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Sunday, July 17, 2022

1969 Liberty Coin

Hamilton ceased production in the US in 1969 and moved production to their factory in Switzerland that they acquired years earlier.  

I imagine that as the end neared there was an inventory of US-made movements like the 770, 736 and 731 calibers and Hamilton product managers had to decide what to do with them.

Several models were created and one of the best known is the Liberty Coin.  It was not catalogued and there are no precise production figures but common estimates are under 500, which makes the Liberty Coin one of the rarest models produced.  It was offered in 14K solid gold as well as 10K rolled gold plate (RGP), the latter being more common.

One of the interesting aspects of the Liberty Coin is the minor variations you'll find.  Some examples have black baton hands while others have black dauphine hands.  The crowns used also seem to vary.  Interestingly, the model does not have a second hand - just the hour and minute hand.   That's very unusual and did they do that because the 4th wheels had bent pivots (so they just removed them)?  Also of interest, the Liberty Coin is one of the only authentic models to promote the number of jewels on the dial.  The only other models that did that are the other models I believe were produced at the same time, like this diamond-dialed version that you'll find in both yellow and white RGP cases.

I posted on the Liberty Coin 10 years ago and I recently had the opportunity to work on another so I thought I'd show it again.

As received, it is very similar to my earlier example however this one has dauphine hands and an unusually thin crown.

The Liberty Coin has a very crude case, in my opinion.  It's clearly marked Hamilton on the back but not very precisely.  This is an RGP example and I won't polish it as I suspect the plating is very thin.

This watch features a black strap just like on my example... it's some sort of reptile, croc or alligator I suspect.

I don't think I've ever seen a crown with such a long stem tube before.  This is a very unusual crown and I don't know if it's the original crown of if it was replaced sometime over the last 50 years.  Based on the wear, I'd wager it's original.

The 22 jewel 770 movement was introduced in 1955 and if you look closely at this version the balance is a glucydur design without any timing screws.  It's very interesting that the 770 didn't get a new caliber number like the 730 and 735 did when they received glucydur balances and where thereafter known as the 731 and 736 movements.  

The inside of the case back is also crudely finished.  If I didn't know any better I would say this wasn't an authentic model.  After 1940 99.9% of Hamilton cased will be stamped inside with "Hamilton Watch Co. Lancaster PA", along with a serial number.  This case simply says 10K RGP.

Everything gets cleaned and dried before being reassembled.  I like the 770 movement, it goes together very smoothly.

The reassembled movement is ticking away with a good motion so it's off to the timer to listen to the ticking.

It's running a smidgen slow but that is easily corrected with a slight tweak of the regulator.

The owner of this example wanted a new crown installed and specifically a stone crown like on my example from 2012.  Stone crowns include a gem and you'll find them in a variety of colors like red, green or this one - blue.

The finished project looks as good as it runs and the new crown looks much more appropriate than what was on it, don't you think?


  1. Hello, I have just discovered your blog because I am looking for information on the Hamilton Coral Winthrop 1939 that I have just acquired. I have already learned a lot thanks to you. Do you think it is necessary to lubricate the mechanism before using it and how many winding turns do I have to do to start it? Thank you, Florent.

    1. Hi Florent, Yes, it's absolutely necessary that the movement be cleaned and oiled every few years if it's going to be worn. Eventually the oil inside evaporates and leaves a waxy residue and any dirt in the oil is trapped and will wear out the delicate pivots. Even a modern Rolex today needs to be regularly cleaned and oiled.

  2. Great job on the restoration Dan! This watch has been on my bucket list for a long time. You always do the watches justice when you restore them. This is no exception. Thanks!