Collecting Hamilton watches
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  1. #1
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    Collecting Hamilton watches

    I've decided to start a Hamilton watch collection. I've been searching the web for information. I'd appreciate any recommendations for websites and/or books.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    Start at Vintage Watch Forums. Choose Hamilton Watch Forum. Tons of info, models, pictures, what models produced what years, most Hamilton catalogues, models by shape,and material.

  3. #3
    Sponsor thoth's Avatar
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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    Pocket? Wrist? Both?

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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    Both.

  6. #5
    Sponsor thoth's Avatar
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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    I suggest for pocket to go for the 16 size like the 992 series. 992, 992E, 992B, and 4992B. There is a few like the 3992 but they tend to get a bit up there in price. There is also a single roller variation on the 992 along with markings but it depends on how deep you want to get into it. You can also go for a 950, 950E, 950B group but that will set you back.

    I have been working on a 10/12 size set. I have most of the 10 size but the 945 at a reasonable price has been a bit of an issue so I only occasionally look for one.

    Wrist watches....go for ones in original boxes if you can. Even with a box many models will not set you back more than $150. Again that is dependent on the model. Go for those with no brassing to the case if you can. This applies to the pocket watches too. If you end up wanting to recase a pocket watch, the cost can go well past $100 just for a case.

  7. #6
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    With collecting Hamilton PWs, you can approach it in two ways.

    One way-and the trap that many collectors I think fall into(although I certainly can't fault them for enjoying it) is to simply "fill holes" such as in collecting a coin collecting series. Some go for examples of all the grades(some, like the 11j grades, 951, and 947 are difficult to find), while some might pick a particular grade such as the 992B and look for all the case/dial variations as well as movement markings. There are four "major" classes of 992B movement markings, plus some special ones such as US Gov't. and the like.

    The second approach is to really get into the "oddballs", of which there are plenty. You can get into two tones, of which 940s are probably most common although they show up in other grades. There are special damaskeen patterns for certain jobbers, such as the Luckenbach pattern and the Burr Freer pattern. There are special markings-the Adjusted for Railroad Service(ARRS) with the accompanying dial is probably best known and I think usually seen on 992s and 940s, but there are plenty of others. You can get into fancy dials, which are as common as on Walthams(for example) but do exist and are often private labels. There are tons of PL Hamiltons-I think they were only second to Illinois. They often lack the customization seen on Illinois watches, but you can still get the occasional oddball damaskeen or interesting dial. There are some really fascinating(to me) PLs such as Fred McIntyre, Indian Territory as well as some from states(or territories at the time) not often seen.

    I have largely "De-Hamiltoned" my collection, but still keep a fair number of PLs around. One of my top 10 favorite watches in my collection is a 974 PL for a jeweler in my hometown that's still in business.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    thoth, thanks for the info. Why the 16 size? Just curious. I have a lot to learn...

    Giotime, great forum!

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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    Also for wristwatches, I have been shocked that many of the solid 14k models are selling for no more or even less than the gold scrap value. And many of these are in quite good shape. I think they are incredible bargains if you can spend 200- 300. I have many and if I was starting my collection, I would look there. You are getting the watch for free. Several Hamilton Wesley have sold recently for less than gold value.

  10. #9
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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    Quote Originally Posted by rkamarowski View Post
    thoth, thanks for the info. Why the 16 size? Just curious. I have a lot to learn...

    Giotime, great forum!
    I agree with Ben that there are so many ways to go on the pocket watches. The 940's and such are 18 size. I suggested the 16 size as they tend to be popular. 12 and 16 size are seen as the "typical" men's pocket watch sizes. The 18 size watches are in no way inferior or less interesting but I tend to find that people who want to carry a watch usually tend to go for 12 to 16 size.

    No matter what size pocket watch you have to always keep the same things in mind when looking.

    Does it run?
    What condition is the dial?
    What condition is the case?
    Is there corrosion/rust?
    How common is it?
    How original is it?

    All these affect the value, desirability, and collectablity of the said watch. If you don't want to collect in a series, particular type of private label, or variation always goo for what you like. The idea of collecting should not be a job or a chore. It should be fun. Buy watches you like because of how they look or run. If you do that you will never look at your collection and say...I bought this one but I don't actually like it.

  11. #10
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Collecting Hamilton watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Giotime View Post
    Also for wristwatches, I have been shocked that many of the solid 14k models are selling for no more or even less than the gold scrap value. And many of these are in quite good shape. I think they are incredible bargains if you can spend 200- 300. I have many and if I was starting my collection, I would look there. You are getting the watch for free. Several Hamilton Wesley have sold recently for less than gold value.
    The nice thing too about wristwatches(as opposed to PWs) is that there tends to not be much gold in them so the scrap price isn't north of $1K as in many PWs. Back during the gold run-up of a few years ago, even a little paper-thin 12 size 14K watch in a swing ring case was worth $500+. I'm ashamed to admit that I scrapped a few myself, as there's zero market for a beat up 12 size gold watch and no collector would pay anything close to that.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
    Member, NAWCC Chapter 149. Vice President and Secretary NAWCC Chapter 140. Member, NAWCC Convention Committee.
    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

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