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.

Monday, October 25, 2021

1968 Thinline 6511

 You won't see rolled gold plated cases until the mid-1950s and by the 1960s they were fairly common, especially on Hamilton's entry level models.  One model that had a fairly short run was the 1968 Thinline 6511.  It didn't make it into the 1970s,

Thin was in, in the 1960s and Hamilton had models with manual winding and automatic movements with this designs.  Models ran the gamut from solid gold through gold plate, through stainless steel and ultimately RGP cased models.  The difference between gold filled and RGP is significant.  Gold filled has a layer of gold where about 5% of the thickness of the case is gold.  RGP is a much thinner layer of gold, measured in microns.  You have to be careful with RGP cases as you can polish right through the gold layer if you're not careful.

I've had a Thinline 6511 on my to-do list for quite some time.  I bought it a while back but I didn't realize it was a blog candidate.  It looks very similar to some other Thinlines I've already covered, like the Thinline 6510 or Thinline 6505

The Thinline 6511 has black highlights where other models might have luminous paint.  So the dial and hands seem to sparkle because of the contrast between black and gold.

My case is a bit pock-marked by years of wear and the inside of the case is simply marked Hamilton W. Co. It doesn't even have Lancaster PA inside.  The case appears to have been made by Keystone - who made watch cases for Hamilton for many decades prior to 1968.

Inside the case is a 17 jewel Hamilton 639 movement.  I like these Thinline movements.  The axles for the wheels are so short, they pretty much assemble themselves when you try to put it all back together again.

I neglected to take my usual disassembled and drying photo and by the time I realized that I had forgotten, the. movement was already reassembled and placed on the timer.

Not too shabby.  The amplitude is a little low but this movement doesn't have a crown so it's a little hard to wind and not fully wound yet.

The reassembled watch looks just a little better than what I started with, thanks in most part to a new low profile crystal and a nice leather strap.  The case is still a little pitted but I didn't want to overdo the polishing and ruin the plating.  It definitely looks much better to the naked eye.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Modern Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Titanium

I've had a project on my to-do list for well over a year.  I've had a lot of things that have taken a higher priority, plus I've been a little apprehensive to tackle it.  Today was a good day though, it started to rain so I was able to hang out in my workshop a little bit longer than normal.

My project watch is a modern Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Titanium.  This model has been around for a while and is still available, but with an updated H10 movement with 80 hour power reserve.  Mine is the earlier version.

As you can see, the retail price is almost $1,000 for this watch today, so this is not an inexpensive watch.

I've had my watch for several years and it's one of my go-to watches for casual wear.  It's a good size at 42mm diameter.  The case is made of titanium so it's not heavy either.   A little over a year ago I noticed it would stop and start.  It eventually didn't run at all so I set aside for a rainy day, like today.

My watch is in good shape, other than not running.  I've been a little apprehensive about servicing it because I won't have spare parts, in case something goes wrong, and buying parts for modern watches can be a challenge.  

The watch opens through the back.  There are 6 screws that need to be removed.  Then the back can be lifted off.

With the case back removed you can see the 42mm case is much larger than the movement inside.  Check out the size of the movement ring... it's huge.  The ring is secured to the case with three screws and the movement is secured to the ring with two screws.

With the movement ring removed you can see the scale of the movement relative to the dial.  The ETA movement is very similar to the classic ETA movement used in the early 1970s automatics.

The dial is held on by two dial feet secured with clips... just slide the clips out and the dial lifts off.

If you've seen any of my Dateline overhauls then this view will look familiar.  The best part is there are no tiny springs to lose... over the last 50 years ETA has made some nice improvements.

The 25 jewel movement is essentially a 17 jewel movement with several additional jewels in the automatic framework.  With the framework removed this movement looks like you basic ETA movement from the 1960s.

I'll strip the parts from the dial-side of the main plate and then do the same on the back.

I'll have to remember to reinstall the hack lever that was under the barrel bridge.  This watch "hacks", or stops, when you pull out the crown to set the time.

The back of the main plate is stripped of parts.  Everything can now go into the ultrasonic cleaner.  You can see by the number stamped below the balance area that this is an ETA 2824-2.  I would need to know the movement caliber if I wanted to purchase a part.

The mainspring barrel is a little different than vintage movements.  The cover is shaped like a trashcan lid with a rim around the edge.

Everything is cleaned and dried.  There are a lot of parts here, I hope I remember where they all go. Ha ha!

The train wheels are the first things back on - as long as they spin freely I can move on to the barrel and the pallet fork.  I also reinstalled the L-shaped hack lever, it will get covered by the barrel bridge.

The pallet fork is back in place and once I reassemble the winding parts I'll be able to wind the watch manually.

The balance is placed imposition and the watch is now ticking away.  However, I still have to put the balance jewels under the shock spring.  Then the watch can go onto the timer.

Hmm... it's running a little oddly.  I'll pull the balance off and reseat it.  Perhaps there's a speck of dust inside.

It's now running cleanly... although maybe a smidgen fast.  I'll let it run for a little while and then give it a minor adjustment. 

There... it doesn't get much better than this.

Everything goes back together with fresh lubrication.  I've restored well over 1,000 watches over the last 10+ years so I didn't have any trouble remembering where all the parts go. 

I have to manually set the time forward until the date changes and then I can install the hands so the date changes at midnight.

The movement is reinstalled in the case and the case back secured.

My Khaki Field Automatic Titanium is back in action and ready for wrist time.  It's good to have it back in action.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

1958 Seabeach

 After almost 10 years of this blog, it's funny when I realize there are some models that I've worked on that I have not posted about.  One of them is the 1958 Seabeach.  I know that I've worked on at least a couple over the years but there is no blog post - until now.

The Seabeach was introduced in 1958 with the initial wave of sea-somethings.  It was only produced for two years.  If it looks familiar, that's probably because it looks a lot like the earliest Accumatic models - although the Seabeach is a manual winding model

The case is 10K rolled gold plate and it has a stainless steel back.  It was available with a bracelet or on a strap.

One of the striking features of the Seabeach is the heavily textured dial with a scallop shell-like  pattern.

My project watch came courtesy of a fellow collector.  As received, it was in pretty good shape.  The crystal is a bit beat up and the crown is worn but otherwise it's a very nice example.  The bracelet is not original but it looks nice with the textured dial.

The stainless steel back is arguably my least favorite design.  The flat back is held on by a thin threaded ring.  The ring has four small slots to engage with a wrench of some sort - but nothing I have fits nicely.  So it takes some patient finagling to get it off and even more to put it back on.

Inside the case is an ETA 1080 movement, named the 671 in Hamilton parlance.  

There aren't any service marks inside the case back.  I wonder if this watch has ever been serviced before?

Everything is taken apart a thoroughly cleaned and dried.  The 671 is a lot like the automatic movements used in the early Accumatics - it just lacks the automatic framework and mainspring barrel.

The reassembled movement is ticking away with a nice motion.  Time to see what the watch timer thinks of the ticking.

It's running a bit fast but a slight tweak should bring the beat rate in line.

There - you can see the two lines approach horizontal, indicating that it's beating almost a perfect 18000 beats per hour.

A fresh crystal is all this watch needed to look almost new.  I don't have a replacement crown for it but other than that, this watch looks and runs great.