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.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

1948 Barton

By 1948 Hamilton's production of civilian models was back in full swing and lots of new models were being introduced to meet the growing demands of America's post-war economy.  One of the new models introduced was the Barton.

The Barton looks very similar to an earlier model from 1941 called the Gordon.  Both models are solid gold, except the Gordon is 18K yellow or white gold while the Barton is 14K yellow only.  The two-tone sterling silver dials are similar as well - but the Barton features solid gold numerals and markers while the Gordon features all markers (both models had optional diamond dials too).

The Barton was produced from 1948 through 1952 and the Gordon was available from 1941 through 1953 - so they were both available at the same time for a few years.

Here's the catalog image for the Gordon.

The Barton case features "semi-hidden lugs" and gives the appearance that you can't tell from the front how the strap attaches.  The Gordon's lugs are truly hidden.

Under the hood you should find the 14/0 sized,19 jewel 982M movement.

I recently received a Barton in need of some TLC.  It was not working and had several issues to rectify.   In addition to not running, the crown was chewed up and bent and it "crunched" when winding - a sure sign something related to the clutch wheel, winding pinion or winding wheel is amiss.

Here's a shot of the back of the lugs and you can see that they are actually attached to the case via a hinge at each end.  That means the lugs move but not too much, just enough to contour to the wrist a little.  With the spring bars in place you can see they're not quite hidden afterall.

One of the good tips a collector eventually picks up is to spot a redial by looking at the printing of the Hamilton logo.  This dial doesn't look terrible but the logo is not correct.  That's a sure sign the dial was redone, albeit quite a while ago based on the general condition.  The hands have lost a lot of their gilt as well.  Although the numerals and dots are solid gold, the hands are steel with a gilt finish.

Looking at the reverse, this watch has a 982 movement.  A 982 is virtually identical to the 982M but the 982 used in 14K gold filled cases so it's not original to this model.  I suspect something must have happened to the original 982M and it was easier to put a 982 in than to repair the original movement.

The movement is totally gummed up and nothing moves.  That can be a good sign, as hopefully a cleaning is all that's needed.  I'd much rather see that than a wobbly balance.

The inside of the case back reveals at least a dozen watchmakers' marks.  This was well maintained.

It also already has a white alloy mainspring installed, so just some cleaning and relubing is all that's needed.

Well, it took quite of bit of cleaning but eventually the movement came back to life.  A little tweaking to the regulator will slow it down a little more.

And here it is on it's "pillow shot" with a nice croc strap..  I installed a new stem and crown which goes perfectly with this case and looks way better than the bent one that was on there before.  The case cleaned up very nicely but there's a little wear to the bezel near the right corner of the crystal.  That could just be from normal wear, as the crystal on there now is a very thick acrylic replacement.  It's possible the original crystal allowed some wear to that lower right corner from a shirt sleeve.

Still, it's a sharp looking watch now that it's all cleaned up and running.  I think after a new crystal is installed it will look great, even if the Hamilton font is a little off.

UPDATE 1-9-14

Made the decision to redo the dial so along with a new glass crystal and some new hands, this Barton has been returned to it's former full glory.  Compare the picture below to the picture above… a new dial sure makes quite a difference!


  1. Dan, You really did a great job of forensics on my grandfather's old Hamilton Barton, and explaining the details of the issues involved in repairing and restoring it. It also looks great, and I look forward to wearing it! Also, your photography is superb - you must have a microscope attached to your lens or something!. The clarity and detail really helped me better understand the complexity of these fine instruments, and convinced me that watchmakers and dedicated uber-hobbyists such as you have certain skills comparable to a neurosurgeon's. Count me as a new reader of your blog, a customer of your store, and the proud owner of a handsome and working 1948-or-so Barton.
    Lawrence Kessner, Bethesda, Maryland

    1. Lawrence, what a great thing to have that watch in your possession. I have the same exact model and year which my mother gave to my father in 1949...I wear that watch proudly just like you do...I stumbled across Dan's site a year or so ago and have been a loyal follower since that time. I too am a new customer of Dan's as I bought one of his restorations quite recently. It's fun to follow his progress on the watches he restores...and I agree a neurosurgeon is a great comparison...those pieces are soooooo small !!....

  2. What does the process of retoring a watch such as this cost? I have my father's Hamilton 982 Barton and wear it. However, it does gain a few minutes per day and I'm sure could use a good cleaning. It doesn't have a leather band, but instead an old expansion band. But, other than that, as far as I know, it is original. My father really only wore it on Sundays until he retired, and then only a little more often. Also, I would like some idea what the value would be of this model. Thanks in advance for your reply.


    1. Hey Stan, The cost for a restoration really depends on what is needed. For example, an overhaul with a fresh mainspring can run $90 or more. If anything is broken that's extra. A new glass crystal is probably another $30. A dial refinish is approximately $75. As for value, that depends on condition too. Your best bet is to look at sold listings on eBay. Arguably $350+ though, assuming it's in nice shape but maybe a lot more.

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  4. Hi Dan!
    Thanks for this neat website and information that easily helped me ID grandpa's old Hamilton! I absolutely love your site!
    Grandma gave me Grandpa's Hamilton Barton 982M after his funeral in 1977 and it was in pretty rough shape,,,neither the crystal or the movement would stay put. Not only that...he wore it everywhere, including fishing and as a kid I saw it doused several times to haul a big fish into the boat. The inside looked as green as the Statue of Liberty!
    Per recommendation from a local jeweler, I sent it back to Hamilton for a complete restoration that ended up costing me $104.00 - in 1977, a lot of money for a 20 year old kid!
    The crystal and winding dial had been replaced with incorrect parts over the years and the dial face was really bad. When I got it back I thought Hamilton had put an incorrect crystal and winding knob back on it as they were both different, but looking at your site, I see now that they actually restored it to exact new specs with NOS parts.
    I have enjoyed this watch for most of my life and now wish to pass it on to my son so I had a retired watchmaker friend (he does a lot of vintage Hamilton and Rolex work) service it. He cleaned and lubed it, re-staked the escape wheel and said per the jewelers notes the watch had been serviced several times at the same Minneapolis Jeweler he had worked for, but previous to his employment there. Interesting history indeed and I wonder now when grandpa got the watch, or if it was a gift from someone? I'll need to keep digging more but intend to give the watch to my son for his birthday this spring....hopefully he will enjoy this classic timepiece as much as I have. I will also pass on your website link to him so he can learn a bit of the watch itself.
    Thank You!

    1. That's a pretty cool story. Thanks for sharing it. Your watch is definitely serviceable so keeping it well maintained will allow your son to enjoy the watch for years to come.

  5. Where these ever made in Platinum? There's a recent eBay advert with a Platinum Hamilton that looks identical to a Barton?

    It even had the correct markings and a personalised inscription.

    Here's the advert.

    1. Yes, it was a company award, from the awards division