• We are aware of the performance issues with the forum. These are due to problems with Comcast's shared lines in the Columbia, PA area. On December 15, we signed a contract to bring a dedicated fiber line to the forum servers. It should take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to install. Thank you for your patience.

992B from a flea market in Rome, Italy

Greg Crockett

Registered User
Apr 13, 2001
464
0
0
There are only a few Hamiltons in my mixed-up collection, now I have one more. I got back from Italy last night and I'm looking at my latest R.R. watch.

The vast Sunday flea market in Rome has plenty of pick-pockets and in some places peaple are packed like sardines. Lots of clothing and junk is sold there. However, I eventualy found some Russians selling Russian watches, new and old, as well as tools, military gear, etc. They had a few fake military watches for the unaware.

Nothing realy great. And then, in with some old Russian and Swiss pocket watches, was a working, 16 size Hamilton in a beat up case. Inside was a 21J, 992B Movt. "Adj. to temp and 6 positions". I contained myself. After some bargaining in broken Russian/Italian/English I got it along with a vintage 1940 Soviet made pocket watch both for $50.00. I said a low key "plaseba bashoy" (thank you) to the Russian as I disapeared into the masses of bargain hunting humanity. The watch will need a proper case and some other work but it will be well worth the effort.

I wonder how the Russian got it? I could not ask him because of the language barrier. I also wonder if this is one of the military watches sent by the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. during WWII? The gold filed "Fortune" brand case is not the case the watch came in.

The Serial No. is C441845, which I think is post-1941. Can someone familure with Hamiltons help me out with a date? Could this be a military contract movt?

Thanks for your help.
 

Greg Crockett

Registered User
Apr 13, 2001
464
0
0
There are only a few Hamiltons in my mixed-up collection, now I have one more. I got back from Italy last night and I'm looking at my latest R.R. watch.

The vast Sunday flea market in Rome has plenty of pick-pockets and in some places peaple are packed like sardines. Lots of clothing and junk is sold there. However, I eventualy found some Russians selling Russian watches, new and old, as well as tools, military gear, etc. They had a few fake military watches for the unaware.

Nothing realy great. And then, in with some old Russian and Swiss pocket watches, was a working, 16 size Hamilton in a beat up case. Inside was a 21J, 992B Movt. "Adj. to temp and 6 positions". I contained myself. After some bargaining in broken Russian/Italian/English I got it along with a vintage 1940 Soviet made pocket watch both for $50.00. I said a low key "plaseba bashoy" (thank you) to the Russian as I disapeared into the masses of bargain hunting humanity. The watch will need a proper case and some other work but it will be well worth the effort.

I wonder how the Russian got it? I could not ask him because of the language barrier. I also wonder if this is one of the military watches sent by the U.S. to the U.S.S.R. during WWII? The gold filed "Fortune" brand case is not the case the watch came in.

The Serial No. is C441845, which I think is post-1941. Can someone familure with Hamiltons help me out with a date? Could this be a military contract movt?

Thanks for your help.
 
L

Lindell V. Riddle

Greg,

You have quite a story to tell, and you tell it well!

Your newly acquired 992B with serial number C441845, puts it very close to the end of production. The Hamilton records we have show production dropping dramatically as the 1950's wore on and the records are almost non-existent after 1954. After the mid-50's accurate information is scant at best. Terry Hall has put a lot of information together and could perhaps speculate from his material where your watch might land, but suffice it to say it is certainly a very late example. I'll bet Terry will weigh in with an opinion on this later today. Of course Kent Singer and Ed Ueberall have a substantial data base on these as well.

A lot of collectors would believe the movement is a re-case, but only if we presume it was originally intended for the US market. However as Larry pointed out, Hamilton and most other watch movements sold in Canada were cased in Canadian-made cases and I'll bet Larry has properly nailed its origin! I don't know the practice for the European market. In their 1958 catalog Hamilton shows three cases available domestically for the 992B. Number 15, a sturdy Stainless Steel case as well as yellow-gold-filled model 16 and the model 17 which was the last of the "bar-over-crown" cases are shown as the choices. The best advice if you plan to carry your 992B is of course the relatively inexpensive and nearly indestructible Stainless Steel Case Model 15. Both the 15 and the 17 are easily obtainable, the 16 is somewhat less common. If you want it original, however the Fortune case may just be the way to go.

On dials, the late Us market model 992B would most likely have a bold "boxcar" dial with squared off numerals, and it will probably be marked "Hamilton Railway Special" above the center. But if we're on the right track with it being originally sold in Canada, I'd expect a 24-hour dial, meaning a set of numbers, 13 through 24 inside of the conventional 1 to 12.

The watch you have could have been taken over by a member of the military, a tourist or as I speculated earlier, perhaps it was even shipped to Europe for sale at retail. My guess is Larry correctly called it as being originally being for the Canadian market. After that, who knows.

Oh, if these old watches could only "talk" and thereby relate their history. Let's see, there are those "talking dogs" that show up on late-night television and we all remember "Mr. Ed" the talking horse, so who knows what may one day turn up!

Hope this gets you started, Greg.

Lindell V. Riddle
 

Greg Crockett

Registered User
Apr 13, 2001
464
0
0
Lindell:

You are correct about the dial, including the inner 13-24 hour numbers. However, it only says "Hamilton" on it, not "Hamilton Railway Special". It has a double sunk look to it. The dial is made of the late plastic type material and I can see a few hairlines. I suppose it's good to keep these dials out of cleaning chemicals.

The heavily worn Fortune case does not fit the watch. The movement could almost fall out the back. I suspect the case was either originally made for a Swiss movt, or it may have had a thin spacer ring in the rim which is now missing. Someone attempted to pry off the screw-on bezel and caused sufficient damage to the case that it is too shameful to house a 992B, (there may be some cussing as I work to remove it). I have a new old stock case of the 1950's which may fit, but I don't have a late Hamilton catalog to see if it looks like the cases supplied by Hamilton in the 1950 - 1960 era.

Regards,

Greg
 
J

Jimw2

Greg:
Lets see .... American watch made for Canada bought from a Russian at market in Italy and back to Lansing Michigan , Wow that is a well traveled Pocket...Good buy Greg ! :)

Jim
 

John Cote

Director
NAWCC Member
Aug 26, 2000
4,638
1,326
113
Midwest USA
www.johncotephotography.com
Country
Region
I lived in Rome for a year about 30 years ago. My dad and I went to that flea market about every other week. We found some nice stuff, but I don't remember any American watches.

Good story and good find.

John Cote
 

terry hall

NAWCC Silver Member
Apr 12, 2001
7,157
664
113
Central North Carolina
Country
Region
MOMMA MIA ;)

Sounds like an unusual find indeed.

Serial number C440495 was sold in a local jewelry store here November 26, 1956.
That will help date your watch.

The dial is probably one of the san serif 24 hour variations. I have seen some of these dials sold new from old military stock...
Are the numbers "rounded off"?

I also follow the opinions on the Fortune case.... but who knows how it got to Italy.... that is the story!

Also.... If you wish to see the entire line of Hamilton factory case markings...here is a link to a page provided to me by BALL992B
Thanks to Don for hosting the scans, they are very useful on line!!
http://www.villagephotos.com/pubbrowse.asp?selected=80723

[This message has been edited by terry hall (edited 10-23-2002).]
 
B

Ball992B

they can be clicked to enlarge.

how come I never see model 14 cases?
 

terry hall

NAWCC Silver Member
Apr 12, 2001
7,157
664
113
Central North Carolina
Country
Region
Model 14
I guess they did not sell briskly, folks wanted gold.....

well, I looked for about 3 years for one....to complete a set... the ones I found were in pretty bad shape..and had mismatched movements
then I did find one.... on fleabay...and and after I bought it.... there were two more..just in the past month or so. They were nicer, but I had to pass..lof..

I have only three or four examples in my database, all from a narrow serial number range...

I also credited Don with the thoughtful scans of cases.... ;)



[This message has been edited by terry hall (edited 10-23-2002).]
 

Don

NAWCC Member
Feb 17, 2002
235
1
0
While in Novasabirsk Russia in 1998. I is in centeral Russia. I saw a waltham key wind in a silveroid case. I was very temped to buy it but passed it by. It was more improtant to save the money for the cost of getting our new little girl home.
Same question how did it get there?

All the rest of the watches were new or Doxa's
 

Greg Crockett

Registered User
Apr 13, 2001
464
0
0
Don,

Though not widely known, it's a fact that lots of immigrents to the U.S. came here to work, earn enough money and then go back to their native lands and buy a farm, etc. That and sailors trading from ships might explain some of these American made watches in odd places.

Regards,

Greg
 
G

GD

About a year ago I bought a Howard Series 3 with Mershons' Patent regulator off Ebay that was in Ireland of all places. How it got there I'll never know. It serial numbered to approx. 1863. I guess I should have asked the seller but never gave it any thought til much later.
 

Greg Crockett

Registered User
Apr 13, 2001
464
0
0
Sam,

As for stories, a member wrote in the Bulletin a few years ago about a watch from the Civil War. Inside the case, a Federal trooper had scratched a record of all the campaigns and battles he had been in. The owner of the watch confirmed much of it by obtaining a copy of the veteran?s service record. Now that was a watch that was able to tell a story.

However, one must use care in authenticating such things. I look closely at the normal wear patterns in the case to see if such information was engraved into the case long ago, or more recently - as in a few weeks ago.

About a month ago, someone tried to sell me an Imperial Russian watch awarded to an ensign for bravery. It had a nice engraving dated 1911. It was realy a fine looking item for the military collector. It was also a fake. The first clue was that Imperial Russia was not at war in 1911. The second clue was that the presentation was clearly visible while the old barley corn pattern engraved on the case was almost entirely worn away! So, someone tried to increase the value of a worn out 1900 Swiss watch with a fake engraving. I will say one thing, the engraver was realy good and he understood the style of engraving used at that time.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
170,957
Messages
1,492,509
Members
50,022
Latest member
jmeywvu
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,967
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller