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.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

1920 17 jewel 974 Pocket Watch

Hamilton made a variety of pocket watch movements after the turn of the last century.  Sizes ranged from ladies 0-sizes up through 18-size, Hamilton's largest movements.  18 size movements eventually gave way to slightly smaller 16 size movements and one of the lower priced 17 jewel 16 size movements is the 974.

The 974 went in to "open faced" pocket watches while the 975 went into "hunter cased" watches.  A hunter cased movement will have the seconds at a 3:00 position relative to the stem.  It's sometimes called a "side winder" as the dial is rotated 90 degrees to keep the seconds at 6 position.

974 movements can be stem set or lever set.  The latter would have a small lever at about the 2 position that you would pull out in order to set the time.  A stem set, or pendant set, movement has springs inside that push the keyless works into the time setting position when you pull the stem out

Here's a nice example of a 974 pocket watch with a serial number dating to about 1920.  It looks quite similar to the catalog image, except the dial doesn't have the 5 - 60 outer register.  It's a very nice looking watch and is a nice size too, measuring in at almost 50mm in diameter.

The 974 is a typical-looking 3/4 plate movement.  The regulator also has a micro regulator to move adjust the timing by means of turning a screw.  This allows for very precise regulating of the hairspring.

It's not uncommon to find some means of personalization engraved on the case back.  This watch also has a date engraved inside the case back.  I'm sure this was a treasured watch for someone.  The case is in excellent shape.  The only gold loss is on the bow, where I presume a chain wore against it for decades.


  1. Hey Its really great you share good collection of watches. Its really a unique collection. I will share this blog with my friends.

  2. I have my grandfathers watch, a Hamilton 974, 17 Jewels number 1505779 (might be an 8) with a Keystone Watch Case with a number 5460845. It looks to be in excellent condition except that it doesn't work. The stem for setting the time is not engaged when pulled out.

    1. It's possible it's lever set... open the bezel and look for a lever at about the 1 o'clock position. If you see it, slide it out and then turn the crown to set the time. If it's not lever set, then either one of the springs in the keyless works it broken or it's just a bit gummed up.

  3. Need a value. 974 Hamilton pocket watch. Serial number 742042

  4. Hi Dan
    Nice Hamilton. Is it still in your collection? Your blog page came up in a search while I was researching one of my watches. A 937, circa 1893. My father gave it to me. He recently passed, leaving around 300 antique pocket watches...couldn't take them with him.

    1. No, that watch has gone on to a new home. 300 pocket watches is quite a bit. I’d keep a few of the nicest ones and cash the others in on something special. You definitely can’t take them with you but they make nice heirlooms.