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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've posted four very nice vintage Hamiltons for sale. Prices include delivery to the US. PM for additional info or any questions.

Four Vintage Hamiltons For Sale
 

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They look like nice watches. I am a relative newbie to wristwatches (only a few years) compared to about 45 years with pocket watches. I am often struck by the fact that folks will buy and sell wristwatches without looking at the movement. This would be inconceivable for pocket watches, where the movement is the core of the product. Were various movements used with the same model case/dial? Were there movement variations (markings or finish) within a grade that might make some more desirable? This is certainly true in pocket watches.

Not only would I want to assess the visual condition of the movement, but I would want to consider the movement serial number to judge originality to the case. In another thread we recently saw discussion of a 982 that apparently had a replaced balance cock from a 982M. That would be a deal-killer for me.

(Asking for sake of my education).
 

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I didn't really think a movement shot would generate interest to be honest. I figured if folks were interested in a watch and wanted to see a movement shot then I'd shoot them one. You're correct though, it's good to see the general condition of the movement and I agree - on that Tiffany watch the incorrect balance bridge was a distraction.

I always include movement shots when I list on the swamp. I added shots to my sales post - just click the link above.

Unlike the pocket watch movements, there aren't that many different Hamilton movements for wrist watches. Depending upon the period of course. I don't tend to worry about the serial number of the watch but I don't tend to have high end watches either. I do care that it's the correct movement type though, like a 19J 982 in a watch calling for a 982 and not a 17J 980.

I've noticed that early watches (986's, 987's, etc) have the watch serial number stamped on the main plate and the bridges too. Later watch movements don't. I guess some folks might want to verify that all the bridges on an early movement are "numbers matching".
 

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Jerry - hopefully we don't hijack Dan's thread too badly - I know very little about pocket watches but the little I do know is that in the early days (say to the early 1930s??) the case and dial were almost incidental. As you say, at the time of original purchase it was all about the movement. The buyer selected the one they wanted then added a case, dial and hands. As Rene has pointed out here a few times (eg <<<HERE and quoted below>>>), there was no such thing as a standard model.

All that pretty much changed with wristwatches from the early-mid 1920s. At a complete guess I would say well over 90% of Hamilton's wristwatch models (probably over 95%) were manufactured with one type of movement. If a model was catalogued for more than (hmmm - guessing again) 3 years?? then there was a chance the later models may have had a newer type of movement.

Although I have well over 100 Hamiltons I suspect I am not alone in collecting circles in having nothing more than a rudimentary knowledge of the state of their movements. Beyond obvious evidence (rust, springs hanging out or major components missing) I wouldn't have a clue whether the movement I'm looking at is any good. A purchase is reliant on the overall condition of the watch (especially the bezel and case back) and the sellers' statement whether the watch is keeping good time. If they state (or can prove) that it has been recently cleaned and serviced then that's even better. I work on the principle that everything except the bezel and case back are readily available so can be changed out for a relatively cheap price.

Quote from Rene Rondeau, Watch Talk Forums Feb 26, 2010):
That movement number is consistent with grade 927 production. Hamilton's records show that this movement went to the finishing department for final assembly on July 15, 1903.

In that era Hamilton sold movements uncased. A customer would select a movement that met their requirements, then choose a case from the jeweler's inventory that suited their taste or budget. The jeweler would then install the movement in the case to complete the watch. As a result there is near infinite variety of different cases found with in the collector market today.

Hamilton made 45,781 grade 927 movements. These were designed for hunting cases, which have a snap-open cover to protect the dial and crystal. As a result the crown is set at the 3 position.

American watch movements have traditionally been designated by standardized sizes which made it possible for case companies to supply cases to fit movements from any manufacturer. 18-size was the largest typically found, though some makers did some 20-size. Smaller sizes became much more popular over the years, with dress watches typically 10 or 12 size.
 
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