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  1. #1

    Default Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture

    I recently inherited a 17 jewel model 750, serial # 317834A. The band has 99 diamonds and 2 baguettes for a total weight of 3 carats. The case and band are platinum. The movement was probably made in 1950. It was probably purchased from Sidney Krandell's in Detroit, Michigan. The original owner may have traded it in at a later date for something "nicer". My Mom received it in 1981. I found another website that pictured over 200 styles but not one comes close to the one I have. Any help would be appreciated. Some one replied that it may be a one of a kind, but even the shape of the movement and the style of the numbers seem to be unique.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Lady Hamilton)

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    I would say that the dial and likely the movement are a match for mine. Mine only has 42 diamonds, and the bracelet is 14K, but the case is platinum. Not exactly the same, but likely contemporaries.

    Yours may well have had additional diamonds added by a jeweler. Such custom work was not uncommon, and that may well make yours unrecognizable as one of the cataloged Hamilton models.
    Cary Hurt

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Cary Hurt)

    The numbers on the dial look identical. What is the story behind your watch? The 2 watches are definately related. Do you know the model number?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Cary Hurt)

    Starting in the mid 1950s Hamilton released a Lady Hamilton Diamond watch series. Each year they released a catalog of just ladies diamond watches. Each catalog contained in excess of 90 styles and the diamond count varied from two to in excess of 60. The prices varied from $100 to approaching $5000.

    Here is the first page from the 1958 catalog.

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    As a volunteer at the NAWCC Library and Research Center, I have scanned all the Hamilton catalogs through 1960. Members can check out CDs containing all the Hamilton catalogs we have through 1960. I did not find either watch in these catalogs. We do have catalogs covering later years and I assume your watches will appear in one of these from the later 1960s. If you are a member of NAWCC, you can send a request with your membership number and picture of the watch to research@nawcc.org and I can look for your watches in these later catalogs and send you back a scan of the page. Non-members can make the same request, but we charge $20 for the service.

    Don Dahlberg
    NAWCC volunteer

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Don Dahlberg)

    WOW!!! that's very high end... a $5000.00 watch in the 50's... what would that be like today

    Hey honey... what would you like for your birthday ?

    oh... maybe a $250,000.00 watch would be nice...:o

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Magnum Wheel Man)

    In April, platinum was $ 1,700.00 per ounce, and palladium was $ 700.00 per ounce. Platinum jewellery is often an alloy of these two metals, and if so, is usually marked as such. As to the diamonds? If there is in fact 3 carats plus of diamonds, and all full cut (as opposed to some single cut), and if the cut, color, and clarity are all average or better, this would be a very expensive watch, new, in a jewellery store. Maybe check out your local Tiffany outlet for an idea. By the way, cases on such watches often leak like a sieve! It has to do with the holes the stone setter drills into the case as he sets the stones! I'm just saying'.......!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Don Dahlberg)

    You are definately the expert when it comes to Hamilton watches. Why would a 1950 movement be put in a 1960 band? It seems like the company sat on inventory for an excessive length of time. They produced newer movements in the 60's so why didn't they use the new and improved models?

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Lady Hamilton)

    You may be correct. I found this in a 1948 Lady Lancaster series catalog.

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    Most of the diamond watches are not in the normal Hamilton catalogs and we only have a few of these special ladies diamond watch catalogs. Apparently they started making these diamond watches much sooner than I thought. So the watches that are the subject of this thread may be late 40s or early 50s. All I can do is check the 60s catalogs. I checked all the earlier ones we have. Perhaps someone out there has catalogs that we do not have at NAWCC?


  9. #9

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Don Dahlberg)

    According to another website, they produced 90,000 model #750 between 1949 and 1954. With my serial number, it was probably made sometime in 1950. You implied that you already looked through all the 1950's catalogs and couldn't find it. If I paid the $20, would I be wasting my money? I hope the owner of the other watch responds because maybe she knows something.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Lady Hamilton)

    We have no diamond catalogs between 1948 and 1955 catalogs, so it appears that we cannot help you. At first, I thought they did not start doing this high level diamond watch until the mid 50s, but having discovered the 1948 catalog, shows that I was wrong.

    By the way, we would not have charged you unless I found something. Since I could not find it in the 1955-60 era and since I am now convinced that this is pre-1955 rather than post 1960, there is no chance I can help you.

    Still I would hope that the readers of this thread would check their stash of catalogs and see if the might have a Hamilton diamond catalog in the years between 1948 and 1955.

    At least we were able to give you a feel for the price these watches commanded at that time. You can multiply a 1950 dollar by a factor of 9 to get the price in 2010 dollars.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Don Dahlberg)

    I greatly appreciate all the time and effort you spent on being my history detective. Do you know of any other museums or organizations that I can turn to for help? My next history hunt will be for an Ansonia mantel clock from the 1920's....so warn the clock guys...they're next !!!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Lady Hamilton)

    There is about a 50-50 chance this watch case was not made by Hamilton, and won't be in a Hamilton catalog. Ladies diamond cases were often made by independent case makers that were made to fit a specific Hamilton movement. These were bought by jewelers because they cost significantly less than what a comparable watch from Hamilton would cost. Brand new Hamilton watches were bought to supply movements for these cases. They bought gold filled or gold filled with steel back watches since they were the cheapest. I have come across hundreds of these cases, brand new, never used, with no movements.

    It was a big problem with Hamilton, so at one point, probably in the early 1950's they signed all their factory diamond ladies watches with the Hamilton name on the outside of the case back, in addition to the inside case back.

    If your case is not signed Hamilton on the outside of the case back, good chance it is not a Hamilton made case. If it not signed Hamilton on the inside of the case back, it definitely is not a Hamilton made case, even though the movement fits perfectly in the case, and the case was made for that Hamilton model movement.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Kevin Scott)

    Since my watch was probably made in 1950, Hamilton may have not started to put their name on the case. Did Hamilton have a "standard" design for the case? I don't need any tools to open it. It is hinged with a "bump" for the clasp. I just run my fingernail under the bump, it swings open, and the movement just falls out.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Hamilton ladies watch 2nd try with picture (By: Lady Hamilton)

    Just to add a little to the excellent information in Kevin Scott's post (#12), it is my understanding that many of the independent artisan casemakers who produced cases like yours preferred to use Hamilton-branded movements for the extra prestige that the Hamilton name might confer on the watch, compared to, say, some other brand or some generic Swiss movement.

    For obvious reasons, Hamilton wasn't too happy about the competition taking advantage of their name. I was once told that they refused to sell their uncased movements to these independents, so the independents used various ways to get around that. Back when your watch was made, there was little demand for used small ladies watches, so they could be bought for very little, and the movements still looked "like new" and needed only a cleaning and oiling to make them basically like a new movement. I remember seeing many such fine movements for sale during the late 1960s at our NAWCC marts, often for around a dollar or two.

    Other independent artisan case makers, perhaps those with more integrity, would buy new but old stock ladies Hamilton wrist watches, usually in the cheapest rolled-gold-plated cases, from close-out dealers, auctions, etc., discard the cases, which had no scrap value, and use the movements. The dials could be re-done by independent dial refinishers to enhance them if needed.

    I once saw a seller, again at a local NAWCC Chapter Mart with a big pile of empty Hamilton rolled-gold-plate ladies watch cases for sale for "practically nothing". Some still had the price sticker (for the complete watch) on the back that indicated that they had come from some of the cheapest and perhaps discontinued models.

    Having studied and collected Hamilton watches for over 40 years, I believe that they would have cherished their reputation far too much to use an old-stock, obsolete, or anything but the best movements in their diamond watches. The 750 movement was not a top-of-the-line movement when it was made. I am not an expert on ladies watch movements, but I know that concurrently with the 750, Hamilton also offered the grade 751, which was identical in construction to the 750, but had a finer finish, and was position adjusted and timed more closely for greater accuracy. Hamilton would have used the 751 in their better watches. The difference in cost to Hamilton for the better movement would not have justified their skimping, and their gold and diamond watches would have left Lancaster with their best movements.

    Around 1955 the grade 750 and 751 were replaced by a new line of movements with the latest improvements, including up to 22-jewels (compared to 17 for the 750 and 751) and shock-resistance. If your watch had been made after the new line of movements had been introduced, and had come from Hamilton, it would likely have come with a 22-jewel grade movement such as the 757. And just because your 750 movement dates from c.1950 according to the serial number, it may not be safe to assume that case was also made then, particularly if it was made by an independent casemaker.

    Bottom line: barring the unlikely possibility that the movement originally in your watch had been damaged and replaced with the 750, I would speculate that the presence of the grade 750 movement might make the chance that your case was ever cataloged and/or sold by Hamilton to be a lot less than 50-50.

    Please keep in mind that I claim NO special expertise in the area of ladies watches in general, nor diamond watches in particular! All I know is what I have learned after 40+ years in the hobby, with a special interest in Hamilton.

    Larry Treiman

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