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Monday, January 15, 2024

1948 Brandon CLD

 My last Christmas post featured what I'd consider the rarest of the CLD models.  This post is on one of the most ubiquitous - the 1948 Brandon.

The Brandon was one of the first models in the CLD ("sealed") line and it's the only one to feature a rectangular movement.  The Brandon was produced through 1951 and came with either a silver butler finished dial or a black dial.

The 1948 catalog did a nice job of detailing what makes a CLD model innovative for the time.  Hamilton didn't offer "waterproof" models and the CLD line was it's first attempt to marker watches that were sealed against moisture and dirt.  The featured crystals set in the bezel with a gasket and the bezel set against the case with another gasket.  The crown featured a two-piece stem and had a gasket to seal agains the case step tube.  The movement was tucked inside and very well isolated from the environment outside the case.


The 1948 Brandon featured flexible lugs that the strap attached to.  In 1949 the case was redesigned to feature fixed lugs.  So if you see a Brandon with flexible lugs you know it's an early example.  You can see a variety of example on one of my oldest blog posts from 2012.


My project watch is a later Brandon model with fixed lugs.  The glass crystal is very beat up and the crown is an incorrect style.


The back of the case is unengraved and built like a tank.  The Speidel bracelet is not original to the watch.


With the bezel lifted out of the way you can see the dial.  Someone has bent the corners of the dial upward - perhaps to keep the movement from rattling inside the case.  I think after many years the tight tolerances inside a case can open a little and create some undesirable play and motion.


The glass crystal is going to need to be replaced.  There are aftermarket plastic crystals but I happen to have an original CLD crystal to install.


With the movement out of the way you can see the tub that that 14/0 sized movement sits in.  There are quite a few watchmakers' service marks inside indicating this watch was well cared for.


The 17 jewel 980 movement dates to 1949.


Most of the 14/0 movements I see have a blue steel mainspring inside and this watch is no exception.  The odds are excellent that this mainspring has "set" and lost most of it's potential energy.


Wow - this mainspring is about the size of a nickel.  It will definitely need to be replaced.


Everything is cleaned and drying before being reassembled.


As I said before, I happened to have a crystal set for the Brandon - it comes with the crystal and the gaskets too.


The new crystal and the gasket for the bezel is installed.


The Brandon is unique in that in that it requires a tap 8 crown for the 14/0 movement.  Every other CLD uses a tap 10 stem.  Tap 8 is larger than tap 10 and you might be able to see the difference between these two female hubs for CLD models.  To use a proper Brandon crown you need a tap 8 CLD hub.


The new white alloy Dynavar mainspring is installed and will last a "lifetime" compared to a blue steel spring.


The movement is reassembled and ticking away with a good motion.


It's running a smidgen fast but a very slight tweak to the regulator will bring the beat rate right in line.


The finished watch looks way better with a defect free glass crystal and a proper Brandon crown.  Other than the bracelet - this is what it would have looked like when it left the factory 75 years ago!

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