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I have seen several posts here about members having some custom work done on their Hamilton watches, both vintage and new.

Have you ever had custom work done? If so, what was done?

If not, would you consider custom work in the future?
 

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This is an interesting idea. I have had custom pipes carved for me. I had a custom book binding made for a nice edition of Moby Dick. I even had custom chess sets carved, although those were based on historical sets. I hadn't considered custom work on a watch since I look at that as more of a manufactured product rather than a crafted piece. I don't want to detract from a custom watchmaker, but I was thinking more in terms of mass produced industrial goods. The Hamiltons of the 20's and 30's appeal to me for their art deco styling, so I probably would not change them.
 

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I'm not certain I'd ever customize any vintage piece from any brand. I have restored several, though.

I have also "customized" a new watch I loved. I have a Jacques Lemans with a VJ 7751 moonphase that had silver hour and minute hands, which were impossible to read against the silver dial. I had the hands painted - it is now perfect!
 

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I don't particularly like to customize vintage watches, but the customer is always right, and anyone has the right to do whatever he wants with his personal property. In any event most of the time such customization is simply making a fanciful dial (adding diamonds, a name, changing to a non-original color etc.) and that can be undone in the future if a subsequent owner doesn't like it. I do NOT do things like converting vintage movements to modern quartz, or anything that might be misrepresented as a rare original (e.g., fake "Pacermatic" watches).

In years past I did do some customization of modern Hamiltons. When they were still selling a yellow-plated Venturas as part of the regular line I had some silver dials redone in black with the original markings ("Electric" and "Pat. Pending."), and painted the second hand tip red. On the wrist these looked totally original but they could never be passed as originals since they were plainly gold-plated and not solid gold.

Another special customization I did was to take a few Flight II replicas and convert them to Flight I replicas. This entailed replacing all the dial markers as well as refinishing it with a different pattern. I also capped the seconds pivot since originals did not have second hands. These came out looking very cool. I occasionally wear mine to watch shows and have often been offered huge money by people who see it on my wrist and figure it must be original since Hamilton never reproduced the Flight I. Then I smile and hand it over saying "sold." It's fun to see their faces when they turn it over and see a stainless steel rather than 14K gold back..... Then again, just a couple of weeks ago someone sold one of my "Flight I" replicas on eBay (fully and accurately described) and it sold for $1,000!!!



(Just for comparison, here's the regular version prior to the transformation of the dial.)

 

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While on the sublect of customization, I came across an auction for a blue-faced vintage Boulton. It was a sharp looking watch. It was advertised as a custom watch. I don't know if Hamilton produced custom watched for their customers or if a previous owner had the work done after market. If I were to pick up a vintage watch that was customized by a previous owner, I would probably accept it as part of its provenance and not restore it to original.
 

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There are a couple of dealers on eBay who make a specialty of having dials refinished in fanciful colors and patterns and selling them for sometimes shocking prices.... Admittedly some are attractive but they aren't authentic in any way.
Thanks for the information. The watch I saw was not outrageously priced compared to other Boultons, but if it's a modern refinshing job I would be less interested in it. I'm not in any particular hurry, so I will take my time to learn more about the original watches. I am looking forward to going through your book once it arrives.
 

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I tend to like the original or "stock" look, especially on classic watches (or cars).

Based on the recent photos posted of the more modern Hamiltons, changing the stock "sporty" light brown leather band on the X-wind automatic to an alligator band or steel band really gives the watch a different appearance for the right occasion. I will definitely invest in an alligator band for mine one of these days.
 

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Yes, but just small stuff.

I did have the tip of the second hand (sweep) painted red on my black-dialed Khahki chrono. I save the heavy mods for the Seikos...there are a LOT more options there, mostly due to the availabilty of different parts.
 
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