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, December 28, 2013

1957 Kinematic

My last post for 2013 is going to be another somewhat obscure Automatic.  Probably the smallest run of automatic models is the Kinematic series - there are only two… the Kinematic I and the Kinematic II.  The first Kinematic, the "I" was introduced in 1957 and produced for three years.

The Kinematic I comes in a yellow rolled gold plated case with a stainless steel back.  The silver butler finished dial has embossed yellow markers.  The hands are solid pointed style and unlike other period watches, this watch does not have luminous markers or hands.

As you can see in the catalog ad, the crown on the watch is recessed into the bezel.

I recently picked up a Kinematic I and it was the first one I've seen.  It took me a while to identify it because I didn't know there was a Kinematic line.  I though it would likely be an Accumatic or Automatic K-something.

In any event, it was in decent shape but I could not wind it with the crown, just shake it.  It did run though - so that was a good sign.

The stainless steel back screws on - a typical feature for waterproof watches from this era.

With the back removed you get to see something that you don't often see… this watch has a 17 jewel Hamilton 672 movement.  I was surprised to see this inside and I expected to see a Hamilton 661, which was more frequently used.  In fact, after I got this watch I saw another for sale and it did have a 661, so perhaps Hamilton made a movement change mid-run… I don't know for sure.

The 672 is an ETA 1256 movement.  Only two screws hold the rotor assembly on and once they're pulled the assembly comes straight off.  Once the rotor is off, the movement becomes your basic manual winding movement.

The ETA logo is under the balance and once the main plate is stripped of parts, you can see the logo and the 1256.  As I understand it, the ETA 1256 was ETA's first automatic movement and was introduced in the early 1950's.  Today, all Hamilton watches use ETA movements.

Everything gets cleaned, oiled and lubricated and you can see that a little tweaking of the regulator brings the timing right into like.  Hamilton's US-made movements are excellent but you have to admit that the Swiss grades are great performers too.

And here's the finished product prepared with a fresh crystal and a new lizard strap.

It turns out the crown was frozen in the case so once everything was cleaned and oiled it went back to winding properly… which is good because this crown is very small and recessed too, so it's also tough to wind by hand.  Just a few turns gets the watch running and the rotor will wind it from there while it's worn.


  1. I found one of these recently at a pawn shop and found your article after restoring it and putting a fresh strap on, the information was vital to determining the make so I really appreciate you writing this blog. I have a question about this watch, how does one determine the type of replacement crystal? I can't find any serial number etc on the existing crystal. Any information would be a massive help.

    1. You need to measure the current one, or the bezel opening, to the nearest 10th of a millimeter. Then you can order a GS PDH crystal in that specific size. If you measure the crystal, use that dimension. If you measure the bezel opening you'll want to get a slightly larger size.

  2. Hi I'm Italian,
    I would like to be able to send an email with my Hamilton Kinematic I attachment. I would like to have her own opinion as Automatic appear under the trademark reference at 12 o'clock, there is no Swiss logo in the dial at 6 o'clock, and if it confirms that it is Of the American Imported 1957.
    Is the value of this jewel.

    1. You can send a photo through Etsy or by email. The email link is above my photo in he upper right.

    2. Very nice,
      I sent you an email.
      Endless thanks for the availability.
      Very professional indeed.

    3. Hey Dan,
      This is a beautiful watch and awesome restoration! So I just picked up what appears to be a Kinematic I. I have the same question as above, since "Swiss" does not appear on the dial. I'm assuming at some point in the 3 year run Hamilton either added or dropped the "Swiss" from the dial. Wondering if it would have been in the beginning or toward the end... Not sure there's a way to tell unless there's a history on Hamilton adding this to all Swiss-made dials at some point?

    4. It could be a refinished dial. I think it was a requirement that SWISS be on the dial of a watch with an imported movement, like HYL needed to be on the balance cock. You could look at the back of the dial to see if it's been redone.

  3. What is the best replacement band for the Kinematic I? I recently got on from a friend who found it in a box and it has a Speidel on it presently. It doesn't fit the watch and someone really did a poor job attaching it.

  4. Hi Dan,
    Another question regarding the watch. I was putting a band on and while pushing the spring bar into place one of the lugs broke. What to do?