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, May 28, 2017

1973 Auto Cal Delta 820004-4

It's been a while since I've been able to show a funky chunky 1970's model.  I've had a lot of other models jump into my queue but I finally got around to a personal project that's been sitting on my bench for a while.

It's a 1973 Auto Cal Delta.  It was made for a single year.

The Auto Cal Delta came with a yellow 14K gold electroplated case with a stainless steel back.  The movement inside is an 820 grade with a quick change date complication.   This means the date can be changed by pulling the crown out halfway between winding and setting.  That makes changing the date much easier than earlier models where the date was changed by advancing to midnight, back a few hours and advancing again until the desired date was shown.

I've had my project watch for a couple of months and I thought it would be a great before and after project to show.  As received the crystal is terribly crazed and the case is a bit beat up.  It's hard to see if the dial is in good shape or not.

The case back is a bit scratched up too but it's engraved with a presentation to a man on this 50th birthday, presumably.  That's a milestone I just celebrated as well.  The date is from November 1972... how does a 1973 model get presented in 1972?  Well, Hamilton introduced the next year's models in the Summer/Fall of the prior year, just like new cars do.

The Hamilton 820 is an ETA movement and looks very similar to today's modern Hamilton automatics.

Once the movement is removed from the case, you can see the dial is in great shape.

No amount of polishing will do this crystal any good.  It will have to be replaced.

While the parts are being cleaned I taped the brushed finish portions of the case so that I can polish the bright finished part on my polishing wheel.

A new GS Evr-Tite crystal in 28.1mm with a yellow reflector ring will be perfect for this watch.

Everything is cleaned and dried.  Time to put it back together again.

The basic movement is back to running condition.

Hmm... it's running a little oddly but I don't see anything out of whack.  My first step will be to run this past the demagnetizer to see if there's anything funny going on inside.

A little tweaking gets the movement running cleanly.  Now I just need to reassemble the rest of the movement and install it back in the case.

Wow!  What a difference a trip to the spa makes!  This watch looks fantastic now.  I rebrushed the top and sides and they now sparkle depending on how the light hits it.  The bright polished edges still show some minor dings but overall the watch looks nice and shiny... it's running great too.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

1958 Sea-Crest

Hamilton liked to keep jewelers on their toes in the 1950s, as there are lots of models where the dials changed from one year to another, even though the model was the same name.    The 1959 Automatic K-650 is one example.  The 1958 Sea-Crest is another.

In 1958 the Sea-Crest was introduced with an alternating numeral and marker dial with luminous hands and dots.  Although the model was produced for four years, only the 1958 and 59 years had this dial.

In 1960 and 61, the Sea-Crest was changed to a non-luminous design with  numbers at 12 and 6 and stick markers at the other hour locations.  The expansion bracelet was also changed.  Only the case and the movement were consistent with the earlier version.

Behind the dial in the two-piece case is a 17 jewel 673 movement based on an A Schild 1200 grade.

I recently received a Sea Crest in need of a little TLC and I was surprised that I hadn't already had one on the blog.  There are a LOT of Sea-somethings in the Hamilton line-up and I now get to check another one off the list with this project.

As received it's in pretty good shape.  The dial shows that moisture has gotten past the crown and compromised the finish.  There's not much I can do about that.  If I try to clean it, I may lose the printing.

The case back has a lip between the lugs that makes it clear that this case back pops off.

The movement inside looks to be in good shape - fortunately there's no apparent rust inside.

I don't know when this watch last saw a watchmaker but there's mainspring grease on the back of the dial that has leaked out of the barrel.

The dial-side of the main plate looks fine with the exception of the tab on the set bridge.  It has broken off.  This spring, also known as a yoke, is what keeps the watch in the setting position or winding position and it flexes every time you set the time.  It's not unusual to find this part broken from decades of fatigue.

The hour hand is losing it's luminous paint so I'll clean both hands in the ultrasonic with the rest of the parts and then re-lume them.

Here's a better look at the set bridge and the broken tab.

This crystal is a bit worn and scratched up, so I'll replace it.

The hands have a fairly low profile so I'll try a 30.8mm GS PK style crystal and switch to a PHD if the PK is too low.

The hands are now clear of old paint and I'll relume then with modern paint that charges in light.

You mix the paint in a little bowl and then carefully apply it to the back of the hands.  I support the hands with peg wood stuck into a pith wood block.  Once the paint dries I will trim it with a razor so it's nice and clean looking.

Everything is cleaned and ready to be reassembled.

The movement is running with good motion.  It's off to the timer to listen to it's ticking.

Uh oh... this isn't what I was hoping to see.  I suspect I have some lint or something on the hairspring.  My shop it's exactly dirty, but it's not exactly clean either.  It's part of the challenge of working in my basement man cave.  There is the usual amount of dust and whatnot to contend with.

It took a while but I found a stray fiber of some sort stuck to one of the inner coils of the hairspring.  It was quite a pain to remove.  With that removed there's nothing wrong with this watch's performance now.

The PK crystal did the trick and keeps this watch looking sharp with a sleek low profile.  The new lume on the hands and dial complement the white dial nicely - and now you'll be able to read the time in the dark (at least until the charge fades).  There's nothing I can do about the toning near the crown - short of getting the dial refinished.  It's not that bad in my opinion.

Now I just need to find a 1960/61 version.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

1961 Accumatic A-651 (well, sort of)

The Accumatic line of watches was introduced in 1956 and produced well into the 1970s... a pretty good run for a model line.  They typically used ETA-based automatic movements and Hamilton's modern day watches still do.  So I suppose you could say that they've been in constant production for over 60 years.

In 1961 the Accumatic A-651 was introduced.  As you can see in the catalog depiction, the A-651 came with a 10K yellow rip case with a stainless steel back, thus the 65X designation.  6 is for RGP and 5 is for stainless steel.  The 1 is the sequence the model was named, there was a 650 before it and a 652 came out later.

In 1962 the catalog depiction changed and the stainless steel back was removed.  There was also a price reduction, so maybe that was the reason for the change.  It stayed this way in 1963.  So if you have an A-651 with a  stainless steel back, I suspect it would be a 1961 model.

Being a part of the Accumatic line from the early 1960s you would expect to see a Hamilton 689 under the dial.

I recently received what I believe to be an A-651 from a fellow collector that was having "stem issues".  Most of these models open through the crystal and the two piece stem can eventually weaken and pull off too easily.

Although the watch looks unremarkable, upon close observation it appears the lugs on the case don't match the lugs on the catalog image.  The hands are luminous, as they should be, but it's hard to say if they're the right style.  The arrow tipped second hand is pretty cool looking but it's not clear from the catalog if that's original either.  The dial is definitely correct though.

The back of the watch isn't stainless but it's clearly a Hamilton case.

The "stem issue" looks like it might be a crown issue, as the male side of the stem is engaged but the crown just pulls off.

This watch has a 689A movement but it has a male stem inside the movement and the female side goes into the crown - that's a little different than most applications I've seen.  Usually the male side is in the crown.

The inside of the case has numerous watchmakers' marks inside, so it's been well maintained.

Turns out this watch has stem issues after all.  Check out the original stem on the left - it has no threads remaining.  I'll replace it with the female stem on the right, but I'll have to trim it to length first.

Everything is cleaned and dried before being reassembled.

With a few turns to the mainspring to re-energize the watch, the balance jumps back to life once it's dropped into the correct place.

The watch has a fairly high beat error.  Fortunately it's easy to adjust.

It took a little tweaking but I got everything to line up just as it should.  The performance on the left side of the screen is right on the money.

With the watch outfitted on a fresh lizard strap, it looks great in my opinion.  The textured dial is a nice detail.  I thing the hour hand is a little shorter than the catalog depicts so I bet the hands have been changed.  Did it leave the factory looking like this or were the hands and case changed at some point?  Who knows?  A lot can happen to a watch in 55 years, that's for sure.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

1968 Thinline 6505

Earlier this year, in March specifically, I posted a mystery model from 1973 that looked a lot like the 1968 Thinline 6505.  As fate would have it, I recently received a 6505 for an overhaul so now I can make a direct comparison.

The Thinline 6505 was issued in 1968 and 1969.

The Thinline 6505 has a 10k yellow RGP bezel with a stainless steel back.  It was offered on a strap or a specially selected bracelet.

My project watch is clearly identified as a Thinline 6505, especially since it still has it's original Kreisler expansion bracelet.  It's in good overall shape and has been to a watchmaker at least once in the last 50 years because it clearly has a replacement crown.

The back of the watch is noticeably different than the 1973 mystery model.

Like the mystery model, this watch has a 17 jewel Hamilton 639 movement based on a Buren ebauche.  By this time, Hamilton owned Buren so this is a 100% Hamilton movement, just it was made in Switzerland and not Lancaster PA.

The crystal looks "okay" but the center of it is actually a little crazed and polishing will not remove crazing.  So I'll replace it.

I'm going to try a PK style low profile crystal but I may have to switch to a PHD.  A PK is a little low and the PHD is a little taller than the original crystal.  Either way, a 29.5mm diameter will do the trick.

Everything is cleaned, dried and sparkling, including the bracelet.

The movement is ticking away with good motion.

Nothing wrong with this performance but the blurry photo leaves a little room for desire.  I'll leave it running a smidgen fast as it will likely slow a little as it settles back in.

My pillow shot in my light tent reveals that the bracelet actually has a little bit of wear through to the high points.  You don't see that in regular lighting but my camera and light tent are merciless.  I ended up using a PHD crystal so the minute hand wouldn't rub the crystal.  This watch turned out great.

Here's the 1974 912373 watch for comparison... very similar, don't you think?  Definitely not the same though.