Hamilton 9379 Chronograph – never heard of it!
The Chrono Duo like chronographs. The Chrono Duo also likes Hamilton watches. We particularly like early 90’s Hamilton chronographs like this interesting 9379 Military Chrono. Finally we absolutely love spider dials, like this one!
Hamilton was famous (some would say infamous!) for having many different model references, case sizes, dial colours and other variations of its major watches in the 1980’s and 90’s. They also succumbed to the Quartz movement for the majority of their watches too; just like everybody else! This Hamilton 9379 bucked this trend and sticks resolutely to the classic format of chronographs from an earlier age.
So, some more details about this crazed little cracker…
Spider dial? What’s a Spider dial?
Spider dials usually occur when a gloss black dial’s lacquer starts to crack, giving a crazed or “Spiders Web” pattern to the face. Some Rolex models from the mid 1980’s are well known for their spider dials and quite often command a higher price because of it! Nobody really knows why it happens; but it is presumed to be a combination of sunlight, temperature and moisture changes affecting the gloss lacquer on the face. The cracks are only in the lacquer, they don’t go all the way through to the face itself. Sometimes you can see it when the light catches the face and at other times it’s barely noticeable. Yes, it’s an imperfection, but it is a prized imperfection as it makes this watch unique and is proof that the face is original! If a “Spider Dial” watch is on your hit-list, then this is a much cheaper option than a Rolex or Omega with the same “imperfection”!
The lume on the sword style hands and the “five minute” markers on the face is bearing up well; check out the photos, to see what we mean. It’s interesting to note that the cracks to the lacquer do not “crack” the ink’s used to print the face; the cracks go under the ink and lume.
The layout of the dial is quite unusual too, with moving “Seconds” at 9, the Chronographs “30 Minutes” dial at 12 and the Chronograph “Hours” at 6. The Chronograph “Seconds” are displayed using the centre seconds hand. Finally, both the Day and Date are clearly displayed in Black against a White background at 3; a nice highlight to what is a predominantly Black watch.
The case and what looks to be the original domed crystal are in good condition for a watch that’s over 30 years old. That said, there are the inevitable bumps and scratches that any watch endures in normal day to day life, but overall it’s in a good state and most importantly is running well with all the functions working and resetting as they should.
Surrounding the face is a fixed tachymeter bezel, again in black with a steel surround. This is so very reminiscent of the Omega Speedmaster bezel, it’s uncanny. The outer ring of the bezel has been “flat-spotted” at 9 from being set down on a table over many many years. If you look at the bezel between 80-85 in the photographs, you can just about see it. Just lovely!
The case measures 38mm excluding the crown, which makes for an easy and comfortable wearing experience. The bezel measures 40 mm; creating a wonderful overhang to the case itself and makes the watch appear larger than it is. It shrouds the crown and pushers making them look integrated too. So, spot on trend – not too big and not too small.
It has the Hamilton “Jet-Age” “H” signed crown as it should, with round pump pushers for the chronograph set into the polished stainless steel case. The case has another of our favourite features – drilled lugs – so much easier to change straps! The lug width at 20mm gives you lots of options too.
This Hamilton is powered by the venerable automatic Valjoux 7750. Some people get very superior when talking about this movement saying it’s nothing compared to a Zenith El Primero or Omega 321 movement. They might be right – but just check the difference in price. And some say that this Hamilton’s predecessor; the Hamilton Chrono-Matic, is deserving of its nickname of “The Poor Man’s Heuer”. The movement was reliable, it was economical to make and served a purpose. During the quartz crisis it was just what the wider industry in Switzerland needed and by the 1990s, it was the go-to movement that helped mechanical timepieces get back on their feet. It was made in its hundreds of thousands, so we know it works! This one is signed Hamilton Watch Co, 17 jewels.
The case back has minor swirl marks as you would expect, but there are no major gouge marks from tools slipping. The engraving to it’s centre is still deep and legible.
It comes on a nice black leather strap which is worn but in good order.
This chronograph will never be the centrepiece of your collection. It’s not that special to claim that place. But there’s no reason it can’t fulfill a place within a collection as an affordable, everyday, “only just vintage”, solid reliable and comfortable watch you could wear day in day out.
And then there’s that spider dial…..
If a spider dialled watch needs to be in your collection; this has to be one of the cheaper ways to obtain one!