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, June 27, 2020

1965 A-202 maybe?

One thing I like about collecting vintage Hamiltons is when I get pitched a curve ball.  It doesn't happen too often but it's always a nice change of pace, especially after documenting over 700 different models!

There's one model that always makes me scratch my head - the Accumatic A-652.  It was introduced in 1962 and made into the 1970s.  The 6 in 652 means it has a 10K RGP case.  The 5 means it has a stainless steel back.  The 2 implies it was the second Accumatic with a 10K RGP case and stainless back.

What makes the A-652 interesting is I've found it numerous times without a stainless steel back.  Is it still an A-652 if its just a 10K RGP case?  I would say, yes.

How about if it was in a solid 14K yellow gold case?  Hmm...

Well, that's what my project watch appears to be.  It looks like a well-worn A-652 with a solid 14K case.


Here's an A-652 on it's original bracelet to compare it to.  In general the dial is the same.  The shape of the lugs is very similar but not exactly the same.


The back of the single-piece case is clearly marked Hamilton and 14K Gold.  D&A is the name of the case maker.


The first solid gold Accumatic came out in 1962 but only one, the A-200, was introduced.  The other few solid Accumatics weren't released until 1968.  Prior to 1968, Accumatics came mostly in stainless steel or 10K rolled gold plate.  There are only a handful of solid gold Accumatics and one of them is the 1968 Accumatic A-203.  The case on my project watch looks very similar to an A-203, don't you think?

The crown on my project watch is worn out and ready for replacement.


The seal on the crown has also separated so replacing the crown is definitely a good idea.


There are two numbers inside the case.  The V44xx number is a unique serial number for this watch.  The other number is the model number.  It ends in 65... that implies this model is a 1965 model.  In 1968 the A-201, A-201B, A-203, A-205 and A-206 were introduced.  There is no A-202 or 204... since the A-202 would conceivably come before the A-203 and the A-203 came out in 1968, maybe my project watch is an A-202?


It's also possible it's an Awards Division watch or possibly an M-series model.

The Awards Division marketed Hamilton watches for presentation by companies and organizations.  They were separate models from the regular line.  The premise being that award recipients wouldn't find their "award" in their local jewelry store.  Often an Awards Division model will say "Masterpiece" on the dial.

M-series models are typically uncatalogued.  The conventional wisdom is they were models sold through a large retail chain.  The best way to identify an M-series model is they came in a red clam shell box like this 1963 M100-4.


Of course, it's also possible that at some point over the past 50+ years the dial was changed.  Without original paperwork it's really difficult to say.

Inside the case is a 17 jewel 689A movement, the typical Accumatic caliber.


The finish on the dial is a bit crazed so I really don't want to try to clean it since there's a big probability I could lose the printing or make the dial look a lot worse.


Everything gets taken apart and thoroughly cleaned.


A new crown will make it much easier to wind by hand and less likely for moisture to sneak inside.


The escape wheel is missing a pivot and will need to be replaced.  It's hard to see in the photo but the pinion-end should have a pivot to ride in the jewel on the train bridge.


With a replacement escape wheel installed, the reassembled movement is ticking away with a nice motion.  The timer will tell me how well it's running.  You really can't adjust a watch with a stop watch.  A timegrapher is an absolute necessity.


It's running a little slow but the beat error of 8.3ms is way to high.  Fortunately it's easy to adjust on this movement.


A few tweaks to the position of the hairspring stud centers the balance and reduced the beat error to 0.1ms.  That means the balance swings equally from side to side.


With the beat error out of the way, I can tweak the regulator pins and speed the watch up.  +8 seconds per day is a good place to leave it for now.


My merciless light tent makes this watch look worse than it really is.  It actually looks way nicer in real life.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

1969 Dateline S-Something

I recently found an uncatalogued model, which is always fun to find.  Based on some detective sleuthing I'm very confident it's a legitimate model, so I'll walk you through my thought process.

As received it was a little dirty and the crystal was crazed with fine cracks internally.  The 12 and 6 markers are larger rectangles and have the numbers on them.


Here's a better shot of the crazing.  This crystal will need to be replaced but it's the wrong style so it would have been replaced anyway.


The number on the case back is 985369.  This would tell me that it's a 1969 model.  The catalog available on line is a 1968/69 version so it wouldn't have a 1969-released model.  Based on the online forums, this is the first 985369 to be found.  I didn't take a photo of the inside of the case back but it has the proper Hamilton Watch Co Lancaster PA markings and a unique serial number for this watch.


Inside the case is a 17 jewel 674 movement.  This manual wind version of the automatic 694 is used in the Dateline S series.  There are a handful of S-models and I suspect this is one of the last ones.


All of the parts are disassembled and ultrasonically cleaned.


The reassembled movement is ticking away with good motion.  Let's see what the timer has to say.


It's running a little fast and the beat error of 2.3ms is on the high side.  Both are very easy to adjust.  The amplitude of 193 degrees is a little low.  I'd prefer to see it well over 200 but I haven't wound this watch up all the way.


First I'll adjust the beat error by moving the location of the hairspring stud on the balance cock.  It doesn't get better than 0.0 - that means the balance swings equally from one side to the other.


Now I can lower the beat rate by adjusting the regulator pins relative to the hair spring stud.


Winding the watch up more fully, the amplitude increased to an acceptable 234 degrees.


Putting the hands back on requires advancing the time until the date changes.  Then it's midnight and the hands can be position accordingly.  Notice I replaced the lume on the hands so they will glow in the dark again.


This mystery Dateline S-something turned out great.  With a proper crystal it really looks fantastic and it runs as good as it looks!


Sunday, May 10, 2020

1955 Lloyd

Happy Mother's Day.

If you're a mom, I hope you had a nice day.  If you're not, I hope you've helped make a mom's day nice.

Mother's day always reminds me of the childrens' picture book "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch.  It's a very touching story with the refrain...

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be"

If you haven't read it, or heard it, do a little googling and you should be able to find it.

My watch for this post is a really interesting and rare find.  It's a one year wonder from 1955 called the Lloyd.

The Hamilton Lloyd came in a 10K yellow gold filled case and it features an interesting case design with flourished dimples in the corners of the bezel.  It came paired on it's own bracelet or on a strap.  I have to say, with the bracelet it's not the most appealing watch, at least to my eye.   It's no 1954 Kenmore, which is arguably the ugliest watch in Hamilton's line up but on the a strap, I think the Lloyd is actually a sharp-looking model.  

Other's must have thought the Lloyd was nice looking too, as it was reissued a few years ago by today's Hamilton as a chronograph.


I found my project watch on Instagram from a fellow collector who was selling it.  I was really happy to get is since I think it's only the second time I've seen a Lloyd online and I've never seen one in person.

As received, it was in very nice shape.  The only thing it appears to need is a fresh crystal, this one has a small chip in the corner and on the side.


The back of the case is a little dirty but otherwise unremarkable.


The sterling silver dial features solid 18K numerals.  This one appears to be original and shows a few age spots but nothing too distracting.


The movement inside is a 22 jewel 770.  Being a 1955 model, I wouldn't have been surprised to see 753 movement inside, as the 770 came out in 1955.  This one may look bright and shiny but you can tell by the grime around the winding wheel that it's been a while since this movement was last cleaned.


The inside of the case back clearly identifies the name of the model.  That's not always the situation but it happens a bit in the 1950s.


Everything gets completely disassembled and cleaned before being reassembled with fresh lubricants.


The reassembled movement is ticking away with good motion, let's see what the timer thinks of it.


Hmm... things look pretty good but the beat error of 2.9ms is just below my upper spec of 3.0ms.  The beat error is a measure of how far the balance swings to one side versus the other.  If the balance swings equally from side to side the beat error would be zero.  Adjusting the beat error on this style movement requires removing the balance from the balance cock and adjusting the position of the hairspring on the balance staff.  Adjusting the beat error is a roll of the dice... you might make it better but you might also goof up the hairspring.  Hmm... what to do?  Although 2.9ms is within "my specs", I'd feel a little guilty if I didn't try to improve it.


There... 1.1ms is much better.  It's not perfect but it's not worth tempting fate by trying to lower it further.  Now I can tweak the regulator and speed it up a smidgen.


My finished watch looks a little brighter than what I started with but it wasn't too bad to begin with.  The Lloyd is actually a nice sized watch by vintage standards and is about 28mm wide, without the crown.  I'm sure it will look even better once I replace the crystal.