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The Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H heralds the comeback of the historic sports watches. For this, the traditional brand revives the classic, American design and reflects back on the roots of watchmaking. The result: an elegant chronograph with manual winding. Find out all the important details here in the test!
The comeback of the classic sports watch
March 2021: Hamilton introduces a new addition to its model range that is intended to hark back to the glorious old days of classic sports watches. The Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H is destined to revive the vintage feeling with a charming design and, as part of the American Classic collection, to recall the roots of the traditional manufacturer.
How to succeed in this? Outwardly with the iconic, so-called Panda design that is available in white on black as well as vice versa. It is inspired by Hamilton’s legendary chronographs A and B, which were launched in 1968. The moderate case diameter, which was far more common in those days, also fits in with this. Beneath the surface, Hamilton relies on the basic values of watchmaking. That’s right, the H at the end of the name doesn’t stand for Hamilton, but for ‘hand-wound’. The Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H features the new in-house manufacture caliber H-51, which gives the sporty retro watch life with modern technology.
Four variants have been released by Hamilton for the market launch. Both dial variants are available with both leather and sporty milanaise bracelets. Hamilton provided me with the model variant with the reference number H38429730. That means a black dial with white totalizers and a black leather strap. I am curious to see if Hamilton manages to transfer the character of the old timepieces from the 60s into the here and now….
The Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H for the first time on my wrist.
“Really nice!“. That’s what i think after i took the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H out of its packaging for the first time and now hold it in my hands. It is my second watch from the Swiss manufacturer with American roots, after having the chance to test the Hamilton Ventura Elvis80 Skeleton. The chronograph looks classic and timeless. If I didn’t know, I would have been hard to guess the age of the watch. After all, the dial is emblazoned with a Hamilton lettering, which does seem quite historic. Similarly, the watch is also a bit of a handful. The panda dial is covered by a traditional domed watch glass. All stainless steel surfaces are polished, giving the good piece something very noble. In addition, there are two simple totalizers and a high-quality leather strap. What more could you want?
I put the chronograph on and examine it for the first time on my wrist. Here, the advantages of the comfortable diameter of 40 millimeters come into play. These dimensions proportion the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H very well and make it a restrained, elegant companion on the wrist. Thanks to the mechanical movement with manual winding, Hamilton was able to keep the case relatively narrow, which is why the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H lies flat on the wrist and comes across as sporty.
The combination possibilities with outfits are almost inexhaustible with a watch in this design. Whether with a jacket, shirt or polo T-shirt. The Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H makes with its timeless appearance always a good figure and can be worn on any occasion! In the first place, I would still put it on for more elegant occasions.
Hamilton promises the wearer of the new Intra-Matic a lot of precision. In the construction of the case, this becomes visible in many places. It is made of high-quality stainless steel, whose resistance and durability are without alternative. In the case of the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H, the surfaces of the stainless steel case are polished throughout. This gives the watch a classic and classy appearance. This also applies to the shape, whose round silhouette is interrupted only at the lugs, whose width is 20 millimeters. In the bezel area, the case stands out with a bevel all around. The workmanship of the material is typical Hamilton – on a very high level.
The case back is strikingly simple. It is screwed down six times and has the engraved classic lettering, which is familiar from the dial. Engraved specifications can be found around it. Hamilton has omitted a window with a view of the movement this time. After all, there was no such thing on the original timepieces of the 60s. Hamilton has remained faithful to the original model in this respect as well. The watch manufacturer specifies a water resistance of up to 10 bar. 100 meters of maximum diving depth would thus be possible in theory. However, it should be said here that the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H was not built as a diver’s watch, but is more suitable for swimming.
Details of the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H
When it comes to the choice of materials, the Hamilton is convincing all along the line in other respects as well. The dial is protected by a watch crystal, for which the manufacturer uses very hard sapphire. I particularly like the curvature at this point, which reminds me of classic watches of the 20th century and exudes a lot of charm. It also has an anti-reflective coating on both sides, which not only improves readability when the light hits it, but also looks much more premium for my taste.
Matching the case, the crown and both pushers are also in stainless steel design. Although the crown is sporty and flat, it is quite easy to operate thanks to its fluted sides. The low height, on the other hand, is very functional in everyday use. When pressing the pushers for the stop-second, I notice how good their haptic feedback is. These are the details where you can feel good quality.
Hamilton’s H-51 with manual winding – the movement
When introducing the new Intra-Matic Chronograph H model, Hamilton often emphasizes how crucial the use of the new H-51 movement with its manual winding is. “The absence of a winding rotor and a date function underlines the balance between purity and complexity and emphasizes the simple elegance of the slim stainless steel case,” the Swiss company says. A modern know-how contrasts with the retro garb of the watch. And so, the hand-wound caliber H-51 offers a power reserve of an impressive 60 hours, low construction and reliability, and good accuracy.
A dial in panda look
The “panda” design dial has everything you need for everyday wear. On a black background, in addition to the central seconds and nickel-plated minute and hour hands, there are two white totalizers at 3 and 9 o’clock. They show the 30 minute time and the small seconds. On the other hand, Hamilton has deliberately omitted a date window, which is often found. Instead, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H offers a tachymeter, which is very cleanly printed on the rehaut. As a reminder: with the tachymeter, you read the speed on routes whose length you already know. A feature for real enthusiasts.
At night, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H shines with an illuminated dial. Indices and hands have been coated with Swiss SuperLuminova luminous material for this purpose. The luminous material shines brightly and evenly and guarantees optimal readability even in the dark.
Completing my more than satisfactory test impression so far is a chic leather strap, whose glossy black surface matches the polished stainless steel case well. The light-colored underside, on the other hand, is lined with a very soft leather that is incredibly comfortable against the skin. A secure fit is ensured by the stainless steel pin buckle. If the leather strap is less appealing to you, you can also purchase the watch with a sporty milanaise strap. The model variant has the reference number H38429130 and costs 1945,- Euro.
My final conclusion about the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H
In the world of big, super-sporty all-rounder chronographs with huge cases, stunning high-tech materials and the desire to be a status symbol, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H is an unexciting, welcome and pleasant change. In fact, it must be commended that the watch has a certain character of its own that sets it apart from the crowd and makes it distinctive as a chronograph for the true aficionados.
This is primarily due to the iconic design, which is timeless and elegant, but also due to the rather rare hand-wound H-51 movement, which makes winding and setting the watch every second day a ritual. For those who can muster enough enthusiasm for this watchmaking art, wearing a Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph H will be pure pleasure.
At 1895, – euros is Hamilton’s recommended retail price. In view of the good watch, this is more than justified. In the store you can find all other model variants.