Hamilton Watch Company

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Hamilton Watch Company

Post by andrema on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 9:56 am

This nice sumary of the history of the Hamilton Watch Company that wanted to pass along. This information as well as serial number/production year information can be found at this site --->>> http://www.pocketwatchrepair.com/histories/hamilton.html


Brief History: Hamilton Watch Company




In 1874, General Grant was President of the United States and Conestoga wagons creaked along the Lancaster Turnpike, as citizens heeded the call of Horace Greely to "go west." Another form of pioneer was building a factory in the pastoral community of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Adams and Perry Watch Company went up right beside the turnpike. Its founders possessed a good combination of skills: Mr. Perry was a watch designer, and Mr. Adams was an organizer and promoter. They brought skilled watchmakers to Lancaster and began production in 1875. Like so many infant industries, Adams and Perry did not have enough capital to market their product. Lancastrians came to their rescue in 1877, raising $225,000, and the reorganized company was renamed the Lancaster Watch Company. The Lancaster Watch Company continued to suffer growing pains and was reorganized again in 1884, this time as the Keystone Standard Watch Company. Nevertheless, the financial problems persisted until 1892.

In that year, the Hamilton Watch Company came into existence as a result of yet another reorganization. The name, Hamilton, was selected to honor Andrew Hamilton, original owner of the Lancaster site on which the factory was situated. Hamilton was granted the land by William Penn's heirs and is credited with founding the city of Lancaster with his son James. Hamilton Watch was founded by merging Keystone with the Aurora (Illinois) Watch Company. Aurora machinery was moved to Lancaster in summer of 1892. Among the leading business and professional men of Lancaster who founded the Hamilton Watch Company were J. W. B.Bausman, John F. Brimmer, Harry B. Cochran, Frank P. Coho, C. A. Fondersmith, George M. Franklin, John Sener, John C. Hager, J. F. McCaskey, H. M. North, Martin Ringwalt, J. Frederick Sener, William Z. Sener, James Shand, Peter T. Watt and H. S. Williamson. Charles D. Rood and Henry J. Cain of Springfield, Massachusetts represented the Aurora interests.

Hamilton Railroad Watches



The Hamilton Watch Company was founded in 1892 and set out to serve the railroad market with accurate timepieces. The rugged, precision watch that Hamilton produced became a favorite among railroad watch inspectors and personnel. In fulfilling the railroads' requirements for accuracy, it also filled the needs of the general public for a timepiece of high quality. By the turn of the century it came to be known as "Hamilton – The Railroad Timekeeper of America."

In 1927 Hamilton purchased the Illinois Watch Company of Springfield, Illinois and Robert E. Miller, vice-president, left Lancaster to become its general manager. The Hamilton-Sangamo Corporation was formed in 1929 by the Hamilton Watch Company and the Sangamo Electric Company of Springfield, Illinois to market a new line of electric clocks. The Hamilton-Sangamo Corporation was sold in 1931 to General Time Instruments, Inc. Trademarks of the E. Howard Watch Company were acquired by Hamilton in 1931. Although never extremely active in the manufacture of "Howard" watches, Hamilton has produced small quantities under this brand name.

Hamilton Military Watches

American soldiers during World War I preferred the smaller size and convenience of the wristwatch to the "old-fashioned" pocket watches. This trend caused a major shift in American watch production, with a new emphasis on producing wristwatch models for both men and women. During World War II, Hamilton ramped-up production of several models of chronometer to meet the US Armed Forces (particularly the US Navy's) need for an extremely accurate timepiece which could be used for navigation at sea. Prior to WWII, such highly accurate instruments were only produced abroad. The first Hamilton chronometers were delivered to the Navy in February 1942, and at their peak Hamilton was making 500 chronometers per month!

Hamilton has always been on the forefront of horological innovation. The Elinvar hairspring was patented in 1931 and used in all movements thereafter. The name Elinvar was derived from the term "Elasticity Invariable" and was the first alloy to resist the changes in elasticity that occur with changes in temperature.

Hamilton Electric

In January 1957, Hamilton introduced the world's first electric wristwatch, a breakthrough for the industry and the first basic change in portable timekeeping since the early 16th century. Powered by a tiny 1.5 volt battery guaranteed to run the watch for more than a year, the new watch completely eliminated the need for a mainspring. The electric current necessary to operate one 100-watt bulb for one minute could run an electric watch for 20 years. The Hamilton Electrics featured not only a revolutionary movement design, but also were known for their avant garde styling, making them among the most collectible watches today.

Also during the mid-fifties Hamilton embarked on a program of expansion and diversification. As a result, the company produced watches under three brand names – Hamilton, Vantage and Buren – in six plants in this country and abroad, manufactured sterling and plated silverware, fabricated and processed rare and exotic metals, and produced mechanical and electronic measuring devices and components. Hamilton also produced rocket fuel alloys, special metals for the Apollo program, missile timers and safety and arming devices for military applications.

Hamilton continued to produce some of the finest American watches until 1969, earning them the distinction of being the only American watch company to suvive global competition will into the 20th century. They truly represent the pinnacle of American watchmaking.

Modern Hamilton Watches
If you own a modern, battery-powered quartz Hamilton Watch, you should know that it has no connection to the original Hamilton Watch Company. Watches bearing the Hamilton name can still be found today, but the brand is now owned by the Swatch Group, one of the largest Swiss watch conglomerates. Any Swatch service center can perform repairs on your modern Hamilton watch.


Other good Hamilton resources:

http://www.hamiltonwatch.info/
http://thewatchguy.homestead.com/pages/HAMILTON.html
http://www.hamiltonwatch.com/
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by bodypeersur on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 10:04 am

It's very disheartening to lose such a great American watch company to The Swatch Group. At least they didn't go the way of Waltham and a few others that produce garbage these days.
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by randyswagon on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 2:58 pm

I'm with you on that Duffer. I only have my old Hammy pocket watch, a 24 hour model. But it is a doll. Really nicely finished, yet utilitarian to the tee . . .







. . . I need to spend the time and research the contract # on the case back, dig up the history on it.
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by andrema on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 3:00 pm

Check that site. It has lookup tables for the older models!
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by porschefan on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 4:45 pm

andrema wrote:Check that site. It has lookup tables for the older models!

Maybe I'll see if I can find this one of mine:

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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by bodypeersur on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 5:17 pm

Both beautiful watches guys. Tim, isn't yours Swiss? The one that really sent me over the edge was the pocket watch Ron made in to a wristwatch! Cursive script and porcelain dial.
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by randyswagon on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 5:22 pm

Gawd, Ron has that shit on a wire!!!! Unbelievable workmanship!!!! Not Worthy Lg
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by bodypeersur on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 5:26 pm

He's definately become quite the WATCHMAN! (pun intended!)
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by cali kid on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 5:54 pm

Thanks Mark, never have owned a Hammy and one of these days need to do something about it! Most of the watches i liked were in the 42mm range and at the time were too small but now that i'm back into the 40-44mm i should have plenty of options!
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by porschefan on Mon 10 Jan 2011, 6:35 pm

Yes, Duff, from the early '70's. Guess I won't be doing that, it's not a pocketwatch... reading skills are low today.
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by barnbuilder on Tue 11 Jan 2011, 3:47 pm

thanks for the post and good reading
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by porschefan on Tue 11 Jan 2011, 5:39 pm

bodypeersur wrote:It's very disheartening to lose such a great American watch company to The Swatch Group.

A little fill in history before The Evil swatch Group came along... (wiki)

"Joint Swiss/U.S. operations: 1969–1972
Swiss Hamilton/Buren Microrotor movement

In 1966, Hamilton acquired the Buren Watch Company in Switzerland, including all factories and technologies that had been developed by Buren up to that point. From 1966 to 1969, Hamilton Lancaster and Buren 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 Microtor (a.k.a. Micro Rotor/Microrotor) 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) Microtor 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 Microtor concept was also conceived by Universal Geneve for use in their famous Polerouter series of timepieces during this same time. The official title of "first Microtor movement" is still in dispute amongst some horology aficionados, even though Buren patented their design in 1954[7] while Universal Geneve applied for their patent in May 1955.[8]

In 1969, the Hamilton Watch Company completely ceased its American manufacturing operations with the closure of its factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, shifting the entire balance of its 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.[9]
[edit] Transitional Hamilton Watches: 1970s–1990s

In 1971, the Omega & Tissot Holding Company Société Suisse pour l'Industrie Horlogère (SSIH) purchased the Hamilton brand and utilized the Hamilton name for a number of branding efforts, including numerous quartz watches in the 1980s.

The Hamilton Watch Division became a subsidiary of HMW. The Hamilton Watch Company changed their name to HMW at the time they sold their Watch division to SSHI.

There has been much confusion as to who developed the Pulsar, the world's first digital watch. The watch division that today is known as Hamilton, was not involved in the development of the Pulsar.

Through the enforced merger of SSIH and ASUAG Groups in 1984, Hamilton has become a subsidiary of the now denominated The Swatch Group Ltd.."
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by Northwestguy on Tue 11 Jan 2011, 8:44 pm

Ron done, dose loves those "hammy" movements!
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by docrwm on Tue 11 Jan 2011, 10:47 pm

Tim, thanks for the modern update on the Hamilton history.

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Buy what you like, keep what you love, don't spend too much.
As long as you follow those simple rules - you shouldn't listen to anyone about your watches.
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by bodypeersur on Wed 12 Jan 2011, 10:26 am

Great reading. Thanks guys! Thumbs Up
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by andrema on Wed 04 Jan 2012, 11:52 am

I have been thinking of picking up a Hamilton Jazzmaster lately. I need something to fit the "dress watch on leather" niche... hell, I just can't control myself! Who am I fooling!!
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by bodypeersur on Wed 04 Jan 2012, 4:31 pm

You gonna fall off the NO BUY WAGON Mark? I can't freakin believe it!!!
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

Post by andrema on Wed 04 Apr 2012, 10:05 am

bodypeersur wrote:You gonna fall off the NO BUY WAGON Mark? I can't freakin believe it!!!
I think a Hamilton may be next up...we'll see!
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Re: Hamilton Watch Company

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