It is our mission - nay, our purpose at analog/shift to bring you some of the most exceptional timepieces in the vintage market. And with that comes some of the most unusual. Just sourced from a fellow collector, check out this supremely rare and ultra-cool Hamilton chrono-matic chronograph!
Aside from it being a cool blue automatic chronograph made by one of the oldest names in American watchmaking, what makes it so special, you ask? Hamilton, in collaboration with Breitling, helped fund the development of one of the world's first automatic chronograph movements with industry heavyweight Heuer in the late 1960s. Culminating in a simultaneous release of the Chrono-Matic movement across the three brands in 1969, Hamilton was able to latch on to the excitement in the market that the movement created, and saw limited success with a few of their own models.
This is particularly noteworthy for Hamilton, because in the late 1960s the American watchmaking giant wasn't doing all that well. Pressure from high end Swiss manufactures had ramped up continually in the post-war years, and the once dominant company from Pennsylvania was loosing its footing on its own turf. Collaborating with Heuer during this time gave the brand a solid - albeit brief - moment in the sun before ultimately being bought up by a major Swiss conglomerate.
Also important is the movement itself. The earliest automatic chronograph movements produced by Heuer were first execution Calibre 11s, made famous in the Autavia and Monaco models most notably. Heuers with the "chrono-matic" script on the dial can fetch tremendous dollars at auction, as they quickly abandoned the shared branding after the development was complete. Both Hamilton and Breitling hung on to it for longer. These early movements were quite frankly riddled with problems, and finding one that isn't a basketcase today is a rarity. Servicing them can also be incredibly difficult, and there are only a handful of qualified watchmakers in the country who can bring one back to life.
This particular example, in fantastic shape when purchased by its prior owner, needed a full mechanical overhaul and was performed at great expense by one such master watchmaker here on the East Coast. A cleaning and restoration of the original hands was also completed, giving this 40+ year old watch a new life, and readying it for use well into the future. You will be hard pressed to ever find such a clean and fully functioning Chrono-Matic Hamilton again...so if you're a fan of the obscure and exceptionally cool, don't miss it!
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