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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I acquired this watch after my Grandfather passed recently. I've searched this forum, and the internet for any information, to no avail. Any information anyone can provide will be greatly appreciated.

thanks in advance.

Ray

hamilton.jpg
 

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Hi, welcome to the forum. Unfortunately, that is not a Hamilton model. It is a jobber case and dial with a Hamilton movement. If the maker has not marked the inside of the case with their name, it will be very difficult if not impossible to find out who made it.
 

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As Davemcc indicates, it's a recased watch with an old Hamilton movement fitted into a generic case. This was very common in years past when there were plenty of watches with badly worn-out cases but still good-running movements. Jewelers offered an assortment of generic cases, with new dials, to fit movements by Hamilton and other manufacturers. This would give new life to an otherwise worn watch. Watch manufacturers complained because these were often misrepresented as factory products, so the generic casemakers got around it by marking the dial "Hamilton Movement" rather than just "Hamilton" as they did previously. This evasion made it technically legal since the movement is in fact Hamilton.

Most likely your movement dates to the 1920s or 1930s (it could be dated by the movement serial number) and was recased in the 1950s or 1960s. You won't find it in any books or websites, there were endless different types of generic cases made, all are anonymous today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Value

Thank you very much for the information. the case does look generic especially when compared to the Hamilton cases I've seen on this forum.

I'm looking at $267 + tax to clean and replace a spring. Any clue on the value of the watch?

When i get it back from the watch shop, i can look inside the back to see if there are any other markings.

thanks again for the info.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, welcome to the forum. Unfortunately, that is not a Hamilton model. It is a jobber case and dial with a Hamilton movement. If the maker has not marked the inside of the case with their name, it will be very difficult if not impossible to find out who made it.
Is a "Jobber" simply a person who works on watches and clocks?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, are the face, hands, and movement original Hamilton? Or are you saying the hands are generic, face is new (due to the "Hamilton movement" mark as opposed to "Hamilton"), and only the movement is original?

thanks again
 

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only the movement will be Hamilton.

everything else will be proprietary.

in truth the value of the watch is in it's parts. It's intrinsic value will be dependent upon how much you value the family connection.

A working 987 movement in good nick should be around the 40-80 dollars I reckon.

.
 

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Collector value is pretty much zero, unfortunately, but sentimental value almost always trumps collector value. If your grandfather wore it and enjoyed it, it's priceless.

"Jobber" is an old term which pretty much equates to a "wholesaler." Not a watchmaker, but a dealer.
 

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Ray,

A new mainspring and a basic service (cleaning) for a Hamilton 987 should be less than $267 plus tax, perhaps much less depending on the overhead of the company you use. The guy I use has a real job and does this part time, he is cheap and works out of his house, but his cost is normally around $50-$60 for a thorough cleaning and reassembly. I supply my own mainsprings (the cost is normally $4-10 each) and he charges me $10 or so extra to swap them, so this could perhaps be another $30-$50 at retail. This entire job should be around $80-$110 when you deal with the guy directly without the overhead.

My quess is that you took the watch into your local mall-type jewelry store, and they likely will send it out to a company, and they might even hand it off again to someone else nearby who has a small watch repair shop who charges the same $80-$110 total. The price of $276 likely includes 1 or 2 levels of additional profit. Instead, I'd suggest looking in your local yellow pages and find the guy (likely over the age of 50-60) with the small watch repair shop who does all the work for the big mall-type jewelry stores, and ask him directly the price for a service and mainspring for a Hamilton 987.

OR, for that price (maybe less, I am not sure if he even has the time these days?) you can perhaps have the most well-known (and likely VERY best) Hamilton repair person in the world work on your grandfather's watch... his name is Rene Rondeau, and while he specializes in the more finicky (and expensive to repair and maintain) Hamilton Electrics, it just so happens that he responded to your posts already above. :thumbup1: From those responses you can also tell that he is a true gentleman to correspond with. While it won't likely matter to you in this situation, I think the general concensus is that his work also adds a bit of value to a Hamilton, and he is probably the only watch guy who you'll see people bragging about having worked on their watches in eBay listings. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks again guys for all your help.
I had a special connection to my grandfather, and over the past five years Alzheimers got the best of him. but 98 years is nothing to shrug at. I don't specifically remember him wearing it, but he lived out of state, so the time i spent with him was mostly my younger years. I wouldn't have noticed his watch. It was the only watch in his jewelry case, so i am assuming it was at least his favorite. With that said, the sentimental value is extreme.

I actually took the watch to a sixty year old watch shop just outside the french quarter in New Orleans. I thought I would get a better review of it there. Admittedly the sales person was much younger that the shop, and probably not as versed in Hamilton history. I would really like to get the watch running and wear it as a reminder of my grandfather, but dropping $267 on repairing it just isn't in the cards right now.

My father's father passed last year, and i was able to get my hands on the watch he wore daily, a simple timex, not worth more than $50. When it stopped working, i was told that the repair costs would greatly exceed the value. Of course this watch has sentimental value as well, however, i just couldn't see spending that much money on a low quality watch. This Hamilton movement is a much better quality, and I feel like it is worth me looking into repairing it.

I had no idea i was conversing with such a notable Watch repair person. Rene I do understand that this is not one of the finest watches you have worked on (by far), but would you be willing to give me a quote on getting it running? I intend to pick it up from the watch shop today, and I could attempt to carefully open the back to look for additional marking if any of that would be helpful to you. I could also take a couple photos if requested.

Thanks again to everyone for the responses.
 

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My first Hamilton was my grandfather's watch also -- his 25 year Hamilton Brock from GM. I know others here inherited their first vintage mechanical watches also. Who know, maybe you'll find a repairman who will encourage you to save a few other vintage watches also. GOOD LUCK and wear it in good health!
 
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