Chronometry: Hamilton Model 22 US Navy

JeffL

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Jul 19, 2010
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I am in the midst of purchasing two Hamilton boxed and gimbaled size 35 watches (Deck watch or are they Ship's chronometers?). My question is based on a picture the seller provided. The brass tub of one is marked "NO 142-1941". I know NO is Naval Observatory. My question is did Hamilton start from 001 in each year of production or did the serial numbers continue to increase throughout the production period such that the production serial numbers were independent of the year of production? Does my number 142-1941 mean it was made early in the Model 22 production cycle? I understand Hamilton produced some 8,000 of these during the war for the Navy.

My interest is based on serving on a USN destroyer from 1963-1966 and thus operating under "Zulu" time. The owner told he he never ran the watches, so should I take to my watchmaker for service before seeing if they work? Thanks and any advice you have would be appreciated. Jeff
 

Dr. Jon

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To your first question, I would call them "Torpedo boat watches" or the French term "Chronometre du Bord". Deck watch can mean either a watch like the 22 or much less capable watch used to carry the main time usually from the internally stowed chronometers to the deck where it was used to get the precise time of the celestial fix.

Torpedo boat watches were good enough for marine navigation. They were adopted in the early 1900's because ocean going small ships like torpedo boats rode too rough for detent chronometer to survive.

You won't hurt it by winding it setting it and running it for a day or two. If you are going to run it for a long time it should get serviced.

The serial numbers ran consecutively and did not start over,

They are fabulous time pieces and served for navigation on small ships.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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FYI, at a watch auction I attended yesterday, a very nice boxed, but not gimbaled, Model 22 sold for what seemed to me a very low price, $650 plus 25% buyer's premium. Serial No. 2F6816.
 

Tom McIntyre

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The Hamilton 36 size is the other timepiece in their navigation devices. It also comes in both the gimaled and flat form.

Elgin made a free sprung Father time that was sold in gimbals and in a 6 ounce dueber silver case. One of those sold on eBay last night for a little more than half the price I expected it to bring. They apparently have either fallen out of favor or been forgotten.
 

Ethan Lipsig

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At the auction I attended yeaterday a nice Elgin Father Time freesprung WI in the very heavy original silver case sold for $1800, plus 25% buyer's premium, about half what this would have fetched a decade ago.
 
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