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Hamilton Taylor
catalogued 1936 only
14K yellow gold filled
dial options: gold marker & inlaid black enamel
17-jewel 980 movement
articulating lugs
20mm wide excluding the crown
42mm over the lugs
16mm strap
total production quantity unknown - fairly scarce
$52.50 with gold marker dial (approx. $775 today)
$50 with black enamel number dial (approx. $750 today)
 

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Tom -

I love the great pictures and information you post about vintage Hamiltons every few days.

I notice that you try to equate the original prices on these watches into today's dollars. My thought is that to equate the the price of the watch to amount of labor it takes to purchase one might be another appropriate measure of the current value. After all, an hour as measured by your Taylor in 1936 is hopefully the same in 2008.

I did a little quick, unscientific research on this subject. According to an article originally published on April 17, 1939 in Time magazine (it's avaliable at Time.com, but I don't know if we can publish the link here), the average U.S. worker's salary in 1937 was $890 per year. The $52.50 price of the Hamilton works out to be about 3 weeks salary for the average 1937 worker.

I looked at several sources for more recent 2006 salary data and round a range from about $36,000 to $48,000, depending on which source you believe. Splitting the difference at about $40,000, 3 weeks salary would be about $2,300.

This would seem reasonable, as $2,300 would buy you a high quality (non-gold case) watch today.

Which is exactly what Hamilton was in 1937. And is today.

Hope this helps,
gatorcpa
 

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gator,

Inflation does not affect every consumer item equally. For instance, housing used to take up 1/4 of the average families gross salary. Now it is more like 1/3. Shoes are much less expensive these in relative dollars due to reduced productin costs. Comparing the price/salary ratio might not be fair for all consumer goods.
 

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gator,

Inflation does not affect every consumer item equally. For instance, housing used to take up 1/4 of the average families gross salary. Now it is more like 1/3. Shoes are much less expensive these in relative dollars due to reduced productin costs. Comparing the price/salary ratio might not be fair for all consumer goods.
Absolutely agree with you two21b. Which is why I tried to find a common measurement other then a global pricing index, such as the consumer price index (CPI).

Adam Smith (in The Wealth of Nations) wrote in 1776:

"The real price of every thing, what every thing really costs to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and trouble of acquiring it. What everything is really worth to the man who has acquired it, and who wants to dispose of it or exchange it for something else, is the toil and trouble which it can save to himself, and which it can impose upon other people... But though labour be the real measure of the exchangeable value of all commodities, it is not that by which their value is commonly estimated."​
http://www.measuringworth.com/worthmeasures.html

An hour of average labor then is an hour of average labor now. While labor is far more productive today, much of that extra productivity has been worn away by inflation in real dollar terms.

I simply ran some numbers and thought about what $2,300 will buy you in terms of a manual-wind watch today. This seems reasonable for a high quality hand-made watch in today's world. I just don't think that $750 would buy a modern watch of the same relative quality as a 1930's Hamilton. I realize this is somewhat subjective.

Again, it's just an approximation,
gatorcpa
 
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