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 10, 2016

1964 Fairlane

There are a number of non-catalogued models in pretty much every decade going back to the 1920's. Eventually in the 1950's Hamilton also operated an awards division and they produced unique models that were often similar to catalogued models but different enough to not be identical.  So it's not unusual to see legitimate Hamilton models that are hard to identify.

If you see "Masterpiece" on the dial, it's a sure sign the watch is an awards division model.

There is one model that I've seen quite a few times but wasn't able to identify.  Eventually another collector I know landed one that came in it's original box and the box identified it as a "Fairlane".

Now the interesting thing about this model is the only time you see it there is always an engraving on the back from Ford Motor Company.  So it's an interesting model, probably from the awards division but it has a known model name.  The earliest example I've seen is from 1964, so I'll call it the 1964 Fairlane.

It's interesting that the model is named Fairlane - that's a pretty wise choice since the Ford Fairlane was a popular model from 1955 through 1970.  That's before my time though so my mind immediately goes to the 1990 movie "the Adventures of Ford Fairlane", staring Andrew Dice Clay and Priscilla Presley.  Don't remember it?  You're not alone.

The Hamilton Fairlane came in a solid 10K gold case.  Looking at it I've always assumed it would be one of the Stormking models.  

It's a bit of a blend between the Stormking VIII and the Stormking XI.

Like the Stormking models, the Fairlane uses a US-made Hamilton 8/0 sized movement - and more specifically the 736 grade.

My project watch arrived in nice shape, a little beat up but nothing too distracting.  The back of all of the examples I've ever seen are nicely engraved with a presentation from Ford.  This example is from 1968.  It will look better after the case is lightly polished.

The case is opened through the crystal and you can see the movement is supported by a rather substantial movement ring.  The 736 is basically a 735 but with a glucydur balance.  Note that the balance wheel has no timing screws going around the outside.   This balance is factory poised so if you break the balance staff you might as well replace the balance, as you can't make any adjustments to the balance weight.

I can tell from the inside of the case that this watch has been serviced a few times over the last 50 years.

Everything is laid out to dry after being cleaned.

The reassembled movement sparkles after being cleaned.  I think the 736 and the 731 are probably the finest movements Hamilton made.  You can add the 770 to the trio because by the end of the 1960's it too had a glucydur balance.  Oddly, the 770 didn't become a 771 when the balance changed while the 730 and 735 became the 731 and 736.  Go figure.

Whoa!  This beat error is way too high.  I thought initially by the distance between the lines that it would be 3-ish but it turns out the lines are so far apart that the bottom line is actually the "top" line.

Adjusting the beat error means centering the balance with the pallet fork and that requires removing the balance from the balance cock and rotating the hairspring appropriately.  I got it much better on my first try... normally it take several guesses.  Now I just need to speed it up a little.

There, with the mainspring fully wound the amplitude is vigorous and the beat error is 1 ms.  Not too shabby.

A new GS PHD crystal in 30.6mm and a fresh lizard strap complete the overhaul.  This Fairlane turned out great.  It's a good sized watch too, as you could probably guess by the size the movement ring that supports it.

And here's the back of the case and the presentation for 35 years of service to Ford Motor Co.  Henry Ford even signed it (not).


  1. I remember that movie, Dan! I think I even saw it in the theater. Hopefully the dollar theater.

    Regarding movements: It would be interesting to hear what movement you think would be least challenging for an aspiring watch hobbyist to learn to repair/maintain himself. Is there one that's simplest to access or that parts are more available for than the others? Thanks.

    John with the Lakeland

    1. Everything is relative in sort of a good, better, best kind of way. Some movements are hard, harder and hardest but all can give you trouble. I think the simplest is the 747 but the 731 is better because it has shock jewels. They get more difficult from there. Some of the worst are the tiny 22/0 sized ladies movements - but that's just because they are so small. I would recommend starting out with 747... it's very straightforward and relatively forgiving.

    2. And best of all, you get to tell people you're restoring a 747.

      Thanks, Dan.


  2. I just bought one of these Dan, with a 1964 inscription. After I receive it, I'll contact you about sending it to you for an overhaul.

    I remember the Ford Fairlane movie. It was pretty funny, but I was always an early ADC fan.

    1. Could someone tell me how to remove the crystal on 1964 Hamilton 736 18 jewel movement. It is a Ford Presentation Watch? I’m going to change the movement!

  3. Notably, Fair Lane was the name of Henry Ford's mansion, and now the name of many things in that area of Dearborn.

  4. I have my Grandpas hamilton Fairlane! He got it in 1964!on his 35th anniverssary! I treasure it! Still beautiful!

  5. I just purchased one of these. Not running.. I'm considering having it repaired and re-selling. Any idea on the value?

    1. Restored $425 to $500

    2. I have a 736 18 jewel movement that is good for parts!

  6. The Hamilton Fairlane has the best movement that was ever made.