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Saturday, July 15, 2017

1956 Casino

In my last post I presented a fantastic Lord Lancaster M with a diamond-studded bezel with 1 carat's weight of diamonds.  In June I also showcased another watch with diamonds, the Lord Lancaster D.   Diamonds were always a feature of the Lord Lancaster line but diamonds were included on lots of earlier models.  Take for example the 1956 Casino.

The Casino was part of the Medalist line and featured a solid 14K gold case in either yellow or white.  In the first year you could also get a solid gold bracelet but that was dropped in 1957.  The model features five diamonds at the even hour markers (except the 6).

The Medalist line featured a mix of solid gold and gold filled models but common denominator was they had Hamilton's 8/0 sized 730 or 735 movement inside.

I don't think the Casino is a particularly rare watch but you don't see them all that often either.  You can find them in yellow or white.

I recently landed a Casino project watch and it was pretty hard to tell what color gold it was.  I have found that although pure gold doesn't oxidize, when it is alloyed into something like 14K the other materials in the mixture can tarnish a bit.  Often white gold cases can take on a yellowish hue and my project watch is a firsthand example.

The back of the watch has a very slight dent near the center and a flea bite on the edge.

Looking really closely at the dent, I think there's just some crud inside and it's not a hole.  I could take it to a jeweler to be filled but if it's not a hole I doubt I'd bother.

The 730 movement appears to be in good shape but the watch is wound tight and is not running.  Nothing looks broken and the 730 is shock jeweled so it probably just needs a good cleaning.

The dial is interesting.  It's in very good shape and there are no signs that it's been refinished but the Hamilton font isn't what I'd expect.  The concentric circles in the seconds register are often lost in a refinished and they look crisp - so I'm not sure if this is an old refinish or an original dial.  There's nothing on the back to indicate it's been refinished either.  I suspect it has been refinished though. If these markers look familiar, they are the same as what was used on the Lord Lancaster D.

There are about 8 watchmaker's marks inside the case back so this watch has been serviced many times in it's 60 year existence.  That's pretty good, although it also indicates this watch has had a lot of use too,  I bet.

When I checked the mainspring I was surprised to see it had a blue alloy spring inside.  It has set and will need to be replaced.  This watch would have had a white alloy Dynavar spring originally.

There are several different mainspring options for the 8/0 models in varying strengths but I only have the standard strength on hand.

Everything is cleaned and ready for reassembly.

The reassembled watch is noticeably brighter now that it's clean and the watch is back in running order.

The amplitude of 233 degrees is a little lower than I like to see.  250 or better is my typical goal.  233 isn't terrible and my only option is to find a stronger mainspring.  I'll see how this watch runs over time.  The beat error of 2.3ms is within my specs for a movement like this.  I could try to reduce it but that risks goofing up the hairspring.  In this situation I don't think the extra juice is worth the squeeze.

The watch came with a glass crystal that was still in great shape so all I needed to do with the reassembled watch is put a strap on it.  This model takes a 16mm strap, a but narrow for a 1950's watch.  My finished watch is much whiter than what I started with and if you didn't know better you might think this was part of the Lord Lancaster line.  Perhaps it was part of the inspiration for it... could be.


I decided to get the dial refinished and I must say that it was definitely the right decision!  The watch looks fantastic now.


  1. Dan. I picked up a Ross, Perry and a Dateline A-678 this week. The Ross is really great, looks and runs like new. The Perry it running well as we speak. The dial however has like a black spot round the hands post. I have not opened it up. But do think it may be where the oil has seeped out as the left side of the case had the same looking stuff n it. Like it was sitting in a drawer and the oil seeped and made a stain? The Dateline A678 (as far as I can tell from the catalogue) looked like it belonged to a mechanic. It was covered with black grease. Th crystal was all scratched up. I cleaned it up and it has a stainless back. I popped off the crystal with the claw. The movement looks like it comes out from the front. I could not get the stem to come apart so I did not take the movement out. I polished the whole watch and crystal with toothpaste. It cleaned up pretty well. The crystal measured 28mm outside of the case and 27.7 in the case. What size crystal do I need to order? It came on an old Spieldel band that dug into the loser lugs a bit. I stuck it on a NATO and have worn it to work the last couple of days. Could not tell if it ever has been serviced but has stayed within a minute in two days. Amazing!

    1. Sounds like you've caught the vintage Hamilton bug. Better take up fishing or golf before it's too late!