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Thursday, December 21, 2023

1966 Dateline A-582

There are a lot of features that can be used to describe a watch.  Sometimes features are formally referred to as "complications" but not all features are complications.

For example, the most basic elements to describe a watch would be that it has a dial with hour and minute hands. The first complication would to add a second hand, either a central sweep second hand or the smaller sub-second hand.  

Another complication would be if it was an automatic with the framework included to self-wind the watch.  Further, adding a date of the month or day of the week would be additional complications.  A chronograph (stop watch) would also be a complication.

You can start to see why watches can become quite expensive as a result of the various complications involved.

Other important attributes would be the material of construction. Is it gold, gold filled, rolled gold plated, electroplated, stainless steel, etc? 

The shape of the case and the opening for the crystal & dial can be interesting attributes.  Also, the dial design features such as color, texture, finish and the type of markers or numerals used will greatly influence the appearance of a watch.

Add all of that together and it's easy to understand how Hamilton could have had over 125 different models in their 1966 lineup.

One of them was the Dateline A-582 - it was only offered in that year.  

How would I describe the Dateline A-582?  Well, it's a stainless steel, calendar, automatic with a cushion-shaped waterproof case, round crystal with silver-colored, textured dial, outfitted with two styles of black and silver markers.  

One feature that I had not seen on a Hamilton watch until now would be an integral magnifier in the crystal to highlight the date.  This feature is clearly depicted in the catalog add.

When I first saw my project watch the magnifier jumped right out at me.  My immediate impression was that it had to be a later addition or replacement of the original crystal.  However, as Michelangelo said, "ancora imparo" - I am still learning.

The crystal is pretty beat up but the rest of the watch looks good overall.

The case is cushion-shaped and echoes back to the original design of Hamilton's first wrist watch.  Many improvements were introduced since 1920 though and this case is a single piece stainless steel waterproof design.

The magnifier is incorporated inside the crystal.  I thought it might be a raised bump on the outside - but that is not the case.

With the crystal removed you can see there is a chapter ring that surrounds the dial.  The dial also has a linen-like texture.  The dial markers are faceted with a black stripe in the center.  The lighting in my photo makes them look black but they're actually quite sparkly.

The chapter ring is removed and I pulled the two-piece stem apart.  Now the movement can be lifted out of the case.  There is a little bit of corrosion on the right side of the movement ring - I suspect moisture has made its way inside although the hub in the crown looks fine.

The 694A movement dropped out and revealed that one of the braces and screws that secure the movement to the ring came loose.  A loose screw like this could easily stop a watch, not to mention make an unusual rattle inside.  You can see the other brace is still installed in the movement.

With the hands and the dial out of the way you can see all the bits that make up the calendar complication.  There is one particularly pesky spring that you have to pay special attention to or you'll spend 30 minutes on your hands and knees looking for it when it vanishes before your eyes.

All the parts are stripped one-by-one to reveal the main plate.  Notice that the 694A is based on a caliber 64, as stamped at the bottom.  You'll also find the caliber 64 movement in Hamilton's lineup and the main difference is the 64 has 21 jewels vs the 17 in the 694A - the extra four being in the automatic framework.  All of the other parts are the same.  

Notice the stem is rusted on the female end.  This end of the stem has two prongs that grab the male portion of the hub installed in the crown.  Rust will eventually cause the joint to fail and this is the primary reason you see so many waterproof watches for sale without their crown.  So I'll replace the stem with a fresh one.

I'm going to clean and polish the crystal as best I can but I measured it just in case I need to look for a replacement.  Should I need to look, I'll have to find one that is 30.7mm

Everything is cleaned and dried before being reassembled with fresh lubricants.

The reassembled movement is ticking away with a good motion, although my camera froze it in time while it was installed on the timer stand.

The beat rate is a little slow (-30 seconds per day) and the beat error is a smidgeon high at 1.9ms.  The beat error is a measure of how centered the balance is as indicated by how far it swings to one side versus the other.  0.0 ms is ideal but my upper spec is 3.0ms, as making an adjustment can invite disaster on some movements.

However, on most Swiss-made movements from this time, adjusting the beat is very easy.  You simply move the hairspring stud one direction or the other, as identified by my screwdriver below.  Of course, one false move and you can damage the hairspring, but it's still an easy enough adjustment as long as you go the correct direction.

There... right on the money. 

A quick adjustment to the regulator brings the beat rate up a little.  On my timer screen the slope of the line indicates the beat rate... going down is slow, going up is fast, horizontal is perfect.

The finished watch looks fantastic paired with a nice genuine lizard strap.  One of the hardest parts of reassembly is to get the crystal magnifier in the correct location while also getting the chapter ring to line up with the hour markers on the dial.  It took a few attempts but it looks great now.


  1. A pleasure to read, and view, as always.

    I'd like to take the opportunity to say "thanks" for all these lovely, in-depth articles on some of my favorite watches.

    A merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!