One of the original American watch manufacturing powerhouses Hamilton needs no introduction. The Swiss Swatch group now owns and operates them and since their takeover their watches have grown increasingly in demand thanks to a resurgence in the popularity of vintage designs. Swatch have conserved the root philosophy and traditions of Hamilton since they took over in the early 1980′s by consistently referring to vintage Hamilton watches to create new models.
Apart from upgrades to contemporary materials and movements these new models stay very faithful to the vintage models they are based on with often just small changes to the cases and dials and are essentially reissues of the originals albeit with these minor changes.
Initially unveiled (albeit in new re-issued form) at Basel World 2012 the Intra-matic is based on a model from the mid 1960′s. Its retro styling brings to mind the aesthetics of that era and it looks very much like a vintage dress watch from the 60′s. The watch comes a contemporary sized 42mm and 38mm.
Hamilton Intra-matic – Case
A lot of the personality of the Intra-matic comes from the simple, unembellished design of the case with its polished finish and refined faceted case and lugs. And although its a simple design it has subtly interesting nuances to it. The watch gives the impression of being thinner that its 10mm because of the tapered sides of the case which in turn makes it more elegant and less chunky looking.
The 22mm lugs are quite geometric and fairly thin although not too delicate looking thanks to their height. The crown is quite small measuring just 5 x 2.5 mm but matches the proportions of the case and it features the Hamilton H logo and a coin edge.
Held in place by four small screws the exhibition case back has a very gentle curve to it, you are able to view the ETA 2892-2 movement within which like the rest of the watch is fairly unadorned, except for a large Hamilton logo that has been engraved on the rotor.
Hamilton Intra-matic – Dial
The black or silver-colored dial of the Intra-matic has a very simple elegant design. It is slightly domed with a silver sunburst finish to it and these aspecys add depth some subtle visual interest to it.
There are no numerals but hour markers that are very simple bars or ‘baton markers’, the ones located at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions being slightly thicker and bolder. I like the fact that the black on white date indicator is located at the 6 o’clock position as it seems to balance out the lower dial with the upper dial which is slightly busier with text featuring the Hamilton H logo, Hamilton name and ‘automatic’.
The Intra-matic has an hour and minute hand but no seconds hand and in keeping with the simple baton markers, the hands are long rectangular bars that compliment the style of the dial perfectly. A nice subtle touch is the minute hand’s subtle curvature that matches the curve of the dial. The omission of a seconds hand gives the watch a calmer look and is in keeping with the original vintage model, although on the negative side seconds hands do add a nice visual interest and are a clear indication that the watch is running. Legibility is excellent thanks to the simple black on silver color scheme and clean design.
Hamilton Intra-matic – Movement
Modern Hamilton watches no longer use proprietary “in house” movements, instead they are provided by the Swatch Group’s movement making subsidiary, ETA. Powering the Intra-matic is the 21-jewel automatic movement ETA 2892-2. Its hacking and hand wound movement with a 42 hour power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph.
Hamilton Intra-matic – Conclusion
I like the clean, simple design of the Hamilton Intra-matic, the simplicity of its aesthetic creates a strong design and it makes for an elegant contemporary version of a vintage styled dress watch. It has the charm of the sixties but with the advantages of modern materials and technology. The Hamilton Intra-matic comes on a leather strap or a bracelet and is available in stainless steel or gold. Hamilton’s list price on the 38mm Intra-matic is $870, with the 42mm costing a bit more at $945 USD.