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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

1968 Accumatic A-606

How much wear is too much wear?  When I was in college I interned with Hewlett Packard, in Avondale, PA.  I got to work with some very talented engineers and it was one of the first, of many, experiences where I learned that I'm not as smart as I sometimes thought I was.  

I remember a lot of important lessons from those days.  One of them I learned while talking about old cars.  The lesson was to always buy a car with a good body and frame, as the mechanical bits were less expensive to fix.

I suppose that could be debated but when you consider the cost in time and money of a really good paint job, you can see there's a lot of merit to the point.

The same is true when it comes to vintage watches.  I often get asked about repairing cases or replating them.  In general, my response is "don't waste your money".  To illustrate my point, check out this "blast from the past" post I did over 10 years ago on "a 1940 Whitman"

Of course there's an exception to every rule and repairing a family heirloom would be money well spent.  However, if you're just a general run of the mill collector, "be patient and wait for a better example" would be my advice every time.

Lastly a word about plating... Hamilton's gold filled cases are usually marked 1/20 gold filled.  That means that 1/20th of the thickness of the case is solid gold - that's 5%.  Typical gold plating is 2-5 microns.  5 microns is the diameter of a human red blood cell.  A human hair is 75 microns.  So even the slightest polishing or wear would remove the plating you've paid so much to obtain.

Enough said.

So what's all that got to do with a 1968 Accumatic A-606?  Well, when's the last time you saw an A-606?  My bet is never, until now.  It's a one year wonder from the end of the era of Hamilton production in Lancaster PA.

The A-606 is a blingy model with a diamond-edge faceted crystal and a textured bracelet to match.  The dial and hands are black and gold.  I'm sure it was a real eye-catcher when it was in the jeweler's display case.

My project watch arrived in typical "as found in a drawer" condition.  It looks very promising except for one really important detail.  Check out the lugs.

This unfortunate watch was paired with a "one size fits all" Speidel bracelet with spring-loaded ends.  I see this very frequently.  The ends of the metal bracelet wear groves into the lugs of the case - especially when the case is solid gold.  This case is RGP but the lugs are still exceptionally worn.

All four lugs are almost worn through thanks to the terrible choice of a Speidel bracelet.

In this enlarged view you can see there's very little material left to support the spring bar of a proper strap.

The original crown is barely holding in there and you can see by the remnants of the H logo that it's an original Hamilton crown.  Its not unusual for the outer disk of a crown to come off once the knurling is worn through, leaving the base material showing.

It's hard to get a good photo of the black and gold dial markers.  This dial still has a lot of sparkle left in it.

Tucked behind the dial in the one-piece case is the typical 689A Hamilton movement used in most 1960's Accumatics.

I decided the owner of this watch should probably consider getting the case repaired before investing money in an overhaul, crystal and new crown.  The case repair could be a deal breaker.  

How much do you think an A-606 is worth?  You've got the initial acquisition cost, the overhaul, a crown, a crystal, a nice strap, and the repair of all four lugs to consider.  

If it was grandpa's watch it would be a no-brainer.  But if it's just an eBay special, what would you do?


  1. If it was wood working or metal working, they would just cut/machine the worn portions back to solid metal/wood then weld/solder/glue in solid wood/metal. Then mill/drill the lug holes back.

    Done by experts the piece may no longer be considered honest wear/patina, but the watch would be functional.

    After all, many old time watch repairers were machinists, just working metal in a smaller scale.

    By the way, thank you for documenting your repairs and publishing these excellent articles!

  2. Given the rarity, it’s a one year wonder, and with the realization that it will need to sit in a collection for awhile before realizing enough to break even and cover the costs. If that was my end of collecting I might be tempted to Elsie the case.

  3. Hahaha, not Elsie but repair

  4. Dan, how would I contact you?

    1. Through Etsy, Instagram, or the “click here” link above my photo in the desktop / web version of this site