Introducing the Chrono-Matic 50, Another Hit From Hamilton’s Archives

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Hamilton’s newest chrono is a big, brash, and colorful tribute to one of their earliest automatic chronographs, the Chrono-Matic GMT Count-Down, otherwise know as the Chronomatic E. That watch, a combination chronograph/GMT, is now an extremely sought after collector’s piece as it represents a somewhat rare modular iteration of the historic Caliber 11, a movement credited as the first automatic chronograph movement and made in a partnership between Heuer, Hamilton, Breitling, and Buren. While this new watch, dubbed the Chrono-Matic 50, ditches the GMT complication of the original, it absolutely nails the ’70s sports watch vibe, while also displaying a distinct and modern flavor. Let’s dig in.


Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black with white subdials and red highlights 
  • Dimensions: 48.5 x 51.5mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire 
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters 
  • Crown: Push/pull 
  • Movement: H-31 Automatic 
  • Strap/bracelet: Black strap with holes and red inlay 
  • Price: $2,595
  • Reference Number: H51616731
  • Expected Release: Late November

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At first look, the dial of the Chrono-Matic 50 has a busy, almost Navitimer-esque quality to it, but if you take your time and look at it closely, it’s actually quite logically laid out and its use of color goes a long way in helping the wearer identify quite a bit with a passing glance. The dominant design element on the dial is probably the rotating countdown timer in white and black, with dramatic red accents all around. It’s controlled by a crown on the left case flank, and is a design holdover from the original timepiece. (The other crown on the left hand side of the case is a quickset date changer, and of course the traditional chrono pushers and crown hold down the right side.) Radial brushing on the top of the case is traditional for a watch of this shape, and certainly lends a tool like appearance to the Chrono-Matic 50.

The Chronomatic E’s outer bezel was fitted with a city ring to make use of that watch’s GMT function. It’s been replaced here with a tachymeter scale, which along with the red accents, chrono functionality, and a black rally strap that ships with the watch (again, with red accents), really plays up the racing and sporting elements of the design. The red chrono pushers are a great touch as well, giving the whole package a very instrument-like feel. And though the red highlights are certainly in line with the ’70s original, I think there’s something sleek and modern about the way they’re employed here. The tones here are maybe a shade darker than they would be in a vintage watch, lending the Chrono-Matic 50 a sleekness that belies its large size.

Hamilton has really excelled over the last several years in the department of cultivating a strong vintage inspired catalog, picking and choosing many of their most interesting vintage pieces to riff on. Whether they’re in the sports watch category, as the Chrono-Matic 50 certainly is, or dressier, or inspired by their military issued watches, they have a way of nailing the sometimes elusive “spirit” of a watch without making a strict carbon copy. The Chrono-Matic 50 is very much a reinterpretation of a collector’s favorite (as opposed to a stone cold classic) but it’s also very much it’s own thing, and can exist without that historical connection. Hamilton

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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