Hamilton military watches w/cases and some questions

yellow_sub

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First is the Model 22. It has both wooden boxes and is in great shape, minus the outer leather strap which has ripped in the small section in between buckle hole 4 and 5. The movement is still very accurate too. I didn't check it down to the second but from March until mid Nov, it was still on the same minute as one of my quartz watches I used to originally set the time from. S/N is 2F28048 but I'm unsure of when it was made other than the 1941-43 posted in the database. I don't believe this one saw war action as there is no engraving on the case back and it came with a nice advertising/marketing card.
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The model 23 I have has normal signs of age to the watch case and outer wood box, but the movement itself looks beautiful. The dial has a couple marks on it but the person I bought this from kindly sent me a second, mint condition dial that wasn't mentioned in the auction. A very nice surprise, for sure! The outer box has a hairline split from top to bottom in the top of it and some marks from wear over the years, but nothing is loose or effecting the integrity/function of the box. The inside, including the felt and cork shock absorbing pieces, are in great shape. The watch has normal wear to the case but nothing outstanding.
S/N is P13469 and case back info is as follows-
AN 5742-1
MFR's Part No.37297
Serial No. H- 7689
Hamilton Watch Co.
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Now the questions I have for the Model 23. Firstly, are the hinges and outer latch made of brass? I'd like to bring back some of its shine. Should I assume that taking the screws out would strip the threads in the wood and give me a whole other set of problems? What would be the best products and way to go about this? Or should I just save the effort and see if the guys at Hamilton Parts have new ones? Haha. Lastly, below the latch, are 2 screw holes for a name plate. (The holes are 62mm apart from center to center) It's missing the plate and I'm having trouble locating one. Does anyone know where/if these can be found or what the proper term is for them so it's easier to search around?

And the third watch here is a 4992B with it's protective canister. Again, this one has your regular use knicks and scuffs but everything works as it should and the glass is very clean. The watch case makes it very apparent that this watch was well used but the movement is in great shape, hacking feature works perfectly and is still incredibly accurate. I wish I had more info than just a last name on the case to try and track down who the pilot was. S/N is 4C46671 and case back info is
AN 5740
MFR's PART NO.33106
SERIAL NO. H- 2318
HAMILTON WATCH CO.
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My questions on this one are about the springs in the canister. As is obvious from the pictures the springs were stretched out and one out of place. Luckily, nothing is stripped, so it should all be fixable but the springs will still be stretched out kinda funky. Are these some specific springs for this canister or is this something a hardware store would have? Should I just work with what I have instead?
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I have a couple last generic questions as well. I know about the few books on all Hamilton watches and on specifically their wristwatches but are there any on just their military watches? Or any book on american military watches? I haven't had much luck myself. Thanks for taking the time to read all this and help me out. The bulk of my collection are Walthams and I'm just starting to learn more about the Hamilton military watches.
 
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terry hall

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an authoritative book... available various sources. Nice collection there... I do not have handy a tub to see how the springs are afixxed to the case, but should be a simple fix....


Military Timepieces
Front Cover

Marvin E. Whitney
AWI Press, Jan 1, 1992 - Clocks and watches - 667 pages
0 Reviews
An illustrated catalogue of military timepieces, including aircraft, marine, meteorological, and tank clocks. Contains technical specifications and diagrams.

whitney search link
 
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Paul Regan

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Nice collection Yello-Sub. As for the latch and hinge, yes they are brass and I would leave them as is since that is now part of their character. The 62mm holes are probably for the Hamilton plaque. I’ll measure the distance between the screw holes on mine and get back to report.
Paul
 
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Jim Haney

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Some nice watches, and Paul Regan (post #3) does a great job on restoring the wooden boxes for these.

Your Model 22 serial number indicated that is was finished and sold on 12-3-1946 to customer 46-32282.

You can look up most serial number from the Hamilton ledgers thru the NAWCC Library & Research center.


Your 4992B, 4C40521 was finished and sold on 12-24-1943 to customer 64-14513.

Interesting that it was finished on Christmas eve, a war was on !

Maybe one day we can find a source for who the numbers represent from the Hamilton archives?

I can't read the serial number on the Model 23 but you should be able to check it on the Ledgers pages.
Your Model 23 didn't come in the wooden box, at least, I have not seen one packaged that way, the wooden boxes were for the 4992B watches as well as the spring shock proof cans.
 
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yellow_sub

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Thanks for the kind words about the watches and all the information from everyone.

Terry - I had seen that book and while it looks great, (for the moment at least) I'm just looking for Hamiltons or at most US military watches. I'll probably splurge one day and eventually pick that up though haha. As for the springs and screws, the screw threads directly into the can and the spring goes through a hole cross drilled through the head of the screw. On top of the completely undone one, another was tinkered with incorrectly and the spring end is only through one side of the screw head. I'll play with it some time later today but here's a couple close ups of what I'm attempting to describe.
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Paul - Thanks for checking your plaques. The holes are for sure narrower than the ones on the model 22 boxes. (Well, at least the ones my boxes) I recently found this picture online and this one is clearly narrower than the holes in mine.
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Jim - Thanks for the dates on my movements. I didn't know that information was available. The S/N on the Model 23 is P13469. Forgive my ignorance but, I'm having trouble getting to the ledger though, I think I'm missing something. I had been wondering about the case with the 23. I've seen other 4992b's online come with this case and also Hamilton pics and diagram showing it with a 4992b. Did the model 23's ever have a specific carrying case of any type? Other than the sextant they would sometimes be paired with. It would be so awesome to have one of these someday too.
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Paul Regan

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Hello Yellow-sub,
I have three of the subject boxes and none have a plaque so I can’t help with what might have been there on yours. I agree with Jim and I have never seen a Model 23 in one of these boxes. Still nice to have the box and nice to have your collection.
Paul
 

Leigh Callaway

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Here is a box I used as a navigator in a U.S. Navy patrol squadron in 1968/69. The screws holding the plaque are one and seven sixteenths inches apart.

Box Front.jpg

We used 4992Bs and a Kollsman periscopic sextant. The sextant had a timer which averaged the observed celestial body's altitude over a period of up to two minutes. The timer thus provided elapsed time - so no chronograph such as a Model 23 was needed.

Sextant.jpg
 

yellow_sub

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Paul, thanks for checking and for your help with my questions.

Here is a box I used as a navigator in a U.S. Navy patrol squadron in 1968/69. The screws holding the plaque are one and seven sixteenths inches apart.

View attachment 627507

We used 4992Bs and a Kollsman periscopic sextant. The sextant had a timer which averaged the observed celestial body's altitude over a period of up to two minutes. The timer thus provided elapsed time - so no chronograph such as a Model 23 was needed.

View attachment 627508
Leigh, that is so awesome that you have those items still today! Thanks for sharing the pictures and details. I know virtually nothing about aviation, so sorry if this is a stupid question but, would the sextant setup have been the same during WW2? I mean as in the sextant having a timer in it and thus making a chronograph pointless?
 

Dr. Jon

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Your Model 22 is a "Jeweler's Chronometer". These were sold as surplus in new condition, mostly to Jewelers who kept them in the store windows to attract attention, and to enable by passers to set their watches.

Most of these were never issued to ships. My view is that the "22" was the best Time piece made for the War.
 
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Leigh Callaway

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...would the sextant setup have been the same during WW2? I mean as in the sextant having a timer in it and thus making a chronograph pointless?
A Google search indicates that Kollsman applied for a patent on the periscopic sextant in 1948 - so it would not have been in use during the war.
US2579903A - Periscopic sextant - Google Patents

I don't know anything about WWII airborne sextants. I do recall a Hamilton ad for the Model 23 showing a navigator in an aircraft blister with a sextant to his eye. Something about looking for U-boats. Sorry I don't have more.
 

Dr. Jon

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A bit off topic but in WWII teh standard aircraft sextant was the A10. The ine I had was made by ANSCO which had been a German company. Kollsman was the maker of submarine periscopes so this was probably their way of getting into the aircraft sextant business.
 

Jim Haney

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Please disregard my post #9 instruction for accessing the Hamilton Ledgers.

The new updated Web site now makes it possible to access the info from the Forums, just go to the top and put your cursor on RESEARCH and follow the drop down menu.
 
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Leigh Callaway

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Did the model 23's ever have a specific carrying case of any type?
In support of Jim Haney’s thought that the Model 23 was not packaged in a wooden box:

- Whitney’s description of the 4992B says “…the majority were fitted up in a shock-absorbent wooden box or a metal canister…”
- The Navy’s HO Pub No. 216 “Air Navigation” of 1963 states that the master navigation watch (of which the 4992B is one type) “..is usually enclosed in a strong wood or metal watch box…”

Both books are silent on a carrying case/box for the “navigational stop watch” like the Model 23.

Here is a July 2013 thread about the Model 23. See post number 3 by grtnev
Hamilton Model 23 Chronograph | NAWCC Forums
 
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spclock

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Just from my observations....... ( Aside from collecting military timepieces, I've been collecting aviation memorabilia forever)

Generally, when the 4992B's were issued to Army Air Force navigators, they were in that Grey antimagnetic tub that you have and were included in the celestial navigation kit. Many were issued in the plain Hamilton cardboard shipping box and were carried in the smaller navigation kits with a black rubber cover or case. Many were carried loose, and because of this alot of the cases are pretty worn/scratched. Most of the U.S. Navy issued 4992B's came in that flat wooden box that you have. Some of the 4992B's had separate AF or Navy contract numbers on the back, and some were AN marked like yours and used by both services.
The most of the model 23's like you have were US Navy issued earlier in the war. As far as I can tell, they were issued in the Hamilton cardboard box. Early Navy bubble sextants had the clip for the watch on the side and there's a few PR pics that show a Navy navigator using a sextant with the watch. There was also a clip/mount that you could clip the watch to the panel (mostly seen in fighters) and a WW2 Navy kneeboard that had a clip for the watch. It seems that by mid 44, the Navy took the clips off the sextants and the M23 got replaced by 4992B's in most applications. Model 23's with an Army Air Force contract # are scarce and I've never found any evidence of where they were used.
If I were you, I'd put the 4992B in the wooden box, and keep the M23 seperate. If you want a sextant to clip your watch to, Just search for Navy A-12 sextant on Ebay and wait till an early one with the watch clip comes up. I wouldn't recommend that though as the clips will scratch up the watch case.

Here's an image of an A-12 sextant with the clip: A12 clip.jpg


A-6 contents.jpg

Here's where your grey case goes in the a-6 Navigation Kit.....


Hope this helps, John
 

yellow_sub

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WOW! So much information from everyone. I can't thank you all enough for the help, knowledge and personal stories passed along in this thread. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out for a sextant at some point. Also, I believe a found a picture of the plate that was originally on my wooden box. The screw holes here appear to be the same width as the one on mine. Lastly for now, while looking around online I found this page on the Smithonian site with several great pictures and info on some various WW2 navigation tools, including ones we've been discussing here.

plaque.jpg
 

yellow_sub

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Another update, this time on the canister. Finally worked on it today and saw a detail I had missed previously. In an earlier post I had said that one of the springs was installed incorrectly and fed through only one hole of the screw. Well, this was only partially correct. Yes, it was only going through one side of the screw but that was because the spring had been pulled on so hard that it was pulled up through the screw head leaving it looking like 3/4 of a Phillips head screw instead of the flat head it should be.
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What ever incident caused this must have been the same one that stretched the springs and pulled the mounting screw out of place. The rest of the mounting setup was removed from the canister and reworked a little bit to try and get the spring tension even again.
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Obviously an over stretched spring will never go back to its original shape but, short of flat out replacing the springs or risking bending them too much and breaking off part of the spring end, I felt this was the best I could do. Tips on a project like this are definitely welcome though. (Or a link to some NOS springs would be cool too :D ) Anyway, here's how it looks now.
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I feel content with it now and don't plan on doing anything else to it. (Unless I can get my hands on new springs lol)
 

River rat

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Nice collection I have those also in my collection. I once bought two of those metal magnetic shock absorbent canisters for my 4992B for 25 buck apiece then sold one for 50 at a NAWCC mart so paid for the one I kept. Miss those days of cheap finds. Your better off leaving the spring the way it is.
 

Ned L

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Back in the late 60's my dad could buy those spring suspended watch cases at an Army Navy store in Manhattan for about $2 a piece (he used them on our family boat to hold a watch by the helm). --- To bad he didn't buy a couple of cases of them. Lol!
 

yellow_sub

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You guys are killin me with these prices! haha. I'm 34 and only been collecting for about 9-10 years, I'd give anything to find these items at the prices you are talking about.
 

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