more general higher end move (at least in this price range) 2824-2. The most noticeable difference, including, and possibly why it's on the Intra-matic, is that the 2892-2 is 1mm thinner.

Strap and Wear

The gold-plated version of the Intra-matic features a 20mm black leather strap that tapers to 18mm at the belt. This is a strap in a very simple style, as one would expect given the watch design as a whole, which also has a very retro style. The black leather has a slightly pebbly texture and the laces are not visible seams. It's very clean news, but because the skin is textured, it's still a bit organic and the appearance is warm. It's very thin at only a 3mm shy, so it doesn't overpower the lugs, and it's also quite comfortable. The buckles are gold plated and have an angled profile to match the general aesthetic of the case. In total, this is a very nice strap that complements the watch design.

On the wrist, the 38mm case is very comfortable to wear. As I mentioned earlier, the case is thinner than 10mm due to the shape of the center shell plate, as well as the round shell back and domed sapphire crystal. The dome itself likely added a few faux millimeters, so the watch wears 7 or 8mm thicker. This allows it to fit easily under the sleeve of the shirt. Despite being 38mm small by today's standards due to its quite flatness and thin bezels, the watch is wearing a little bigger, looking more like 40mm or so. And on my wrist which is a size 7, it fits perfectly.

A gold watch will never be my first choice for everyday wear, but as a special occasion dress watch it will feel even more elegant. Obviously it will work with a gray or black setting, but for something casual and a little retro, check out the pair well with the one we did a few months ago. Nonetheless, the steel version would make a great everyday wear, especially for an office environment. It's subtle, classic, but still very stylish and goes great with jeans and trousers.

Conclusion

When you look at a watch from the 60's, you will surely admire its style and design. It may just be hard to appreciate your current time, but things from the mid-20th century seem more elegant and straightforward. The Intra-matic, which is based on a watch from the Hamilton archive, filters all the proper aesthetic qualities of a 60s timepiece to a modern timepiece.

Therefore, the watch has an interesting feel. Glance at your wrist and you may forget that it is new, but when you hold it in your hand, admiring the light emanating from the domed sapphire, the watch feels like a contemporary item. It's also sturdy, having enough weight not to feel fragile giving it the build of a modern watch. And even though the look speaks to the designs of another generation, it's still relevant to today's aesthetics, people who are indeed classic designs.

Of course, the design won't appeal to everyone, but for those of you who crave something vintage, but want quality and modern building components, the Intra-matic may be for you. And at $ 890, although not an impulsive buy, a fair price for what it is. Get one now on Gnomon Store!


Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph White Ref. H38416711

Much has been written about the Intra-Matic Auto Chrono of Hamilton. The first version comes in a 42mm case with an inverted panda dial. It was limited and there were only 1,968 examples. It was known as the Auto Chrono of the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68.

Before we review the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono, let's take a brief look at its predecessor, the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Auto Chrono, Reference Number H38716731.

The Hamilton 68 Auto Chrono is inspired by the 1968 Chronograph B (so a 1968 limited example). The 1968 chronograph B is also available in the Hamilton Chronograph A, known as the 1968 classic panda dial. Both variants were introduced in 1968. The chronograph B was made up to 1971 and the "A" model was only available until that year. 1969. Both models were equipped with a stainless steel bracelet and the case size was 36 mm.

Like the modern version, there are two sub-dials. The sub-dial at the 3 o'clock position is the 30 minute counter and the sub-dial at the 9 o'clock position is the active seconds counter. Notably missing is the date window at the 6 o'clock position. Both models feature the Hamilton 17 Jewel manual movement, caliber 643. Caliber 643 is based on the Valjoux 7730 manual winding chronograph movement.

The Hamilton 68 Auto Chrono case size is very wide at 42mm, as previously described. This was supported by Hamilton's H-31 automatic movement; based on the ETA Valjoux 7753 caliber automatic movement. It has a strong power reserve of 60 hours. The "H" pattern style on the oscillating bridge is one of the most important characteristics of the H-31 movement.

The enormous size of the stainless steel case features a sleek bezel, large screw down signature knob, a pronounced chronograph suppressor and a date actuator at 10 o'clock position. The inverted panda dial is protected by a sapphire crystal and a beautifully flowing watch design. with a leather strap inspired by vintage hollow calf leather. Surprisingly, the 68 Auto Chrono is water resistant up to 100 meters.

Now that we know the foundation and inspiration for the vintage Intra-Matic 68 Auto Chrono, let's now focus our attention on the second edition; Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono, Reference Number H38416711.

Like its big brother, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono features the same automatic H-1 movement with a power reserve of 60 hours. The resistance to water is the same and both watches are very thick. The Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is marginally smaller; the Hamilton 68 Auto Chrono comes in at 14.45 mm compared to 14.7 mm.

The Intra-Matic Auto Chrono comes with a traditional leather calf strap and unlike its 22mm lug predecessor, the Intra-Matic Auto Chrono's lug width is 20mm. Both watches use standard pin clasp closures.

The real difference between the two versions is the dial. Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono features a panda dial. At first glance, the dial color looks like real white. However, the actual dial colors are soft beige and off-white. It does feature the same fine polished bezel, signature screw-down knob, a lit chronograph suppressor, and a date actuator at the 10 o'clock position. However, perhaps the biggest difference is the size of the case. It comes with a casing diameter of 40mm which is much more livable. I found the case size acceptable, but the lug width to 49.5mm lug was a bit overkill.

I prefer the 38mm case size with shorter lugs or even shorter, curved lugs. Although, from my point of view, this watch wears well on my wrist measuring 6.75 ".

Like many contemporary watches, I felt the thickness of the case was soaring high, but unlike my Breitling Transocean 38 Chronograph, it was proportionate to the case size and lug width.

The date window is positioned symmetrically and is nicely delimited at the 6 o'clock position. The white insert window in black font is very legible, but interestingly, the white date insert window is very different from the muted white dial color. To be critical (and why not) I prefer a date window similar to the iconic Chrono-Matic, Reference Number 11002-3 (black window insert in white font). The aesthetic opposite of the panda dial will add better contrast and really make the dial pop!

The senseless leather strap is very soft and supple. It has a 20mm lug width that's pleasing to the crowd and the strap doesn't taper. Personally, I prefer tapered laces as this creates a visual start for completing continuity. However, it fits a lot better than the 22mm lug width on the Intra-Matic 68 Auto. All things considered, I really like the strap, but I prefer a tapered strap or better yet, a stainless steel bracelet like the original 1968 A. Hamilton Chronograph.

All in all, I really like this watch. Though if I could have the cake and eat it too, I would prefer the smaller diameter of the box and the width of the lugs. Nevertheless, the timepiece does have an impressive wrist presence and is totally reminiscent of its vintage counterparts. In the end, or to use one of today's more used cliches ... "At the End of the Day," (BTW - the only thing that happens "At the End of the Day"  is Night Time), the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is 8 solid and it is available on Gnomon Store for $2080.


Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph Blue Ref. H38416541

It all started in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a household name for horology Hamilton is one of the most prestigious watchmakers in the United States. From the beginning of the 20th century, Hamilton began his journey, making pocket watches with his own manufactured movement. All of them were known for their accuracy and robustness that military and railroad officers adopted their watches simply because of these qualities.

Critically during World War II, the company focused on its military business, which left an impression on watch enthusiasts' minds on their Khaki collections. While many may know the Swiss American brand now for their straightforward yet straightforward timepieces, today, we will take a look at another side of their watchmaking prowess through the introduction of their chronograph complications.

Hamilton, with their chronograph journey, starting in the early 60's, flaunted their abilities from then on with the timepieces they craved like the Pan-Europe and the Chronomatic. Oh, they were part of five companies that launched the legendary Caliber 11 (otherwise known as project 99), the first batch of automatic chronographs in 1969 to ever set foot on the world.

How did it happen? Put simply, while module specialist Dépraz came out with the chronograph mechanism, Hamilton's new acquisition of Swiss manufacturer Buren was in charge of the base caliber. Hamilton, along with two other creatures, Heuer and Breitling, to assemble a movement inside their running chronograph watch.

Why are we going through so much history for you here? That's because we wanted to introduce the latest release of their 1960s chronograph model, drawing on their iconic Chrono-Matic automatic chronograph with Panda Chrono 11 Pre-caliber Chronograph - Chronograph A from 1968. Look, Intra-Matic Blue Chronograph Ref. H38416541.

Starting with a case measuring 40mm wide by 14.6mm high and 49.2mm lug-to-lug length. The case size fits with the current Neo-vintage theme, in that it matches the everyday Chrono but not the size of a hockey puck. The case looks exactly like their vintage Chronograph A, with a fully polished steel case paired with sharp lugs and a pump suppressor. The Intra-Matic Chrono has a modern twist on the threaded case back for more 100m water resistance and is finished with a domed sapphire crystal. The main crown is marked with an antique "H" symbol and screwed to ensure double water resistance.

Retro charm lies in the blue "reverse-panda" dial. True to vintage cues, the Intra-Matic Chronograph Blue features a symmetrical dual dial register configuration, where the running seconds are read on the left side while balancing with the 30 minute counter on the opposite right. Both sub-dials are made in creamy white against a light blue background with the right conch created to create a certain depth.

The Tachymeter scale was later also made in white and sits inside the case on the outside, another homage to the Chrono-Matic, its antique chronograph. At 6 o'clock, the date display on a black and white background fits nicely without disturbing the symmetry of the watch. Lastly, the markers and 60s applied handsets are executed here with the latest Superluminova shining bright all night.

The latest Intra-Matic is driven by the latest H-31 automatic movement, while the vintage chronograph runs on the Valjoux 7730. Based on the Valjoux 7753, the 27-jeweled automatic has chronograph functions, hand scrolling, and 60-hour hacking and power reserve at 28,800 bpd. Further, the date complications do not continue through the middle crown, but rather, a plunger set quickly at 10 o'clock does the task of changing the date.

A 20mm brown calf leather with matching stitching and a signed creased buckle is elegantly coupled with the Intra-Matic Chrono Blue.

Overall, Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph Blue Ref. The H38416541 is suitable as a fantastic re-edition of its predecessor. The panda dial has also become a popular item in the world of vintage watches, while the blue line has always been an all-time favorite, this latest release fits perfectly into the neo-vintage theme. It appeals to all levels of watch collectors out there after the modern upgrade to vintage chronographs, and it's certainly a good bet. This valuable collection is available on Gnomon Store.

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