Chronographs. Everybody loves ‘em. Much of the current chronograph frenzy is focused on the Rolex Daytona. And while that’s probably the most sought after watch in the world right now, thanks to Paul Newman, a handful of other brands make great ones with similar period aesthetics that are just as worthy of a spot on your wrist. The Hamilton Intra-Matic doesn’t have a connection to the moon landing or a tie-in with a beloved celebrity. But it does have pretty much everything else you’d want in a classic chronograph, at a fraction of the price. And thanks to a newly revealed manual-wind movement, it just got a little bit more authentic.
The new Intra-Matic Chronograph H, which launched this week, is the latest version of Hamilton’s sports watch, whose steel case and clean, minimal dial recall the iconic motorsports chronographs of the late 1960s. Now, however, it’s been updated with a hand-winding H-51 movement with a 60-hour power reserve. Featuring the same black and white “panda” dial, optional Milanese-style bracelet and beefy pushers as its predecessors, the update to the Intra-Matic isn’t obvious at a glance (save for the word “automatic” being deleted from the dial), but it will make a big difference for people who appreciate details.
The significance of this new movement is two-fold, for one thing, those iconic 1960s chronographs all had hand-winding movements (automatic chronographs only came on the scene in 1969), making this the most era-authentic Intra-Matic yet. For another, a manual-wind movement is a lot like a manual transmission on a car: it’s just cooler. Sure, an automatic saves you some fuss, but it also deprives you of an opportunity to regularly engage with your watch’s mechanical movement. And for people who are truly passionate about watches, that can be the source of genuine pleasure.
With its authentic midcentury looks, very wearable 40mm case and new era-appropriate movement, the Intra-Matic Chronograph H is designed not just for people who love chronographs (because who doesn’t?) Instead, it’s specifically aimed at people who might like to own a classic late-‘60s chrono, but don’t want to outbid every other collector on the planet to get it. Priced at $2,600 (or $100 more for the Milanese bracelet) you’d have to look long and hard to find a better deal. Save yourself some time and just buy this watch.
Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H, $2,600 ($2,700 on Bracelet), hamiltonwatch.com