Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B
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  1. #1
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    I tempted the 24 Hour forum with this yesterday ... now for all the pics!

    Before the digital age ships relied on mechanical watches for navigation timing. Indeed, the whole foundation of modern horology rests on the needs of maritime navigation. The navigator's positions were only as good as the ship's clocks. So maritime clocks have always been well made and even today are highly valued. They represent the ultimate mechanical timepieces of their day.

    US Navy ships in WWII were navigated by products of the Hamilton Watch Company. One of America's premier watch makers, they designed and built the Model 22 and usually encased it in a gimbal mount and then encased that box in another box. It was from this clock that all other ships watches were calibrated.

    Some argue the Hamilton Model 22 is the finest mechanical timepiece ever made...

    I'd love to have one but my price point and the sale price have never intersected.... I'm too cheap!

    BUT Hamilton also made the deck watches which were the actual time keepers used for navigation and logging. And these are available at much lower price points!

    One caught my eye... the 24 hour deck watch which kept GMT. It is based on the 22 jeweled Hamilton 992, a very accurate and durable watch. The 24 hour version is the 4992B. Mine comes with a practical nickel case, coin edging, and a dark very legible dial. The dial is labeled "GCT" which stands for Greenwich Civil Time, the name the US used for GMT until the early 50's. It has a sweep second hand in a time when most watches of this size used sub dials for displaying seconds. The second hand hacks, something rarely found until well after WWII. And it was adjusted to 6 positions!

    It is about the size of a large pocket watch but, in use, it usually sat in a box on a counter or table on the ship's bridge.













    I can't get this regulated to chronometer standards... I suspect this piece lead a long and useful life... but it is easy to get it to +/- 1 second per day in Dial Up, the normal position for use.

    The longer I hang around Ray MacDonald, the more I like pocket watches... Thanks Ray! These timepieces are fun
    "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!

  2. #2
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    A beautiful watch made around 1940 according to the serial number. Not exactly for carrying in your pocket, but I'm sure it had an interesting career.
    I thought until recently that you needed a good ship's chronometer to get a decent fix on longitude but not so. The Mayer lunar distance tables developed in the late 1760s would do the job - although calculations to eliminate parallax and atmospheric refraction were tricky. Captain Bligh used the tables to navigate the Bounty's ship's boat 4000 miles across the Pacific and Indian Oceans after the Mutiny.
    The lunar tables were used up until the early 1900s as a backup for a ship's chronometers. You need 3 chronometers to make sure that at least 2 are correctly telling Greenwich time, and in the early 1800s not all ships had them. They had the Mayer tables though.

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

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    Good point. The moon is always in a known position, assuming you can see it at all. Of course today everyone just looks at their GPS... Transoceanic airlines even confirm they are at the correct gate by looking at their GPS.
    "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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    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    Hi -

    Eeeb, how could you?

    About three years ago, I searched high and low for one of these, and the only ones I could find were either in terrible shape or outrageously expensive (and by that I mean 4 figures...).

    Now you've reminded me of how frustrated I was in not finding one...

    Beautiful time piece, excellent condition: outstanding. You da man...

    JohnF
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  6. #5
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    Lovely watch! What do you mean - you can't get it to chronometer standards?! ±1 second a day is well withing chornometer standards! Or is the deviation too great in other positions?

    Hartmut Richter

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    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    I see a lot of engraving on this watch. What does the "US. GOVT" signify? That it was manufactured for the US military?
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

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  8. #7
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    The 4992B was based on the 992B, not the 992. Entirely different watches, the 992B was a late 1930s development first issued in late 1940. The 992 went back to about 1904. The 4992B was an aircraft watch kept set to Greenwich Mean Time.

    The Navy used the Hamilton model 21 and 22 chronometers, the 21 being a traditional marine chronometer. The Navy also used the Hamilton 2974B Comparing watch. The latter was set, using its hacking feature, to the ship's chronometer and used on deck when the navigating officer "shot" the sun at local time with his sextent. It was also used to set the many clocks on board.

  9. #8
    Member Shangas's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    The engravings say that the watch was adjusted for temperature and six positions. Does this mean that it was adjusted for all of the eight possible positions & variations?

    Dial up,
    Dial down,
    Crown up,
    Crown down,
    Crown left,
    Crown right.
    Extreme cold.
    Extreme heat.

    ...those are the eight adjustments, right? (probably not in the right order...if there is one!)
    "Pipes are occasionally of extraordinary interest...nothing has more individuality save, perhaps, watches and bootlaces."

    - Sherlock Holmes.

    'The Yellow Face'.

  10. #9
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    hi -

    Temperature is one adjustment. The final one is for isochronism, i.e. the mean average error is brought to a constant (this may mean greater variances, but at least the watch will be as consistent as possible).

    JohnF
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  11. #10
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton 24hr watch - 4992B

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Lovely watch! What do you mean - you can't get it to chronometer standards?! ±1 second a day is well withing chornometer standards! Or is the deviation too great in other positions?

    Hartmut Richter
    two of the positions are in the 15 sec/day variation range... I am sure it once met the standards but the years had their ways...

    I'd take it to my watchmaker but he hasn't addressed a similar sort of problem in the Howard Series 11 yet... instead he worked on my Russians as I mentioned in Watchmaking. Oh well... someday maybe I will be able to do it. That may be the only viable solution in the future to a collector who wants to see his collection actually working to spec.
    "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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