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, March 3, 2018

1950 Spencer

One of the interesting Hamilton things to collect are buckles for original straps.  Hamilton used different styles of buckles over the years and they came in all sorts of materials, including platinum.  You will see them in gold filled but also solid 14K and 10K gold, depending on the models they were used on.

You don't often see original buckles on watches though - probably because you don't often see original straps either.  But they are out there.

I recently did a project for someone who rescued a family heirloom from a fire.  The watch was a 1954 Spencer.  The model was introduced in 1950 and made for four years.

The Spencer came in a solid 10K yellow gold case with a white-finished sterling silver dial with solid 18K yellow gold numerals.  Tucked inside is an 8/0 sized 17 jewel 747 movement made in Lancaster, PA.

I thought I had already done a Spencer before so I neglected to take photos of the overhaul.  However, the watch was in great shape overall and still had it's original crocodile strap.   I suspect the crystal was replaced at some point as there was a little crystal glue stuck to the dial and when I opened the case some of the finish on the dial came off.  Fortunately it wasn't a complete disaster but it's still a little noticeable between the 8 and 9.  You definitely want to make sure crystal glue is dry before you reassemble the case.

The back of this watch was nicely engraved with the initials of the original owner.  He had received it for his Confirmation - and obviously took excellent care of the watch.

The strap that came with the watch still had it's original Hamilton 10K buckle.  I wonder how many solid gold buckles have been tossed with their old worn out straps?

This 747 sparkles after it's trip to the spa.  The 747 is probably my favorite Hamilton movement.  It's very well made and easy to reassemble.  The 730 is arguably even better, since it has a shock protected balance.  They are otherwise identical.

Watches in the 1950's often had their model name stamped into the inside of the case back.

A new genuine alligator strap in brown is an excellent replacement for the original gator strap.  This watch looks almost as good as new, except for the minute track by the 8 and 9.  Oh well, it could be refinished to look like new but the nice warm yellow patina on the dial is hard to beat.


  1. Hey Dan, I have been sort-of keeping mental notes but how often do you get these with an original strap or bracelet? I'd imagine not very often, especially leather. Love that this one is original and in fantastic condition. Great point about the buckles, big secondary market for those.

    Another fun read!

    1. I believe the strap that came with the watch (not pictured) was original. It was dry and brittle so I replaced it with something new and similar. I think vintage straps are cool but are usually better suited to display. Sometimes they are in great shape but if it’s new and in great shape, why ruin it by wearing it?

  2. Hello Dan, I have inherited my grandfather's Hamilton Austin and am in search for an original buckle. The case is 10k gold so I assume the buckle would be too. I have come across a 14k gold one on eBay but no luck finding the 10k. Do you happen to know a source for one? Thank you!

    1. The Austin is gold filled, not solid gold. Buckles varied over the years. It might be hard to identify a buckle specific to the 1950's.