Vintage Hamilton 940
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Thread: Vintage Hamilton 940

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  1. #1
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    Vintage Hamilton 940

    I just picked this up at a local store among a litter of cheap, non-vintage watches. However, while I know nothing about vintage pocket watches, this one stood out (the weight alone) and I very much liked the look of it. The watch runs, but does tend to stop depending on the angle it is held. I assume that it needs some TLC considering its age.

    The watch has very subtle engraving on the back but no monogram or anything else suggesting that this was a personalized design. The watch has several small hairline cracks on the dial stretching from about 2 hrs to about 3 hrs, although I read that this is not uncommon w/a railroad watch as this one. The chain appears gold filled based on the information on the chain.

    After opening the back, I realized that this is a Hamilton 940 and as per the SN, it was made around 1912. Since I got the watch on the cheap, I'd like to put some money into it and have some questions, hoping that some of you may be able to answer it:

    First of all, where I could send the watch for a good cleaning and overhaul?

    I'd like to replace the plastic crystal w/a glass one as I assume it had glass originally but over time it got replaced. Is that a feasible option? If so, where can I get the crystal?

    Are the minute graduation on the dial something special? Most of the 940's that I looked up through the browser do not have those graduations.

    Is the chain original or did someone slap that on afterwards?

    Is the engraving original to the watch or did the back of the watch come from somewhere else (what do the numbers on the inside of the back lid mean as they do not match the serial number on the watch)

    What is the value of an +100 year old pocket watch after I have it cleaned up, working like new w/a replaced crystal and with and without a replaced dial (I don't think that I will replace the dial, unless there is a source for originals ones at a decent price, thus a quote from someone in the know would be helpful if this is an expense I want to dive into).

    Is there anything else that I should know about the watch? Id like to keep the watch as it would be a nice heirloom to hand down to one of the kids.

    Thanks,
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  2. #2
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Hamilton 940

    Very nice high-quality PW. I think it might even be all original. The cracks in the dial detract a bit, but it's still a very nice watch and I wouldn't worry about the dial; it is what it is. Any competent watchmaker should be able to service the movement, and probably also install a glass crystal. This may cost you something like $200.

    This forum doesn't generally provide valuations, but these watches are pretty common on eBay, so take a look at some SOLD listings using the advanced search. Try to compare examples in similar condition and with a similar type of case (e.g. not solid gold). Don't get your hopes too high. Despite the fact that PWs, even high-quality watches like yours, are not incredibly valuable in terms of dollar value, they are excellent timepieces and represent living history with many devoted collectors.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
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  3. #3
    Member Paul_S's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Hamilton 940

    Oh my, that's a great watch. The dial can be cleaned to minimize the appearance of the cracks. Otherwise, don't replace the dial just because of a few minor cracks.

    Values are hard to give, but many of these have sold on eBay. It is well worth the money to get it serviced and tuned up.
    There is something more to the art of watchmaking and repairing than that of merely assembling a watch and making it 'tick.'
    ---Walter Kleinlein, Rules and Practice for Adjusting Watches (1940)

    Member, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors

    My blog about precision timing: AdjustingVintageWatches.com


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  5. #4
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    Re: Vintage Hamilton 940

    Have a look at watchdoctor.biz this watchmaker seems to have a good deal of experience with Hamilton pocket watches, also a nice write up on Hamilton watches and history on the website.

    Nice find and a great watch well worth restoring.

    Tim

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage Hamilton 940

    Your dial is a "marginal minute" dial also referred to as a Montgomery dial, named after the designer who was a match inspector on the Santa Fe RR. I have seen several 940s with this dial. Arguably the 940 is the watch that made the reputation of Hamilton.
    badbackdan likes this.

  7. #6
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    Re: Vintage Hamilton 940

    Quote Originally Posted by badbackdan View Post
    Very nice high-quality PW. I think it might even be all original. The cracks in the dial detract a bit, but it's still a very nice watch and I wouldn't worry about the dial; it is what it is. Any competent watchmaker should be able to service the movement, and probably also install a glass crystal. This may cost you something like $200.

    This forum doesn't generally provide valuations, but these watches are pretty common on eBay, so take a look at some SOLD listings using the advanced search. Try to compare examples in similar condition and with a similar type of case (e.g. not solid gold). Don't get your hopes too high. Despite the fact that PWs, even high-quality watches like yours, are not incredibly valuable in terms of dollar value, they are excellent timepieces and represent living history with many devoted collectors.

    Thanks for the info. I figured a restored watch would not bring more than $300 d/t the abundance of tte 940 (I did peruse Ebay to get an idea) although most of the watches werent as nice as this. But, I won't be selling it anyway considering the bargain I got (less than $10). This is just something nice to have, to fix up and then hand down.


    Best,

    D
    badbackdan likes this.

  8. #7
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    Re: Vintage Hamilton 940

    One of the best looking pocket watches I have seen that is over 100 years old. Excellent find. I love hunting the vintage stores and antique dealers - sometimes they don't know what they have.
    Father, Watch Enthusiast, Engineer
    Veritas Omnia Vincit


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