Welcome


Greetings!

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.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Alarm

One of the really interesting complications a watch can have is an alarm.  Hamilton's first alarm watch was introduced in 1957 and called the Chanticleer.  The model was produced through 1959.


The Chanticleer is a popular model and always sells for a good price.  It has two small windows to indicate if the the alarm is on and another to indicate if the watch is wound.

Then in 1971 Hamilton introduced four different Alarm models, cleverly named the A, B, C and D.  They are also very popular and are also hard to come by.


Although the Chanticleer and the Alarm A-D models had alarm complications, they didn't use the same movements.

The Chanticleer used a variant of the Vulcain 120 branded as the Hamilton 642.  The 1970's models used a Venus 231 branded the Hamilton 675.

I haven't personally landed a Hamilton alarm yet and I've been reluctant to take on any one else's, less I goof it up and not be able to replace it.

Fortunately, a friend of mine made me an offer I could not refuse.  He had recently been to Russia and picked up a Poljot Soviet-made for minimal expense (less than $25 as I recall).  So if I screwed it up he wouldn't be too upset with me.


What made the offer even more enticing is he was able to pick up two.  So if I really goofed up and lost a part or something, I might still be able to scavenge together one.


I figured since I haven't done a Hamilton alarm yet, it would still be interesting to see what makes one tick - pun intended.  It turns out, the movement in the Poljot is a little similar to the Venus 231, but not exactly.  The movement inside is a Poljot 2612.1.

I decided to work on the rougher of the two watches, just in case something happened.  The back of the case has a pie pan cover with a screw-on ring.  It also has a thick layer of communist funk.


The inside of the back cover has an anvil that the alarm hammer smacks against.  It's offset so you can rotate it adjust the force of the clatter is makes.


The movement inside an 18 jewel grade and if you look closely you may notice there are two mainspring ratchet wheels.  The smaller one is for the alarm and the larger one powers the movement.


The watch has two stems, one for the movement and one for the alarm.  They are not the same.  The one on top is the movement stem.


There are four hands on the dial, the extra one with the arrow tip is the alarm hand and when the hour hand aligns with it the alarm will go off.  There are two ways of keeping the alarm from going off... one is to let the alarm mainspring unwind and the other is to pull the alarm crown out and "hack" the alarm mechanism.


About a third of the back is used by the alarm power train.  My tweezers are pointing to the hammer that rapidly swings back and forth when the alarm is activated.  My first task will be to make sure both mainsprings are relieved so there's no power left in either gear train.


Once the hands are removed, there are two dial foot screws on the side of the movement that will release the dial.


This doesn't look too complicated... ha ha!  I see four different springs under the various bridges so I will need to be very careful not to lose any of these parts.


Turning my attention to the back, the first part that I will remove is the balance and the pallet fork.  That will get them safely out of the way and also make sure the power is gone from the mainspring.


Interestingly there is a shim under the balance cock.


Three screws hold the train bridge in place and once they're removed the gear train is revealed.


Next I'll remove the barrel bridge so I can get the mainspring barrel out.


Removing the center wheel bridge allows access to the center wheel.  So now those parts can be removed.


Two final screws hold the alarm barrel bridge in place.  Once they're removed the bridge can be removed and the alarm train can be removed.


Everything gets thoroughly cleaned and dried.  I think I still have all the parts - so that's helpful too.


Putting it back together occurs in a few phases.  First I'll get the movement running again.  Looks like its running now - off to the timer.


Not too shabby... I will tweak it again later.


Apparently I forgot to take a photo of the alarm train being reassembled but it's not that difficult.   After that I flipped the movement dial side-up so I could reassemble all the other bits and pieces.  Everything is now lubricated and ready for the dial to go back on.


I've never reassembled an alarm before so I wasn't really sure how to put the hands back on.  I figured I'd set the alarm hand to midnight and then set the time forward until the alarm goes off.  Then I'd know it's midnight and the alarm works.

The alarm hand is secured to a wheel that is outside of the hour wheel.  Then the hour hand goes on the hour wheel and the minute hand goes on the cannon pinion.  All the hands need to be parallel to each other so they don't rub on one another.  Finally, the second hand goes on the pivot of the 4th wheel that protrudes through the center of the cannon pinion.


Success!  The watch works just as it should.  The crystal on the watch is acrylic and thoroughly crazed so it will need to be replaced but I'm excited to have successfully fixed the worse of the two project watches that my friend entrusted to me.  Hopefully the second one will go even more smoothly than this one.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

1965 Thinline 4007

I'm approaching my 700th blog post - I think I've done around 680 different models so far.  If I'm going to make it to the 1000 or so mechanical men's models then I'm going to have to track down a whole slew of Thinlines, as there are almost 100 of them and half are solid gold models.

It's going to be a while but I can mark another off the list, it's a 1965 Thinline 4007.  It was produced though 1967.


The Thinline 4007 came in a 10K yellow gold filled case and what's also interesting about it is it has a yellow dial, although you can't really tell from the catalog depiction.  It's also unique in that it doesn't have a second hand.

My project watch is in excellent condition and came complete with it's original bracelet - that's always fun to see.  There are a couple of light scratches on the crystal but they should polish out without much difficulty.


The movement inside is a Hamilton 687A grade, also known as a caliber 55 and it's based on the Aurore 4200.  It looks great but that doesn't mean it doesn't need fresh oil inside.


Everything is cleaned and dried.  The best thing about these Thinline movements is they almost reassemble themselves.  The arbors on the train wheels are so short that once you have the pinions set in the manipulate, the train bridge almost always drops right into place without any fidgeting or fussing.  Of course, you can still goof up the hairspring or lose something if you're not careful.


Voila!  The movement is back together and ticking away with good motion.  Now it's off to the timer.


Well, that's not too bad at all.  The amplitude is a little low (but not bad).  I haven't fully wound the watch yet since there is no crown on the stem.  I just turned the ratchet wheel a couple of times to get the movement energized a little so the balance would move when it was in place.


A quick tweak to the hairspring stud on the regulator and the beat error is brought to zero.


Looking inside the case, there are two numbers.  The top one is a unique serial number for this watch and the lower one is the product number for the Thinline 4007.  Notice it ends with 65 - that's the first year of production for the model.


Even my merciless light tent can't find a flaw with this beautiful Thinline 4007.  It is showroom-new looking and runs as great as it looks.  It's definitely read for some wrist time.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

And the winner is....

Thanks to the generosity of 41 donors, we have, collectively, raised over $3,000 for the NAWCC For All Time Endowment and Capital Campaign!  Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who participated.

Although I didn't reach my stretch goal of $5,000, I originally started the campaign with the hope that I'd raise $1,000 - so I'm delighted to have exceeded my original objective by a factor of three.

I got my start in the hobby of horology thanks to the generosity of others and I know many folks  have gotten their starts thanks, in some part, to me and my HamiltonChronicles.com blog.

One of the ways that I have learned is through the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC).  This year the NAWCC is celebrating it's 75th jubilee and I wanted to see if I could raise a combined contribution through the generosity of my blog's fans.

The NAWCC is a resource for all - and it exists solely by the generosity of enthusiasts like you and me.  Hopefully it will continue to support watch and clock collectors for generations to come.

I've been a member of the NAWCC for almost 10 years.  I joined originally because as a member you can borrow books from their extensive library and that was a great way to borrow Rene Rondeau's original reference book (it's been out of print for a long time).  The NAWCC  museum in Columbia, PA is awesome too... and it's a wonderful way to spend a super-hot afternoon (like it is today).

As part of the campaign, I offered every donor a chance to win a 1913 Hamilton 972 Pocket Watch that I restored earlier in June.  In fact, every $25 donation was an opportunity to win - so there were over 120 chances entered to win - pretty good odds, I think.


Well, it's now July 1st, the campaign is over and it is time to select the lucky winner of this wonderful time piece.

To make the process completely random, I entered every donor into a spreadsheet with each row representing a chance to win.  Then I entered random numbers in each row.  Finally I sorted the rows three times, with each time creating a new random number for each row.  The name in the top row at the conclusion of the third sorting would be the winner.

And the winner is Tom Eanes!

Thanks again to everyone who participated.  If you'd still like to contribute, the campaign is currently active but the raffle is complete.

https://www.gofundme.com/friends-of-hamilton-chronicles

I plan on going to the NAWCC Jubilee Celebration in Columbia on July 18th - maybe I'll see you there!