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.

Monday, July 1, 2024

1955 Automatic K-454 aka Sputnik

 It goes without saying that some models are more popular than others.  What is a little harder to say is were they always popular or did the popularity come with age and time?  For example, some models are popular because they are rare.  Would they be rare because they were popular?  Somehow, I doubt it.

Regardless, one popular model is the 1955 Automatic K-454.  It was made for three years.  It's also referred to as "the Sputnik" after the Soviet satellite launched in 1957 with four protruding antennae.  

In the K-454's case (pun intended) you'll see the dial features four golden streaks emanating from the center and radiating outwards toward the fancy, angled lugs.  It's a very interesting design, no wonder it's popular.

By 1957 the only thing that changed with Sputnik was the price - it increased $5 to $100 on a bracelet.  That's over $1,100 in today's dollars.

I actually have two Sputnik watches waiting for a trip to the spa.  They're in similar condition but the first one in queue is in particularly rough condition.  It's missing the crystal, the crown, the second hand, and has a bad case of dial rash - plus it's got a pretty severe rattle inside.

The case has a screw-on stainless steel back.

Well, here's one reason for the rattle, the oscillating weight has separated from the framework.  I can tell that the spindle it attaches to is broken.

With the rotor removed, I can see the set lever screw is missing (near the stem) and the framework is also missing a screw.

There is no stem installed, likely a victim of the missing set lever screw, as it's what holds the stem in the movement.

The pivot on the end of the 4th wheel is missing - thus the lack of a second hand.  It will need to be replaced in order to attach a second hand.

Everything is cleaned and dried.  I replaced the missing parts with parts from a donor movement.

I'll relume the hands and the dial - that may make a little aesthetic improvement but the dial is still severely worn.

The movement is reassembled and running with a good motion.

It's running a little fast but the beat error is good.  A slight tweak to the regulator will bring the timing in line.

There... that will do nicely.

A new stem and replacement crown will complete the restoration of the movement.  A replacement framework ensures the rotor will stay attached.

With a new crystal and a replacement second hand, the finished watch is now in wrist-worthy condition.  It's by no means in show-room condition but it's still a vast improvement over what I started with.


  1. I’m not sure how much this has contributed but it was a watch worn by Pete Campbell on Mad Men. That’s how I stumbled upon the model and decided to pursue it.

  2. Hello, Dan. I have a few questions about a '59 Hamilton I have, and would really appreciate your advice. Do you have an Email Address I could contact you through? Thank you for your time.

    1. You can contact me on Etsy, Instagram or by email using the "click here" link above my photo in the desktop version of this site

  3. Thanks, Dan. I sent you an inquiry via the link on your website.