Thread: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

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  1. #1
    Member Cougar6's Avatar
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    Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    I was given this watch from the estate of an old family friend. Not sure of the age, date of manufacture, style, movement, etc. I know that Hamilton bought the Illinois Watch Company at the turn of the 20th century and they produced watches under the Illinois name until the late 1920's. But, I can't find any information on this watch an I don't know if its considered an Illinois watch or a Hamilton watch.

    The watch is small (ladies watch?). The dial is marked "Hamilton Illinois", "INCABLOC", and "SWISS". I can open the case by pushing down on the crown, where the watch separates completely from the crystal, case, and band. "10K RGP BEZEL", "STAINLESS BACK", "ILLINOIS" "9507". Is the number the serial number?

    The movement is marked "ILLINOIS WATCH COMPANY", SEVENTEEN 17 JEWELS", "TKD", "SWISS", and "UNADJUSTED".

    Any information you guys can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    -Cougar








  2. #2
    stuffler,mike
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Thread moved to the more suitable forum

  3. #3
    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar6 View Post
    I was given this watch from the estate of an old family friend. Not sure of the age, date of manufacture, style, movement, etc. I know that Hamilton bought the Illinois Watch Company at the turn of the 20th century and they produced watches under the Illinois name until the late 1920's. But, I can't find any information on this watch an I don't know if its considered an Illinois watch or a Hamilton watch.

    The watch is small (ladies watch?). The dial is marked "Hamilton Illinois", "INCABLOC", and "SWISS". I can open the case by pushing down on the crown, where the watch separates completely from the crystal, case, and band. "10K RGP BEZEL", "STAINLESS BACK", "ILLINOIS" "9507". Is the number the serial number?

    The movement is marked "ILLINOIS WATCH COMPANY", SEVENTEEN 17 JEWELS", "TKD", "SWISS", and "UNADJUSTED".

    Any information you guys can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    -Cougar
    At first glance the watch is similar to others I've seen from Bulova, Elgin, etc., during the 1950's. The carved lug styling, case shape and hand style is definitely not 1930's. That it says swiss at dial bottom also indicates that this watch was made late in the life of Hamilton Watch company. It was either made for Hamilton by a swiss maker or by Hamilton at a watch factory they owned in switzerland. I don't know all that much about the final chapter of that company.

    Here's some information I copied from our good friends at Wikipedia which confirms my suspicions. Note the caution I bolded.

    In the 1950s, Hamilton offered a line of Illinois and Hamilton-Illinois wrist watches with Swiss movements. These have absolutely nothing in common with the "originals" except the name. They are not considered collectible by die-hard Illinois collectors. Caution should be exercised when buying Hamilton-Illinois off auction sites as many sellers mis-represent these 1950's models as examples of '30s Illinois produced by Hamilton.

  4. #4
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    John S has correctly noted that "Illinois" was a model line of Hamilton in the 1950s that used Swiss movements that were cheaper to purchase than the US made Hamilton movements.

    Hamilton dropped the model line after a few years.

    It is interesting to note that ALL vintage Hamilton automatics are Swiss .. and modern Hamilton is 100% Swiss.


    It's difficult to estimate the size from photos, but I'd guess that you have a 1950s man's watch (not a ladies watch)

    Here's mine:


    it houses an ETA 1257 automatic

  5. #5
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Please correct me if I am wrong. But I think that the Incabloc indicates a minimum date of the mid- to late 1940s. So the 50s certainly makes sense.

  6. #6
    Member Cougar6's Avatar
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Thanks for the info! Since this watch isn't a desired collectable, would it make financial sense to get it cleaned and serviced? It runs, but it runs fast. I don't want to spend $200 on a watch that's only worth $50. Especially, since it does not have any sentimental value to me.
    -Cougar

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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Like with most vintage AND modern watches, getting it serviced will likely cost more than you could resell it for. I doubt that many people buy modern watches based on resale value, but the question comes up repeatedly for vintage watches.

    Reports from people across the globe suggest that costs of normal servicing range quite a bit but seem to average about $100 for non-premium watches

  8. #8
    Member John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar6 View Post
    Thanks for the info! Since this watch isn't a desired collectable, would it make financial sense to get it cleaned and serviced? It runs, but it runs fast. I don't want to spend $200 on a watch that's only worth $50. Especially, since it does not have any sentimental value to me.
    -Cougar

    I don't understand the math at all. Reminds me of the justification I hear so often about not repairing a used car. The repairs cost so much more than the value, so why bother.

    If it was my watch and I enjoyed it then most definitely I would get it serviced. At this point you are buying enjoyment and timekeeping.

  9. #9
    Mod. Public/Cafe and MaL Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    It hardly ever makes financial sense to get a vintage watch serviced. However as John MS has already posted - collecting vintage watches is for fun and enjoyment, not for profit.
    You have the option of servicing the watch or letting it destroy itself by running it dry. That decision is up to you.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  10. #10
    Member Cougar6's Avatar
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    Re: Help ID Hamilton? Illinois? Wrist Watch, Please

    Thanks for everyone's comments and info on this watch. Even if I decided not to get this watch serviced and repaired, I would not run it dry or misuse it to the point of destroying it. I meant that I would simply clean the watch as best I could and display it with the other watches in my collection - some run, some don't.

    I have repaired several watches in the past that have sentimental value or that I particularly like, even though the cost was approximately or more than the cost of the watch itself. Example: I paid $475 to get my Hamilton A-11 cleaned and serviced (and replaced the spring).

    But back to this particular Hamilton. Yesterday, a friend offered to help me get this watch cleaned and repaired by someone he knows who will do it at a low cost. I think I will take him up on his offer. When the watch comes back, I'll post a pic here for everyone to see the results.

    Again, thanks for everyone's comments and great information on the origins of this little Hamilton.

    -Cougar

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