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Thanks for visiting my vintage Hamilton watch blog. I like to restore US-made Hamilton wrist watches back to their original glory and share my experiences with other enthusiasts. Use the "Search" space below if you know what model you're looking for. Feel free to leave polite comments or questions in the spaces provided. Also check out my "watches for sale" on my Etsy site - the link is on the right, just below.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

1964 Galen

The number of watches in Hamilton's lineup seemed to increase every year starting in the 1960's.  Between the Thin-o-matics, Accumatics, Electrics, Thinlines, and the variety of high end US-made models with 770 movements (et al), there was a huge variety of models at every price point.

One of the entry level models with a Swiss-made ├ębauche movement was the 1964 Galen.  I was produced for four years.  Many of the entry level models came only on a bracelet, matched to the design of the case.  The Galen is a good example of the practice.


The Galen features bold dauphine-style hands and textured seconds register.  Being the embossed dial is a Hamilton 686 movement.

I recently picked up a Galen project watch but the bracelet has been lost to time.   There's a little spotting to the dial and the watch could use a thorough cleaning but it looked like a promising project.


The stainless steel case back is engraved with the name of the probable original owner.  I always find engraved watches to be very interesting.  They make me wonder about who the owner was and where this watch went.  I especially like watches with an obvious sentiment as part of the presentation.  The presentation is pretty basic... maybe it was a service award for a work anniversary.


The movement is shiny but it's also very dirty.  A thorough cleaning is definitely in order.


Everything is cleaned and dried.  Time for reassembly.


The movement is now back to running order.  The balance motion looks good so it's off to the timer to find out for sure.


Well, the beat error of 8.1ms is way too high.  The amplitude is under 200 degrees too.  I'll run this through the demagnetizer and make sure it's fully wound.


It's still a bit noisy inside but the amplitude has increased.  I'll reclean the hairspring and see what that difference that makes.


Still a bit noisy... I don't see anything obvious so maybe the noise is pallet fork related.  I'll reclean the hairspring and the pallet fork and see what different that makes.


Alright... getting a clean signal, now I just need to adjust the beat error.  That's easy to do on this movement as the hair spring stud is adjustable.


You can see the two lines slowly get closer together as I tweak the hair spring stud.  The final position is under the 0.2ms on the display.  I'll leave the watch running a smidgen fast - as it will slow a little after a while.


The finished project turned out well.  The dial spotting is obvious but it isn't too bad.  This is a radial finished dial and the textured seconds register might make this a difficult dial to get redone correctly.  So I'll leave it as is.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

1951 Bailey

The early 1950's was a little like the 1940's and even though new models were introduced, they seemed to echo the prior models quite a bit.  That all changed in 1954 with the introduction of automatics and larger models.  However, the first years of the 1950's was very traditional.

Take for example the 1951 Bailey.  I was produced for only two years.


The Bailey looks a lot like several different prior models, for example the 1948 Forbes, but there are plenty of others.  A lot of times you need to look closely at the dial to narrow down what model it is.  For example, is the dial all numerals, numerals and markers, or markers and dots.

The Bailey has a 14K gold filled case, that's a good identification clue to - as other models have 10K gold filled cases.

The 14K gold filled cases with 14/0 movements got the 19 jewel 982 movement.  10K gold filled models got the 17 jewel 980 movement.  Solid gold models got the 982M movement.

The dial on the Bailey is sterling silver with a white finish.  The dial features 18K solid gold numerals and dots.

I haven't seen too many Baileys in the wild but that doesn't mean it's rare.  I did happen upon one recently though and it look ed like it would be a good project.  It arrived with a vintage strap that was well worn.  I have no idea if it's original or not.


The case back is unengraved and doesn't show too much wear.  The crystal is all beat up but the rest seems like all it needs is a good cleaning.


The dial looks very nice too and appears to be original.


Hamilton did a nice job decoratively engraving their movements.  That's a sure mark of quality considering the only people who would ever see this side of the movement would be watchmakers.  The watch is ticking.  That's always a good sign.


Identifying the model is a breeze thanks to the name being stamped into the case back.  That's not always the case (pardon the pun) but it's definitely helpful.


A new white alloy mainspring is ready to be inserted into the barrel.


There are three challenges to installing a mainspring.  First, you have to make sure you wind it in the right direction.  Next, you need to install it in the barrel and get the little tab on the T-end of the spring to catch in the tiny hole in the barrel.  Finally you need to get the arbor back into center of the spring and not lose it in the process - as it has a tendency to fly off if you're not super careful.


I'll also prep a new glass crystal for installation after the case gets out of the ultrasonic.


Everything is cleaned and dried and ready for reassembly.


The movement is now ticking away.  The motion looks pretty good so it's off to the timer.


Well, the amplitude is good, there's a little noise but the beat error of 9.7ms is way too high.


My first attempt to reduce the beat error is basically a best-guess at which direction to adjust the hairspring.  I lowered it to 5.8ms but getting below 3.0 is my objective and the closer to zero the better.


Well, that'll do.  It doesn't get much better than this.


Installing the dial and hands is a breeze compared to overhauling the movement.  Reassembling it all into the freshly polished case with a new crystal, this watch is looking great, even with it's old strap.


Old straps are interesting but I personally find them to be a little on the nasty side too.  They can't be cleaned as well as an old bracelet.  So I've outfitted this watch with a fresh Hamilton-branded strap.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

1956 Halesworth B

1955 was significant year for Hamilton's US production, the US made movements with shock jewels were introduced.  The 22 jewel 770 replaced the 12/0 sized movements and the 730 and 735 replaced the 8/0 sized 747 and 748 grades, respectively ... or so you'd think.  There were a few models where the 770 replaced the 8/0 sized 747.

Hamilton's model years were like automobiles... the next years models typically showed up toward the end of the prior year.  So in 1956 there were a lot of B models where the the 770 replaced the 747.  When a model got a new movement that wasn't the same shape as the prior movement, it became a B model.  So 1956 has a lot of B models.  One of them was the Halesworth B.

The original Halesworth was introduced in 1955 and produced for single year.  It has a 17 jewel 747 movement inside.

In 1956 the Halesworth received the new 770 movement and was dubbed the Halesworth B.  From the outside the two versions are identical.  The Halesworth B was made for two years.


The Halesworth has a 10K yellow gold filled case with a butler finished sterling silver dial.  The dial features solid 18K gold markers and dots.  If you find a round 8/0 sized movement inside, its a Halesworth.  If it has the squarish-shaped 770 inside, it's a Halesworth B.  Although the dials look identical, the dial feet are not in the same places so the dials are not interchangeable.

I don't think you tend to see Halesworth models very often.  I happened upon one recently and it was the first one I've ever seen.  As received, it was in decent enough shape and looked like it would be a good project watch candidate.  Only the crown seemed out of place.


The 10K gold filled case back is substantial.  In fact, the watch is really large by vintage watch standards.


I'm not really sure if this crown is an Omega crown or a Coach crown... one thing is for sure, it's not a Hamilton crown.


The 770 is in good shape but way overdue for a cleaning.  I think this watch was on the wrist of a barber - as it was full of what appeared to be hair clippings... yuck.


You can tell from the outline of the movement that this case is way larger than the movement.  The case back is clearly marked Halesworth B.  It's equally clear that it's been to a watchmaker at least once in the last 60 years based on the service mark inside.


While everything is being cleaned I'll prep a new glass crystal for installation.  I use UV glue for glass crystals and it's a nice bright and sunny day today - so it's a good day for gluing in crystals.


All the parts are cleaned and dried, time for reassembly.


The movement is reassembled and ticking away nicely, it's off to the timer.


Nothing too shabby with this performance.


This project watch turned out great.  The lug width is 19mm so my largest 18mm strap is just barely wide enough.  I'll need to get a better replacement for it.


It looks a lot better with a Hamilton crown too!