Hamilton 936 or 944?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by skippp66, Dec 7, 2012.

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  1. skippp66

    skippp66 Registered User
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    Aug 29, 2010
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    I just purchased the 18 sized pocket watch, S.N. 280203 pictured below. It is a 19 jewel, lever set Hamilton with a damascene that looks like that of both a 936 and a 944. When I look up the serial number in Ehrhardt's Identification and Price Guide, it is listed as a 936. When I look the serial number up in the Hamilton ledgers on the NAWCC web site, it is listed as a 944. Also, I notice in The Complete Price Guide to Watches there is a listing of a 19 jewel 936 with a 4 star rarity rating. Could this be such a watch?
    Is it a 936 or a 944? Whichever it is, was it originally a 17 jewel 936 that was factory converted to a 19 jewel (936 or 944?) at a later time? I am hoping I have a rare bird on my hands and not a mosaic of different plates. I have a rather extensive Hamilton pocket watch collection which includes 936's and 944's all of the former being 17 jewel and all of the latter being 19 jewel. I notice that my 944's have "Adjusted 5 positions" printed between " Hamilton Watch Co." and "Lancaster, PA.". My 936's just have "Adjusted" along the perimeter, just before the serial number, like the watch pictured below. I would like to know as much about this a particular watch as yuns (my Pittsburgh, PA heritage!) can tell me. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.
    Skip, that Hamilton nut!
     

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  2. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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  3. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Aug 26, 2000
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    I have come to believe that it is not really too important what you call these early 936/944 watches. What is important is that when you try to sell them you disclose all of the information that the collecting community has dug up so that the buyer will not be deceived. These watches are worth some kind of premium but they should not be hyped in a one sided way to inflate their value.

    I found my first one of these years and years ago, before the Haligan ledger info came out. I found a picture of another one in one of Roy Ehrhardt's old price guides where it was called a 19j 936 with a high value. I had knowledgeable people tell me that it was from a group of prototypes. I had one prominent collector simply go silent when I showed it to him. I sold it to a fellow collector buddy for a lot of money...didn't want to sell it but he kept after me. After more info came out about how many there were I started to feel bad about how much he paid for it but he continued to like the watch. I found another one out in the wild about a year ago and engaged in one of the debates Terry points out in a link in his above post. I sold that one at a premium to but not nearly as much. I sold it to a knowledgeable collector dealer with full disclosure.

    I think I have my head bent around what these watches are to me now and I just don't care about the grade number as much as I do that they are a sort of interesting little branch of the Hamilton 18s line which adds a little bit of information to the history of production at this important American company. They have a value...they should simply not be sold as something they are not. There is too much public info about them now.
     
  4. skippp66

    skippp66 Registered User
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    Aug 29, 2010
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    John,
    I tend to agree with you. I paid more for this watch than I would an ordinary 936 (or 944) but not a huge premium for it. I like it a lot. Having acquired most of the Hamilton's listed in Shugert's "price guide", this "19 jewel 936" (or 944, if you like) has, in my opinion, special features including the low serial number in the 2XX,XXX's and the markings or lack thereof, on the plates. It is my opinion that these groups of watches have a special place... what I like to refer to as a special "factory provenance" shared somewhat by the 947-943, and 951-961. I realize there are limits to this comparison as few would argue that 947's and 951's are not true Hamilton grades and many could argue that a "19 jewel 936" does not exist. I do not like it, however, when "groups" try to divide us into "camps". I know not who comprise these "groups"/"camps" and have no desire to find out. We should be able to share and debate information and respect the other person's opinion as long as that other person is not trying to con us or be dishonest. Advancing theories or hypotheses is to be encouraged. Drawing a line in the sand and being asked to step on one side or the other does horology no good and is to be discouraged.
    Bottom line, though: I am quite pleased with the information I learned from you folks about this watch and am glad I posted my thread.
    Be well and Happy Holidays to all...Ho! Ho! Ho!
    Skip, that Hamilton Nut!
     
  5. John Cote

    John Cote Director
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    Skip....I think you have it all pretty well figured out.... Happiest of the holidays to you too.
     

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