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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, January 5, 2019

1941 Gordon

If you wanted to have a small but premier collection of Hamilton watches, you could focus solely on finding the solid 18K gold models.  There are only 14 of them, plus maybe a couple more if you want to add the diamond dial variants.

One of the models that might be easier to locate would be a Gordon.  It was introduced in 1941 and produced through 1951 before being replaced by the almost identical Gordon B in 1952.


The Gordon features a solid 18K gold case with a two-toned sterling silver dial with solid 18K markers and squares.  It features hidden lugs with the impression they might be moveable but they are fixed in place.

Being a premier model, the Gordon was outfitted with the newly introduced 19 jewel 982M movement. The 982M is a more decorative version of the 19 jewel 982 and is said to have been made to even tighter tolerances than the 982.  It's definitely the prettiest 14/0 movement, which is interesting since no one would ever need to look at the movement other than a watchmaker.

My Gordon project watch presents an unusual opportunity.  You'll see why in a minute.  Looking closely at the dial, it's not hard to see that the finish is beyond a little compromised.  In fact, it's so crackled that it's almost pleasant to look at.  Other than being a bit dirty, it's not in bad shape.  The hands are rusty though so just changing those would be a quick improvement.


The initial 982Ms are easy to identify by the solid gold medallion inset into the train bridge.  All of the enameling is gold in color.  Contrasted with the highly damascened plates, you can see why I think this is one of the finest looking movements Hamilton made.


Check out the tiny notch on the edge by the crown.  That's a clue that this dial is an old refinish, although it looks fairly original.


Looking at the back of the dial confirms my hypothesis.  There is some sort of glue holding the markers in place and there are numbers scratched into the back.


The unusual opportunity I mentioned above is that I can actually replace the cruddy refinished dial with a very nice original dial.  The majority of the time it's the opposite that occurs and a refinished dial makes the watch look better.  



The inside of the case back is very simple.  There are lots and lots of solid gold watches on eBay, especially with diamonds on the dial, and if the inside of the case back doesn't say Hamilton Watch Co, like below, then you can be assured it's not an authentic model.


 The mainspring installed in the barrel is already a white alloy design.  So I will clean it and reuse it.


Everything is cleaned, dried and ready to be reassembled.


The movement is ticking away with a good motion.  That's alway a good sign.


Nothing wrong with this timekeeping.


My light tent is merciless and reveals every potential flaw.  Even with that, this watch looks fantastic.  I did not replace the plastic crystal with a glass version - that would be one more detail to improve the look but there's no doubt that an original Gordon dial with better hands was a huge improvement over the previous refinished dial.



3 comments:

  1. Lovely watch and write up. Is there a way of distinguishing the Gordon from the Gordon B? I believe the later incorporated the caliber 770 instead of the 982M. If that is correct one would have to open the caseback. Are there any features on the exterior?

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    1. From the outside a Gordon and Gordon B are identical. The Gordon B would have a 19 jewel 754 movement since it was made before 1955 when the 770 came out and replace the 754. That said, it’s possible the Awards Division could have used the Gordon B so an award from post-1955 could have a 770.

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  2. Great info - thanks for setting the record straight. Not sure why I thought the 770 was used.

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