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, November 16, 2013

1953 Turner - Overhaul

It's probably safe to assume that the early 1950's was a hectic time at the Hamilton factory.  There was a lot of change going on.  New "automatic" models were being introduced.  The 14/0 movements that had been in production since 1935 were being phased out and replaced by 12/0 sized movements.  And Swiss-made movements were being used to lower the Hamilton price-point in specially branded Hamilton Illinois models.

It seemed like Hamilton had one foot planted firmly in the past while the other stepped out boldly into the future.

One of the models that seems to fit squarely in both time periods is the 1953 Turner.  It was produced for only two years.

The Turner came in a 10K solid gold case, either in yellow or white.  The sterling silver butler-finished or black finished dial featured solid 18K gold numerals or numerals and dots - and the figures were rhodium plated when used with the white gold case.  So you would need to collect six different Turners  to get the full set.

I think the Turner is very similar to the Donald - which was produced from 1946 through 1952.  The Donald used the 19 jewel 982M movement.  The Turner received the 982M's replacement, the 19 jewel 12/0 sized 754 movement.  Like the 982M, the 754 was a specially treated hi-grade movement for use in solid gold models.  It was short lived though, and replaced in 1955 with the introduction of the 22 jewel 770.

The easiest way to tell the difference between the Turner and the Donald is the Donald has numbers on it's seconds register where the Turner does not.  Of course, the Donald is also solid 14K gold, so that's a key difference as well.

I recently purchased a Tuner project watch and since it's the first model I've had with 754 movement, I can show you a little more about the grade.

As received, this Turner was a little worse for wear.  It was quite dirty, the crystal was beat up and the second hand was missing in action.

This was a presentation watch, probably for someone's retirement from Stanley - or at least their 25th anniversary with the company.  Those were the days, huh?

The original dial is quite dirty along the top and bottom edges but will hopefully clean up well.

The 14/0 and 12/0 movements came with two different length cannon pinion and hour wheel setups.  When the dial is flat, the shorter set up is used.  If the dial domes, the longer setup is used to accommodate the taller dial in the center of the movement.

The Turner requires the taller setup and rather than have a thick dial, a spacer ring is used between the dial and the main plate.

The 754 is pretty much the same as the 19 jewel 753 movement that was introduced at the same time.  The 753 replaced the 982 and the 754 replaced the 982M.  Like the 982M, the 754 has gold accents and the writing on the back is gold enamel rather than black.  It's also more heavily damascened than the 753.

Everything gets taken apart and thoroughly cleaned.  The dial cleaned up nicely but there's still some evidence of wear on the corners of the dial - most likely from wearing against the bezel.

Reassembly goes easily and every jewel gets a tiny droplet of fresh oil.  The white alloy mainspring was cleaned and relubricated and after a few winds, the watch comes back to life.

A little fine tweaking to the regulator gets it to level out at about 5 seconds fast per day with a vigorous amplitude and low beat error.

And here it is, all cleaned up and paired with a fresh teju-lizard grain strap in black.  A new second hand and glass crystal completes the restoration.  This Turner is ready for more wrist time.


  1. Hi Dan,

    I was wondering if you had come across a "Wilson" before. It is an unusual looking watch and I am looking at one. However, it has discolouration around the outer perimeter of the dial - is that a refinishing job to bring it back? Do you know the rough estimate cost wise of doing something like that? Thanks in advance

    1. I haven't had a Wilson yet. The discoloration around the dial is hard to diagnose without seeing it. It's possible it could be cleaned up but the dial could be refinished to look like new for under $75 (with postage, etc.)

  2. Do the 754 and the 752 movements happen to same the same balance wheel, balance cock and hairspring?

  3. Hi! I just purchased this watch and wanted to replace the crystal. Do you happen to know the replacement model or the case number?