Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The trend of vintage-inspired watches is still going strong in 2017 and one of the most talked about watches at Baselworld this year was the Intra-Matic 68 by Hamilton. Not only is it inspired by a vintage Hamilton chronograph, it also has a reverse panda dial, which is in fashion right now. To me, this new Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is a logical progression from the two-handed Intra-Matic watch that was introduced by Hamilton in 2012. The two are not identical, but similar in spirit. So does the Intra-Matic 68 live up to all of its hype? Let's take a closer look.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On
All images by James Stacey

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Now, a little history lesson is required before we begin, because it is necessary to understand the origins of this watch. The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is, as its name might suggest, based on a vintage chronograph from the '60s called the Chronograph B, which has a reverse panda dial with a black background and white registers. There’s a Chronograph A too - surprise, surprise - and it has a reverse configuration with white background and black registers.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hamilton has history in creating modern reissues of vintage chronographs. Remember the Hamilton Pan Europ from 2011? That particular chronograph was also based on a vintage Hamilton watch design from the '70s and it’s a handsome watch with lots of fans. And if anything, I think the Intra-Matic 68 looks even better.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

We begin with the case, which is probably the most "controversial" thing about this watch. It’s not the design that is contentious, it has pretty straight lugs and a thin bezel, which are both design traits that you will see on vintage watches. What is widely debated about this watch, however, is the size. You see, at 42mm it is a tad large, especially when you consider its vintage roots and somewhat dressy overall aesthetics. Because of the large case size, the crown and pushers look a little oversized too. That said, I really like the vintage-style chronograph pushers here.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The bigger problem for me is the thickness. Hamilton didn’t reveal the thickness but it must be around 14mm or so, and that’s too thick for a watch like this. Bear in mind, a Rolex Submariner is about 13mm. But I guess that can’t be helped considering it has an automatic-winding movement (more on the movement later).

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The good thing about the Intra-Matic 68’s rather beefy case is the water resistance. When I first saw the watch, I thought it would only be 50 meters tops, but Hamilton says the Intra-Matic 68 can do 100 meters. This is a refreshing change from the usual 30 or 50 meters that we often get from a dressy chronograph watch, and not to mention that chronographs are also notoriously harder to make water-resistant.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

In the real world, this means you can take the Intra-Matic 68 swimming, but you would probably want to change out the black leather strap if you want to do so. The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 comes with a vintage-looking semi-perforated black leather strap that is quite nice and I won’t want to ruin it by getting it wet.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

That’s not to say that it has been completely ruined by its large case. Oh no. It still looks great of course, but like I said when I first wrote about the Intra-Matic 68 when it was announced, if Hamilton had released it in 39mm or 40mm, it would have been perfect. But I guess that’s just me and what other old-school watch lovers might think. And to be absolutely clear, 42mm for this piece is still not too bad, because at least all other elements of the case and dial are in proportion.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Speaking of the dial, it is simple, clean, and very attractive. It has a reverse panda dial with a black background and an off-white tachymeter and registers. The tachymeter scale runs along the circumference of the dial and the two registers are well positioned and even feature subtle graining for a little contrast.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Usually, I prefer my vintage-inspired watches to dispense with date windows, but the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 has a very cleverly incorporated date window. It is clever because of its positioning and color. At 6 o’clock, it brings symmetry to the dial. Furthermore, the date disc has a black background, which melds into the black background of the dial, making the date window very inconspicuous. If you are not looking out for it, you might miss it altogether.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The movement powering the Intra-Matic 68 is Hamilton’s caliber H-31, which is a modified version of the ever reliable Valjoux 7753. The main modification is the improved mainspring that gives the caliber H-31 a power reserve of 60 hours. The typical Valjoux 7753 has a power reserve of only about 45 hours. The only notable modification is the Hamilton-signed rotor. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the movement because the Intra-Matic 68 has a solid case back. This might be a deal-breaker to some, but I don’t really miss having a display case back here. I’m sure the movement is neatly finished, but it’s not something that I think has to be paraded about.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

On a whole, the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is easily one of the standout new releases of the year. And I’m not only referring to Hamilton, I mean for the whole of Baselworld 2017. It is that nice. My only complaint about the watch is the size. It’s a little too wide and too thick for my tastes, but that’s just me. I suspect most people would be fine with it. If you are unsure, I would urge you to head down to a shop and try it. You might be surprised. That said, the dial is just so nice and I really love those pump-style pushers, so much that I might just close an eye to less than ideal case dimensions. The Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 is priced at $2,195 and is limited to just 1,968 pieces. hamiltonwatch.com

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (56)
  • I want it! (21)
  • I love it! (21)
  • Interesting (15)
  • Classy (7)
  • Sheez Gagoo

    Nice

  • Framlucasse

    A well done revival, with a good price and an improved Valjoux with 60 hours power reserve, nice.
    A little too big IMO, 40mm would have been perfect.

    • Zane

      Good luck finding one for under 3 Grand.

    • Zane

      This guy was talking about buying the burden chronograph instead and my reply was for that NOT the current offering. You will not find the old chrono for under 3k

  • Mikita

    42 mm and 7750? Pass. I’d better go for the vintage version aka “Poor Man’s Heuer”.

    • egznyc

      Nothing wrong with a “poor man’s” Heuer, or anything else for that matter, if the quality is there. I suspect it is – though you may dislike the movement choice, size, brand, etc. and that is the end of your analysis. I don’t fault anyone for having their idiosyncrstic likes and dislikes! 😉

      • Mikita

        I only said why I like the vintage version better: it’s smaller and has more intetesting movement – in my opinion. So what? You like this version – go for it.

        • egznyc

          I like this version just fine (other than its thickness, as I suspect it will be a bit more than “around 14mm” – yes, blame the movement) – although I could use a “Poor Man’s” version. 😉 The pricing is fair but still on the high end (for me).

          • Mikita

            It’s the 7750 aka “Hockey Puck Maker” – so expect it to sit very high on the wrist.

  • Pete L

    Very cool retro. No problem with the size but i am quite a big lump and bigger suits me better.

  • HectorAsuipe

    For all that case size, it could have had a little personality to its shape. It’s just a big cylinder with sharp block lugs sticking out. Price is nice and the overall package with the extra power reserve is competitive. Definitely a viable option to a Speedmaster reduced.

  • Lode_Runner

    Not to echo everyone else, but a 42mm case is way too big for a “vintage-inspired” chrono piece like that. The original model from the 1960s had a 36mm case!

    Hamilton should take taken cues from everyone else making vintage-inspired chronographs these days, like the Tag Heuer Calibre 18 (38mm), the Zenith El Primero 1969 reissue (38mm), the newest Omega Speedmaster line (38mm), and the list goes on and on, to stop making these hockey-puck sized pieces. 40mm would have been better, but 38-39 would have been perfect given the large crystal.

  • Word Merchant

    If your budget doesn’t stretch to a Port Auto, then this isn’t a bad lookalike. But the Hamilton logo is too big and too cheap-looking, and personally, I wouldn’t want to go back to a Valjoux – I always found them as rough as a Kardashian first thing in the morning. Price a bit steep too.

    • Windawsinnit

      Which portofino looks like this guy please?

      • Word Merchant

        Portuguese.

        • Windawsinnit

          Which one? Surely you can give me a link/reference pointing me in the right direction. I’m looking for a new watch and IWC is on my list.

          • Word Merchant
          • Windawsinnit

            Very much as expected, bullshite meter was strong with this one hahaha. What else is new in your world? You wouldn’t buy a BMW because it’s a Mercedes lookalike (i.e. has 4 wheels, engine, chassis, steering wheel etc)?

  • Sevenmack

    Chronographs, in general, tend to be wider and thicker than other watches. Especially if they are mechanicals, especially when the movement is based of the Valjoux 7750. So the Hamilton is fine. Want something their? Pay more and get a Zenith El Primero.

    Additionally for casual watch buyers, 42mm is a standard size, and anything smaller would be unacceptable. Swatch Group and its Hamilton brand is a business and must cater to all customers, not just watch collectors with peculiar desires (compared to casual watch buyers).

    In any case, the Hamilton is quite appealing. The panda dial is legible for a chronograph and appealing. The domed crystal adds a touch of panache to the watch. I like it.

  • Phil leavell

    I think it’s a nice looking to watch and the price point is great. Any name brand other than Hamilton would probably be over 4000. Go price out and Omega built like this for me personally the size is good if you have a small wrist l imagine it’s to big. And I weren’t too many chronographs much smaller than this anyways they usually run around 40. The one thing I might do is change the color of the sweeping hand to read or raspberry to make it more visible

  • SuperStrapper

    I still find the watch attractive after a few looks. I don’t take any issue with the sizing. 40mm wouldn’t have been bad but 42mm is no crime and is very wearable: if 42 is a ‘deal breaker’ over 40 the hairs are being split quite fine. I’d like to know what the modification(s) are to the ubiquitous calibre to stretch the power reserve so notably. I assume something in the same vein as the powermatic movement, where the beat rate is lowered and the watch tuned to accommodate That, getting better mileage from the same tank of gas? I can’t say I’m in love with lowered Hz in an age when higher beats are the sign of improved accuracy and performance, but with a chronograph it would be difficult to tell with a smaller subsidiary seconds (until you activate the chronograph anyway: I can see the difference on the seconds hand of a powermatic movement).
    The monochromatic palette and style/markings all do a great job of promoting a vintage feel. I really appreciate the decision to not use red as a colour for the chronograph second hand, which would completely change this watch. I am confused, however, at the decision to use hospital white when the rest of the white details are more cream/ivory in his. Likely in order to provide a small measure of contrast to make reading the hand that much easier, but it end up looking like a missed communication: Rutegar in handsets and Shenaenae in dials were both told to use white, but they’re on different floors and didn’t consult with each other on what tint to employ. I don’t know if completely matching was the right answer either, and ibwonder what a highly polished metal chronograph seconds hand would look like. It would certainly match the case, and not interfere with the wan dial.

    All in I see a lot of value here, and while there will be some groans regarding the movement choice (myself included) the price is certainly a departure from many other 775x watches we’ve seen lately, especially considering the discounts that will be had at an AD (my local is always slashing at tissot and hamilton stickers , and are always eager to make strong deals for brands like this). I might go try one on.

    • Brent P.

      The beat rate is unchanged from the standard 7750 (28800). The increased powered reserve is due to a larger mainspring.

      • SuperStrapper

        Sauce?

  • BrJean

    Great looking chronograph! I especially like all-white chrono seconds hand; dial coloring is close to perfection.

  • BNABOD

    It looks nice, well made, the price is reasonable for once but honestly I would get bored with it. On the long run, the blandness for me will be its biggest fault. I get it though, it is meant to look a bit bland, retro chic kind of look and it achieves this but not for me, at least not as a keeper.

  • Zane

    I bought it thrbsecons I got the pre order email. I wear it more than anything else. It’s a killer watch and thanks to the angles tachy it deff doesn’t feel as big as a 42MM. The white hand jumps off the dial a very neat design choice. 10/10!!

  • Ron-W

    This is really good! Amongst the tsunami of small retro inspired faux patina watches finally ( next to Heuer Autavia cal02 42mm) a full size chrono for us Men, with only 2 registers and almost a long weekend overlay of power reserve, and applied markers AND a date! It`s great AND cheaper than the Zenith and Heuer..The chrono second hands stands out and is legible, much more so than a sliver one would.
    Now let`s hunt for a deal !

  • That is a really sharp-looking watch. Every element is nicely balanced, and this is one of the rare times a date window actually adds to the overall look. Every modern watch should be good to 100M too. Solid movement, with a most excellent power reserve update. Sapphire crystal, I assume? It’s funny to me how the pendulum has swung and now 42mm is considered “a tad large.”

  • Shinytoys

    a ton of watch for the money…reminds me of my original Heuer Autavia…nicely done Hamilton.

  • egznyc

    I love this dial! I have a thing for vintage/retro and it would be a nice addition to my small collection – and it feels particularly appropriate as I have their Intramatic from a few years back. No, they definitely don’t look anything alike, but spiritually … it’s also very significant to me that it comes with 100m WR. The 60 hours power reserve is another nice feature, although I’m not enamored with the base movement. I also suspect that – while I’m okay with 42mm (barely) – it’s more like 15-16 mm thick. Not a huge deal but makes it a little less versatile in general. And the price, while good for this package, is not the typical Hamilton value, but I get it: this is a limited edition. So might be hard to find this at the ADs (though it’s a little beyond what I can get away with price-wise).

  • Canadiandiverman

    Its about 30% more money than I thought it would be because of the solid caseback and simple movement. That being said I love it and I’m not even a chrono guy. I’ll be keeping an eye out for a second hand piece for someone with small wrists that decides its too big. No mention of the crystal and no side profile picture. If this crystal is flat, then I’m out.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I seem to be the odd one out here , but no matter. I don’t see it, Am all reto’ed out. I just think it’s Super boring™. Too much going on with the face and the back is just, well,…… the back and those pushers are sticking out like diggers ( leftie ). Folks must be bigger these days. If i had a 38mm on people would thing i was transitioning or something.

    • Sevenmack

      1) I get your point about vintage reissues and I am generally disdainful of them because I prefer fresh design. But in the case of this Hamilton, it is lovely enough to ignore my usual disdain.

      2) My wife, sister-in-law and sister prefer 38mm-plus watches. This doesn’t mean that you are “transitioning” into Caitlin Jenner status. It does mean that we all have our preferences.

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Phew ! , that’s a relief. Thanks

    • Super Boring you say? Faster than a negative comment. More powerful than a Clunk ™. Unable to leap over posts he does not like. Just fooling with ya Ray. Cheers. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/01d316ee662607fd9a006bb92a919afcb4c2c8c2d20a691e10c9de37d5d66c48.jpg

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Long gone are the days when a picture never lies !. I don’t look half bad ( even though i say it myself :)) )

  • IG

    Should be hand-wound.

  • DanW94

    Apparently 42mm is the new 46mm? I think 42mm is perfect here. I get people would like to see it closer to the 36mm it’s based on, keeping that vintage vibe intact, but I see no need for a slavish recreation. I think it’s well done and bravo on matching the date window to the dial.

    • Tony NW

      Part of the problem, Dan, is that 36mm was reasonably proportioned for many people back then, and still is for quite a few. 42mm is a bit large for my wrists, resulting in overhang.

      • DanW94

        Perfectly understandable. To each their own. I find 42mm to be my sweet spot for a chrono (Also wear up to a 45mm). A dress watch is a different story as I generally prefer 38-42mm.

        • Chaz

          40 and three-quarters and we have the unattainable horological “sweet spot”

          • DanW94

            I’ve heard whispers of the legendary but unseen Rolex Submariner that was machined incorrectly and comes in at 40.4871mm which according to celestial calculations is the absolute ideal sized watch for every man on the planet. Myth? I don’t think so…..

          • The log of 40.4871 is 1.607316670344546459404119031513 which is pretty much the ratio of a golden rectangle, so maybe there is something to this.

        • Lincolnshire Poacher

          I agree. I like my sport watches 40-45, with my sweet spot being 42. But I’ve got large flat wrists. But for dress, or dress-casual watches, I like 38. And certainly never bigger than 40.
          I’m really picky about this. I don’t agree that because I’ve got 19.5cm wrists small watches look disproportional. I’m perfectly happy wearing vintage dress watches that are 32mm.

  • otaking241

    Consensus seems to be that they really nailed the design here. I for one like how everything feels a bit “jumbo”–given the oversized chrono registers and how everything balances together it feels like an intentional design decision and not something unwillingly necessitated by the market. Yes, a thinner, hand-wound movement would have been killer, but 14mm on a 42mm watch doesn’t seem egregiously over-thick.

    I’d like to point out that Hamilton, unlike some much more expensive houses (see that BP Bathyscaphe from a few weeks ago), has figured out how to print clean text on textured surfaces. Kudos for that!

  • Simon_Hell

    “Reversed panda” is a bullshit term. No such thing. There’s panda, and there’s not panda, which is everything else that is not panda.

    If we as people accept this abomination, then polar pandas, no-eyes pandas and 90-degree-head-tilted pandas are just around a corner.

    • SuperStrapper

      You’re the only one using the term ‘reversed panda’. So agreed: bullshit.

    • SuperStrapper

      You’re the only one using the term ‘reversed panda’. So agreed: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/149c9af176c65d665e682fbebdc07270e1e5a5bf95cd4abfa6ce1515e451224e.jpg bullshit.

    • Sam Anderson

      It’s not like a ‘panda dial’ really looks like a Panda Bear, is it? I mean, where’s the nose??? Surely it’s just a convenient designation, a shorthand, so that people know what you’re speaking about. Same goes for a Rolex Hulk, or a Pepsi bezel, or a Seiko turtle…it’s shorthand.

      Did the term ‘reverse panda’ throw you into confusion: “Wait a minute, there’s no such things a REVERSE panda…you can’t reverse an animal!!!”?

      We all understand what a ‘reverse panda’ is and, therefore, the name does its job.

      • SuperStrapper

        That brings up a good point. Despite my preference for Coke over Pepsi, I bought a second hand Pepsi bezel skx just to see if I woukd like the look. Now, im still undecided on the look but having licked the bezel a few times I got absolutely no pepsi flavour whatsoever. Is this because it was previously ownd and therefore all the flavour was used up? And if yes, why can’t these brands develop a longer lasting flavour bezel. Such bullshit.

  • Chaz

    Enough “inspiration” from uninspiring sources

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  • Sam Anderson

    Like the watch. Small niggle: the squared ends on the sub-dial hands might have been better pointed.

  • Bruce

    Damn, wish this wasn’t a limited edition. Possibly my favorite and most anticipated release of the year. 42mm perfect, date window perfect, colorway perfect……….

    • Chaz

      Don’t worry…it’ll be regular production in short order with a glut of them at Hamilton ADs

      Just like the Pan Europes

      • egznyc

        Maybe … but there would have to be something – perhaps quite minor – different on the regular production model. And I wonder what that might be and how it would affect my enjoyment of the watch. But at least the price would drop!

  • Saddest Factory

    What’s going on with the 12 o’clock hour marker? Not criticizing, just wondering. I can’t really get a good look at it.

  • I have this watch and am absolutely over the moon with it. I was very concerned about its dimensions when I pre-ordered it as 42mm is my absolute maximum these days but the domed caseback helps it sink into the wrist quite a bit so the thickness isn’t so obvious as it might appear and the overall balance means it does wear smaller than it might seem. The thickness is in proportion to the diameter and is necessary because the movement is a 7753 so has a module on it that puts a subdial at the 3 which increases its depth by a couple of mm’s. The H31 movt also has an improved escapement for increased accuracy as well as the mainspring so it’s a substantial reworking of an already proven workhorse. It should be noted that the ’69 Chronomatic that this is also partly modelled on did in fact have a similarly styled date window in the same position so it’s inclusion here isn’t perhaps as much a detraction as it might be on the Heuer Autavia reissue.

    Hamilton did a superb job with this watch, and in particular the overall standard of finishing and small detail refinement is much better that I was expecting.

    • egznyc

      Thanks for your review ;-). What’s the story with the crystal – just a domed sapphire, or box crystal? How’s the lume?

      • Crystal is a simple domed sapphire. Lume is adequate for what there is. It is Super Luminova and is C1 white.

    • The 7753, like the 7750 is 7.90 mm thick (no module, all functions integrated).

      • My use of the word “module” was incorrect in this instance but I wasn’t referring to a Chrono module such as Dubuis Depraz, and yes of course the 7753 is fully integrated. However you are also correct in that the height is the same as the standard 7750 at 7.90mm and I stand corrected.

        Incidentally the automatic rotor adds only 0.9mm to the height. The fact that the 7750 series are a modular type movement and using a tilting pinion to drive the Chrono hand is what makes them thicker. The handwinding 7760 and 7765 are 7.0mm.

      • I’ve edited my original post to reflect my mistake.

  • Richard carroll

    At least 2mms wider than I would wear for this design. Pity, as its retro looks are spot on and the price is more than reasonable.

  • William Jones

    This is the counterpart to the GShock. This has nice design with so so technology.

  • Hannibal

    Beautiful! This Hamilton is a true piece of art and a watch that I will try to obtain ASAP!
    Kidding aside, Hamilton did a tremendous job by pairing the sheer functionality with very desirable retro-inspred design. I agree that, perhaps, it should be smaller for 1mm or even three, but nevertheless – this is the one of the best retro-chic watches on the market right now! Add to that very cool and interesting movement (based on 7753m which was awesome by itself…) and you have a clear winner!

  • JCRV

    Great looking watch. I have no problems with the size, but I am wondering a bit about the thickness. The IWC Portugieser Chrono also uses a 7750 and is 12.3mm thick.
    I have looked at the Jazzmaster Portugieser lookalike in the past and found it to chunky. I’m very happy I kept putting pennies aside for the real thing. (Although in this case I wouldn’t be comparing it to what I actually want)

    • As I said in my earlier post the domed caseback helps it sink into wrist and a large part of that thickness isn’t visible because of that. I was also concerned when I ordered it but as soon as I got it all my size fears evaporated (well not all but that’s getting personal!!).

  • 4tens

    Love the throw back… what Hamilton does best!
    Question the longevity of the non protectived pushers. Those will be bumped.
    Worth the risk though.

  • Max

    I love the look of this watch other than the huge pushers. I just think wearing it with that size case and the extended pushers would ultimately cause me to admire this watch in my case rather than on the wrist.

  • Andrew Hughes

    Great review Kenny. I particularly like the larger crown without guards… This one is a looker.

  • benjameshodges

    With such a round case and thin lugs, 40mm would seem too dainty.

  • Ulysses31

    A lot of people get tired of vintage watches but a lot of them are just really lovely designs that stand the test of time. This is a good example. Lacking excessive ostentation, ugly and strange dashes of colour and having clear, precise readable dials is exactly the kind of thing I desire in a watch that costs a large but reasonable chunk of change.

  • Azhigaliyev Maksat

    Wow, lovely! wish it only had an open caseback, but anyway it looks nice! Wish the price was around 1.200$-1.500$, than it would be a must buy!

    • Windawsinnit

      How accurate is yours?