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, February 21, 2016

1948 Kirk

In 1947 Hamilton introduced the 8/0 size 17 jewel 747 movement and discontinued the 987A.  The 987-series of movements included the 987, the 987F, 987E and the 987A and had a 20 year run which was a long time for a wrist watch movement.  Of course the 987A (and 987S) was a bit of a departure from the earlier 987 grades, but it shared many of the same parts.

Anyway, the 747 is slightly smaller than the 6/0 987A and it's also a bit thinner.  In 1955 it was replaced by the shock-jeweled 730 movement and then that was replaced in the early 1960's with 731 grade.  So if you consider the 747, 730 and 731 to be the same line, that was an even longer production run.

One of the earliest 747-equipped model was the 1948 Kirk.  It was produced for six years.  The Kirk was produced through 1953 and in 1953 the Neilsen was introduced.  The Neilsen looks a lot like the Kirk, except the Kirk is solid 14K gold while the Neilsen is gold filled.  Plus, the Neilsen only has numerals on it's dial.

The Kirk predominantly has a 14K yellow gold case.  If you're really lucky you might come across a white gold Kirk - it was only offered in white during it's last year of production.  The sterling silver dial is adorned with solid 18K numerals and markers.  There's also a version with diamonds on the dial in lieu of markers.

Kirks are relatively easy to find since they were made for several years but they're not overly common since they're solid gold.  It's not usual to find loose 747 movements with Kirk dials, meaning the case got scrapped at some point.

My project watch is in fair condition.  A metal bracelet has taken it's toll on the inside of the lugs - but it's not too terrible.  The dial has been refinished and it looks decent but not perfect, especially around the seconds register.

The case back is unengraved and could stand to be polished.

The 747 is a great movement.  It's easy to disassemble and reassemble and a great movement to learn on.  This one has a low serial number... 8442 so it's from the first year of production.

Sometimes the inside case back has the model name and sometimes not... this is a not situation.

Everything is cleaned and ready for reassembly.

The running movement goes onto the timer... not too shabby.  I can slow it down with a slight tweak to the regulator.

A new 27.9mm PHD crystal will spruce up the watch's appearance.

And here's the finished project, all shined up and running as nice as it looks.  The Kirk is large for a 1940's watch but it's still fairly small by modern standards.  It's a sharp looking dress watch and I think a man or a woman could wear this watch today.


  1. Thank you for the valuable info. I have a Hamilton Kirk which was given to my great uncle in 1952 for 25 yrs of service at Shell. It is inscribed on the back with the year, Shell and my uncles name. I would never sell it, but I am curious about it's value. It does not run, but the inside guts are shinny. After reading your article, I'm thinking about getting it restored.

    1. I’m sure you could find a Kirk for $500 or thereabouts. Getting it overhauled is a good idea if you want to wear and enjoy it. If it’s just for display or storage then it doesn’t matter. I carried my grandfather’s pocket watch in a cookie tin for 25 years before getting it fixed. That’s what started me on this hobby so be forewarned, if you get your Kirk fixed you will probably want another and another.

  2. Thank you HandyDan! Your response is much appreciated. I doubt I would wear it (I'm not a watch wearer) But, this watch was handed down to my dad and he wore it for years, until it broke. I guess either he or my mom were tired of looking at the same watch...lol. My dad passed away 11 years ago, so I cherish it and keep it in a little decorative bag in my purse. If I got it repaired or cleaned it up, I worry it would take the remains of my dad's energy with it. Holding it gives me comfort. Anyway, thank you again!
    Ps: It was so suprising to see how shinny and pristine it was on the inside!