WATCH TALK FORUMS banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hamilton Titan I - Owners Tips Wanted!

Hello,

I've recently added the first 'Electric' to my Hamilton collection - the 1958 Titan pictured. I fell in love with this watch the first time I saw it, sort of Art Deco meets Space Age (for some reason I've not warmed to the Ventura as much). Aesthetically the black and gold dial is stunning and the Electric/Patent Pending lettering are very cool in my opinion. Also being a Mad Men geek it transports me straight back to the late 50s/early 60s. The other reason I committed to this was the 500 movement - whilst being notoriously difficult to work with and unreliable there is something special about owning and wearing the first commercially available electric watch and all the research/work that Hamilton put into getting it out (albeit rushed) onto the market. All my other Hamiltons are 1940s era with 982 movements which I love but you can't help but admire Hamilton for investing in the 500 and 505 like they did.

Whilst I play the waiting game for this to arrive in the UK I was wondering whether any existing or previous owners of Titans / 500 and 500A movements would be kindly willing to offer any advice as to care, maintenance and intrinsicities around the following:

a) Which modern battery is more suitable for the 500 - 387s or 389?

b) What sort of battery life should one expect from a modern battery running in a 500 constantly?

c) Are there any NOS parts for the movement that I should be getting hold of in anticipation of foreseen issues?

d) The seller says the watch is running strong and keeping good time. How long should the delicate contact wires stay correctly adjusted if they aren't tampered with? Are replacement contact wires easy to come by?

e) When changing the battery does the wire spring release the battery easily or is this difficult (especially with the proximity of the contact wires) to perform?

I intend for this to be a special occasion watch which will spend most of the time in 'hack' mode but I want to ensure it is properly looked after. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer,

Kind Regards,

Rich.
 

Attachments

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,641 Posts
Congratulations on a nice pick-up. That dial looks to be in great condition.
Hopefully some members familiar with Hamilton electrics ( or even Bulova Accutrons) will be along soon to give you some good advice!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your kind words Bill. I hope it looks as nice in the flesh as it does in real life :001_smile: The Black and Gold sunburst dial is lovely - don't think I'll come across too many people wearing one of these in the UK :cool1: My '39 Omega 30T2 is as risk of being knocked off my favourite watch spot!

The main question for those who have experience of the 500 is battery life - I think I'll be sending this to a certain California based Hamilton Electric expert (...) when its service is due. I wear a different vintage watch each week (four at the moment) to lessen the load and have each one serviced every four (ish) years. Would a standard battery in a 500 last a whole year of continual use before a change (equivalent of my planned usage)? I would prefer not to have to open up the case to change the battery myself only to knock the contact wires :cursing:

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,643 Posts
Hi Richard

Rene (Rondeau) has posted here many times. May I suggest you use the search facility for something like "battery", "eveready" or even "500" and plough through the results. I remember he once posted a comments about batteries - then (the 50s and 60s) and now.

In private correspondence I have asked him what the danger of battery leakage was; or more correctly; what (if any) were the possible negative consequences of leaving a good battery in a watch (unused) for a long time. His response was that it shouldn't be a problem but, if one was planning a LONG period of no use (many months; more than a year), then it would be best to remove the battery. HOWEVER it is CRITICAL this is done by someone familiar with the movement as there could be troubles snagging or breaking the wires. I am in no way an expert - and caveat emptor applies - but the lack of watchmakers familiar with hamilton's electric movements in Australia mean that I would chance the battery leakage rather than try to have the battery removed.

As regards your other queries - Rene has also commented here that he has a bunch of spares - but the supply is dwindling. Some years ago he got a special order of gold contacts made up (they open and close 5(?) times a second so do wear out) - sugest a search for "contacts". This was an expensive and ultra complicated undertaking and one which he won't be repeating. So, it would seem that the 500s and 505s in good condition still with us will need to be husbanded carefully. Unfortunately however, one day, the last remaining one will beat for the last time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,705 Posts
I wear my 3 routinely. I've got a Spectra, a Victor and a Sea-Lectric I. I do the usual pull the crown out to switch the watch off and i've not had any problems during the last 18 months of at wearing them in rotation about once a fortnight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for all the advice/tips guys :thumbup1: I'm pleasantly surprised by the battery life. I've got this booked in with an electric watch specialist as soon as it arrives to have it serviced and cleaned up. Apparently the 389 battery in it at the moment is a wrong-un so he is going to replace it with a 394 plus Acetal adaptor. Looking forward to putting it into circulation :001_smile:

Thanks again,

Rich.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top