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  1. #1
    Uncle David
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    My uncle left me an old Hamilton Railroad Special that he had when he worked for the Pennsylvania railroad. From what I?ve seen on the Internet it looks to be a 992b, 21 jewel, circa 1941, Model ?A? case, 10 K gold filled, from Lancaster, PA, # K326629. The engraving on the case is very simple. It has a series of 3 bevels dotted with 12 ?bumps? at each of the numbers.

    I?d love to know any thing about the history of this watch. I?d also like to know about the front cover. The current cover on the watch is plastic. I was surprised to find that. I thought for sure that it would have been glass. I?m also curious about a small semi-circular opening at the bottom of the plastic covering. It doesn?t look to be a flaw. The hole is too perfect, and it is placed at the 6:30 position. Is this part of the original design.

    Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

    David

  2. #2
    Uncle David
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special

    My uncle left me an old Hamilton Railroad Special that he had when he worked for the Pennsylvania railroad. From what I?ve seen on the Internet it looks to be a 992b, 21 jewel, circa 1941, Model ?A? case, 10 K gold filled, from Lancaster, PA, # K326629. The engraving on the case is very simple. It has a series of 3 bevels dotted with 12 ?bumps? at each of the numbers.

    I?d love to know any thing about the history of this watch. I?d also like to know about the front cover. The current cover on the watch is plastic. I was surprised to find that. I thought for sure that it would have been glass. I?m also curious about a small semi-circular opening at the bottom of the plastic covering. It doesn?t look to be a flaw. The hole is too perfect, and it is placed at the 6:30 position. Is this part of the original design.

    Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

    David

  3. #3

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    If you open the back and post the number that is stamped between the plates [it starts with a C], we can help you a little more.

  4. #4
    Uncle David
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    Terry,

    The number you requested is C311561. I look forward to any information that you can provide.

    David

  5. #5

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    David:

    That serial number puts your watch as being made in the post-war era of the 1940's. A 1947 Ad shows the case you described.

    The 992B, Hamilton's famous mid-century railroad standard watch, was in continuous production from 1941 to 1969. During that time, over 500,000 were made, making it the second most popular railroad watch of all time - the grade 992 that it replaced was first, having the highest producton quantity. In the early 1950's, the 992B sold for $71.50. By 1967, the cost of the 992B, in a 10K gold-filled case, was up to $125 ($110 in a rolled-gold-plate case and $99.50 in a stainless steel case).

    Your watch should have been furnished with a glass crystal, not plastic. The use of plastic "unbreakable" crystals was prohibited by many railroads. There is no GOOD reason for a semi-circular cut-out at 6:30. However, one ill-advised reason might be tht some unknowledgeable person thought that it would give easy access to the second hand so as to be able to manipulate it to set the exact time. Actually, with the watch running properly (to railroad spec,), this isn't needed. I strongly doubt that any watch inspector would pass a watch for railroad service with such a crystal.

    Kent

    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 12-07-2001).]
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  6. #6
    Uncle David
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    Thanks to Kent, Terry, and all others that have or were going to respond to my posting. I really appreciate the information that you've provided me.

    My Aunt gave me this watch after my uncle died about 20 years ago. I've kept it in a drawer all this time because someone once told me it was a collector?s item. Thanks to you I now feel better about taking it out and using it.

    Obviously with the ?replacement? crystal its value is greatly diminished. And although the gold case has only very minor flaws I think that when you consider the overall condition of the watch I?m better served buying myself a nice watch fob and using it as it was originally intended.

    I?ve always liked railroad watches. I?ll wear this one proudly.

    Thanks,

    David

  7. #7

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    Kent has some good info there for you.

    In a serial # list I have, it shows this watch to be about 1951.

    Get U a glass crystal and enjoy your heirloom. One other thing is knowing that it
    actuall rode the rails!

  8. #8
    Larry Jones 98326
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    David,

    The effect of the originality of the crystal on the value of this particular watch is minimal. I would replace yours with a glass (or even a plastic) one, and enjoy it.

    [This message has been edited by Larry Jones 98326 (edited 12-07-2001).]

  9. #9
    Steve Maddox
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    On a somewhat related note, did plastic pocket watch crystals ever become accepted for RR service, and if so, approximately when?

    It's difficult to imagine that 992B models produced in the late 1960s would still have been equipped with glass crystals. By that time, most railroads accepted wristwatches, including Ball Trainmasters, RR Approved Hamilton Electrics and Bulova Accutrons, etc., all of which came exclusively with plastic crystals.


    ------------------
    Steve Maddox
    President, NAWCC Chapter #62
    North Little Rock, Arkansas

  10. #10

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    Steve:

    I think we've been here before. The relavant sections of rules were already excerpted and stored on my hard drive, ready for use as illustrations. The two significant documents that I can find that pin down the change come from the Ball Railroad Time Service. There are earlier prohibitions of plastic crystals and the date of the second document is unknown. It is possible that the requirement for pocket watch crystals differed from that for wrist watches.

    ************************************
    The Ball Railroad Time Service
    Office of General Time Inspector
    Instructions To Local Watch Inspectors
    October 15th, 1955

    4. ... Watches smaller than 16 size, and any watches equipped with unbreakable crystals, luminous or decorated dials are not considered standard and will not be accepted.

    ************************************

    The Ball Railroad Time Service

    Instructions To Local Watch Inspectors Covering Railroad Wrist Watches
    Signed: Webb C. Ball II, General Time Inspector

    Date: Unknown - To help guage a timeframe, the Qualifying Watches are:
    - Ball, 13 ligne size, 21 jewels, Official R.R. Standard 1604B Model
    - Elgin, 13 ligne, 23 jewels, B.W. Raymond Model
    - - ( this watch was accepted on the NYC in 1960)

    Circular No. 1261 (Could this be December 1961?)

    Crystal. Crystal must be high-grade, unbreakable and non-shrinkable, and made of
    quality Lucite or Cast-Optics material or the equivalent.

    ************************************

    Kent

    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 12-08-2001).]
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  11. #11
    Uncle David
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    You guys have all been so helpful I hate to impose further, but I need to ask your advice on the care and maintenance of my watch. Now that I?ve decided to use the watch instead of keeping it hidden away in a drawer (Thanks Terry. You?re right; the fact that it has actually ridden the rails makes this a special watch.) I need to know how to properly take care of my watch. First of all, how many times should I turn the crown? How often should I rewind? And how do I set the time? These are the obvious questions.

    For now I think I?ll keep the plastic ?crystal? that I have. It?s in excellent condition so I see no need to replace it at the moment. But when I do replace it I?ll more than likely want to install a glass crystal. Where should I go to have this repair made? What might I expect it to cost? And are there different crystals I will have to choose between?

    I?m also unsure about how often I should clean the gold case. Is there a danger of cleaning it too often and wearing away the gold? It seems to me that one wouldn?t want to have an actual ?Railroad Special? too shiny.

    Finally, what is the more appropriate? A fob or a chain? My tastes run to a chain, but for some reason it seems that a fob might be more fitting.

    Again, any and all information that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    David

  12. #12
    Jack wagner
    Guest

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    David

    If you are planning to use the watch on a daily basis it would be a good idea to have it cleaned and oiled properly. The crystal should be replaced at that time to seal the watch from dust and dirt. Look for a watchmaker that does work on site. There a some Jewerly stores that have a sign up "watch repair" but just send them out with a mark up for their time. Avoid them if possible.

    Watches that I use I do polish. If the case is in faily good shape to start all you may need is a dry jewerly wipe to bring back the shine. I ruined a couple of scrap brassy cases using buffing wheels etc. to get the hang of it. The wipes I use are available in around the watch counter at Walmart. Once a week is enough to keep it looking good.

    Winding is a case of being careful. I wind a watch only enough to keep it running for 24 hours which depends on how you wind it. I usually start with 25 quarter turns. If its running the next day try 20 for that day. If not go to 30 and back off the next day to 25. I any event don't force it at all. It should wind smoothly.

    Setting the watch is done by removing the bezel. You will find a little lever at usually 05 position. Pull it out and the hand should move. Kent has written a great article on opening a case:
    http://www.knology.net/~ksinger/opencase.txt

    There a lot of good sites but Wayne Schiltt has a nice site on Elgin watches whitch contains answers to a lot of basic questions (e.g. what is a jewel). Worth a visit.
    http://www.midwestcs.com/elgin/

    Finally the big question, Chain or strap. If we are talking about a grease under the finger nails railroader as opposed to a say a conductor, I would go with a strap. All three of the railroaders in my family used plain woven straps. If you consider that any metal that you carry in your pocket may bang against the case causing damage it seems like a good alternative.

    A picture of mine:
    http://members.aol.com/jackwagner999/strap.jpg

    They are a little harder to find but worth it for the sake of the case.

    Be prepared to talk about your watch. They are still unusual enough that you will get questions. Enjoy exploring the details.

    Jack

  13. #13

    Default 1941 992b Model 'A' case Hamilton Railroad Special (By: Uncle David)

    David:

    Jack has given you some good information. Here are some other things to consider.

    I've carried my 992B daily for over twenty-five years. I've fully wound it every day and have never had a mainspring problem. Every two years, I have the watch serviced (cleaned and oiled). This is the time period that was required by railroads when the 992B was in production.

    I wouldn't run and carry your watch very much (i.e., more than two or three times) until its been serviced and had the crystal replaced. An opening in the crystal will admit dust and dirt to get into the watch and it will find its way into the movement.

    Regarding the use of a chain or a strap, either is ok as long as one end of the chain or strap is securely attached to your belt. An exception would be when wearing a vest with the watch in the vest pocket. In that case, the chain goes through one of the vest button holes. Several decades ago, I used a strap and fob, a short affair, about four inches long. After dropping the watch and breaking the staff (an expensive repair) I switched to a chain.

    Below are some notes on caring for a mechanical watch.

    Best regards
    Kent

    ********************************
    USE AND CARE OF YOUR VINTAGE WATCH
    by Edward B. Ueberall, proprietor: The Escapement

    Vintage watches were designed to give many years of dependable service. They will continue to give excellent service if the suggestions for care and use given below are followed:

    1. WINDING
    Wind your watch at the same time every day, preferably in the morning when you first arise. The winding crown can be turned in both directions without harm. Wind the watch until increased resistance is felt. You cannot "overwind" a watch, but extreme force can damage internal winding gears.

    2. SETTING
    For a pendant set watch, pull out on the winding crown to set the hands. Don't "jerk" the crown to the setting position, use a steady pulling motion. To set the hands on a lever set watch, remove the bezel (the part of the case that holds the crystal) or open the hunting case cover. To the right of the winding pendant will be the end of a small lever. With fingernail, pull the lever away from the dial. When the lever is in the extended position the hands can be set using the winding crown. Make sure the setting lever is returned to the "winding" position before replacing the bezel or closing the outer cover. Hands can be set either forward or backward with both setting mechanisms.

    3. WEARING
    To prevent crystal breakage, pocket watches in a vest or watch pocket are worn with the crystal facing the body. Women's watches worn on a chain or on a watch pin can be worn with the crystal facing in or out at the owners preference.

    4. DON'TS
    Don't let your watch get wet. Vintage watches are NOT waterproof and can suffer severe damage from water. If your watch does get wet, take it to a competent watchmaker or jeweler immediately) Any delay in stopping internal corrosion (rusting) can cause continuing damage.

    Don't drop your watch or subject it to strong physical shocks. The pivots in a watch can be as small as the diameter of a human hair and can break if the watch is dropped or struck against a hard surface.

    Keep your watch away from strong magnetic fields such as electric motors, stereo speakers or electrical generators. Any strong magnetic field can make a watch run erratically or cause it to stop. Magnetizing a watch will usually not cause permanent damage, and the problem can be corrected by running the watch through a demagnetizing coil.

    5. SERVICE
    Vintage watches are precision instruments and require periodic professional maintenance to give good service. Manufacturers usually recommended watches in daily service be cleaned and overhauled every two years. Watches that are used only occasionally require less frequent service. If your watch gradually starts to lose time (starts to run slow), have the watch checked by a competent watchmaker to determine if an overhaul is needed. When (he watch is not being used, store it in a location free from dust, lint and moisture. Never keep any other objects in a watch pocket with your watch.

    Enjoy your vintage watch,

    Click for info.


    [This message has been edited by Kent (edited 12-08-2001).]
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

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