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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

1956 Essex

The 1956 Essex is the second Hamilton model to feature the Essex name.  The original Essex came out in 1940.  The 1956 Essex is considerably different though - it's a round watch while the original was rectangular.

Although it was introduced in 1956 and produced for two years, the Essex looks an awful lot like an Illinois model from earlier in the 1950s... specifically the 1953 Model E which was renamed the Debonair E in 1954 and 1955.

The Essex dial changed slightly in 1957 to have bolder numerals on the embossed (stamped) dial.

Behind the dial you should find a Hamilton 671 movement which is a Swiss-made movement produced by ETA and is equivalent to the 17 jewel 1080 movement.

I recently purchased an Essex in a local shop and the second hand was missing and it was not running.  Like the Sea-Scape I recently overhauled, this 671 gave me fits!  Then I realized the hairspring cleaner I was using must have been too dirty... as when I changed it everything went back to normal and ran as it should... go figure!

So here's a couple of shots of my Essex.  I replaced the Fourth Wheel - it's what drives the second hand, as the second hand bit (the part the second hand is supposed to attach to) was missing.  I put a replacement hand on it and with a nice polish to the case and crystal, I'd say it looks great!

One thing that is interesting is the dial... it doesn't completely match the catalog image.  It has a track of pearlized dots inside the markers and there's nothing written on the dial above the 6.  I've never seen another Essex in the flesh before, other than the 1957 variety - so this is a very interesting mystery.


  1. I believe I have the same watch. Mine says 10k on the back and has “S&W” also written there. I’d be interested in learning more about what I have got. My grandfather gave it to me.

    1. Probably not the same model then. You can send me a photo through Instagram @hamiltonchronicles or my shop on Etsy