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, July 27, 2013

1963 Lord Lancaster C - Overhaul

Hamilton's line up of asymmetric watches is full of very popular models.  Some of Hamilton's asymmetric models sell today for well north of $4,000!  Many of them are Electrics but a good portion of them are manual-winders or automatic models too.

Electric watches are very special, to be sure, but they're a little too complicated for me to work on and require specialized skills that most watchmakers are not familiar with.  So, you aren't going to see many Electric models on my blog - if any.  I don't even like changing the batteries in them, to be totally honest.

The good news is there are a bunch of manual and automatic watches that you might eventually see me post (although most asymmetric watches are way out of my price league).  One example I've already shown is the Sea Ranger

As another example, I recently purchased a Lord Lancaster C - it's a mechanical asymmetric watch.  It was introduced in 1963 and produced through 1969, when Hamilton ceased manufacturing in the USA.

The Lord Lancaster C is a white gold filled model with diamonds on the dial.  There are a number of Lord Lancaster models and each is white in color with diamonds on the dial.

The Lord Lancaster C looks very similar to another asymmetric model called the Blade, which was introduced in 1962.

As you can see, the Blade looks very similar (especially in black and white) although it only came in a yellow gold filled case.

Behind the diamond dial of the Lord Lancaster C is a 12/0 sized, 22 jewel 770 movement.

The Lord Lancaster C that I purchased came with a rather funny story.  I saw it posted on a "buy it now" price that was a real bargain - as this watch routinely sells for north of $500.  I also knew the seller and I thought he may have made a mistake in selling it... so I bought it so no one else would get it first.

As it turns out, he recognized me by my eBay ID too - and I could tell he had some seller's remorse in selling it.  So I offered to overhaul it for him, fix it up, post it on my blog and send it back to him.

So, it ended up being a win-win for both of us!  I get to say I've owned a Lord Lancaster C (and show it to you) and he gets a much improved watch that he can keep or sell (hopefully for top dollar).

Anyway, here's what I started with... it was mighty dirty and needed some serious cleaning.

The inside of the watch was equally dirty and although the 770 ran, it was definitely in need of some TLC.  The white gold filled crown was also very worn... it's amazing what a difference a new crown can make in the appearance as well as in winding a watch.

The dial was pretty dirty.  It's hard to tell if some of the diamond hour markers are crooked or not.  They're riveted on and could potentially be rotated but that's risky business to attempt.  This style of hands is call "dauphine".

With the dial removed, a close inspection of the back side shows some grime from the past 50 years of use but no other indicators of past refinishing.  That's good, as original dials usually clean up much better than refinished dials.

I'll spare you the blow by blow details of disassembling and reassembling a 770.  If you're curious you can see me do it here.  However, this 770 went back together very smoothly and was easily regulated to keep very good time.  The shot below of my timer shows the watch runs slightly fast with good amplitude (well north of 200 degrees).  The beat error is a little high but I don't like messing with that on this style of balance so I'll leave it as-is.

And here it is all cleaned up.  The expansion bracelet is not original to the watch.  This watch really should have a black suede strap.  However, I did have a nice lizard strap to match it to at least for the photos.  The crystal still needs to be replaced - I have one on order - and once it's installed this watch will be ready to go back home.

I think the dial cleaned up okay but it's certainly not "new" looking.  You have to know when to stop with cleaning dials because there's a very fine threshold between "clean" and "ruined" by losing all the printing.

This shot below of the watch from the right side shows the newly installed Hamilton crown with the H logo - a vast improvement over the other crown.  It looks and functions great.


  1. A stunning watch and good on you for being so honest with the seller. I hope he has learnt his lesson!

  2. Everybody goofs up now and again. I paid a fair price for the watch as it was in rough shape. I figured it was a diamond in the rough. I could have easily flipped it for way more than I paid but I don't like to profit off other people's mistakes. Especially fellow collectors.

    I have benefited greatly from the benevolence of other Hamilton collectors - who have shared their knowledge and insights with me. So I just consider it paying it forward.

  3. That seller would be me-but I can attest that Dan has a lot of integrity and is a very good man and could have easily told me to pound sand.

  4. He certainly has - though 'HonestDan' sounds too much like a used car salesman! I hope you enjoy your Lord Lancaster post restoration - it is a stunning watch and even more so after Dan's handy work.

    I wonder where the choice of name came from for the Lord Lancaster watches - seems a little out of sync with Hamilton naming conventions. Anything to do with Lancaster PA?