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.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1957 Colby - Overhaul

If you follow my blog you may have wondered, "What has HandyDan been up to lately?"  The truth is I've been taking a little break from watch collecting and the few watches I have been working on have been repeats of other watches I've already showcased.  So the few postings I've done lately are only "new" things I have to share.

However, I have recently obtained a few more project watches that are models I haven't seen before so I'll have more to share with you later this month.

Just to start things off, here's a 1957 Colby.  It was only produced for two years and you don't tend to see them very often.  In fact, I had to look in the catalogs for quite a while to identify it.  Here's why...

In 1956 Hamilton introduced the Colby B.  You may recall from the Paxton that I posted last month that there was also a Paxton B.  I posted a Cabot B in October.  The Cabot, Colby and the Paxton are three of a few models where there was a B model in 1956 and a "regular" model in 1957.   Oddly, the Colby B and Cabot B have Illinois movements while the Paxton B had a Swiss movement - it makes me wonder if maybe I have the Paxton models backwards but I'm pretty sure (based on my memory) that the Paxton B I had a few years ago had a round Swiss movement.

Anyway, unlike the Paxton and Cabot though, the Colby and Colby B have different dials - which is why I had a hard time identifying my Colby.

The Colby comes with a 10K rolled gold plated bezel and a stainless steel back.  The Colby B has an Illinois movement while the Colby has a Hamilton 673 movement.  The dial is butler finished with embossed gold-colored markers and numerals.

My project Colby was very dirty when I purchased it at a local shop.  If you've got an eye for details you'll probably note that this watch still has it's original bracelet!

The dial is excellent - just a little dust to remove, otherwise it looks like new.

The Hamilton 673 was made by A Schild, a Swiss manufacturer and is identical to the AS 1200.  In fact, you can still buy a brand new AS 1200 today - it wouldn't say Hamilton on it though.

I'll spare you the blow-by-blow details of how I took it apart, cleaned it and reassembled it.  But suffice it to say that it turned out great and here it is running on my timer at about 9 seconds fast per day.

Once it was all cleaned up I'd say it's a night and day difference.  The glass crystal has a couple of scratches but otherwise this watch turned out fantastic.


  1. Hey. I have the Colby "B" model, and the stem just broke on me. Would you happen to know where I can find a good price on a replacement stem? Also if you would know anything about the Illinois movement it has and what stem I should get?

  2. I believe that model has a 12/0 size Illinois movement. It's an ETA 1220. Look on eBay for an ETA 1220 Stem and you can find a replacement.

    1. Thank you. I don't think anyone could have a Hamilton collection without this site.

  3. 1957 (the year I was born) Colby (my 14 year old dogs name) was a natural watch for me to have...without Dan, it wouldn't have happened...it's a special watch to me as it was also a 30th anniversary gift from my wife...Dan Keefe simply is the best at what he does...

  4. And now, this watch has so much more meaning than I ever thought possible...Thanks Dan.

  5. Dan, great job on the overhaul. I also have a Colby that is in need of a crystal replacement. I can’t for the life of me find a part number for a new old stock crystal. Any suggestions? The only thing I can come up with is the Colby B which is obviously not the right size.

  6. Hello. Nice work. I have a Colby B not running, that needs a spa treatment if possible. It might have the original bracelet, not sure. You tuned up my 1965 Vincent. Thanks