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Thread: 992 vs. 992b

  1. #1
    abereiter
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b

    Hello to all. I am expanding my railroad collection past Elgins. I am looking to add a Hamilton to the collection. The watch will be used so I want a good one. What is the difference between the 992 and the 992b? I am sure they are both great watches but whats the difference? Is one more durable than the other? I like the looks of the older dials but maybe a late model will hold up better. Are both watches easily serviced? Are replacement parts redily available? I want an expert opinion and also some personal experence. Thanks to all and keep it up, Aaron

  2. #2
    abereiter
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    Hello to all. I am expanding my railroad collection past Elgins. I am looking to add a Hamilton to the collection. The watch will be used so I want a good one. What is the difference between the 992 and the 992b? I am sure they are both great watches but whats the difference? Is one more durable than the other? I like the looks of the older dials but maybe a late model will hold up better. Are both watches easily serviced? Are replacement parts redily available? I want an expert opinion and also some personal experence. Thanks to all and keep it up, Aaron

  3. #3
    Ball992B
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    Aaron,
    I certainly am not an expert but my own collection started with an early 992 that has a 4 footed Montgomery dial. It is cased in a tall pendant plain screw back Crescent case. I still have it and I carry it alot.

    The 992B is equipped with an Elinvar hairspring. Although not marked.

    All 992B's should be in a factory case, not true with early 992's as the factory began casing watches in the mid 1920's.

    This should be true for Elinvar 992's as well.

    You should be able to hold out for a nice one and not need to act in a pinch as there were in excess of half a million produced.

    Look for case screw marks on factory cases as the 992 and 992B have different locations for their mounting screws.

    Kent will fill in on the technical data as he is very knowledgable on many of the finer details. Good luck, Don

  4. #4
    Lindell V. Riddle
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    Aaron,

    I do not consider myself an expert in Hamilton watches, there are people far more knowlegeable and experienced than I am. But for what it's worth, here's one mans opinion.

    If you were choosing the more ornate damaskeening, the one you'd enjoy looking at the most, an early 992 would be the obvious choice. They are truly beautiful!

    But you said you intended to USE the watch you choose. The 992 dates to about 1903 and although it surely evolved over the years, with the 992-E and such, it represents the technology of the early years.

    Hamilton evidently realized it was time for something new, when in the early 1940's they brought out the 992-B. It had all the latest advances, including Elinvar Hairspirng.

    The differences are ease of service and inexpensive maintenance, the 992-B is not only easier to work on, replacement parts are still on the shelf, and as close as your phone.

    Both watches are tough as nails, the 992 was the watch of preference for the Allies in World War I, then in World War II and Korea the 992-B went to war in several forms.

    They are both proven performers, veritable "workhorse" watches, but to carry it daily, I think you'll find the practical choice is the 992-B for a variety of reasons.

    You said you... "like the looks of the older dials but maybe a late model will hold up better." To have the "look" and practicality, a replacement dial from La Rose for the 992-B has that "early look" and it says "Hamilton Railway Special" which is a 992-B reference.

    Now all that's left is the case. You said you want "durable" and nothing is more durable than stainless steel. The Hamilton Model 15 is the case of choice for a practical daily use watch, they are still inexpensive and readily available. I wish for you a long life Aaron, but that Model 15 case will outlive you!

    That combination of 992-B, La Rose dial and Model 15 case is affordable, reliable and inexpensive to maintain.

    Just don't let Wayne find out you're... "expanding... past Elgins"... he hasn't heard there's anything past Elgins!


    Lindell

  5. #5

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    I've never been keen on Hamiltons, but I was at a local auction this week end & there were two 992s. One was straight line decorated, the other had the brightest and most brilliant swirls. I can see why they attract, especially the swirly one.

    Beat up replacement cases & damaged dials, they went for $275 each!

  6. #6

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    Ball992B said, in part, "All 992B's should be in a factory case, ...

    Although many collectors generalize this fact, the truth is that it just ain't so! Thousands upon thousands 992B movements were shipped north to Canada where they were originally housed in a Canadian-made case, usually a Fortune or an Empress. Most likely, these watches were fitted with a dial having an inner ring of 13-24 hour numbers (usually referred to as a "Canadian Dial"). An example is shown in this excerpt from a 1953 T. Eaton Catalog.

    Kent
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  7. #7

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    I'll second the vote and recommendation made by Lindell V. Riddle. I carried a 992 for over 25 years, and it was a 60 year old watch when I got it. It gave extremely reliable service and I never wore out it's base metal case (although the personalized monogram I added to it in the early years is all but gone). I went through a number of staffs and crystals, but the watch was always serviced by competent watchmakers and went on ticking, keeping excellent time.

    However, all good things come to an end. I still have the orignial 992, but its case was getting a bit fussy with the bezel threads, and as it approached 90 years old, I decided to go for a more modern watch. You guessed it, a 992B in a Model 15 stailess steel case (Styled in Steel, as they used to advertise). In any event, in the past several years it has given excellent service and been easily and affordably repaired when it too needed a staff.

    The bottom line is that among true 16-size railroad watches you can scarcely do better with respect to timekeeping, value and reliability, than with a 992B

  8. #8
    Ball992B
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    *******BRAINCRAMP**********
    I forgot about dat part.

  9. #9
    Gene Osten
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    Just to add a small detail to Mr. Riddle's point. One reason to carry a 992B rather than a 992 is that the "B" has a friction staff. If you carry your watch long enough, you will get to replace the staff, and the friction staff does not require a lathe (or subject the hub to a bit of deformation) for removal. The same could be said for a late Waltham, etc.
    Have fun with your watches,
    Gene

  10. #10
    Alan Walker
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    By its lack of the Elinvar hairspring, the 992 is more prone to magentism than the 992E or B. The reason for the 992E and B was that railroads in the 1930s and 40s were starting to replace steam locomotives with ever-growing numbers of diesel-electric locomotives. These locomotives produced very strong electromagnetic fields which would magnitize the hairsprings of watches not equipped with a non-magnetic hairspring.

  11. #11
    abereiter
    Guest

    Default 992 vs. 992b (RE: abereiter)

    Thanks to all for the input. I work for Detroit Diesel as a EMD mechanic so I know about those Electro-Motive Diesels. Thanks again, Aaron

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