Home Watch Types Automatic Modern nostalgia: Hands-on with the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono

Modern nostalgia: Hands-on with the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono

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Hamilton has managed to pull off a kind of modern nostalgia with its Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono. In pictures, this automatic chronograph looks straight out of the ’60s, and well it should, since it’s modeled on Hamilton’s 1968 Chronograph B. But on the wrist, it has a modern size and a modern presence. And while the size might scare off a few people, the styling should have broad appeal. 

The new Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono and the original Chronograph B. Photo credit: watchjmak via RedBarCrew Vancouver

With a 42mm case that rises nearly 15mm off the wrist, this is no subtle watch. But neither is it too big to fit the sporty category suggested by its tachymeter and dimpled strap. The angular lugs—which plateau where they join the case and then jut straight out several millimeters to meet the leather strap—sit just at the edges of my 7″ wrist. Any bigger, and it would be too big. I sympathize with Arthur Touchot that a smaller watch might have been better (I almost always think modern watches are too big); but here the plus-size case is an asset. A smaller watch would have looked very vintage with the reverse panda dial and pump-style pushers. If you want a sub-40mm Hamilton Chronograph B, or the later Chrono-Matic, the aftermarket has plenty. Making the Intra-Matic 68 oversized gives a modern twist to the vintage style, which creates something unique rather than a retread of a historical design.

The movement is also modern, though the ETA 7753 ticking here is a descendant of the manual Valjoux 7730 that Hamilton used in its ’60s chronographs. Hamilton rebrands the 7753 “Calibre H-31” and adds an extra 18 hours in the tank over the ETA’s 42-hour power reserve. Power comes in through a big screw-down crown or a rotor that swings with such fervor that you can feel the thing spinning around on your wrist.

The timer engages with a solid, chunky click. It takes a bit less pressure to pause and the reset is as snappy as you’d expect from a cam-controlled chronograph. The 7753 (or H-31, as it were) includes a 6:00 date window. I know: gasp, clutch pearls, faint—a vintage chronograph with a sacrilegious date window. But it’s a big ol’ color-matched thing that makes no attempt to hide, is highly legible, and builds on the modernization at work in the case.

The dial is as you’d expect: reverse panda with very subtle snailing on the off-white subdials and a matching tachymeter. Running seconds are at 9:00, a 30-minute counter is on the other side. The subdials seem rather big, but that’s more a consequence of the overall size than a mistake of proportionality. The Hamilton name and logo are nicely balanced top-to-bottom by “automatic” and the date window.

When this watch was announced, I had hoped that it would be a psuedo-vintage watch for those of us too risk averse to drop a few grand on a decades-old chronograph. It is not that, and I’m glad for it. This is a watch of its own era, aware of the past but not trapped in it.

Available in a limited edition of 1,968 copies for $2,195. hamiltonwatch.com

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Autochrono

  • Price: $2,195USD
  • Who’s it for? A sporty vintage-inspired look that is unmistakably modern.
  • Would I wear it? It’s on the edge of too big for my taste, but it certainly works.
  • What I’d change? The strap should be perforated.
  • Standout feature? Vintage style, modern proportions.

Tech Specs

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Case Size: 42 mm x 14.8 mm
  • Lug Width: 22 mm
  • Movement: ETA 7753-based Calibre H-31 automatic chronograph
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 100m
  • Band Material: Genuine leather with dimpling, signed stainless buckle

 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Fair review of a gorgeous vintage modern style chrono watch. It is well signified by this statement “This is a watch of its own era, aware of the past but not trapped in it”.

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