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Thursday, February 7, 2019

1982 Hamilton LL Bean Field Watch

I'm starting to think Hamilton field watches are like Lays potato chips... it's hard to stop with just one. 

I started with military watches like the Mil-W-46374B, GG-W-113, and the Mil-W-46374D not to mention the British military W-10.  Then I realized there are a couple of different Khaki field models like the 921980 and the 9415A that are based on the same models (at least the GG-W-113 and 46374D.

If you look for these watches for sale, you will also see similar Hamilton models co-branded by Brookstone, Orvis, and LL Bean, the latter being very plentiful.

LL Bean is a high quality brand and it's been around for a long time... over 100 years, in fact.  There are lots of different LL Bean-Hamilton Field models, for men and women, the earliest being from the early 1980s, around the same time that the original Khaki was introduced.  They came with mechanical movement, quartz movements, even chronographs and pocket watches!

It's no secret that these field watches are quality watches.  Even crappy-looking examples will sell online for well over $100.  I think that's a little surprising since they're not uncommon and they all tend to look alike.  One thing is for sure, I would take any of these field watches over the Mil-W-46374B model with a mere 7-jewel movement.

I recently picked up an LL Bean field watch because... well, I couldn't help myself.  As you can see in the shot below, the watch is very beat up, but it still ticks.

The case back is marked 921980 and is identical to the Khaki model from the same period.  No difference at all, other than the dial.

Getting the case back off can sometimes be a challenge since the gasket inside can seize tight.  It helps to have a quality case holder paired with a quality case wrench.

Tucked inside the case is a 17 jewel 649 movement based on an ETA 2750, just like the military models like the W10 and GG-W-113.

The case back is made in Hong Kong but clearly marked Hamilton Watch Co.

To me, the hardest part of overhauling this movement is to remember to put the hack lever back in place when reassembling the watch.  The L-shaped lever is engaged by the clutch so when the clutch slides into the setting position the lever moves over and touches the balance wheel, stopping the watch.

While everything is in the cleaner, I will install a new crystal with the original matte reflector ring.  That will make a huge improvement over what I started with.

Everything is cleaned and ready for reassembly.

The reassembled movement is ticking aware with a brisk motion... noticeably faster than the majority of vintage watches I work on.  This movement has a 21,600 beat per hour rate, verses the usual 18,000 pre-1969 models have.

Not too shabby but I can dial it in much further by speeding it up and reducing the beat error.

There... just about perfect with great amplitude too.

I relumed the dial and hands since the old lume was a bit grungy.

The finished watch looks almost perfect.  It certainly looks great, that's for sure.

And the fresh luminous paint glows nicely too.   Time to find another field watch to work on...


  1. Perfect timing of this blog post Dan, as I've started looking at these as well. I'm glad you work on them. In fact, if you want to find a new home for this one, please shoot me an email. :-)

    1. I know a few John D’s so please email me with your interest.

  2. Great job. I recently picked up a Hamilton made LL Bean pocket watch.

  3. I have hat I believe to be a 6b (?) from 1991, the only year it was offered by Bean. I have both straps, the canvas case and the box. From research, I see this one is somewhat rare. I am the original owner. Do you know what the value of this watch might be?

    1. No idea. You could look on eBay for sold examples to get an idea.

  4. do you have a part number for the crystal?

    1. I'd also love to know which crystal you used as a replacement, cheers

  5. Wonderful post. I found it while searching for info about an LL Bean Hamilton quartz I found. Is it beyond the pale to consider swapping a manual wind mechanical movement for its quartz guts?