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  1. #1

    Default Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing

    The memo for Hamilton in Dec of 1941 authorizing porcelain single sunk dials for the double sunk 536, 537 and 532. The memo indicates these were expected to be temporary replacements, at least until such time that the production problems for the double sunk dials could be resolved.

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    The 080 Single Sunk RWS (Railway Special)
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    The 536 Double Sunk RWS which the 080 replaced
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    The 081 Single Sunk RWS
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    The 537 Double Sunk RWS which the 081 replaced
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    The 082 Single Sunk
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    The 532 dial which the 082 replaced. (This is a scan taken from a 1935 Hamilton advertisement or catalogue page. I edited it to remove the hands for clarity.)
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    In addition to these replacements, for which blueprints do exist, there are also what appear to be non-RWS variants of the 080 and 081.

    I do not know if Hamilton continued production and use of these replacement dials after the production problems of the double sunk versions were resolved. Perhaps someone like Don, Robert or Terry would know. However these variants were wonderful examples of Hamilton engineering in their own right, and did not detract from the beauty of the watches which they graced in any way. Replacements can be a good thing.

    edit: As Jim pointed out below this post is about actual Hamilton Factory replacements...thanks Jim
    Last edited by Tref; 04-18-2012 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Clarification

  2. #2
    Moderator Jim Haney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Tref)

    Tref,
    I would agree, with a clarification, Hamilton Factory replacements.

    You also must know that the material dept. made replacement dials after the original stock was exhausted, but that is another thread.
    Jim Haney

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Jim Haney)

    Also take a look at the Hamilton Catalogs... do some of them show single sunk dials?

    In addition to these replacements, for which blueprints do exist, there are also what appear to be non-RWS variants of the 080 and 081.
    I contend the RWS versions of these dials are 'not' the 'norm'.... they are much scarcer! it is the ones marked 'Hamilton' that were prolific and in use and common. Giving evidence they were not really 'temporary'..

    Also... you have the introduction of Melamine to contend with.... that was the 'final solution'.... though 'now' we know not the best solution.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: terry hall)

    I agree Terry. What is a bit perplexing is that the blueprints we have show the RWS signature. I can't help but wonder if there are revisions to those prints, which we haven't yet seen which are specific to the non-RWS versions. Either that or Hamilton just didn't think it was important enough to follow the prints to the letter, no pun intended.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Tref)

    Tref, I couldn't get that memo of December 1941 authorizing "porcelain" (underlined by you) single sunk dials as temporary replacements to enlarge, so about all I could make out there was what I think is the late Ernest Drescher's distinctive signature. I really wanted to read it with my own eyes because I find it hard to believe that Mr. Drescher or anyone else at Hamilton would have referred to the enamel as "porcelain" rather than glass enamel, vitreous enamel, or just plain "enamel".

    Mr. Drescher headed (I believe) the "B" model (992B, etc.) design team, and I can't imagine that he would use "porcelain" to describe a dial, except maybe in the loosest sense. Did he "let me down" this time? Is my one-person crusade to eliminate the use of "porcelain" with "dial" an exercise in futility? Am I banging my head into a brick wall? Am I tilting at windmills? What does that mean, anyway? Why should I (or anyone else) give a rat's patootie? Is there such a thing as a "porcelain patootie"? <];>)

    Larry Treiman
    Last edited by Larry Treiman; 04-18-2012 at 10:56 PM. Reason: No reason whatsoever. I just like to do it!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Larry Treiman)

    Larry, for an explanation of 'tilting at windmills' you need to read Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes. Good luck with it. If you're not up for that (and you need a few years at the job) then I guess you could just 'google' it.

    As for 'rat's patooties', porcelain or otherwise, I am totally ignorant (as in many other topics) and Google doesn't seem to know either! However, I am 110% behind you on the 'porcelain' and 'dial' non association.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: DaveyG)

    See if this one will blow up...
    couple of em.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dial change memo 080 980w.jpg   dial change memo 080.jpg  
    Chapter 17 North Carolina
    http://www.nawcc-carolina17.org/default.htm
    Chapter 149 Early American Watch Club .. Home of Russ Snyder Illinois CD database and Henry Burgell Serial number Look-up ... excellent research resources!
    http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/ http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/pw_dbresearch.html
    Chapter 149 Mentor List http://www.nawcc-ch149.com/mentor.html

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: terry hall)

    Larry aren't all patooties porcelain?

    You are right of course, the word porcelain did not appear in the memo. So I'm guilty of putting words into it, if you will. However, if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck..... Right or wrong the most common mainstream descriptions for the dials we have are porcelain, melamine, and painted. Pick the one you like best, or none at all and go from there. These dials were not painted replacement dials. They were certainly not melamine. Leaving us with what? I'd say porcelain.

    I didn't highlight the word porcelain to intimate that it appeared in the memo. I highlighted it to illustrate that the dials mentioned were not made from melamine. The years that lay between this memo the later memo in which melamine was discussed make that almost a certainty, as do the in-hand examples that we have, which match the blueprints exactly (and which, as you said are described as enamel on them. But then so were the melamine.

    I wish you luck in removing the word porcelain as it is applied to these watch dials, in the world at large. If there is a term which fits better I would be interested, and willing to consider using, however I fear you are fighting an uphill battle to capture the perception of the public at large.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Tref)

    As noted by Larry and certainly among most of the collectors that I know, such dials are known as enamel or fired enamel and not porcelain.

    Different strokes for different folks.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Greg Frauenhoff)

    I have one of the original Hamilton enameled on my steel cased 992b. I use that watch as my daily carry as I think it would hold up better then the melamine . Not sure if that is true but so far so good

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Dano4734)

    My dear Tref, porcelain and enamel are two totally and entirely different substances, here are dictionary definitions from my Collins English Dictionary:

    porcelain: a more or less translucent ceramic material, the principal ingredients being kaolin and petuntse or other hard clays, bone or ash.

    enamel: a coloured glass substance applied as a powdered glass paste, translucent or opaque fused to the surface of an article made of metal or glass for ornament or protection.

    In simple terms, porcelain is pot and enamel is glass. I would disagree that the term porcelain, in respect of enamel watch dials, is in common use throughout the world at large - maybe in your world but certainly not in mine. You don't need to go with the flow here you should be looking to use the correct descriptor and encouraging others to do the same.

    Long live Larry!!

  12. #12
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    Lightbulb Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: DaveyG)

    Just to cut Tref and others who make this error a little slack, I think the term porcelain for this usage came in about the same time as indoor plumbing. The porcelain patootie receiver is actually porcelain by the classic definition. However, the porcelain bathtub right next to it is a strange variant that appears to be porcelain fired onto cast iron. If you drop a porcelain toilet onto a porcelain tub, the toilet breaks and the tub sheds some of its surface material leaving behind bare metal. The material that shatters off does not look like glass.

    To the juvenile delinquents of the day, that looked a lot like the damage they got when they shot a watch with a 22. I think that among the vandals all these materials became porcelain because too many words in your vocabulary can get you a beating, as I often discovered in my school days. (Which was about the time indoor plumbing was becoming wide spread.)
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Tom McIntyre)

    Definitions abound:

    Porcelain enamel, also called, vitreous enamel, is a scratch-resistant coating made by fusing powdered glass to metal and other underlying materials by way of fire. The glass cools to form a smooth and durable coating for a variety of modern uses.


    and:

    Vitreous enamel, also porcelain enamel in U.S. English, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C (1380 and 1560 °F).

    and:

    PROPERTIES OF PORCELAIN ENAMEL
    Mechanical And Physical Properties
    DATA BULLETIN PEI 502
    Porcelain enamel is defined as a substantially vitreous or glassy inorganic coating bonded to metal by fusion at a temperature above 800f°


    and:

    Vitreous enamel, also known as porcelain enamel, is a type of glass coating. It is typically bonded to a metal or another enamel, then fired at around 850 degrees Fahrenheit (454 Celsius). Coating metal with vitreous enamel can prevent it from corroding, add a decorative flair and make it easier to clean. The inorganic coating provides resistance to abrasion and wear, making it a practical technology for cooking utensils and cookware, as well as jewelry and decorative accessories. A powdery mixture, typically made of borax, quartz and feldspar, makes up a ground coat. A cover coat consisting of titanium dioxide, quartz and dehydrated borax completes the enamel powder. The powder is applied to a substrate, or, the material being used. Common substrates are metal, ceramic and glass.

    ############# That being said...

    Hamilton used the word enamel on blueprints for both non-melamine, and melamine dials. So, enamel by itself cannot be used. Perhaps to distinguish between the two, in the vernacular of the day porcelain is commonly used to distinguish the "glass" dials from those made from melamine. I did not coin the term, instead I've picked it up from other people and other venues. I certainly meant to use porcelain here, given that Hamilton chose to use the word enamel to describe both types of dials in at least the blueprints for the dials involved here. In a nutshell my use of it was solely to distinguish the Hamilton-produced replacement dials from the later, melamine dials.

    If you search for the word porcelain on this forum you will get 18 pages of results, using threads and not posts as a criteria. So perhaps it is used more than Larry and DaveyG would like to see.

    Regardless of whether Hamilton used the word porcelain or not, or whether it is correctly or incorrectly used now, I would argue that much like Kleenex has become the ubiquitous term for facial tissue, so too has porcelain become the term to describe non-melamine, non-painted (after market replacement), dials. And depending on which definition you would like to use, porcelain may or may not be an accurate way to describe the non-melamine, non-painted dials which Hamilton and others produced. If you like we can belabor this point, and show people just how fractious "collectors" can be over minutia. However, I created this topic to show and discuss the differences between certain original Hamilton double sunk dials and the Hamilton-produced single sunk replacement dials created to be used in their place, as well as which grades each dial was sold with, and the timelines of said uses. Since the original versions and their original replacments, temporary or otherwise, were made of the same material I don't believe it's important that we obsess over what that material was, is, or should be called. It has little bearing on what this topic was created to convey and explore. If anyone feels compelled to crusade for something that is not intended to be the purpose of this topic, I respectfully request you do so in a topic created for that purpose.

    and I agree, long live Larry
    Last edited by Tref; 04-19-2012 at 05:58 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Tref)

    Hamilton used the term "Porcelain Enamel" when referring to dials on their display board.

    Robert
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hamilton#Porcelain Enamel-Dial-Museum-Display-NAWCC.jpg  

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Hamilton Replacement Dials - Not always a bad thing (RE: Robert Sweet)

    Robert, do we know how many of those were made? It looks like a hand made display.
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