One of the inspirations for the watch we have here is the 1970 Hamilton Chrono-Matic. The replica Hamilton, however, has never really lost sight of its sporty American heritage. The brand has kept on making easy-to-wear watches like the Khaki Field, Pan Europe, and Railroad over the years, albeit sometimes going a little overboard too. While some brands have one or two hits in the archive, the fake Hamilton is fortunate to still have a number of great options from the past to draw on when designing new models, and the Intra-Matic 68 AutoChrono is a great and typical example.
As you can see at 1970s Hamilton Chrono-Matic which was the first point for the watch we have here today. To be a little more accurate, it was the so-called Chronograph B variant, a 1978 automatic chronograph with the reverse panda dial configuration. It’s got everything you’d want from a chronograph of that era – a high-contrast dial, a bold tachymeter scale, and a sporty but elegant 37mm case – making it the best starting point for something new. These are timeless design traits, not historical relics.
The typical reverse panda dial color scheme makes this watch striking from the start.
The Intra-Matic 68 AutoChrono’s case is 42mm across and 14.7mm thick. When I first saw the spec sheet on this one, I was ready to give it a hard pass on those numbers alone. It’s significant with watches like this to keep in mind that this is a totally modern replica watch with some vintage inspiration, not a straight vintage re-issue, and for a lot of modern consumers that size is going to be just suitable.
Beyond the basic measurements, Hamilton did a really perfect job nailing the vintage details on the dial. The snailing inside the cream-colored sub-dials is really subtle, and all the dial markings are as crisp as can be. I particularly like the contrast between the tachymeter track, with its black-on-cream colors, and the minutes/seconds track, which is white on black.
It’s a big workhorse chronograph movement, but not one with fancy decoration that you need to see through a sapphire window. Decorating the movement would just raise cost, and this watch’s price is a big part of the overall package. Second, a sapphire caseback would further enlarge the thickness, something that would hurt the wearability of the replica watches in a real way. The less flashy option really is much better at times.
On the wrist, I enjoyed the Intra-Matic 68 more than I thought I would. I hoped it to be too thick, and a little too wide for my small wrist, but it was actually rather comfortable once the strap wore in a bit. Yeah, it’s a thick watch – there’s no way around that – but the lugs have the right arch to them and I got used to the size quickly. It’s easy to mistake this for an actual vintage watch from a far distance, with the muted dial colors and faithful styling going a long way there. The watch is bold and extremely legible, just as a real-deal racing chronograph should be.