Since its founding in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892, Hamilton has been a major force in the world of watches. Back then and through the first half of the 20th century there was a major watch production industry in the United States and Hamilton was one of the driving forces of that industry. Early in their history, Hamilton focused on producing pocket watches and wristwatches for the railroad industry and then during the world wars produced watches for the US military and its allies. Their field watches and marine chronometers produced during this era are cherished by collectors to this day. After the war they switched focus back to civilian products and introduced one of the first electronic watches, the Ventura series, that was made famous by Elvis Presley. By this time in the 1960’s, Switzerland was becoming the epicenter for the watch industry and Hamilton moved their production to Switzerland in 1969. Shortly after that the company came under the control of SSIH (later to be known as the Swatch group) and continues to make watches under the Hamilton brand to this day.
The Chronograph B, along with the Chronograph A, was the first wrist chronograph models to wear the Hamilton name. We would have used the word produced, but in fact, these watches were made by Heuer for Hamilton. A common occurrence at that time. Introduced to the public in 1968, this watch was produced with two dial variants. The variant seen here is the ‘B’ variant that was offered with a reverse panda dial (black with white subdials), but there was also the ‘A’ variant which was a traditional panda dial (white with black subdials). While both models were introduced simultaneously in 1968, the A variant was only produced between 68 and 69. The B variant was produced up until 1971. This model became the inspiration for the Hamilton Intra-Matic 68 AutoChrono which was produced in a limited run of 1968 watches in 2017 and then in other non-limited forms after that with minor changes.
This particular example is in great condition and comes on its original bracelet that can be seen in advertisements from the time (see photo below). The owner of this watch was given the watch from a friend who he met flying in and out of the Hidden River airstrip in Florida, where the owner used the watch for various timing purposes while doing recreational flights. After many years of treasured ownership and use, he feels as though it is time to part with the watch.
The Case and Bracelet
The 36mm stainless steel case is in very good condition. The case has scratches throughout commensurate with its age and use, but the case has not been over-polished (or possible ever polished) and retains its beautiful simple lines. All parts, including the bracelet, signed caseback, signed crown, pushers and crystal are correct and thought to be original to the watch.
The Dial and Hands
The reverse panda dial is in excellent condition. There are some white flecks of dust that have accumulated over the years but all of the printing remains crisp. The tritium lume on the hands and dial has aged evenly to a beautiful caramel color and is full and intact in all locations. The handset is correct and through to be original.
This watch features a manually wound, 17 jewel, Hamilton calibre 643, which is just a signed Valjoux 7730. The watch is running well and was recently serviced according to the seller.
|Movement||Manual, Valjoux 7733|
|Dial||Reverse Panda (Black with White Subdials)|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|