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Sunday, July 16, 2017

1968 Seaward II

If you ever come across a round Hamilton watch with a sweep second hand and manual winding Swiss-made movement you stand a pretty good chance being right if you guess it's a "sea something".  There are 43 models in the Hamilton line up with a name that starts with "sea".  The first Sea-model was the Seabrook from 1957.  The number of Sea-related models increased quickly through the 1960s and continued well into the 1970s.

One of the late 1960 "sea something" models is the Seaward II from 1968.  It was only available for two years.

The Seaward II came in a stainless steel case with what appears to be a brushed finish on the bezel, at least according to the catalog depiction.  It was available on a strap or on a bracelet.  The model was an entry level Hamilton and priced around $50.  That may seem cheap by today's standards but that was the equivalent of about $375 in 2017 dollars.  That would still make it an inexpensive models by Hamilton's current standards.

Tucked inside the one-piece case is a Hamilton 688 manual winding movement based on an ETA grade.

You don't tend to see Seaward II's very often.  That might be because they are fairly common-looking and may just blend in with all the other round stainless steel watches out there.  What is a little unique about the Seaward II's dial is there are no numerals, not even at 12.  All the dial features are 12 identical faceted markers at each hour position.

I recently picked up a Seaward II and it arrived in very nice condition.  All it really appears to need is a little sprucing up.  It's always a good idea to treat a newly acquired used watch to a trip to the spa, regardless of how nice it looks on the outside.  Unless you know the watch was overhauled in the last couple of years, then there's a good chance that the oil inside has evaporated.  Even though a watch may look "new", if there's no oil inside then it will damage itself if you run it too long.

The back of my project watch is as unremarkable as the front.

The watch opens through the crystal and you have to separate the two-piece stem in order to remove the dial and movement.  This 688 looks great, like it just left the showroom floor.

The inside of the case back has no marks at all, other than a single finger print that someone possibly left 50 years ago.  There are no watchmaker's marks inside.  It's interesting to see the model number ends with 67.  That would indicate that this is a 1967 model but there is no 1967 catalog to confirm the existence.  There's only a 1966/67 catalog and the Seaward II isn't in it.

I think a 29.6mm crystal would be a perfect fit for this watch but I don't have one.  The best I can do is a 29.8, which might be a smidgen tight but should work nonetheless.

Everything is cleaned and laid out to dry before being reassembled.

My reassembled movement looks as clean and sparkly as when I started but now I know there's oil inside to keep the parts lubricated.  The balance is ticking away with good motion so it's off to the timer.

It's running a little fast and the amplitude is a bit low but I haven't wound it all the way since there's no crown installed.

After a little tweaking I've slowed the watch down and gave it a couple more winds.  Things are looking good now.

The fresh crystal and a new lizard strap give this Seaward II a new lease on life.  The faceted hour markers really shine in my light tent and reflect all of the light outward.  The only minor distraction that I can see is there's a tiny amount of corrosion on the second hand, but you'd have to look very closely to see it.


  1. Dan please help me with this one. I found a k 451 in good running order. When I opened the back the movement was spotless and it has ran spot on for two days. Two questions. The first is that the claw does not want to remove the crystal. Does it come in from the inside? Other question. The dial looks like for a lack of a better term have old looking brownish varnish looking stuff on it. When it winds down I plan on taking it apart and trying to clean the dial. And replace the crystal. I looked at your post on the 451 and cannot tell how you replaced the crystal. Is the brown stuff on the dial some kind of clear coat from the factory that has aged or dirt. The rest of the watch is spotless and the movement looks new. I am confused. Since it is running now I was just going to pop off the crystal to take a look but as I said the claw doesn't seem to want to grab it.

    1. Beats me. If at first you don't succeed... if the crystal has a reflector ring it won't compress. If the crystal doesn't have a ledge the claw will have a hard time grabbing anything. Worst case is you push it out from the inside after removing the movement. As for the dial, could be radium burn, could be nicotine, could be lacquer, could be dirt. Don't clean it unless you want to refinish it, as you'll likely make it worse by cleaning.

  2. Dan, I read your post about a Hamilton A502 from a few years ago. In that one you didn't remove the crown prior to removing the movement. It has a different movement to this so is that why? I've got an A502 incoming very soon so just wondering if I have to align the stem/crown or if it's the same as this and the crown will be removable with a hand puller tool? Thanks in advance.

    1. The movement is removed by first taking off the crystal, then aligning the two piece stem so you can see the joint, then rotate the movement out while pivoting out of the stem joint. You want to make sure the joint is lined up but it will come out that way.