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Affordable Vintage: Hamilton Valjoux 7730 Chronographs

Affordable Vintage: Hamilton Valjoux 7730 Chronographs

These vintage Swiss-made chronographs from a celebrated American brand combine extraordinary looks and quality mechanics at a moderate price.

2013 denoted the 50th commemoration of the Heuer Carrera, a notorious dashing chronograph from an exemplary Swiss brand. Albeit the Carrera’s looks have never truly become unpopular, commemoration festivities over time have revived collectors’ interest in early forms of the watch, and record costs are being paid for the best models. While it very well may be difficult for the normal gatherer to legitimize spending a month’s pay or more on a unique Heuer Carrera, the intriguing subtleties of the watch business in the last part of the ’60s and early ’70s make it workable for authorities on practically any financial plan to manage the cost of a Heuer-made chronograph…with another brand’s name on it. Today, we’ll take a gander at a couple of such watches from American watch company Hamilton.


In 1966, Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster, PA bought the Swiss watch company Buren. For the following three years, Hamilton and Buren shared their American and Swiss processing plants, components, and advancements to make some incredible watches. Along with a group of brands including Heuer, Breitling, and Dubois-Depraz, Hamilton-Buren made the acclaimed Caliber 11 movement, the primary programmed chronograph (and the heartbeat of the Hamilton Chronomatic, which we’ll feature in a future article).

In 1969, Hamilton chose to shut everything down in Lancaster and move their whole watchmaking exertion to Buren’s offices in Switzerland. From 1969 until 1972, all Hamilton watches were made in Switzerland by Buren and its accomplices, which is the way the watches we’re taking a gander at today – Hamilton watches made in Switzerland by Heuer – came to be.

Heuer, while making the absolute best and most well known dashing chronographs of the 1960s under their own name, delivered and gathered looks for various different brands, including Hamilton, Clebar, Zodiac, and Tradition. These Heuer-made, other-marked watches were for the most part 2-or 3-register chronographs on the whole white/silver, all black, or a combination of the two. For Hamilton alone, Heuer delivered in any event six varieties of chronographs during this time: black-on-white and white-on-black dial adaptations of Valjoux 7730, 7732, and 7736 controlled watches. Today we’ll show you a couple of the 7730 variation, which is ostensibly the most exemplary looking of the lot.


Like the Heuer Carreras that they copy, these Hamilton chronographs are wealthy in 1960s hustling chronograph custom. They feature 2-register balance dials with marginally recessed subdials. The left subdial tallies the running seconds, and the privilege subdial is a 30-minute chronograph counter. The enormous focus seconds hand stays fixed until the chronograph is locked in, at that point tallies the stopwatch seconds. The 10:00-2:00 and 4:00-8:00 hour marks are applied steel bars with tritium-covered finishes. The record style hour and moment hands feature tritium filled areas also, initially giving these watches great meaningfulness in the dark.

The external part of the dial contains a graduated tachymeter ring, intended to help in on-the-fly computations of speed or distance voyaged. The case is a truly comfortable 36mm across, barring the crown and pushers, and about 12mm tall – making these looks as effortlessly worn under the sleeve of a dress shirt as over the sleeve of a hustling fire suit. The subdial and pusher design gives these watches amazing vertical evenness and makes them a flat out joy to look at.


The Valjoux 7730 movement pushing the hands in this pair is one of the more uncommon movements, compared to other Valjoux types. At the point when Valjoux purchased the faltering movement make Venus during the 1960s, they acquired responsibility for; incredible chronograph advancements, including the cam/switch framework utilized in the Venus type 188 movement. Valjoux rapidly rebranded the Venus 188 as the Valjoux 7730 and created around 175,000 duplicates of the movement from 1966 until 1973. (Meanwhile, they presented the overhauled and updated Valjoux 7733, which fueled the Hamilton military chronographs we showed you here , and a considerable lot of the extraordinary 2-register chronographs of the 1970s). The 7730 is hand-twisted, ticks at a pace of 18,000 beats each hour, and has a force hold of as long as 45 hours. Like other Valjoux 773x movements, this one isn’t particularly tranquil, and its ticking gives you a consistent, amicable update that it’s down there on your wrist.


As Heuer Carreras have seen an increment in notoriety and value this commemoration year, these Hamiltons and other supposed “Poor Man’s Carreras” have been pulled up alongside them. Since they offer the looks and nature of the Heuers at fundamentally less expense, authorities have paid heed and made them harder to get your hands on than only a few years prior. As of late as a year ago, genuine models could be discovered online at closeout and on watch discussions selling for around $350 – a genuine take for this type of watch.

Prices are presently somewhat nearer to mirroring the real worth, and most models are selling for somewhere in the range of $500 and $750, contingent upon condition. Variants featuring the Valjoux 7732 (which adds a date window at the 6:00 position) and the Valjoux 7736 (a 3-register chronograph with 12-hour subdial at 6:00) convey a slight premium, and have been selling somewhere in the range of $650 and $1000 in most cases.

With exemplary looks, American brand legacy, and Heuer quality development, these watches should keep on holding their incentive as authorities search for more moderate options in contrast to the 1960s Carreras.

You can see more instances of these and other “Poor Man’s Heuers” here at On the Dash . More data about the Valjoux 7730 is accessible here at Ranfft Watches .

written and captured by Brandon Cripps