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, September 11, 2021

A Tale of Two Geneves (732009-5)

 A recently received a couple of project watches that I haven't seen before.  Both are Hamilton Geneve models.  I suspect they are from the 1970s but they are also possibly not US market models.  I thought they would make an interesting blog post.

The first one looks a little like a Brock or a Brockton as it has a classic tank-style case.  The crystal is poorly fitted but if I take careful measurements I could likely get a decent-fitting replacement.  The bracelet is a one-size-fits-all model with spring loaded ends and you can see it's eating into the bezel lugs.

The case back is stainless steel and the indicated the front bezel is 10K rolled gold plate.

The dial is roughly trimmed on the corners... what's up with that?  The markers at 1, 5, 7, and 11 also look like they have been filed on the outer edges.  

Behind the dial is a round 17 jewel 732 movement.  Just by looking at it I would guess it's an ETA design of some sort.  It's very small, about the size of a nickel, maybe even a penny.

What the...?  The case back says Wittnauer and is for a differently shaped movement (also ETA, I bet).  This is definitely not an authentic model.  This is what some folks would call a Franken - as in Frankenstein - or a watch made up of different parts.  Sometimes it's also called a mule - part this model and part that.  Personally, I would call it a donor movement - as it's not worth working on it any longer.

Moving on to watch number two... it's also a Hamilton Geneve.  I wonder what tricks it has in store for me?

The crown on the side is a "stone crown" with a blue stone set into it.  Based on that I would wager that this is a lady's model although by 1940's standards it could be a large mens' model.  Of course, based on the styling it's definitely not a 1940's model.

The case back has recesses for the strap spring bars.  The engraving says "gold electroplated bezel" so this is most likely a 1970s or possibly 1980s model.  That would be my guess, anyway.  I don't really know for sure.  What I do know is the model number is 732009-5.

The watch has the same caliber inside, a 17 jewel 732 movement.  That's good.  If I run into any problems I can use the other one for a replacement part.

The inside of the case back say Hamilton Watch Co Swiss - so this is definitely a 1970s or later model.  However, it's also a legit model and worth restoring.  Notice the shape of the movement recess - it's round, just the way it should be.

This movement is so small, it's a challenge to work on and I completely forgot to take photos of the process. But, here it is, all reassembled and ticking away with good motion.

A couple of minor tweaks brings everything right in line.  This watch has a 21,600 BPH beat rate.  That's 6 beats per second rather than the typical 5 beats per second that pre-1969 models would have.

The bezel takes a 14mm strap and I only have one - a hot pink alligator and I think it looks pretty cool with such a bold, pin-stripe lady's model.  Something in white, light blue, possibly even black would probably be more appealing to most people.  But in this case, as Henry Ford would say, you can have any strap you want, as long as it's pink.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

1962 Sea Scape II

If you see a manual-winding Hamilton watch with a 10K RGP case you stand a good chance of guessing it's a "Sea Something".  There are a bunch of models, starting in 1957, with "sea" in its name and the trend continued well into the 1970s with 10 or more models per year named sea-something.

One of the models you don't see very often is the 1962 Sea Scape II.  It was offered for only two years.  The dial looks very similar to a few other models but the sweep second hand is a unique feature.  For example, this watch looks a lot like a 1960 First Mate.

The Sea Scape II came with a white dial or with a grey dial.  Tucked behind the dial is a 17 jewel Swiss-made 678 movement made by ETA.

I've had my project watch waiting it's turn in a long queue of other projects but it's number finally came up for a trip to the spa.  My example has the grey dial and this is the only example of this watch I have seen.

Somewhere in it's past life a new crystal was installed and it was a terrible choice.  It's thicker than the actual watch.  Maybe they wanted to make sure the sweep second hand would clear?  It has room for six or seven other hands too!

If you are unfamiliar with the 678 you are not alone.  I believe this is the first time I've come across this caliber.  I think it was quickly replaced by the 688, which it looks very much like.  The main difference, to my eye, is the 678 has a fixed hairspring stud on the balance cock.

With the balance removed, you can see the 678 is based on an ETA 2391.

The case is properly marked with Hamilton Watch Co. and was made by Queens.  You don't see Queens very often in Hamilton watches but there are a few.

The movement gets completely stripped and thoroughly cleaned before being reassembled with fresh lubricants.

The movement is back together and running with a nice motion.  Now to see what the timer thinks of it.

It took a slight tweak or two to get the beat rate inline but everything looks great now.

A proper crystal will be a nice improvement to the watch.  I usually use GS PHD crystals for round watches with sweep second hands as long as a reflector ring isn't called for.

The new crystal looks much more appropriate.  I added a nicer crown as well.

The completed watch looks great.  I relumed the hands as well.  There is a little toning on the dial from the radium previously on the hands.  If the hands stay in the same spot for years and years, they can burn the dial.  The radium is gone now so there's no longer a concern.  The dial has a few spots here and there but most people do too once they reach 60 years old.

The Sea Scape II is a nice watch but it's a bit of a sleeper ... it looks like any other garden variety model.  However, it actually is a pretty unique model with a rare Hamilton caliber tucked inside.  This is the only Hamilton model I've come across with a 678.

Friday, July 2, 2021

1964 Dateline A-577

 It has been hot-hot-hot in Virginia.  My new workshop may have a window but it's not air conditioned.  So it's been a while since I've had a good opportunity to work on a watch or two. 

Today was a very nice day and I had some time off so I was able to get to a new project for the blog.  It's a 1964 Dateline A-577.  The A stands for Accumatic.  It's a little surprising after 15 years of collecting Hamiltons this is the firs Dateline A-577 that I've come across.  This model was introduced in 1964 and made through 1972.  So you'd think it would be pretty common.

Eight years later, the price of the Dateline A-577 increased from $75 on a bracelet to $79.95.  Inflation adjusted, that's about $515 in today's dollars.  That's actually not too far off from what a modern Hamilton Khaki Automatic might sell for today.

My project watch arrived in pretty nice shape.  The crystal is a bit beat up but stainless steel cases usually hold up very well.

Looking at the case back, it's clear this is a one piece case and the watch opens through the crystal.

I'll try to polish the crystal but once they are this scratched up it's hard to polish them to be clear again.

All of the Dateline A-models have a 17 jewel 694 or 694A movement, unless they have a caliber 64 inside which is the same thing but has 4 additional jewels in the automatic framework. 

Looking at the inside of the case, it's clear from the other watchmakers' marks that I'm not the first to peek inside this watch.   There are two numbers inside.  The one with the P is the serial number unique to this case.  The other number ends in 64 and that implies this model was introduced it that year.

Once the dial and hands are removed you can see the various parts that drive the date complication.  There's a small spring under the cover on the left side by the 7 that you need to be very careful with - or it will disappear, never to be seen again.  Ask me how I know... haha.

The movement gets completely taken apart and cleaned.  That little spring I mentioned is the U-shaped part at the top of the picture.  When it's time to put that part back in place I will drape a clear plastic drop cloth over my head so if it flies off, it will be confined to the area under the cloth.

The partially reassembled movement is back to running order.

Looking at the timer, it's not running too poorly.  This movement is so easy to adjust though that I can dial it in even better.

There...  the beat error is essentially zero, it's running a smidgen fast but it will settle down.  The amplitude is a little low but it's not fully wound yet.

My finished photo looks almost the same as my starting photo - except the crystal is perfect (I replaced it).  I polished the case a little too.  So this watch is now ready for another 50 years of use and enjoyment.