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Saturday, November 9, 2019

1960s Accumatic Pan Europ 63009-3

In the 1960s Hamilton purchased the Swiss watch manufacturer Buren, who previously made the microrotor movements used in some of Hamilton's Thin-o-matics.  Eventually Hamilton manufacturing would move to Buren's Swiss factory as the company evolved into a global watch company.  I suspect Hamilton produced watches specifically for non-US markets.  Over 50 years it's not surprising that some of them would make their way to the United States.

As evidence, there are quite a few non-catalogued models that are known mainly by the model numbers on the case back.  One of them looks a lot like the 1964 Dateline A-579, but came in a yellow case.  It's model number is 64017-4 instead of -3 like on the A-579.

Another model is the 63009-3.  It looks exactly like the Dateline A-579 except there's no date complication.   I'm going to guess this is also an early 1960's model because the dial has a few small radium burns from the hands being in the same position for many years.  By the 1970s radium was no longer used.  I'll remove the radium in my ultrasonic cleaner and replace it with modern luminous paint.

The back of the 63009-3 is exactly like the 64017-3, the only difference is the model number.  These cases are notoriously challenging to open and it's not unusual to see the case back is riddled with previous tool marks.  This one has a couple but isn't too bad.

Still, getting this one open is aided by having a holder to secure the case so a case opener can work its magic.

If you know anything about Hamilton model numbers, they will often start with the caliber of the movement inside... in this case (pardon the pun) you will find a caliber 63.  It's a 21 jewel version of the 17 jewel 689 automatic you will find in the Accumatic line.  The four extra jewels are in the reversing wheels of the automatic framework.

Looking closely, you might spot there's a screw wedged between the rotor and movement retaining ring.  I doubt this watch has been winding properly.  There's an empty hole where the retaining clip would be... I wonder if that's where the screw came from?

One of the signs that this is not a US model is it doesn't say Hamilton Watch Co Lancaster PA anywhere inside the case out outside.

Well, there are two screws but only one retaining clip.  Perhaps the other clip is inside the movement somewhere.

Sure enough, I found the other clip inside the movement.

Everything is cleaned and dried before being reassembled.

The basic movement is back together and ticking away with good motion.  Let's see what the timer thinks of it.

It's running a smidgen fast and the beat error is a tad high.  Fortunately both are very easy to adjust on this movement.

First I'll tackle the beat error... it doesn't get better than 0.0 ms.  The amplitude is a little low but I haven't fully wound the mainspring yet.

Alright... the beat rate is slowed to just 18 seconds fast per day, it should slow a little as it settles in.  Notice the amplitude is up to a vigorous 287 degrees.

I suspect the bracelet on this watch is original and it's the same as what was on the 64017-3.  It's a challenging watch to fit a strap to as the lugs are short and a curved spring bar is needed.  It's one of the few models that I prefer a bracelet be installed.  The radium is gone now so the dial won't suffer additional damage but the hands will glow once again, thanks to the new luminous paint.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

1955 Stormking I

If you had deep pockets but not a lot of space and wanted to have a nice Hamilton collection you could try to find all of the solid 18K models.  There are only about 15 of them, if you include some real rarities but you'll find a cool dozen in the Hamilton catalogs.  One of them is the 1955 Stormking I. 

The Stormking I looks a lot like the other early Stormking models II through IV released at the same time.  However, the Stormking I has a unique dial with a silver pearled track, gold applique arrows and solid 18K numerals and markers.  The case is solid 18K gold and the back is stainless steel.

Tucked inside the case is an 18 jewel US-made 735 movement, unless it's an early 1955 model that received the last of the 748 movements.  The Stormking was produced through 1957 so you're more likely to see the shock jeweled 735.

One of the unique features of the model is it originally had "silhouette hands" where radium was applied to the back of the hands so the hands would be back-lit by the glow of the radium on the dial.  Of course after 60 years the radium can take its toll on the dial.

My project watch looks pretty good.  In fact, my camera really doesn't do the watch justice.

It may seem "cheap" to put stainless steel on the back but when you consider how soft gold can be, stainless steel really isn't a bad choice from a wrist wear standpoint.

As expected, this example has a 735 movement inside.  This movement was introduced in 1955 and replaced the 748 movement.  The only difference between the two is the 735 has shock jewels to protect the balance staff.

The inside of the case back makes identifying the model as easy as can be... the name is stamped inside.

The dial would be very hard to refinish correctly - look at all these details.  There are a couple of slight scratches but otherwise it looks good to my eye.

Everything is cleaned, dried and ready to be reassembled.

The movement is bright and shiny now.  Let's see what the timer thinks of it.

Not too shabby... I can slow it down a little but it should settle down a little on it's own after a while.

And here's the finished watch ready for it's pillow-shot.  You have to be careful polishing 18K watches too - it's very easy to soften the sharp edges if you're not careful.  This watch looks great, even in my merciless light tent.