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.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

1950 Cedric - Overhaul

In 1950 Hamilton introduced the Cedric, a very clean designed rectangular watch.  It was produced for three years.

The Cedric came in a 14K gold filled case with a white-finished silver AGN dial with solid 18K gold numerals.  It featured the 19 jewel, 14/0 sized 982 movement.

The Cedric is a pretty solid watch in my opinion.  It's fairly easy to find and usually is in good shape.  I don't know if its the sturdy rectangular design or the prominent crystal, but good examples are plentiful.  The white finished dial can often show a lot of dirt and they're tricky to clean without losing the printing.  So about the only thing an old Cedric needs to look good as new is a new crystal and a refinished dial.

I recently had an opportunity to overhaul a Cedric.  It was in pretty good shape but was not running.  The balance staff was solid so I was hopeful all it needed was a good cleaning.

With the movement out of the case, the first thing to do is to remove the hands.  The second hand will come off with the dial.

Two small screws on opposing sides of the movement hold the dial on.  Just a few turns and the dial will come right off.

I looked in the case back and it appears this watch was serviced in late 2011.  It looks very clean with a hint of microgliss lubricant still on the set lever.

The cannon pinion, hour wheel, minute wheel and setting wheel all come off at this point.

With the first parts off of the front, I'll turn my attention to the back.  This 982 is nicely damascened with a striped pattern - that's a nice finishing touch to a part of the watch most people will never see and indicative of the fine quality of Hamilton movements.

Three bridge screws are removed as well as the ratchet wheel and winding wheel - that cleans off the barrel bridge and allows it to be removed.

Two screws on the train bridge are loosened and the train bridge is removed.  All the wheels in the gear train are exposed and can be taken out.

The balance comes off next, leaving just the pallet fork to come out.

The pallet fork is very small... if these two ruby jewels get damaged or misaligned, it can prevent the watch from working.  This one looks pretty good though.

The back of the movement is now clear of parts.  The last thing to come out are the three cap jewels... two on the front and one on the train bridge.

The cap jewel screws are fantastically small.  How would you like to have to make these again?  This is the reason you never take apart a watch over a rug or porous floor.  If you drop this, you will NEVER find it again.

Here are the three cap jewels, ready to be cleaned.

I'll take the opportunity to check out the mainspring.  It's obviously lubricated but it's really dirty - so I'll pull the mainspring to see what it looks like.

Yup - it would be good to replace it.  This watch will run WAY better with a new mainspring.

While everything is being cleaned I will polish the case.

A new white-alloy mainspring comes pre-coiled.  You get one shot to push it into the barrel, otherwise you'll need to rewind it and try again.

And here it is installed in the barrel.  You need to put the spring in correctly for the proper rotation of the coil - otherwise it won't wind properly.

Here are all the parts, cleaned up and drying.  Now it's time for reassembly.

First the cap jewels go back in.  Here's the two that go on the front of the movement.

I'll put the setting parts back in while it's in the movement holder like this.

On the back, the first part to go back on is the pallet fork.  I look at it from this angle so I can make sure the arbor is properly set in the two pivots that hold it.  If you tighten the bridge screw with it misaligned you will break an arbor pivot and need a new pallet fork.

Next, the wheels go back in.  I put them all in at the same time.  That allows me to put barrel bridge back on and then use that to help put the train bridge back on.  Plus, the train bridge blocks the center wheel so all four wheels need to go in at one time.

I look at the wheels from this angle to make sure everything is aligned and to nudge anything needed to get the train bridge to drop into place.

Now all the screws go back in, as does the ratchet wheel and winding wheel.  A few turns of the crown will put tension back into the fresh mainspring.

The last thing to go back on is the balance assembly.

And here it is, back in place and happily running away.

Onto the watch timer it goes.... hmm 128 seconds per day slow.  Let's check the regulator.

Sure enough, it's set to slow.  Moving it toward F didn't change the timer results though... that's a good indicator of one thing.... the regulator is not engaging the hairspring.

The regulator has two little tangs like a fork that straddle the hairspring.  When you move the regulator, the fork slides along the hairspring, effectively lengthening it or shortening it and changing it's speed accordingly.  If the fork isn't touching the hairspring, then moving the regulator doesn't do anything.

After a little tweaking it's running 5 seconds fast per day... not too bad for a 60 year old watch.

And here it is, all put back together, polished and ready for more wrist time.


  1. any tips for getting this case open? I have one which is stuck together pretty tight and is giving me trouble.Thanks

  2. The case just snaps on and off. To get it off you need a sturdy knife. Place the blade against the lip of the case back and the side of the blade against the back of the lugs and use the lugs as leverage to pry the back up with consistent pressure. It could be stuck but will release with enough pressure.

    1. Thanks I got it, I was scared I would scratch the finish, but once I used your leverage trick with the lugs it popped off easily. Now I'm on to the fun part... I won't have to do much to mine though, as it ticks away as strong as it probably did in 1948-50. I love the look of the movement with the machined metal finish, and will probably only replace the crystal and maybe clean up the dial. I'm not sure if I should just leave the patinated look or refinish it. Could I send you pictures and get your advice?

    2. Sure - send me some photos at your leisure. My email address should pop up when you click the "contact me" above my photo at top right. Or you can email me through my Etsy shop.

      If you don't know when the watch was last serviced, you should get it overhauled to make sure it has oil inside it. A watch will run without oil but it will be wearing itself out while doing so.

  3. Dan, do you have any special techniques for cleaning a dial (apart from putting it through the cleaner)?

    1. I only clean a dial that I’m willing to get refinished. If I do, i usually clean it with the same cleaning solution I use for the watch parts but I don’t clean it for long or put it in the ultrasonic. A little cleaning, then rinse. Repeat until it’s cleaned or ruined.