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.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

1968-ish Dateline A-something 64046-3

 One of the interesting challenges of vintage Hamiltons is trying to identify models you haven't seen before.  There are several well documented models that were not shown in the catalogs but were shown in  advertisements in magazines and such.  Other times models were potentially made for other markets, like Europe or South America.  Hamilton produced unique models to be used as awards and presentations - these are often easy to identify when they say "masterpiece" on the dial.  Lastly there was a line of men's and women's models that were sold through a large national retailer and were identified by their M-series and F-series names.  Not all M-series models are well-documented but one clue is they typically came in a red clamshell case.

Anyway, I recently received a watch for repair that doesn't appear to be cataloged.  It might go solely by the case id of 64046-3.

Case numbers are interesting.  Sometimes they mean something and other times they don't reveal too much.  For example, the -3 typically denotes a stainless steel case.  Often (but not always) the first two digits represents the caliber of the movement inside.  So this model likely has a caliber 64 inside.  Sometimes the last two digits represents the year it was introduced - that is not the situation here though.  There's no one-size-fits-all nomenclature or rationale for model numbers.

My project watch appears to be in good shape but it definitely could use a new crystal.

The case back shows the model number and it presents like it could be one of the Fontainebleau models but it doesn't say that on the dial.  The model number is close to other Fontainebleau models though.

The case is a two piece design but it opens from the front and requires a two-piece stem.  Getting the bezel separated from the back required a special tool.  It's spring loaded like a punch but has an angled tip.  You push it in and once it reaches a certain point of compression it "snaps" and pops the chiseled tip with a little whack.

With the bezel and stem out of the way the movement and dial lifts right out and you can see this watch uses a 694A.  The 694A was made by ETA and is based on a Hamilton 64 caliber.  The 64 caliber has 21 jewels while the 694A has 17. Where are the extra 4 jewels in a 64?  They're in the reversing wheels of the automatic framework.  The 694A does not have those jewels.

The crystal is a special design.  It has a groove around the perimeter to align with the bezel so it snaps into the groove.  A silver reflector ring is installed on the inside of the crystal, further sealing the crystal and bezel.  So you need to remove the reflector ring to use the "claw" to compress the crystal in order to remove it.

The 694A is the same basic design as a 689A except it has a date complication.  That's good to know when you need a replacement part.  The hardest task of reassembling the movement is to not lose the tiny spring that indexes the date wheel into position so it centers in the date window of the dial.  Everything is cleaned, dried and ready to be reassembled.

The basic movement is reassembled and running so now I can put it on the timer and make any timing adjustments before putting it all back together.

After a couple of tweaks the timing is right on the money.

The crystal is a special design so I'll have to do some research to see if I can replace it.  In the meantime I polished the snot out of it, at least the best I could.  It's not perfect but it's definitely a huge improvement.  This watch is really cool.  The dial has luminous paint and all three hands do too.  I don't think I've seen this style of lumed second hand before!

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