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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

1963 Dateline A-576 and European 64005-4

To close out September I thought I'd do a two-for-one post featuring two very similar watches.  One is a 1963 Dateline A-576 and the other is a Model 64005-4 made for the European market.

To start out with, I recently picked up a 1963 Dateline A-576.  The model was produced through 1965.

The Dateline A-576 came in a one-piece stainless steel case.  The A stands for Accumatic and it runs a 17 jewel 694 movement which is very similar to the 689A used the Accumatic line, except it has a date complication.

I recently purchased a Dateline A-576 project watch with an ulterior motive.  I was hoping I would be able to lift the date window off the dial and use it on the Dateline 64028-3 that I recently completed with a missing date window.  The project watch was very rough, not running, and missing one of the markers at the 6 position.  So I figured it would just be a donor watch.

The back of the case is clearly not openable.  So this watch opens through the crystal.

Wow - this movement is a wreck.  I bet I could get it running but with the dial the way it is, I think this watch is better suited for the parts bin.  Unfortunately the date window on the dial isn't removable - unless I cut it away from the dial (which I might try to do anyway).   So onto the real project for this blog post.

By coincidence a fellow collector sent me his "Dateline A-576" for a trip to the spa.  I thought, "Great - I'll be able to do two watches at the same time".  Once it arrived I knew immediately that it wasn't an A-576.  The case isn't stainless steel so it's not a 500-series watch at all.

Turns out there are a couple of other similar designed models with golden cases including the 1964 Dateline A-275 - it has a solid 14K gold case.

Maybe it's a 1964 Dateline A-475.  It has a similarly shaped case but is 10K gold filled.  It's dial is white though and the chapter ring is a shiny golden color.  

My mystery project watch has a screw-on stainless back so it's clearly not an A-275 or A-475.  In actuality, it's a European model known simply by the model number 64005-4.

Inside the case is a 21 jewel calibre 64 movement.  This movement is based on the same ETA grade the 694 is based on.  The additional 4 jewels to make it a 21 jewel movement are in the reversing wheels in the automatic framework.

So how do I know it's not a US model?  The balance cock is missing the HYL import code that all imported Swiss movements have in Hamilton's lineup.  You can see in this shot that although the movement is shiny, it's actually very dirty.

The inside of the crystal has been scratched by the minute hand and will need to be replaced.  It's almost impossible to polish the inside of a plastic crystal.  Notice the chapter ring inside.  It's very roughly printed - like someone touched it up with a fine tipped Sharpie marker.  I'm sure it didn't leave the factory in Switzerland looking like this.

There's nothing inside the case back to indicate this is a Lancaster assembled model.

European models are stamped between the lugs with the case material.  A "-4" model could be gold filled or gold plated.  This case shows wear between the lugs from a bracelet that was installed previously.

It's hard to make out what's stamped between the lugs.  I see the Hamilton logo on the right and the work PLAQUE for plated on the left.  I don't know what is in between... looks like G90?

Based on the crystal I removed, I think a GS Evr-Tite crystal will be a suitable replacement.  32.1mm should do nicely.  That's a BIG crystal and this watch is actually 2 or 3 mm larger than the Dateline A-576 project watch I showed earlier.

Everything is cleaned and dried.  Time for reassembly.

The partially reassembled movement is now running.  Let's see what the timer thinks of it.

Well, an 8.0ms beat error is way too high.  Fortunately it's easy to adjust.  That's probably why it's too high - I bet someone tweaked it thinking they were adjusting the regulator.  What they really did is rotate the balance and move it out of beat.

Bit by bit I move the hairspring stud so that the two lines approach each other until they are right on top of one another.  It doesn't get much better than 0.1ms.  Now I can tweak the regulator index and speed the watch up slightly.

With the movement running nicely I can flip it over and reassemble the front of the main plate.

I put the dial on and then slowly advance the time until the date changes.  Then I can put the hour and minute hands on to indicate it's midnight (when the date should change).

You can see the stem on the watch is a bit rusty.  That's because the gasket in the crown has failed.  It's very worn as well so I will replace it with a similarly sized tap 10 waterproof crown for a 2mm stem tube.

You can't make chicken salad from chicken crap.  There's no way of getting around the sharpie-printed chapter ring and the finish on the dial has been compromised by the same moisture that rusted the stem.  But the watch is now as good as it's going to get and it's really not that bad.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

1965 Thin-o-matic T-413

A lot of people think that Thin-o-matics only used micro-rotor movements.  However, that's not really the case.  It's probably mostly the case but not all the way.  There are plenty of Thin-o-matics that use an ETA movement.  One of them is the 1965 Thin-o-matic T-413.  It was made through 1969.

As part of the 400-series, the T-412 came in a 10K gold filled case.  You could get it with a specially matched bracelet or on a strap.  One of the unique attributes of the model is the shape of the lugs.  They attach to the case at two points, the 12 and the 6.

I recently picked up a T-416 mainly because it had its original bracelet.  It was listed as not running and not setting and that is, in a nutshell, not good.

The lower lower left lug looks a little odd.  It's obviously been bent.  Hopefully I can bend it back in shape.

The right side of the case looks like it should.  Notice the angle of the lug ends.

And here's the left side.  Notice the angle of the lug on the right.  Maybe by bending it back up I can straighten it all out.

The watch opens through the crystal.  With that out of the way I can swing the movement out.  The female side of the two-piece stem is rusted in place but the rest of the watch looks great.  There must be some reason why it's not running though - maybe it's just dirty inside.

This stem will need to be replaced.  That's a BIG problem, as this stem is no longer available at many places.  It will take some looking to find a replacement.

Everything is cleaned and dried.  Time for reassembly.

The movement is back to running condition.  Half of the female side of the stem broke off so if I didn't need a new stem before, I sure do now.

It's running a wee-bit fast but that's easy to correct.  The amplitude is a little low because I haven't wound it fully yet.  After all, it doesn't have a stem.

There, a slight tweak of the regulator index and the beat rate is right where it needs to be.

A new 29.4mm crystal will be a nice addition to the finished watch.

Well, this watch turned out fairly well.  I was able to straighten the lug... mostly.  It's not perfect but it's not terrible.  This watch is as old as me and I think we're in about the same shape.  The original bracelet is definitely a great feature to this watch.  The finish on the dial is a little compromised by the moisture that rusted the stem but you'd have to look very closely to notice it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

1957 Winfield

One of the interesting things about vintage watches is they are relics of mortality.  The most obvious association with mortality is vintage watches were made by people who have lived and died.  In fact, their children's time on Earth may have also come and gone over the span of time a vintage watch has existed.   I suppose you could liken every vintage watch to a piece of art and art can be appreciated for centuries after the age of the artist has passed.

Another very unique and personal way vintage watches are relics is when you can find information about the original owner of the watch.  That can be very easy - if you inherit it.  I think most collectors I know originally had their interest piqued by inheriting a watch from their grandfather.

I recently purchased a watch that was presented for 50 years of service in the 1950's.  It's a 1957 Winfield and the model was produced for two years.

The Winfield was part of the Medalist line and a mid-grade model.  It has a solid 14K gold case, which would place it at the high end of the mid-grade models but it also has an embossed dial, which I assume lowered it's price point.  Other Medalist models had gold filled cases with sterling silver dials and applied solid gold markers or numerals.  

Tucked inside the case is an 18 jewel 8/0 size 735 movement, made in Lancaster PA.

My project watch arrived in good condition.  There are a couple of marks on the dial and the case is obviously well-worn but it looks like a great candidate for a restoration.

The back is engraved to Kelly J Bruce for 50 years of service to Katy Railroad.  Interestingly the date is late 1955... so how did a 1957 model get a 1955 presentation?  One explanation may be that the award was presented later in 1956 and the 1957 models were introduced in late 1956.

The bezel pops off to give access to the dial and movement inside the case back.  The movement can be lifted straight out of the back.  The dial on this watch is a white finish with embossed golden roman numerals and markers.  There's also a pearled minute track of gold dots.  The outside perimeter of the dial is a little irregular, especially between 5 and 6.  It doesn't look like a high quality dial, at least by Hamilton standards anyway.

The 735 is a shock jeweled version of the earlier 748 movement.

The inside of the case back is supported by a metal movement ring.  There are a bunch of watchmaker's service marks inside so this watch has obviously been to a watchmaker numerous times.

Everything is cleaned and ready for reassembly.

A new 30.3mm PHD crystal will be a nice enhancement for the watch.

The movement is reassembled and ticking away with good motion.

Things are looking good on the timer.  I'll leave it running a little fast as it will likely slow down after it settles back in.

I was able to clean the dial up a little and the watch turned out really well.  Just polishing the case was a huge improvement but a new crystal and a fresh strap make a big difference too.

Now you can see the engraving on the case back a little more clearly.

A little googling revealed some information about the owner.  Apparently he passed away just a year or so after this watch was presented and one week after he officially retired.  It was obviously well worn and well taken care of so perhaps his son or grandson inherited it.

Here's what I found out:

"The Denison Press, Denison, Tex. 8-1-1958: 

Funeral services for Kelly J. Bruce, 74, Katy engineer, were held at St. Luke's Episcopal church Saturday, July 26, at 9 o'clock, with the Very Rev. David A. Jones officiating. Interment was in Cedarlawn Memorial Park with Johnson-Moore in charge.

Mr. Bruce, a veteran of 53 years with the Katy railroad, died in the Katy employees' hospital Thursday, July 24, after an illness of two months. His home was at 130 E. Hull. He had been retired from the Katy one week.

He was born in Wise county, Virginia, June 14, 1884, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Bruce. He attended school in Flat Gap, Tennessee, and was married July 31, 1911 in Denison to Adeline Calvert. He had left Tennessee at the age of 18, going first to Kansas where he worked on a ranch for a short time. He then went to Dallas and started work with the Katy, coming to Denison after one year there. He had lived in Denison 54 years.

He was a member of St. Luke's church, the Eastern Star, Masonic Temple Shrine and the BofLE.

Survivors are his widow; one son, County Commission Wayne Bruce; a sister, Mrs. Carrie Zinkle, Jefferson City, Tennessee; several nieces and nephews, two grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

1957 Astramatic II

Not too long ago I did a post on the Automatic K-475.  It uses a very rare Hamilton movement, the 17 jewel 690.  There's another equally uncommon movement, the 25 jewel Hamilton 664.  It was used in only two models, the 1957 Astramatic I and the Astramatic II.   Based solely on sightings, I would say the Astramatic line is considerably rarer than the K-475.  The K-475 was much less expensive and produced for two years.

The Astramatic line was short lived... it was only produced for a single year.  The Astramatic I came in a solid 18K yellow gold case.  The Astramatic II came in a solid 14K yellow gold case.  So both models were considerably more expensive than many of the contemporary Automatic K-models offered at the same time - or even the Rotomatic line with the 23 jewel Hamilton 665 movement.

I really like the name too... reminds me of what George Jetson might have worn.

I've yet to see an Astramatic I but I recently came upon an Astramatic II for sale.  With a rare model like this, if you see it you had better buy it, as you may not see another for a while.

The Astramatic II was expensive.  In fact, it was the most expensive 14K watch in the lineup.  Like a couple of other models from the era, it featured "silhouette hands" where radium paint was applied to the back of the hands.  The glow of the hands flowed onto the dial, creating a silhouette when it was dark.  I'm sure it was very cool looking but after a few decades it can take it's toll on the dial.

After a little back and forth with the seller we agreed on a price.  The only concern I had with the watch was it was missing half of the marker at the 12 position.  I don't see it under the crystal but maybe it's somewhere inside the case.  You can see some spotting on the dial from the silhouette hands but it doesn't look too bad.

The solid 14K back shows a couple of scratches from past attempts to open the case.  Other than that it looks unremarkable - which is good.

I see a couple of watchmaker's marks inside so I know I'm following in a couple of people's footsteps.

The 664 looks just like the 661, 662, and the 665.  The only difference is it has 8 extra jewels - all of which are related to supporting the automatic framework.

Not only is the left side of the 12 marker missing, the 11 marker is lifted slightly off.  You can see the two holes for the 12 marker and the post on the 11 marker that goes into it's hole.  I just need to press the 11 marker back in place.

In this shot you can see the radium paint on the back of the dauphine hands.  That will come off in the ultrasonic.

I'll see what I can do about cleaning the dial but I don't want to lose the printing so I will be extra careful.

There are four red ruby jewels on the top of the framework and there are four more below.  That's the extra 8 over the typical 17 on the 661 movement.  This framework is also missing a screw.  That's not a big deal though, I'll take one from a donor 661.

Bushings are used on the 661 where the additional rubies are used on the 664.

Bit by bit, piece by piece, parts are stripped from the back.

While everything is being cleaned I will pull out my stash of old dials and look for potential replacements for the missing marker.

Maybe I can use this 12 marker?  That will change the look of the dial and the holes probably won't line up.

The markers from an old Rodney dial might be a good option.   You can see I've used this dial as a donor for markers before.  Based on the holes at the 3 position, these markers won't fit the Astramatic dial.

Well now... maybe this old Stormking III dial would work.  The 12 marker is sort of the right shape and perhaps I can file it into a triangle and less of an arrow.

Hold the phone... this 1957 K-203 dial has two triangular shaped markers that form a wedge shape at 12.  I bet I can use the marker on the right.

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

The movement is back to running condition.  It's off to the timer to listen to it's ticking.

Not too shabby.  There are a couple of extraneous dots to investigate but this watch is looking good otherwise.

A new crystal is definitely in order and this 28.1mm high dome with do the trick.

Nailed it!  The K-203 donor saved the day and this Astramatic II is back to fully restored condition.  I also replaced the crown, as the other was a bit worn down and wobbly.  Paired with a fine genuine lizard strap, this Astramatic II is ready for wrist time.

Here's another shot of the dial on an angle.  My merciless light tent makes the center of the dial a little more toned than it appears in typical daylight.  The radium is gone now so no more damage will be done.