Hamilton identification help

Thread: Hamilton identification help

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  1. #1
    312
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    Hamilton identification help

    I have a Hamilton pocketwatch, brass, that I've tried to identify for quite some time. I inherited the timepiece and really would like to know what it is. Eventually I plan on either brazing on some wire loops for a wrist strap or getting a cup leather one.
    There was a very similarly faced watch in a watch museum site I browsed quite a while ago that dated the watch around 1920, with a 995 movement. Which is odd, considering that the 995 was manufactured later.

    Here's some specs on the watch:
    Most certainly brass case. Hinges open to back. Do not possess tools to have it opened. Smaller watch(size 16?). Stem wind, Stem set. Rear has some engraving, blazon shield and interesting circle pattern, most likely hobbyist work.

    Hands are blued steel, dial is paper, with cursive Arabic numerals 1 to 12. Outside rim has 5 minute intervals marked in red, seconds dial has 6 intervals of 10 minutes marked in black. "Hamilton" in cursive, black.

    Jeweler played around with it a bit, said it required a good overhaul and a new spring, oiled it for free.

    Pictures:
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    I know it's a mangy little watch, and I'm sure it's worth a scoff or two when a new guy like me asks for the identification of his dime-a-dozen American pocketwatch. This little guy is a miracle to me, considering it's around 80 years old and it keeps time like a joy.
    I'm hoping this isn't a 50's or 60's 995. It's quite a bit more handsome than one of those.
    Last edited by 312; May 21st, 2012 at 09:15.

  2. #2
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Nobody is going to be able to tell you much about your watch until you show us sharp close-ups of the movement. The key to Hamilton PW id is the serial number of the movement. It looks like you have a hinged case, look for a lip on the circumference and push against it with your thumb nail or use a dull knife. There probably is a dust cover under the case back, open the same way. My guess is that your watch was made in the 1900-1920 era based on the dial.

  3. #3
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Quote Originally Posted by 312 View Post
    I have a Hamilton pocketwatch, brass, that I've tried to identify for quite some time. I inherited the timepiece and really would like to know what it is. Eventually I plan on either brazing on some wire loops for a wrist strap or getting a cup leather one.
    There was a very similarly faced watch in a watch museum site I browsed quite a while ago that dated the watch around 1920, with a 995 movement. Which is odd, considering that the 995 was manufactured later.
    Here's my semi-educated guess...it's a Grade 974 movement, likely an early one, sometime around 1910-1920. Dial is porcelain and very, very fragile. Yours looks to be in very nice condition.

    I have a 1903 hunter cased Grade 975, it's the same watch with the crown at 3 o'clock.





    The case was probably not brass originally. Likely was gold filled and the gold has worn off. This happens sometimes after 100 years.

    Nice looking pocketwatch,
    gatorcpa

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  5. #4
    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    I'm going to run contrary to the above, and, based on the double sunk dial, going to say that it's probably more likely to be a 992 than a 974, although there are a handful of other grades it could also be.

    That particular dial signature came into use around 1906, and went out in the early 1920s.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
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    Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.

  6. #5
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben_hutcherson View Post
    I'm going to run contrary to the above, and, based on the double sunk dial, going to say that it's probably more likely to be a 992 than a 974, although there are a handful of other grades it could also be.

    That particular dial signature came into use around 1906, and went out in the early 1920s.
    Nice eye! I'm now pretty sure it's a 992. The question is, would anyone be offended if I soldered some wire loops for straps on it. If it was a hunter case like that 974, I would have a better time with the whole "convert to wristwatch" endeavour. But I don't think it's worth much and I don't normally carry a pocketwatch.
    threeonetwo

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    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Quote Originally Posted by 312 View Post
    Nice eye! I'm now pretty sure it's a 992. The question is, would anyone be offended if I soldered some wire loops for straps on it. If it was a hunter case like that 974, I would have a better time with the whole "convert to wristwatch" endeavour. But I don't think it's worth much and I don't normally carry a pocketwatch.
    Please don't do it!


    If it is a 992(which you can confirm by removing the back), you might be pleasantly surprised at what it might bring. If the dial is free from hairlines(which it looks to be) it's probably worth $75-100 by itself.
    Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
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  8. #7
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Quote Originally Posted by 312 View Post
    The question is, would anyone be offended if I soldered some wire loops for straps on it.
    I think it's fair to say that you'd offend pretty much everyone by doing that


  9. #8
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Quote Originally Posted by 312 View Post
    Nice eye! I'm now pretty sure it's a 992. The question is, would anyone be offended if I soldered some wire loops for straps on it. If it was a hunter case like that 974, I would have a better time with the whole "convert to wristwatch" endeavour. But I don't think it's worth much and I don't normally carry a pocketwatch.
    The 992's were better movements than the 974 and 975 (mine is a 975, BTW). Far more valuable in the marketplace. Mine was a "next-to-nothing" purchase, just to say I have a pocketwatch.

    I like yours a lot,
    gatorcpa

  10. #9
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    Update: I opened up the watch today. Movement says 956, which isn't as nice as a 992. They were made for businessmen from 1915-1925, and I'm quite certain mine is a later model 956.

    Very cool case, though. Hinges open from front bezel, and then movement hinges left from rear case. Will post pictures tomorrow.
    threeonetwo

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    Vintage & NAWCC Forum moderator Ben_hutcherson's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton identification help

    956s are nice movements, and I always have liked the "spiral" damaskeen pattern used on them.

    A 956 SHOULD be factory cased...the inside of the case back should have a reeded ring around it with "Hamilton Watch Company Lancaster PA". The case style you describe is called a swing-out or swing-ring case, and I've seen quite a few 956s in this style case.
    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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