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.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

1964 M 59-3

Hamilton produced a number of M-series watches during the 1960's but I've only seen them in the catalogs for one year - 1964 and I'm not really sure what the background on the models is.  There are at least a dozen different M-series watches from 1964 in both manual winding and automatic movements.  One theory is they were specially marketed through a discount channel and were thus not affiliated with the regular Hamilton line sold through fine jewelers.

A good example of a 1964 model is the M 59-3.

The M 59-3 comes in a yellow rolled gold plate case with a stainless steel back.  As you can see in the photo below, it's hard to tell if this watch opens through the crystal or opens through the back.  A lot of period watches will open through the crystal as part of it's waterproof design.

Looking very closely at the side of the watch, I can see an ever so slight gap.  It wasn't big enough to get my usual case knife into so I pulled the crystal off just to see if it would come out.  I wouldn't, so I knew I was going to have to separate the bezel from the back without tearing anything up.

That's a job for a case opener like the one below.  This tool is great for snap-together cases that just don't want to separate (not the screw down type though).  It's spring loaded so what when you push the rounded red section toward the watch it compresses to a certain point - after which it snaps and seems to fire the point into whatever it's touching.  You have to be careful with it, of course, but this little tool packs a wallop-full of persuasion right where you need it.

With the bezel and crystal removed, you can see this watch dial is in excellent shape.

Inside the case back, you can see the M 59-3 runs a Swiss-made 686 movement.  This looks very similar to the 687 I just overhauled for the Thinline 4003 from a recent post.  However the 686 is a slightly thicker movement.

With it all disassembled, cleaned and set out to dry, the movement is ready to be lubricated and put back together.

A lot of Hamilton collectors stop their collections at 1969, after which Hamilton was no longer US-owned.  Some collectors limit their collections to US-made movements and exclude the Swiss-made movement-based watches.  The Swiss-made models were slightly less expensive than the US-made movement models.  But say what you will, you have to admit that the Swiss-made movements still run really well as evidenced by the photo below of my watch timer.  I could adjust the timing to be 0 sec/day but I like to leave it slightly fast to account for the energy in the mainspring releasing over time.

And here's the finished product, all cleaned up and ready for wrist time.

When I bought this watch in a local shop, it came on the bracelet shown.  I was hoping it would be the original bracelet.  I could very well be original to the watch - but it's not the one shown in the catalog.  It looks great with the watch though - so I'll leave the two together.


  1. Great post! It helped inform me about this lovely Hamilton model, and it was fun to read. Thanks.

  2. I love to watch your posts, it's so nice to see a person restoring the last great American made watch!