A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

Thread: A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

    I was cleaning out some boxes from the basement tonight and found an old "grab bag" that I had bought from an estate sale years ago. You know, the old "whatever is in the bag/box for $10" type of scam... you can't see what's in the bag, but they put them in catgories: "collectibles", "housewares", "jewelry", etc.

    This is one I had forgotten about. It was a bag of some old watch straps and some beat up watches. I was going to just throw it out, but I figured I'd give it one more look just in case. I'm glad I did, as there might be a piece worth saving. Not sure, but who knows.

    None of these watches are currently running, but they may just need batteries; I haven't put the time into checking them.

    There were a few women's Seikos with dials the size of a dime. Look to be from the 1970s-1980s; they look like cheap department store crap.

    The first men's watch has to be worth a whole $5 or so: Wrangler! Hell, maybe I'll find me a Levis watch too. Actually, even though it's worthless, it's not a horrid looking watch. The blue/gold color scheme isn't bad looking. 36mm width and 8.5mm thickness.

    The next one looks like it might just be salvagable, and I actually like the style. The brand is Bucherer, which I've never heard of. It says "Swiss" at the 6pm position and stylistically I'm guessing the 1970s or 1980s?

    It's tiny by today's standards, at 30.5mm east-to-west not including crown, and 6.4mm thick. Interestingly enough, the 15mm x 2mm bracelet is pretty darned solid, and what surprised me is that as diminuitive as it is, the bracelet is long enough to fit my 8.25-inch wrist. I never would have guessed that.

    Sadly, the last watch is the one that is the coolest, but unfortunately also the one that is beat to heck, and I'm guessing not salvagable. *sigh*

    It's a Hamilton Electric (Titan?). The bracelet is bizarre and corroded; not sure if it is original. The dome crystal is cracked. 35mm edge to edge and 12.5mm thick. The hands do turn, but I wouldn't even try to put a battery into a watch of this era (1960s maybe?), as don't some early Hamilton quartz watches have issues working with modern batteries?

    Maybe one of the resident Hamilton experts could chime in: given that I have virtually $0 into the watch as is, is it worth trying to overhaul or is it too far gone?

    The bracelet looks like water damage, which scares me as to what might be found inside the watch.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

    Well I couldn't resist the urge to crack all 3 of them open.

    I have one of those zillion different Renata battery kits, so I figured odds were somewhat good about finding some that I could replace.

    The Wrangler was easy, and it fired right up. Slight problem though in that the day and date will not change at any crown position, only by winding through the time. Oh well. So much for that one.

    The Bucherer threw me a curve. The battery inside was a Renata... but it is one that isn't on their chart any more. I have no idea which, if any, of their current batteries would be the equivalent. I haven't been able to find anything like a "vintage Renata battery chart".

    Has anyone ever encountered a "No. 30" from Renata? I'll probably email them and see if I get an answer...

    I was worried about what I might find when I opened the Hamilton, based on the condition of the case and bracelet, but I was pleasantly surprised. The inside is in pristine condition; no sign of any leakage or corrosion. The battery is most definitely old school though... I'm not even going to try and replace it myself.

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Great Lakes - USofA

    Re: A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

    The Hamilton is a big winner. I do not believe the bracelet is original. If it works upon insertion of the battery the win is even bigger.

    The Buecherer is nice. (They are a Swiss jewelry chain that created in in-house brand with their own name. These are almost always decent watches.) Measure the diameter needed for the hole and the thickness the case will handle and match those dimensions with any modern 1.5 volt battery in your kit. The Renata 30 may not even be original.

    I'd do the same dimension match with the Hamilton and see if it starts. A 387 should work. POSITIVE SIDE UP for this watch!!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Re: A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

    Yeah. The Hamilton is a real collectible.

    The electric watch repair expert that I know of is in U.K. goes by the name of Silver Hawk on The Watch Forum -> Electric & Electronic Watches

    You should definitely consult with him
    My new sig -----

    Over the years I've collected all sorts of movements and "project" watches ... mainly inexpensive vintage pieces.

    These days I've widened my gaze to include modern pieces (including quartz with analog or analog + digital displays) but with those I'm generally looking for models in solid steel cases.

  6. #5
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Idaho, USA

    Re: A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

    Yep. The Hamilton is a homerun. Actually the condition seems pretty good to me if you exclude the bracelet and the crystal. Pretty dirty but that is to be expected. I have a nearly identical bracelet in brown on a 1950s Butex so I think it is probably more era-correct than original.

  7. #6
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Canada

    Re: A couple of older beat-up watches from an estate sale grab bag

    The dial and case actually look pretty good. Here's what one sold for recently on the 'bay, for comparison:
    Men's 1958 10K Yellow Gold Filled Hamilton Titan Electric Cal. 500 Watch-U Fix | eBay
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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