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Saturday, December 31, 2022

1953 Brockton

This is my last post for 2022.  Reflecting back on the year, and overall, it's amazing to see that I've been posting restorations for over 10 years!  I'm just short of 800 posts so I'll need to think of something cool to post for that significant milestone.

Today's post is a 1953 Brockton, although it's actually a 1954 version based on the presentation on the back.

The Brockton was produced for two years.  It's one of a bunch of models that were introduced after Hamilton evolved to the 12/0 sized movements in 1952.  The 12/0 sized movements replaced the 14/0 movements previously used.  Some models transitioned to the 12/0 movements and became a B model, like the Boulton B or Austin B.  Other models seemed to have been inspired by earlier models but were different enough to be something entirely new. 

There are three 12/0 movements, the 17 jewel 752, the 19 jewel 753, and the 19 jewel 754,  They replaced the 17 jewel 980, 19 jewel 982 and 19 jewel 982M.  Hamilton used the logic that 17 jewel movements went into 10K gold filled cases, the 982 movement went into 14K gold filled cases and the 982M was solely for solid gold cases.  That logic carried forward with the new 12/0 lineup.

The Brockton is inspired by the Brock, as the name would imply.  The latter being produced from 1939 through 1952.  The main difference between the Brockton and the Brock is the Brockton has a solid 10K gold case vs the 14K solid gold case in the Brock.  An easy way to spot the difference between two examples is the Brockton has no numerals in the seconds register while the Brock has numerals. 

The 1953 catalog ad for the Brockton shows it has a 19 jewel movement, solid gold case and two options for dials - either an all numeral dial or a numeral & marker dial.  Either option would cost you $110 in your local jewelry store.

Not much changed the following year other than the strap and the price - the 1954 Brockton reduced $10 to $100.  That's equivalent to $1,100 today.  You'd be hard pressed to find a new solid gold watch in a jewelry store for $1,100, I think.

My project watch arrived in good cosmetic condition but it's not running.  You can see in the photo how obvious the seconds register looks without numerals - clearly this is a Brockton and not a Brock.  Without that detail they would look identical.  The other obvious tell is the markers on the dial - this was not an option on the Brock (although the Brock did offer things like diamonds).

The 754 has gold enameling and a circled logo similar to the 982M.  If it looks familiar, that's because it's very similar to the 22 jewel 770 movement that would be introduced later in 1954.  The 770 replaced the 752, 753 and 754 and continued to be made through 1969.  The four calibers share a lot of parts.

Gentle prodding of the balance shows it's a bit more wobbly than I would like.  I suspect it may have a broken balance pivot.

In case you had some doubts about the model identification, the inside of the case back makes everything crystal clear.  I don't see any indications inside the back to tell me this watch has ever seen a watchmaker's bench.

My friend Mark at VintageHamilton.com put me onto a new tool for the shop, a GemOro microscope and a 95mm frosted glass plate.  This great tool makes it very easy to inspect fine details and leaves your hands free to make adjustments, if needed.

I can even use it to take very clear photos.  You can see that the jewels look great after the parts are cleaned.  I didn't get a photo of it before, but the balance jewel, just to the right of center, had a dark spot in it.  Closely inspecting the balance, the pivots were there but they were a little short.  That can cause the shoulder of the balance staff to rub and change the timing. I'm hoping the watch will run well now that it's cleaned, but I have to assemble it to find out.

Everything is ready to be reassembled.

After assembly the watch would run but it would stop in certain positions.  The pivots were just too short for it to run smoothly in all positions.  Fortunately I can easily swap it out with a balance from a spare 770 donor.

With a replacement balance in place the movement is now running with a vigorous motion.  Best of all, it runs well in all positions.

The finished project looks pretty much the same as what I started with but it now runs as good as it looks.  The little line by the 10 is just a reflection of my camera.  This watch is ready for some more wrist time.

Today is December 31st, so let me be the first to wish you a Happy New Year.  Best wishes for 2023!


  1. Keep up the great work Dan! Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks Dan for all that you do. I'm a great fan. have a wonderful 2023.

  3. A great way to close out the year - and with a Brockton, too! I'm happy to have one of these, though mine is a presentation watch from later years. The awards division of Hamilton used older models for company gifts so that the recipient of the gift wouldn't find the exact same watch at the jewelry store, quite a thoughtful way to handle gifts ... Mine is from 1967, so quite a bit later than the original.
    Wish you all the best for 2023!