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Thursday, January 24, 2013

1960 Sea Breeze

Made for only one year, the Hamilton Sea Breeze was introduced in 1960.

The Sea Breeze came in a 10K RGP case with a stainless steel back.  The dial is a linen-textured dial with embossed numerals and markers.

Behind the dial is a 17 jewel Swiss-made 671 movement.

I recently overhauled a Sea Breeze for a friend so I can show you how it went.  As received it was in really nice shape but not running.

The 671 movement is accessed from the rear, so once the back cover is popped off the watch is ready to come out.

The first step is to remove the stem and crown.  The stem is held in place by the set lever.  The set lever is held by the set lever screw.  The set lever screw is usually the screw closest to the where the stem enters the movement.  It draws in the set lever towards the stem so that when you pull the crown out you can move the watch into the "set" position.  If you loosen the set lever screw a couple of turns the lever moves away from the stem - and then when you pull the stem it will come out.

If you find your stem comes out of your watch when you try to set the time, it's likely the set lever screw has come loose.

Here's the stem and crown, now removed from the watch.  When I flip over the watch the movement will drop right out.

This watch has a movement ring that goes around the movement and helps to hold it securely in the case.  It just pops off.

With the movement safely secured in a movement holder, the next step is to remove the hands.  Interestingly, once I pulled the second hand the watch started working.  Apparently it was binding and stopped the watch.

With the hands off, the dial is the next thing to go.  Two dial foot screws located on the side of the movement hold the dial on.  Loosen them and the dial comes right off.

Here's the back of the dial showing the dial feet and the dial washer to the right.  The dial washer goes between the hour wheel and the dial.

While the movement is dial-side up, the hour wheel, cannon pinion and the other setting parts can be removed.

That's all for now...  on to the backside.

Before any parts are removed from the back, the mainspring tension needs to be let off.  That's super-important.  Since the watch was running, it will stop when the tension is relieved.  Then the barrel bridge can be removed to give access to the mainspring barrel.

Take the mainspring barrel out and the next part to go is the train bridge.

In this watch the train bridge covers the fourth wheel (drives the second hand), third wheel and the escape wheel.  With the bridge removed the third and fourth wheels can come out.

Under those wheels is another bridge that just supports the center wheel.  It has to come out to get final access to the escape wheel.

The escape wheel can be removed now but not the center wheel.  In this movement the center wheel is blocked by the pallet fork... normally that's the last thing off - but not this time.

One screw holds the balance bridge in place - so that comes out next.

With the balance and escape wheel gone only the pallet fork and center wheel are left.  One screw left to go.

Now the backside is cleared of parts.  Just a few cap jewels to take off and it all goes into the cleaning solution.

While everything is in the ultrasonic, I'll polish the case and crystal.

Here's all the parts, cleaned and dried.  To put it back together I just go step by step in the reverse order that everything came off.

Here's a shot of the cap jewel for the escape wheel.  One tiny screw holds it in place.

Getting the gear train to all line up under the train bridge can be a challenge.  At least with this movement there are only three wheels to line up.  Sometimes there are four - and that is really a challenge.

In this shot, you can sort of see how the escape wheel and fourth wheel are aligned.  The third wheel is observed from a different angle.  The bridge will drop into place when everything is lined up.

Once all the parts are back on and the mainspring is wound up a little, the balance is reinstalled.  In this shot the balance is whirring away in a blur.

It runs pretty much dead on... 1 second slow per day with good amplitude.  It doesn't get much better than that!

And here's the finished product, all cleaned up and ready for a new strap.  But if I know this watch's owner, there's an original bracelet waiting for it to come home.


  1. will the hands be dangerous of radioactive stuff???

  2. Radium was used early on (1920's) and into the 1950's I believe. Maybe the 1960 on some things. Unlike today's luminous materials... radium glowed all the time.

    I view radium like lead paint. It's okay as long as you don't mess with it. The main concern with radium is you don't ingest it or breath in the dust - especially if you work with it all the time.

    You're not going to get radioation poisoning from wearing the watch on your wrist - but I would advise against eating the hands. The same is true for old dials... don't eat them either.