Along with the Hamilton x Schott NYC piece we reviewed last week, we had another watch arrive on the review desk from Hamilton. This one was a bit of a departure from the norm for me (I’m normally not one to gravitate towards 48mm chronographs) but there was something about the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 that just intrigued me.
Of all things, what struck me the most about the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 was it’s crystal. For being as thick/boxed as it is, this is undeniably one of the clearest, cleanest, glare-free crystals that I have experience on a watch – period. Whatever the angle, whatever the lighting (short of sunlight blasting down on it), it was almost as if the crystal was not even there. Big props to the brand on the design (and coating) on this crystal, as it allows you to focus in on that dial.
The designers need some further recognition for just how balanced they made the design of the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 as well. On the dial, of course, you’ve got the bi-compax layout, but they’ve even managed to balance the chronograph pushers. This is done via the pusher at 10 o’clock (which is used to advance the date, and then the crown at 8 o’clock which you can use to adjust the internal bezel (which itself is for countdown purposes).
So, yeah – design-wise, there was a lot for me to like with the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50. Now, there’s no denying that the 48mm case is big, and you do have large expanses of brushed steel going down from the dial to the lugs, which angle things down. This helps the strap hold things in place (and I do like the red accents in that strap picking up the dial), which you will want cinched up tight. At 16mm thick, this is a watch that will rotate around your wrist if you give it a chance.
As a daily wearer, the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 was an able companion. I fiddled with the chronograph a bit (need to have those sweet clicks and resets that a mechanical chronograph movement will give you) and adjust the countdown bezel (once), but I mostly relied on it (wait for it) to read the time and date. Then again, that’s just me. Even though the handset is narrow, I didn’t have any problems picking up the time (credit that crystal and the flat black dial), and the date was readable. Though the date display was a bit on the smaller side, the use of the red numerals actually helped it to stand out for legibility.
So, the question is – is the Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50 for you? Well, if it is, you’ll be part of a small club, as only 1,972 of these are being made. Given that it’s a limited-edition, and that it’s a Swiss-powered mechanical chronograph, you won’t be surprised to hear that the price tag if $2,545. If you’re looking for a bold (read: large) mechanical chrono with design roots in the 70s, then yeah, I’d say this is for you. For anyone else, well, maybe not. It’s a lovely watch, and well-executed; just be sure of what it is you’re looking for in your next acquisition. hamiltonwatch.com
- Brand & Model: Hamilton Chrono-Matic 50
- Price: $2,545
- Who’s it for? You dig the 70s designs for watches, and want a big chronograph
- Would I wear it? While it was fun for the loan, it’s not one I’d wear regularly, no
- What I’d change: You know, I wouldn’t mind some sort of cyclops (perhaps dial-mounted) on the date display
- The best thing about it: The crystal (specifically) and the overall design (in general)
Tech Specs from Hamilton
- Limited edition: 1,972 pieces
- Movement: H-31 automatic
- Case: 48mm (diameter) x 16.05mm thick; stainless steel
- Lugs: 22mm
- WR: 100m