Hamilton is making a new version of their famous Insta-Matic chronograph, with a reverse “panda dial,” this year, although despite the name, it combines elements of the later Chrono-Matic as well as the original Intra-Matic.
At the top is a 1970s Chrono-Matic, aka “Caliber 11,” with a panda dial. Photo by Chris Clark.
The original Intra-Matic, from 1968, is powered by a hand-wound movement, and features a 36 mm case, with the crown on the right. Its predecessor, the Chronomatic, from 1969 and later, is powered by an automatic movement, and has a 37 mm case, with the crown on the left. Both come in panda dial and reverse panda dial variants.
36 mm Intra-Matic Chronograph B 1968 (left) vs. 42 mm Intra-Matic 68 2017 (right) Photo by Mentawatches
At Baselworld 2017, Hamilton will officially unveil the new Insta-Matic 68 – a vintage-inspired, self-winding Valjoux 7753-powered chronograph, housed in a 42 mm diameter steel case.
Even though we are talking about modern versus vintage – relatively speaking – 42 mm is large. Not to mention, the dial looks like the designer pressed zoom a few too many times on the screen when copying the old design.
Frankly, every single person I have talked to about the Insta-Matic with thinks that 39-40 mm would have been the ideal case size. Which makes me believe the watch was designed predominantly with costs and sales in mind as opposed to actually asking consumers what they want. Then again, the Hamilton of today is all about the masses – not the collector types who prize the vintage models – so I guess it should come as no surprise.
Nevertheless, 42 mm is just too big for this watch. And that is not to say that every homage piece should be a literal translation of the past, it is more about creating something that shows good taste, like the piece it is trying to emulate.
The 2017 Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 (Ref. H38716731) will retail for $2195 and be limited to 1968 pieces.