DCVW presents a fine example of the legendary 1970s Hamilton Chrono-Matic Fountainebleau, presented on a Clockwork Synergy leather strap. Uniquely, this is a one-owner watch - whose previous owner bought it new in NYC - and it comes with its original manual!
In March 1969, next to Willy Breitling and Jack Heuer, was Robert Kocher, vice-president of Hamilton International – this legendary team created the famed Calibre 11 automatic chronograph movement. Three Chrono-Matic watches were proposed by Hamilton at the time of this launch: two with a classical round case (one with blue dial, one with panda dial) and one chronograph with a distinctive case: the Fontainebleau, named after a collection of automatic watches started by Hamilton in 1968.
The Fontainebleau’s panda dial and matching date disc are rather attractive, but, as noted, the position of the crown and the "Chrono-Matic" name gives away the historical importance of this watch. Indeed, these indicate this Hamilton houses one of the very first automatic chronograph calibers ever made, the Calibe 11. Back in the late 1960s, this movement was indeed a contender with the Seiko 6139 and the Zenith El Primero for the title of first automatic chronograph, and was developed by a consortium of manufactures including nothing less than Heuer, Breitling, and Hamilton. They chose a modular construction, resulting in a noticeable thickness (the case measures 14mm) and the quite unique placement for the winding crown.
To learn more about the amazing history behind the Calibre 11 – one of the very first automatic chronographs – check out “Project 99” on the amazing OnTheDash website.
This Hamilton Chrono-matic also comes with a leather ZULU, Pelican case, and spring bar tool.
Early 1970s Hamilton Chrono-Matic Fontainebleau
DIAL: Brushed silver and black “panda” dial with long luminous inlaid-blued slightly-striated silver hands, with date at 6 o’clock position functioning as designed. Dial features a black outer surround with part luminous silver markers, and double register recording minutes and hours.
CASE: Three-piece “square-chambered” – with strong links to Heuer’s Monaco – which measures 47mm (w/o crown, 48mm with) x 41mm stainless-steel unpolished case in pre-loved condition; matching original caseback. The Fontainebleau case was an original Hamilton creation, patented in 1968 by Ulrich Nydegger.
CRYSTAL: Unblemished square-domed crystal.
BAND: New Clockwork Synergy black leather strap, from their premium line, with cream-colored accent stitching, which nicely matches the patina on the lume.
MOVEMENT: 17-jewel Calibre 11 automatic movement, with its distinctive micro-rotor and left-sided crown.
CROWN: Original Hamilton-signed stainless steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH: Chronograph pushers depress with satisfying click, no stick. All chronograph hands snap back and reset to zero with no issue.