Hamilton Illinois Watch

Thread: Hamilton Illinois Watch

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Hamilton Illinois Watch

    Found this nice ladies Hamilton, but the inside and back of the case, along with the movement, say Illinois instead of Hamilton. There is an "H" on the movement just to the right of the word "SWISS". Did Illinois make Hamilton watches or did Hamilton make Illinois? I'm guessing this is from the 1960s?

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  2. #2
    Member thoth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Re: Hamilton Illinois Watch

    The Illinois name and all were acquired by Hamilton in 1928. Hamilton purchased them completely for $5 million.

    The watch you have dates to the 1940's or so. Maybe very early 50's. Hamilton still used the name Illinois. They did use Swiss movements as time went on. Not sure when Hamilton dropped the Illinois product line.

    I think your dial maybe a refinish.

    Sent from my SM-G920R4 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Re: Hamilton Illinois Watch

    That is odd. Illinois watch co....Swiss?

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Re: Hamilton Illinois Watch

    The Hamilton Watch Co. bought-out the Illinois Watch Co. in 1928. Later, Hamilton introduced a lower-cost range of watches using the Illinois name. Some were double-marked "Hamilton Illinois", others just "Illinois". The casebacks were often stamped "Illinois". Below is an ad from LIFE Magazine for July 1954 for Illinois watches by Hamilton. The line doesn't seem to have been overly successful.

    The US import code "TXD" on the movement appears to be for Hamilton, (although not the only import code they used).

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  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Alpine, Alabama

    Re: Hamilton Illinois Watch

    I just sold a early 1950's Hamilton Illinois Topper Model A. Tank style, 10K plated with a ETA 1220 17J movement. I personally think they are a bit under rated and can be had at a good value.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    SF Bay Area, California

    Re: Hamilton Illinois Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Giotime View Post
    That is odd. Illinois watch co....Swiss?
    In the early 1950s, Elgin and Hamilton were feeling the pressure from the Swiss, who could make jeweled watches for less than it cost to make them in the US. Both companies launched bargain watch brands, using cheaper imported movements. Elgin used the name 'Wadsworth', taken from the Wadsworth Watch Case Company which they'd acquired. Hamilton used 'Illinois', having acquired that name when they bought out the Illinois Watch Company in 1928.

    In the end, both companies ended up casing imported movements and selling them under their own name, eventually abandoning building movements in the US entirely - Elgin about 5 years earlier than Hamilton.
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

    My Elgin Blog...

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