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.

Friday, September 20, 2013

1961 Holden

By coincidence, this post has a common theme with my last post... that being gold-colored watches.  I don't know how many Hamilton's had gold-colored dials but not so many that doing two back to back would be a probable.

This watch is a 1961 Holden - and it was only made for one year.

The Holden is an interesting watch.   It's main feature is an elongated, textured bezel that blends perfectly into it's matching bracelet.  Although the case looks cool with a strap as well.

The 10K yellow gold case comes in a single piece - and with the gold-colored embossed dial and gold hands, the watch is very distinctive.

Inside, you'll find Hamilton's US-made 18 jewel, 8/0 size 735 movement.

I recently worked on a great example of a Holden.  It's only distraction is a somewhat inauthentic looking crown - but that's easily changed if you have a correct one (which I don't).

Looking at the case, you can see that's it's all one piece.  So this watch will need to be opened through the crystal.

These types of waterproof cases are sealed by gaskets in the crown and a pressed-fit crystal.  Getting the crystal off requires a special tool that crimps down around the perimeter of the crystal - making it slightly smaller and allowing it to come out.  When the tool is released, the crystal expands out and seals the bezel.

With the crystal removed, you can see the dial and hands are in excellent shape.  Getting the movement out can be tricky at this point because you need to align the two-piece stem so you can separate the two parts.

Here's a shot of the male portion of the two-piece stem that is installed in the crown.  Notice how the cutout in the bezel is off center... I wonder what that is all about?

With the movement outside the case, you can see the female portion of the stem that is still in the movement.  The 735 movement is a shock-jeweled version of the 748 movement.

I took the movement completely apart, and then cleaned, oiled and reassembled it.  With the watch running on my timer you can see the effect of me adjusting the regulator... on the left side of the screen it's running about 60 seconds fast based on the slope of the lines.  As the lines level out horizontally toward the right, they show the watch slowing down - ultimately to 9 seconds fast per day.

In addition to it's original bracelet - this watch came with it's original box.

And here it is in it's traditional "Handy Dan pillow shot".  Notice how the center of the dial is textured to match the texture of the bezel and bracelet... a very comprehensive design and a sharp looking watch!


  1. I enjoy this blog! Also, just wanted to share a trick regarding waterproof crystals. I use the same tool as you to install them, but I don't use that tool to remove a crystal due to the risk of scratching... After pulling off the crown, I take a used finger cot or piece of plastic bag and stretch it over the crown tube. With a tweezer, I poke a hole directly over the crown tube. Then I take a syringe and rapidly inject air into the case, which pops the crystal out instantly, and with no risk of scratching the case with the crystal tool.

    1. Yes, compressed air is a great way to open a one-piece case, especially if the crystal has a reflector ring and can’t be compressed.