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, March 27, 2016

1962 Yeoman

I'm approaching my 500th model... another month or two and I will be there.  My goal is to mainly post new models, although I sometimes update past posts with new dial variations, etc.  So overtime my posts will become more and more infrequent, as new models become more difficult to come by.   They're out there somewhere though - so I suspect I will be able to keep going for another couple of years, I bet.

Anyway, chalk another hard to find model off the list - as I finally laid hands on a 1962 Yeoman.  It's a one year wonder and I've never seen another.  That doesn't mean I have the only one.  It's just not a very common model and you don't see them very often... if at all.

The Yeoman is a complex-looking model, much more-so than it's catalog image would indicate.  The case is stainless steel and it was offered with a florentine-style bracelet or a strap.  The dial is a two-tone radial finish - and I'd hate to have to get it redone as I doubt it would be done right.  The odd hour markers are applied but the even numbers are printed in black enamel in a very delicate font.  The hour and minute hands are very slender and are lumed to glow in the dark, as are the odd numbered markers.

You might expect the Yeoman to have a Swiss-made movement inside like most of the Sea-somethings.  However, the Yeoman has a Lancaster-made 17 jewel 730 movement inside.

I recently landed a Yeoman and I was prepared to pay dearly for it but luckily no one tried to out snipe me for it.  It came on a Speidel bracelet that didn't really match very well so that got tossed on the scrap pile.  As received, the project watch was in good overall shape and the dial looks excellent.  Stainless steel can take a beating but this case could stand a few minutes of buffing to restore it's shine.

The case is a two-piece design and a case wrench will make short work of opening it up.

A substantial brass movement ring holds the 8/0 sized movement in place.  This is a large watch, for vintage standards anyway.

The case is made by Ed Grimm SA in Switzerland.  I've seen that maker on a few other 1960-era models.

Everything is cleaned and laid out for reassembly.

The reassembled movement is running briskly but only a timer will tell you for sure how well it's performing.

That's weird.  Something inside is making a virtual racket and creating a lot of extra noise.

A trip past the demagnitizer and then recleaning the hairspring seems to have cleared things up.  The amplitude is great... I'll take anything over 200 but the beat error is on the higher side of acceptable.  In a pinch I would let this slide, since the beat error doesn't really impact anything other than having the watch stop a little sooner when it winds down.  However, since I have spare balances, I might as well give reducing the beat error a try.  That requires pulling the balance off the balance cock and rotating the hairspring collet on the balance staff.  It's very fine work and easy to goof up so I don't like to do it if I don't really have to.

Success!  It's total guesswork how far to turn the hairspring, assuming you can even tell which direction to go.  I chose wisely, and the beat error is a very acceptable 0.8ms now.  Nothing wrong with this timekeeping now.

Here's a nice shot of the two tone dial after I installed the hands.  Now I just need to install a fresh crystal to seal it up.

A 30.1mm high dome crystal will do nicely.

I'm not a big fan of bracelets unless they are the original style.  In this case I will opt for a nice genuine lizard strap in black.  It goes great with the black numerals and give this watch a classic 1960's vibe.  It's really a beautiful watch... I wonder why it was only made for a single year?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

1963 Eric

There are two models called the Eric. The first came out in 1948 and was made for four years.  The second was introduced in 1963 and produced for only two years.  Other than the name, there are no other similarities between the two models.  The earlier Eric is fairly ubiquitous and readily found for sale.  The later Eric is much less common and a lot harder to find.

The 1963 Eric came in a 10K gold filled case with uniquely designed lugs.  The radial finished dial has gold numerals and markers along with a gold ring around the outside perimeter.  The sleek baton hands compliment the slender hour markers.  You could purchase the Eric with a florentine-style bracelet or on a strap.

Tucked inside the case is Hamilton's 22 jewel flagship movement, the 770.  This 12/0 sized movement was used in round cases as much as non-round - which is interesting since Hamilton was still producing their round 8/0 sized 730 / 731 movement at the time.

I think I've only seen one or two Erics in the wild over the last few years so I was very happy to have landed one for myself.  It didn't hurt that the seller's pictures were not very good.  As received, it was better than I expected and showed a little wear but not much to complain about.

Although you can't really tell from the front, there's a substantial amount of material connecting the lugs to the case.

I had to look closely to determine that the case is a one-piece design.  With such a wide bezel, it gives you the impression that the case might separate but there is no seam.  This watch opens through the crystal.

The 770 movement is in good shape.  There's a dull haze so it's been a while since it's been cleaned.

I don't see any service marks inside the case back.  The golden movement ring is removable and secures the movement inside the case once the crystal is installed.

All the parts are thoroughly cleaned and dried before reassembly.

The freshly oiled movement is now ticking away with nice motion.  It's off to the timer to see how it's running.

Good amplitude, acceptable beat error and just a smidgen fast - all things I like to see after an overhaul.  I find the beat rate settles down after a little while.

A new crystal is always an easy way to make a watch look better.

With such sleek looking lugs, a nice unpadded genuine lizard strap is a perfect compliment to this very elegant looking dress watch.    I really like this watch - it's a real beauty in my opinion.  I don't know what font the numerals are but they are very interesting, especially the number 2 in 12.  It looks like an upside down 6 with a flag on the end.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

1948 Dunham

After over 475 watch posts I'm occasionally surprised when I realize there are still some models that I've seen in the past that I haven't put on the blog yet.  For example, there's the 1948 Dunham, I've restored several of them over the past few years. but this is the first post on the model.

The Dunham was made from 1948 through 1951 and you'll see them for sale fairly often.  It think is easily confused with other models like the Dexter and the Darrell (which is another model I've restored several times and haven't written a post on... go figure).

The Dunham came in a 14K gold filled case with a silver butler-finished dial featuring solid 18K gold humerals and markers.  Inside the case is a 17 jewel 747 movement.

I recently landed a Dunham specifically to write about and at first I thought it might have come with an original bracelet.  However, it's not original.  It's probably from the period though and was made in post-WWII Japan.  The photo looks a little blurry but that's mostly because the crystal is totally frosted over.

The case back is unengraved and doesn't show too much wear but the back of the lugs show some wear.

No debate about the benefit of replacing this crystal.

The 747 is a nice movement and this one is in great shape - it just needs a quick trip to the spa and some fresh lubricants inside.  The serial number dates the movement to 1949.

The mainspring inside the barrel was an older style blue steel spring.  Eventually the 747 and 748 got white alloy Dynavar springs but this is either the original spring or it was replaced with a blue steel version along the way.

I prefer to use white alloy springs Dynavar springs whenever I can get them.

A new glass crystal will make huge difference in this watch's appearance.

Everything is cleaned and dried.  The 747 is a breeze to work on compared with the automatic models.

The watch is now running with good motion - it's off to the timer to see how well it's running.  Notice the regulator is a little off center towards Fast, that's not a big worry but you'll see below that it's a factor.

The watch is running just over a minute fast per day.  The amplitude and beat error are excellent though.

Just a slight tweak to move the regulator back to center and the watch is right on the money now.  It doesn't get better than this.

The dial and hands go back on and everything goes back into the case.  A fresh genuine lizard strap completes the restoration.  The dial is original and has a nice even golden patina.  This is a sharp looking, classic 1940's watch.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

1954 Leslie

Men's watches in the 1940s got to be very small... sometimes so small that you'd think they were ladies models.  The Elliott and Norman come to mind, but there are several tiny watches.

In the 1950s watches started to get a little larger but there are a few hold outs with 1940s styling.  One of them is the Leslie.  It was produced from 1954 through 1956.

Initially the Leslie had a 19 jewel 753 movement.  It features a 10K gold filled case with a two-tone white and butler finished dial with solid 18K gold numerals and markers.

In 1955 the Leslie received the 22 jewel 770 movement.  It's funny that it's not called the Leslie B since the movement changed but since the 753 and 754 are both 12/0 sized movements, there's no change in the case at all.

I don't think you tend to see Leslies very often in the wild.  Probably because they are very small... pretty much the size of the 770 movement itself.  I did eventually find one though and although the crystal is rather beat up the rest of the watch is in good shape.

The watch is engraved with a name and date from 1960 - four years after production ended.  So I guess this watch waited around in the jewelry store for a while.

Without the crystal in the way, you can see that the sterling silver dial is in good shape and appears to be original.

Looking at the movement, it's in good condition but the dull finish is a sure sign that the watch hasn't been cleaned in a long while.  Can you see the dial on the other side of the movement?  Just a little corner of it is visible so the dial is arguably the smallest 770 dial I've ever come across.

The model is easily identified by the mark in the case back.  I only see one service mark inside the case so this watch hasn't seen a watchmaker too many times over the last 60 years.

A new glass crystal will make a nice improvement to the watch's aesthetic.

Everything is cleaned and dried.

The freshly reassembled movement is ticking away so it's off to the timer to see how it's doing.

Running a little fast and the beat error is a little too high at 4.2ms.  So I'll take it apart and try to move the hairspring collet.

Oops... wrong direction.  7.3ms is way too high.

There... 0.6ms is excellent so I'll stop there.

The dial and hands go on and it all goes back into the polished case.  It's a nice looking watch, even if it is a smidgen too small for my tastes.