While many brands are keen to tap into the popularity for vintage watches with back catalogue reissues or historic re-imaginings, they usually stop short of complete historic authenticity, opting for admittedly more convenient automatic movements, where manually wound varieties would have been the choice of the day.
Of course even automatic chronographs have been around for more than 50 years, so the idea of hankering for something even older might seem odd, but collectors still attach a certain significance to hand wound chronographs and the ritual of keeping their mainspring wound.
Hamilton’s new 40mm stainless steel Intra-Matic Chronograph H is based on a pair of chronographs the company released in 1968, just 12 months before a trio of movements from different companies all claimed to be the first automatic chronograph. These Hamilton A and B chronographs were panda (black sub dials on white dial) and reverse panda and were revisited in 2017 with the Intra-Matic 68, which used an automatic movement.
Now Hamilton has ‘worked with its partners’ (which is almost certainly shorthand for Swatch Group stablemate ETA) to develop a new handwound chronograph movement, the Calibre H-51, thought to be a manual version of ETA’s 7753. The movement beats at 4Hz and has a 60-hour power reserve while the watch’s dial proudly advertises the fact it is ‘Mechanical’, in the same way that quartz watches did when they were cutting edge.
Hamilton has also clearly paid a great deal of attention to the dials of its new pair on chronographs, greatly refining those of the now four-year-old Intra-Matic 68 by ditching the contrast-colored tachymeter ring, using finer lettering and using what looks like a softer, less clinic, off-white shade for the panda.
It’s true that not everyone shares the watch industry’s enthusiasm for Super-LumiNova’s ‘fauxtina’ shades that replicate aged lume, but here it’s difficult to against the stylish orangey hue used on the hands and hour markers.
This new Intra-Matic Chronograph H is offered in both panda and reverse panda configurations on either black leather strap with pin buckle or a stainless steel Milanese mesh bracelet, and is water resistant to 100m.
Available now, the Intra-Matic Chronograph H is priced $2,095 USD.
Elsewhere in watches, Oris takes-off with Spanish top gun school and limited edition pilot’s watch.