Hamilton Chronomatic

Hamilton Chronomatic

In 1969, as the Soviets and the Americans raced to put a man on the moon, watch brands raced to develop the first automatic chronograph movement. On one side was Zenith and Movado, who'd already made a name for themselves as producers of fine chronographs. On the other side was Hamilton, in concert with Heuer, Breitling, Dupois-Dupraz, and new Hamilton acquisition, Buren. 

Hamilton had bought Buren in 1966. They developed watches out of both Buren's factory in Switzerland and Hamilton's factory in Lancaster, PA, but closed up the shop in Lancaster in 1969. This allowed Hamilton to concentrate on the collaboration with Heuer, et al, which they dubbed "Project 99."  

Project 99 utilized Buren's "Intra-Matic" micro-rotor in the development of their automatic chronograph movement. The "Intra-Matic" was revolutionary in that it eliminated the external oscillating weight found in most automatic movements, instead integrating it into the body of the movement, and was integral to the construction of the automatic chronograph movement that soon was dubbed the "Chrono-Matic." The "Chrono-Matic" (or Caliber 11) debuted in March of 1969, ahead of the Movado/Zenith movement, El Primero. 

This was a particularly noteworthy achievement 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 losing its footing on its own turf. The collaboration with Heuer and the others during this time gave the brand a solid - albeit brief - moment in the sun before it was ultimately acquired by a major Swiss conglomerate, SSIH, in 1971.

Heuer used the name "Chrono-Matic" for their earliest automatic chronographs, and examples with that branding can fetch tremendous dollars at auction, as they quickly abandoned the shared branding in favor of their own "Caliber 11" moniker shortly after the development was complete. Both Hamilton and Breitling hung on to it for longer.

These early movements were quite frankly riddled with problems, prompting Heuer to develop the Cal. 12, which involved a complete re-design of the gear train, escapement, and balance wheel.  Servicing these Caliber 11 movements can also be incredibly difficult, so we're happy to report that this one has been fully overhauled and is ready for years of trouble-free wear.

You will be hard pressed to 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!

To learn more about the development of the Caliber 11 movement, check out this article.  


Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Hamilton Ref. 11002-3, Chrono-Matic self-winding movement. Circa 1970s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition, with only light signs of wear and use in keeping with its age, including some light tool marks on the bezel and the side of the case near the pushers. Dial is in very good condition with no major signs of discoloration and only slight scratches near the chronograph register at 9 o'clock. Luminescent material on the hour plots has aged to an even patina that is matched on the hands. Signed crown; signed case back.

Includes one 18mm moss-green suede strap and two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle

SKU: TT01031

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