Hamilton Basel Preview 2017: the Brand Revives an Icon

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For the past several years, Hamilton has been inviting watch press to a preview of their Basel novelties right here in New York City. It is a fun way to kick off the approaching release season, which begins in earnest later this month with SIHH. Yesterday, we visited with the Hamilton team at the Ace Hotel to see a sample of what the w&w-favorite has brewing for 2017.

The Hamilton Chrono-matic alongside the new Hamilton Intramatic 68, but more on this one later.


First up is the Ventura series, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Hamilton has expanded the line to include a handful of new SKUs, among them a series of PVD and gold-plated watches, another with a 3D-printed “denim” dial, and the Ventura Elvis Skeleton—an homage paying tribute to The King himself. The latter is mechanical (with quartz powering the rest of the Ventura releases), and it’s driven by the automatic 80-hour H-10-S movement that can be seen through the skeletonized dial.

The Ventura Elvis Skeleton has a movement visible through the dial.

Khaki Air Race

Furthermore, Hamilton is doubling down on its commitment to its participation in the Red Bull Air Race, of which it is now the official timekeeper. To celebrate the partnership, Hamilton is releasing a new model dubbed the Khaki Air Race, a pilot-inspired, time-only watch with a sandwich dial—available in two distinct colorways.

The silver-dialed version is the official watch of the Red Bull Air Race.

Khaki Navy Scuba

Last year, Hamilton made a splash with its reissue of the Frogman dive watch series, recalling its ‘40s-era divers famously worn in the 1951 film, “Frogmen.” Coming in both 46mm and 42mm, the Frogman release was a hugely popular one for Hamilton.

For 2017, the brand is expanding its catalog of diver watches with the Khaki Navy Scuba series, a small collection of robust, 40mm divers pulling aesthetically from the Khaki collection. Despite its name, the Khaki Navy Scuba is rated to only 100 meters, a fact that some might take umbrage against. The new Hamilton Khaki Scuba is competitively priced at $700, and will come on a nylon slip-through or a stainless steel bracelet.

The Hamilton Khaki Scuba on a bracelet.

Now, on to the two standouts of the preview.

ODC X-03

One of the biggest on-hand novelties—and I mean that in the fullest extent of the word—was the Hamilton ODC X-03. First unveiled in late 2016, the ODC X-03 is the brainchild of Nathan Crowley, an Oscar-nominated production designer who worked on Christopher Nolan’s time-bending space epic, Interstellar. Hamilton, of course, has a longstanding tradition of working with Hollywood, with its watches having made appearances in numerous films over the past six decades. The ODC X-03 is actually the third in a series of watches–the first two being the X-01 and X-02–paying homage to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (which Hamilton contributed back in 1968 to with a watch faithfully recreated by the ODC X-01).

hamilton_preview_19The PVD-coated titanium case measures 49mm x 52mm, and contains within it one of Hamilton’s most complex constructions to date. Underneath the sapphire crystal are three distinct sub-dials, all of which are anchored by a photorealistic, 3D-printed Jupiter. (Why Jupiter? It’s a nod to the plot of the film, with Jupiter being the point of origin of the monolith that  spurs the crew of the spaceship Discovery One to investigate.) The sub-dial at three is powered by an ETA 2671 automatic caliber, with the other two powered by individual ETA 901.001 quartz movements. This way you can track three independent time zones–sure, via a somewhat gimmicky execution, but practicality is not the name of the game here.

There are no protruding crowns. Instead, the three crowns, which are fluted bars that can be popped out, sit flush within the case.

The ODC X-03 is a great accomplishment from Hamilton, and despite its likely limited appeal, it’s a damn cool watch. It is limited to 999 pieces and will retail for $3,500.

Intramatic 68

The standout of the preview is, without a doubt, the Hamilton Intramatic 68. We first heard whispers that Hamilton was working on a Chrono-matic homage early last year, but the information wasn’t for public consumption at the time. Nevertheless, that tease left us very excited to see what Hamilton would come up with.

The Intramatic 68 features a reverse-panda color scheme, with a black base and off-white accents and sub-dials at three and nine.

The resulting watch is an amalgam of several Hamilton chronograph references from the late ‘60s, among them the aforementioned Chrono-matic, as well as the Chronograph B, released in ’68 (hence, the name). At 42mm, however, the Intramatic is scaled up to a decidedly modern size, one that dwarfs its historical counterparts. There are no two ways about it—it’s a big watch, and given the thin bezel, it feels even bigger on the wrist. I can’t help but feel like 40mm would have been a sweet spot for Hamilton, appeasing both those yearning for a more faithfully-sized reissue and the general trends of the non-enthusiast market, which generally skews toward bigger watches.

The Intramatic 68 on a 7-inch wrist. It’s big, but it wears well.

Despite the upsize, the Intramatic 68 is an incredibly attractive watch. The reverse-panda chronograph layout (with the dramatic, oversized sub-dials!), the date wheel at six, and the long pushers play off the watch’s vintage references really well, and all the elements feel balanced within the larger case. If the size isn’t a deal breaker, then you won’t be disappointed with this one.

The Intramatic 68 features Hamilton’s H-31 automatic chronograph caliber with a 60-hour power reserve. It is limited to 1,968 units and will retail for $2,195.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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