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.

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.


  1. Good to see you back Dan! Right now I am fighting a 736 and a 735 movement. Seem to have them back together alright. Just cannot get the balance wheels right in either one. Low amplitude and high beat error on both. Maybe I damaged the balance assembly on both?

    1. Maybe... or maybe you've got pallet fork issues or even something else. I would remove the pallet fork and see if the movement whirls freely. Then I'd install the balance without the pallet fork and see if the balance is lined up properly and the hairspring isn't goofed up. Then I'd remove the balance, install the pallet fork and try again. However, you've chosen the most difficult movement to work on - it's very easy to screw up.

    2. Thanks for getting back with me Dan. I will give that a try. As I am at wits end. Had the 736 in a Nordon and since I was off for surgery thought I would tune it up. Have a 735, 747, 730 and 770 complete and sitting around. Thought it would make a nice project. I just keep an eye out for something with a good case and bad movement to throw in one of these. Although now I do not have a spare 748, 735 and 736. Although it is not the end of the world and a hobby none the less. Had about 45 vintage Hamilton pieces. Down to under 10 now.

  2. Welcome back Dan! I hope you and your family are well.

  3. Nice watch Dan..I love the layout of the dial ! Best regards- Randy

  4. Good day...wondering if you know anything about this watch: Hamilton “Escort” Automatic Watch. Stainless steel case, original signed crown, blue dial, and Hamilton Cal 646 (AS1876) - just maybe a year and what the movement should be...thanks I’m a beginner.

    1. 1970s day and date model I presume. There should be a model number on the case back that would help identify it.