Marine: Hamilton 22

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by artbissell, Jan 30, 2017.

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  1. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    Interesting to me is a gimbal mounted big watch adjusted for 6 positions which is an obvious asset when used without. Indicates superior performance to the Waltham 37 perhaps used in similar environments? Comparable accuracy performance? artbissell

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  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    My feeling on the model 22 is that it is a vastly superior timepiece to the Waltham that also was used as a marine chronometer. The Waltham was never designed as a chronometer, but they were pressed into service out of necessity, when there was a shortage of marine chronometers.
     
  3. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    The Waltham 8 day was the first American lever chronometer used by the military by several years. The Hamilton 36 size and the Hamilton 22 are both clearly superior and owned the market for the services once they were released.

    Many years later during WWII the Walthams were once again pressed into service as chronometers, probably mostly for Merchant Marine service. Waltham and the Roth Brothers along with others modified many 7 jewel 37 size to bring them up to standard for the military.

    Elgin also had gimbaled deck watches but those were just repackaging of standard pocket watches, mostly Father Time.
     
  4. Paul Regan

    Paul Regan Registered User
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    Tom said,
    "Elgin also had gimbaled deck watches but those were just repackaging of standard pocket watches, mostly Father Time."

    At least a good deal of the Elgin gimbaled watches were "free sprung".
    Paul
     
  5. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    That is true and I should have mentioned it. The flat watch in the huge case that was intended to compete with the 36 size is a really nice watch.
     
  6. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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    #6 Dr. Jon, Feb 1, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
    I believe the Elgin Father Time freesprungs were made for marine navigational use in World War I although some were pressed into service in World War II. They were Torpedo Boat watches. The term deck watch is problematic in that it can mean either a comparing watch to carry time from the master chronometer(s) to the deck where celestial sightings are made or for navigation. It is a much earlier item World War I.

    In that vein, the Model 22 Hamilton was also a torpedo boat watch. The better terminology is French which refers to these a "Chronometre de Bord" and the UK Admiralty Hydrographic Service as an HS 2.

    After about 1900 or so, even these torpedo boat watches are vastly over qualified for navigation. For a landfall or rendezvous a 10 of miles is good enough and that translates to 45 seconds or error and by 1900 any high grade watch could do that for over a week and by then wireless could send a time reference so any ship with a receiver could update their time at least once a week.

    Thus the Waltham 8 day was adequate. The model 21 and 22 and similar timepieces were wonderful but stand as memorials to overwhelming incompetence in equipping ships.

    By 1860 insurance underwriters were giving fine lever watches to captains who saved them claims. These watches were better for navigating in rough seas. Captain Bligh made his landfall after being set adrift in a long boat with a fine but regular watch of his era after a voyage of over 1000 nautical miles (and that watch survives today).

    This hidebound and deadly adherence to tradition was not limited to timekeeping. By the 1950's the US Navy had imposed such tight optical correction requirements on sextants that no one could actually see most of the stars used for navigation. Navigators bought Nikon sextants, not so over corrected, but much better to see the stars.(At least that is what I learned in my optics course in 1964).
     
  7. artbissell

    artbissell Registered User
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    #7 artbissell, Feb 2, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
    Nice to have here a little entertaining general history by a good writer about these marine chronometer application realities. Best friend 1965-75 was former P-51 pilot that was a watchmaker with jewelry store. He kept a Hamilton 22 running in window which seemed to me commonly done by jewelers then. art
     

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