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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, April 23, 2017

1971 Dateline A-587

It wasn't unusual for Hamilton employees to work 30 or more years for the company.  So it's conceivable that a few employee careers might have spanned the 40 years between 1930 and 1970.  That means someone might have said, "Hey remember the first style of printed numerals we used?  Let's use those again but on one of our fancy new automatics."

And thus was born the 1971 Dateline A-587.  It was only offered for a single year.


The Dateline A-587 is an interesting blend of old and new.  There were no sweep second movements in Hamilton's lineup when this interesting font of numerals was first used.  There were no automatic movements or calendar complications either.  It reminds me a little of the 1931 Palisade.


The Dateline A-587 came in a one-piece stainless steel case.  Tucked inside the case is a 17 jewel Hamilton 694A movement made by ETA.

I recently happened upon an A-587 and I was a little confused when I went to identify it.  It's very 1960's looking and the dial is quite distinctive.  I wasn't able to identify it immediately so I thought perhaps it was one of the M-series of models.  However, a fellow collector helped find the error of my ways and I found it in the 1971 catalog.

As received, the watch was rather beat up looking - or at least the crystal was - but the rest of it was in great shape.


The one-piece case is unmarked by any previous attempts to open it incorrectly.  Check out the model number... 986064.  That was one of the reasons I thought it might be a 1960s model - the last two digits of this number typically indicates the first year of production.  So does this model share a case with an earlier model?  Could be - a lot of crazy things happened in the years surrounding 1969.


The 694A movement inside is also a 1960's movement but it was used for quite a while so 1971 isn't a stretch.


Everything is taken apart and fully cleaned, although this watch was surprisingly clean to begin with and I didn't see any watchmakers marks inside the case back.  Maybe this watch was dial down in a dresser drawer for the past 45 years... explaining the scratched crystal but otherwise pristine innards.


This watch is very large for a vintage watch and measures 34mm wide without the crown.  It has a large crystal too - 30.8mm in diameter.


The partially-reassembled movement is running with good motion and is setting on the timer.


Not too shabby, just a little fast.  A slight tweak to the regulator index will slow it down.


It didn't take much of a tweak to slow the beat rate down to 1 second fast per day.  That'll do nicely.


I made a quick stop to my light tent to reassemble the bits on the front of the main plate.   Now I can put the dial on and set the hands at 12 midnight when the date wheel changes.


The oscillating weight is reattached to it's framework and the framework is reattached to the movement.  Now I can drop it back into the case, reattach the crown and set the time.


Ta-da!  This watch looks and runs like it just let the jewelry store cabinet.  I love the look of the slender baton-style hands and they're a flat black color.  The radial finished dial really shines beneath a fresh crystal.  For being so monochromatic, this is a sharp looking watch.




Saturday, April 22, 2017

1963 Sea Crest II

Someone at Hamilton must have had salt water in their veins, as there are 47 "sea somethings" in the Hamilton line up.  You can add a couple of dozen more when you add the other nautical-named models like the Boatswain, Yeoman, and there are 24 various Nautilus models in the Electric series, for example.

One of the "sea somethings" is the 1963 Sea Crest II.  It was produced for two years.  The original Sea Crest came out in 1958 but I haven't covered that one on the blog yet.  There was also a Sea Crest III issued in 1968 that I have covered.


All three Sea Crest models came in stainless steel cases with white dials but from there they are each a little unique.  The Sea Crest II has an all numeral dial and a small sub second hand.  Tucked inside the case is a Hamilton 686 Swiss-made movement based on an A Schild 1200.

A fellow collector recently sent me his Sea Crest II and, like most of his watches, it came with the original bracelet too - which is always fun to sea.  As received it was a little dirty and likely overdue for an overhaul but not too bad.


The watch opens through the front so "the claw" is my tool of choice for gaining access to the movement.


Without the crystal blocking the view, you can see the dial is a little dirty and my camera didn't pick up that the finish is a little different around the number 3.  My friend asked me to give cleaning the dial a shot, as he was on the fence with getting the dial redone.  This dial could be redone nicely since it's not a radial finished dial, so I'll give it my special treatment and a "poor man's refinish" to see if I can improve it.


Oh yeah, this is a dirty movement.  No doubt about that.


Everything is cleaned and dried.  Next step, reassembly with four different lubricants.


The reassembled watch is running with nice motion.  That's a good sign.  Notice how brighter and shinier the watch is after a trip to the spa.


Pretty much right on the money.  The amplitude is a little low but it's over 200 and I haven't wound it fully yet since there is no crown attached to the stem.


Well, I would say my dial cleaning and light spray of clear lacquer made a nice improvement to the dial.  It still has some of it's original spots but if you were born in 1963 I bet you have a few spots here and there too.  This dial certainly doesn't need to be refinished, that's for sure.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

1960 Thinline 3000

There are 83 different Thinline models but only two of them are solid 10K gold.  One of them is the 1960 Thinline 3000.  It was produced for only two years.


The 1961 catalog showed the Thinline 3000 was "sold out", so maybe it was only available for one year?


I haven't seen too many Thinline 3000s in the wild but I have seen movements with the dial fairly often - indicating the watch was scrapped for gold.  : (

I recently landed a Thinline 3000 project watch and upon close inspection it looked pretty good.  The dial has a slight tone near the three, indicating that water has gotten past the crown and affected the dial.  The black numerals are uniquely shaped with a very thin font.


The watch has a one-piece case and opens through the crystal.


This watch really lives up to the Thinline name - it's extremely thin.


Inside is a 17 jewel 676 movement.  You don't see this movement anywhere other than in a Thinline.


The inside of the case has a couple of watchmaker's marks.  One of them is a simple "15".


Oddly enough, once the dial was removed, I saw "15" scratched into the manipulate too.  You can see the 5 in the photo below.


There's a lot of extra oil under the barrel bridge.  In fact the overall movement looks clean but feels grimy.


The Hamilton 676 is based on an Aurore 4201 ebauche.  The shield logo with an AV inside indicates Aurore


All the parts are cleaned and ready to be reassembled.


Everything is reassembled and running.  It looks okay to my eye but the timer will tell me for sure how it's running.


It's running a little slow and the amplitude is low but I only wound it a little bit.


I wound it more fully so the amplitude increased.  The regulator index is very finicky... I could get it to run a little fast or a little slow but the sweet spot proved illusive.  I'll leave it a little fast for now.


I'll put a new low profile crystal on, as the old one was a little scratched up.  30.6mm should do the trick.


A nice genuine alligator strap completes the overhaul of the watch.  My merciless light tent exaggerates the yellow tone near the three on the dial.  It's not that obvious in daylight.  The dial is a radial finished pattern and I'd be hesitant to try to get it refinished.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

1965 Dateline T-480

Most pre-1969 models with calendar complications were part of the Dateline series.  There were A-models and T-models, depending on if they had Accumatic movements or Thin-o-matic movements.

The 1965 Dateline T-480 was a Thin-o-matic model with a date complication.  It was produced through 1969.


As you can see in the catalog snip, the T-480 has a 10K yellow gold filled case.  It came on a bracelet or a strap.  What you can't see in the catalog ad is the watch is very yellow overall, as even the dial is a golden color.

I recently received a T-480 project watch and it had it's original JB Champion bracelet.  Unlike most bracelets, this model has a two-piece bracelet, sort of like a metal strap.  It was a little "clunky" inside, as if something is rattling around inside.


The case is a one-piece design and in the shot below you can also see the clasp for joining the two bracelet ends.


Opening the watch, the source of the sound is obvious.  The oscillating weight has come free of the movement.  This is an odd failure, the screw that holds the weight on is still attached to the center of the weight.  The weight has broken off.


This movement uses an ETA-based movement called the Hamilton 624.  It's the calendar version of the 623 movement that is also used in some Thin-o-matics without dates.


The framework that enables to rotor to spin and wind the watch is attached with two screws.  I'll remove those to lift off the framework.


With the dial and hands removed you can see this movement is similar to the 694A movement that is used in the A-series of Datelines.  However this 624 is a little different, for example, the date index lever on the right, currently engaging the date wheel at the number 21.  It's also different in that the date wheel is golden in color.


I'll strip the parts off the front of the manipulate and then flip it over to remove the parts from the back.


The framework is now off and there's a large screw head to remove the remaining center portion of the rotor.


I will see if I can press the two parts of the rotor back together.  I'll need to pull out one of my staking sets.


The center of the rotor is a tight fit, so a few taps to a stake should set it back in place.


I need to choose a stake that will fit the recess in the center of the weight.


A few tap, tap, taps, sets the two parts back together.  Hopefully it will stay the way.


Looks like it worked.


All the parts are cleaned and dried.


The reassembled movement is ticking away with good motion.  It's off to the timer to find out how well it's working.


I didn't wind the watch very much so that explains the low amplitude.  The beat error isn't too bad but it's easy to adjust on this movement, so I'll give it a quick tweak.


It doesn't take much of a tweak to bring the two lines more close together.  That brought the amplitude up a little too.


There are two springs on the front of the movement that could easily fly off, never to be seen again.  So I'll reassemble the front of the movement inside my light tent.  That way I can find the parts if they happen to disappear.  This tent has saved me countless hours on my hands and knees looking for things.


It's a little blurry but all the parts back together.


The dial goes back on and then the hands are installed at 12:00 midnight so the date changes at the proper time.  With everything else cleaned and polished, this watch looks like it just left the showroom floor.