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.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

1939 Bowman

 Tubular lugs must have been in fashion in the 1930s.  Several Hamilton models featured unique lug styles.  Some, like the Dodson and Sutton were made for a few years.  Others were short lived, like the 1939 Bowman.  It's a one-year-wonder.

The late 1930's also featured a lot of models that were "curved to fit the wrist" and the Bowman is in that genre.  Priced at a mere $52.50, that doesn't sound like a lot of money but that would set you back $1,100 today.  

Cased in gold filled and being rectangular shaped, you can expect to find the 17 jewel 980 movement tucked inside.  The 19 jewel 982 was for solid gold models until 1940, when the 982M was introduced.

My Bowman project watch appears to be in decent shape.  Mechanical watches should be cleaned and oiled every few years so even though this Bowman looks great, it could certainly be due for a service.

Looking at the dial, there are no obvious signs that it's been refinished (like a notch by the three) but I suspect based on the general appearance that it has been redone at some point.  It looks fine though so that wouldn't impact the value.

Sure enough, there's a 980 movement behind the dial.  The serial number dates the movement to 1938 but Hamilton watches were like cars and the new year models typically came out in the Fall of the prior year.  So this is most likely the original movement.

The back of the movement has some numbers scratched into it so this dial has definitely been refinished over the years.

Everything is taken apart and thoroughly cleaned.

The reassembled movement is ticking away with a good motion.  Time to see what the timer thinks.

Not too bad, a smidgen slow but if you look at the regulator above, it's set to the slow side. 

A couple of minor tweaks to the regulator brings of the beat rate to just a smidgeon fast.  The amplitude and beat error are well within specs.

I polished the plastic crystal and the finished project looks as good as it runs!

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