Thank you for sending in this family heirloom pocket watch to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with the appraisal today.
Gent’s, late Art Deco, 16size, gold-filled, pendant wound and lever set, open face pocket watch with Montgomery dial, Railway Special, Grade 992B, Serial Number unidentified, made by the Hamilton Watch Company, Lancaster Pennsylvania, circa 1947.
Client inherited this watch from his father.
Case: Size 16, two leaf, gold-filled, open face pocket watch with an Art Deco style fluted pendant and embossed shaped bow placed at the twelve position. There is a knurled edge bezel and back cover, the latter with guilloche vertical striping in the art Deco manner and having a central cameo for the owner’s initials (left blank). The interior of the back cover is not shown, but I believe that most of these cases were supplied by the Wadsworth watch case company to Hamilton.
Dial: Triple tiered and double sunk, white enameled Montgomery dial with bold upright Arabic hours, open bar minute track with red Arabic numerals placed at every minute marker, those ion red at the five minute marks. The subsidiary dial is sunken and placed @6 with the sunken dial center marked, “Hamilton Railway Special”. These are blued steel ‘Paris’-Spade hands.
Movement: NOT SHOWN - Most likely a size-16, damascened, split three quarter plate movement, the grade 992B, Model 5, made by the Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with an unidentified serial number (if the watch dates from 1947, as you say, the serial number would be in the vicinity of “C215000”). This movement was made with 21 jewels, each meant for placement in an open face case. The movement is pendant wound and lever set, adjusted to run precisely in six different positions and adjusted for temperature by having a bimetallic balance wheel. The watch is of Railroad Grade. The movement is assumed to be original, genuine, properly signed and numbered.
Case – Appears to be in good condition although I could not evaluate the inside surface and markings of the cover.
Dial – Very good with some minor disruption at the very edge of the dial throughout its circumference, perhaps related to the edge of the crystal.
Movement – Not seen but assumed Original, genuine and functional. In very good condition.
Hamilton Watch Company:
The Hamilton Watch company (HWC) was founded in 1892, and is considered by many collectors as the premier American Watch manufacturing company. HWC was preceded by the Adams & Perry Watch Company(1874-76), Lancaster Watch Company (1877-86) and the Keystone Standard Watch company (1886-90). The first pocket watches were produced by Hamilton in 1893 and due to their accuracy were a favorite of railroad personnel. In fact, by 1923 the HWC was producing Railroad quality watches 53% of the time, including wrist watches as well as pocket watches. The company was located in Lancaster, Pa. They were always devoted to quality rather than quantity. They produced wonderful Art Deco wrist watches in the 1920's and 30's. In 1957 they introduced their Electric series, using a small battery. They led the industry in the development of the quartz watch also. They ceased making watches in 1969. In all they had produced almost 13 million watches. Hamilton serial numbers are as follows: 11,500=1895; 104000=1900; 435,000=1905; 790,000=1910; 1200000=1915 In 1966, Hamilton acquired the Buren Watch Company of Switzerland, including all factories and technologies that had been developed by Buren up to that point. From 1966 to 1969, Hamilton of Lancaster, Pa. and Buren of Switzerland were operated as a joint concern, with Hamilton using a number of Swiss movements for their "American" watches and Buren utilizing a number of components manufactured by Hamilton, Lancaster. It was during this time that Hamilton started to selectively incorporate the highly innovative Buren Micro-rotor (a.k.a. Micro Rotor/Micro-rotor) movement into small numbers of certain upper tier watches, in addition to their ordinary hand-wind and traditional automatic watches.The Buren (now Hamilton/Buren) Micro-rotor was the first patented automatic wristwatch movement to eliminate the sizable external oscillating weight inherent to most automatic winding watches. Instead, it utilized a much smaller weight that was entirely integrated into the chassis of the movement. This design allowed for a substantially slimmer automatic watch that still retained a center sweep second hand. The Micro-rotor concept was also conceived by Universal Genève for use in their Polerouter series of timepieces during this same time. The official title of "first Micro-rotor movement" is still in dispute among some horology aficionados, even though Buren patented their design in 1954 while Universal Geneve applied for their patent in May 1955.In 1969, the Hamilton Watch Company completely ended American manufacturing operations with the closure of its factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shifting manufacturing operations to the Buren factory in Switzerland.From 1969 to 1972, all new Hamilton watches were produced in Switzerland by Hamilton's Buren subsidiary. In 1971, the Buren brand was returned to Swiss ownership and by 1972, the Buren-Hamilton partnership was dissolved and the factory liquidated, due to decreased interest and sales of the Hamilton-Buren product. On May 16, 1974, the Hamilton brand was sold to SSIH (subsequently The Swatch Group).
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/76595601_hamilton-21-jewel-railway-special-model-5-pocket-watchhttps://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/73496741_hamilton-railway-special-pocket-watch-992b (sold in 2019 for $200 with Montgomery dial)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/59499296_hamilton-21j-grade-992b-pocket-watch (10k gold case, sold in 2018 for $450, having a Montgomery dial with clear edge.)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/52389905_an-open-face-railroad-grade-pocket-watch-by-hamilton (rolled gold case, sold in 2017 with Montgomery dial, clear dial edge, sold for 300 GB Pounds)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/79836252_1951-hamilton-992b-railroad-grade-pocket-watch (sold in 2020 for $200)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/90845589_hamilton-992b-21j-pocket-watch (Sold in 2020 for $180)
~https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/91445828_hamilton-992b-railway-special-21-jewel-pocket-watch (sold for $165 in 2020)
Hamilton is close to the top, if not the top of all American machine manufactured watch companies. This is a fine example of one of the post WWII products used by the Railroad industry in the USA. The most significant defect that I can see, only being able to see the dial and rear outer cover, is the irregularity at the edge of the dial perhaps due to replacement of the dial crystal with some edge chipping which makes the minute markers blurry at times, and that is a defect in a railroad watch. I feel that these models are underpriced today, as most fine American watches are, i.e. in a down market. I believe the fair market value of your example would still sell in the range of $225-$250. The retail value would be about twice as much.
I hope you always enjoy it. It was made by the best of the machine-made American watch companies and my own personal favorite American watch company.
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