At the turn of the last century pocket watches were the dominant timekeeper for men and women. There were many US-manufacturers but Hamilton was well known to be among the very best. Hamilton offered over 30 different pocket watch movements - starting with the smallest, at 0-size (zero size), ranging to the largest, at 18 size. Smaller 6/0 movements would be introduced in the teens.
The dominant form of transportation at that time was the railroad - and keeping the myriad trains running on schedule required precise timekeeping. Hamilton's railroad-approved models were the dominant timekeepers used on the major railroads of the time.
One of the most popular railroad watches was the 21 jewel, 18 size 940 movement, presented in an open case. The same movement, when placed in a hunter case (with a cover) was the 941 movement.
So, that could mean that the reason there are so many nice 940 watches out there is they didn't get used as much over the past 100 years as other watches may have... that, and the fact that they were extremely well made.
I recently purchased a Hamilton 940 online and I got a very good deal since it was kind of dirty, had a bent hour hand and came in a "silveroid" case. Silveroid does not contain silver but it's silver-colored and very robust. It polishes nicely too. It was definitely less costly than gold filled cases at the time.
Part of the challenge with getting a nice pocket watch from this period is to get one with a nice un-chipped porcelain dial. These old dials will often exhibit small chips, hairline cracks or both.
Most railroad watches are lever-set, so there's a little lever next to the dial that you pull out in order to set the time. Pushing the lever back in puts the watch back in winding mode. Since you have to remove the front bezel to get to the lever, the dial is exposed - which is one reason why so many dials got chipped. They also need to be carefully removed during servicing - or damage can be done then too.
The watch I purchased has an excellent dial. I overhauled it today and it's running great - as it should - but that's still pretty amazing for a 100+ year old watch.
Based on the movement number, 528569, this watch was made in 1906. In this shot you can see the balance wheel is blurred by motion.
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.