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.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

1968 Lord Lancaster EE

Happy Easter! 

It's hard to believe that it's been almost a month since my last post.  These are strange and unsettling times, and I've been very busy. 

A lot of folks have reached out to me to make sure that all was well.  Thanks for your concern and support.  I've been fully dedicated to my "real job" supporting the manufacturing of a key antibiotic that is in short supply.  I've had no time for watches and no access to my workshop, in fact.

As I've reflected over the 40 days of Lent and now with the arrival of Easter, three words have resonated in my mind that, regardless of faith, everyone should keep in mind... "be not afraid". 

The words "be not afraid" are mentioned many times in scripture but I think Isaiah 41:10 is most fitting for today... "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

In other words, "stop buying all the toilet paper, we will get through this together, you won't crap yourself to death".

A special day like Easter is deserving of a special watch and I've got a great one to share with you.  It's a very uncommon member of the Lord Lancaster line, the 1968 Lord Lancaster EE.  It was only made for a year or two and this is the only one I've ever seen.

The Lord Lancaster line are models that feature diamonds on the dial or integrated into the case.  They are often similar to other models in the Hamilton line up and the Lord Lancaster EE looks a lot like the Thinline 2042. 

The Lord Lancaster EE came in a solid 14K white gold case with an integrated 14K gold mesh band.  1ct worth of diamonds are imbedded into the bezel giving the watch more than its fair share of sparkle and bling.

You might wonder how much the Lord Lancaster EE sold for.  I'll tell you... I don't know.  No price was shown in the catalog so you know it must have been expensive.

My project watch came courtesy of a fellow collector.  It looks like it's almost unworn.

The only imperfection that I can spot is a slight scratch on the dial by the 2 marker.  Maybe it's just a fleck of dirt and will come off.  We'll see.

You will see diamond-laden Hamilton watches for sale all the time on eBay, often are ridiculous prices.  Normally when I see them my first thought is "buyer beware" because they are probably not authentic models.  In fact, I would say most of the time they are not authentic.  One way to check for authenticity is to look at the case back, or inside the case back.  If it doesn't say Hamilton, it's not a legitimate model.

It's interesting that for what was arguably the most expensive model in Hamilton's 1968 lineup, the movement inside was Swiss-made.  A lot of uninformed Hamilton collectors initially turn up their noses at Swiss-made Hamilton models thinking they are lesser than their American-made counterparts.  To some extent that's true but only because Swiss-made movements allowed Hamilton to produce watches at the lower price points needed to compete in the 1950s and 60s watch market.  They were still quality timepieces.

The movement inside is a Swiss made Hamilton 680 made by ETA.  This tiny movement is used in some ladies models too and it's about the size of my thumbnail.

The inside of the case back presents other visual clues that the model is legitimate.  Notice the second number ends with 68, that's the year the case was introduced and the number starting with a D is unique to this specific example.

Everything is cleaned and ready to be reassembled.

Reassembling tiny watches is more difficult than larger movements.  The principles are the same but the smaller pieces require a very delicate touch to make sure they are in place.  Now the movement is ticking away with a vigorous motion.

The movement is running right on the money.  Notice the beat rate is 21,600.  That's higher than the typical 18,000 beats per hour that most vintage watches from this period have.

This watch now looks as good as it runs and it looks great.  The bracelet is the perfect length for my 7 inch wrist and the metal braid is surprisingly comfortable.  Although, I can't see too many occasions where I would be called to wear a diamond-laden men's watch.  I don't see an easy way to remove or adjust the strap, so the bracelet's length could limit the watch's appeal.

Even the clasp has the stylized Hamilton H logo.

This watch came with it's original Hamilton inner box...

... and outer box as well.

This is definitely a very nice watch, I think the Easter Bunny approves.

I wish you a healthy and happy Easter.  I'll end this post with this brief prayer, I think it's very fitting in today's environment of social distancing and isolation.

Draw us forth, God of all creation. Draw us forward and away from limited certainty into the immense world of your love. Give us the capacity to even for a moment taste the richness of the feast you give us. Give us the peace to live with uncertainty, with questions, with doubts. Help us to experience the resurrection anew with open wonder and an increasing ability to see you in the people of Easter.

Remember, be not afraid.  Amen!