Hamilton Chronograph Tropical Panda Dial
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
From its beginnings in 1892, Hamilton has excelled at making good watches cheaply--inexpensively, that is, not cheaply made. Their chronographs from the 1960s and 70s are perhaps the perfect examples of this ability. From the Chronomatic to the Pan-Europ, Hamilton proves that you can still have a solid case and a reliable Swiss movement at a much better bargain than some of the other guys.
In the 1960s, Heuer was the chronograph brand. Formula 1 drivers favored its chronographs, most notably the Carrera, Autavia, and Camaro. But since these watches were the favorites of the pros, they often had a price tag to match the pros' salaries. This gave rise to the so-called “Poor Man’s Heuer,” which resembled Heuers (and, in some cases, were even made by Heuer under contract for other brands). Many of those brands had names lost to history--like Clebar and LeJour--while others endure to the present day, like Hamilton.
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. In 1966, Hamilton purchased Swiss company Buren, and operated out of both Hamilton's headquarters in Lancaster, PA and Buren's former factory in Switzerland. But in 1969, finding it too costly to maintain both facilities, Hamilton closed up the shop in Lancaster and moved entirely to Switzerland, in order to concentrate on "Project 99"--the collaboration with Heuer, Breitling, and Dubois-Depraz to produce an automatic chronograph movement, the Caliber 11.
However, despite the economic hardships that engendered the move to Switzerland, it did result in a fruitful relationship with Heuer. Along with producing watches for Clebar and LeJour, Heuer produced no fewer than six different chronograph models for Hamilton, all powered by reliable Valjoux drivetrains.
Outwardly, this chronograph shares a number of design elements with the earliest version of the Heuer Carrera; a trim 36mm steel case with sharp lugs, barrel pushers, and a symmetric two register dial configuration. Of particular delight, this example features a panda dial with warm tropical patina, a signed case back, box, papers and even its original signed crown--a definite rarity!
Internally, this piece features the robust Valjoux 7730 manual-winding chronograph movement, a workhorse unit used widely by many brands in the 60s and 70s. With values on early Carreras reaching new heights as of late, the value proposition for "Poor Man's" versions continues to gain strength. But aside from all of that--aside from the connection to Heuer, the motorsports pedigree, and the ever-increasing value of vintage sporting chronographs--this is an outright stunning timepiece with an excellent movement, one you can wear with pride, regardless of the cost.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Hamilton Chronograph Tropical Panda Dial