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Sunday, January 1, 2017

1956 Sinclair

In my last post I discovered that in 1957 Hamilton changed the material for applied gold figures from solid 18K gold to solid 14K gold.  Models that spanned the 1956 - 57 transition had either 18K or 14K figures, depending on their year.

One of the models that fit that description is the 1956 Sinclair.  It was produced through 1959 as part of the "Medallion" line.  If it looks familiar, it might be because it's very similar to the 1955 Trent.  In fact, you could almost say the Trent was a "poor man's Sinclair".

Regardless of the year, the Sinclair came in a solid 14K gold case and a crocodile strap.  In 1957 the dial was outfitted with 14K gold numerals.

Inside the Sinclair you will find the 22 jewel 770 movement that was introduced in 1955.

My Sinclair project watch arrived in typical dresser-drawer condition.  It looked like all it really needed is a good cleaning.  The crystal appeared to be in decent shape but close observation revealed it had a lot of fine pitting and would need to be replaced.

The back of my watch is engraved with a presentation for 25 years of service to General Motors.

The Sinclair features "pearled dots" as some of the the hour markers.  Although they almost appear to be applied to the dial, they are actually recessed holes in the dial that are gold in color.

The inside of the case back makes identifying the model very easy.  You have to like solid gold cases - they never show any signs of verdigris.  If you see any greenish verdigris on a case, you know it's not solid gold.

This 770 movement looks pretty good but the sides of the movement make it clear that it hasn't been overhauled in recent years.  In fact, there are no watchmaker marks inside the case back, so it's possible that I'm the first person to look at this movement in 60 years.

Everything is disassembled and cleaned before being reassembled with fresh lubricants.

Somewhere there's an Elgin model with the same crystal dimensions as the Sinclair.  The bezel opening is square, 21.8mm x 21.8mm.

Glass crystals are best glued in place with UV glue and nothing cures UV glue better than good ol' sunshine.

Initially the movement was running about 45 seconds fast but a quick tweak of the regulator slowed it down nicely.  The beat error of 2.1ms is on the high side of acceptable but not so high that I want to risk goofing up the hairspring by adjusting it.

A new genuine alligator strap complements the reassembled Sinclair nicely and this watch looks almost new.  It's a little on the small side, as are a lot of vintage watches, and this could easily be worn by a woman by today's standards.


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