Hamilton Railway Special 950B

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by mgssrs, Mar 18, 2017.

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  1. mgssrs

    mgssrs Registered User

    Mar 18, 2017
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    I am new to this site and also to pocket watches. I was looking through some old watches that I received when my father passed away and found two old Hamilton's. The 950B was my Grandfathers who died before my mother and father met. I have been looking on line to see what I can find out about them.

    One is a Hamilton 950B serial number S968 And the other is a Hamilton 924 that looks like a 1915 year.
    They both and working but the crystal is yellow and comes out on the 924. And the crystal on the 950B is a little loose. I would like to know anything I can about them and also how the crystals and held in. Can I get a new crystal for the 924 and replace it myself somehow and is there a way for me to tighten the crystal in the 950B

    Thank you for any help.
     

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  2. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Beautiful watches!

    Rob
     
  3. mgssrs

    mgssrs Registered User

    Mar 18, 2017
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    Thank you.
     
  4. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

    Apr 29, 2004
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    MGSSRS,

    Welcome to the NAWCC American pocket watch forum. Your grandfather had a real nice taste for pocket watches when he purchased or for whatever means he became the owner of the 950B. If you're not familiar with this grade, it was first introduced in 1941 in the same watch case (Model A) that your movement (the works) resides in. Being 23 jewels, it is the highest jeweled watch that Hamilton produced over the 78 years they were in business in Lancaster, Pa. Your particular 950B was made in the 1941-42 timeframe. The dial on your 950B is made of enamel; later ones were made of melamine starting late 1940's. Most of the 950B's had 23 JEWELS stamped on the dial below RAILWAY SPECIAL, but there were a choice of dials during this timeframe. There were about 30,000, 950B's produced from 1941 to the late 1960's when it was discontinued.

    Since you mentioned that the 950B was running and if you don't have any intentions of carrying it, I would recommend having the dial replaced if it made of plastic, if by chance it's glass, you may have it reinserted by a well respected and experience watch repairer or watchmaker. There is not much use in paying the expense of having it cleaned and adjusted if you don't intend to carry it.

    With respect to the 924, you are correct, it was made in 1915 according to the Hamilton records. It is (was) a nice 18 size movement, always offered as a "movement only", meaning that you purchased the movement from a jeweler and then selected a case of your choice. Not to degrade in any way your 924, but the case that it resides in is contemporary to the movement or works. There were 140,275, 924's produced from 1899 to 1926. It was the least expensive (but still a good watch) 18 size, 17 jewel movement that Hamilton offered. As with the 950B, if you don't intend to carry this watch, I would recommend finding a minute hand and would replace the crystal.

    These are my humble opinions, others my disagree and that just fine.

    Robert
     
  5. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

    Nov 21, 2016
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    Welcome to the board, mgssrs. Beautiful watches. I would investigate the watchmaker and make sure they wear vinyl/latex gloves or finger cots. Or if you are curious, you could send in their skin flakes and get their DNA profile. That might be interesting.

    Robert
     
  6. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    #6 Robert Sweet, Mar 19, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    Thanks,

    Robert
     
  7. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
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    Dec 9, 2000
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    Robert, In the second paragraph of this post, I believe you meant to say crystal and not dial. This could confuse a new collector.

    tom


     
  8. mgssrs

    mgssrs Registered User

    Mar 18, 2017
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    Since you mentioned that the 950B was running and if you don't have any intentions of carrying it, I would recommend having the dial replaced if it made of plastic, if by chance it's glass, you may have it reinserted by a well respected and experience watch repairer or watchmaker. There is not much use in paying the expense of having it cleaned and adjusted if you don't intend to carry it.




    Robert[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for the information. I got these watches several years ago and put them in my safe. Now that I have done a little research on them they mean a lot more to me. I have no intention of carrying them but would like to keep them out in some kind of display.

    Your post said to have the dial replaced if plastic if glass have it reset. I am only concerned with the crystal at this time. It came out when I was trying to unscrew the front cover and it is plastic. I just want to be able to hold it and show it to people and not have the crystal fall off.

    The story I was told about the 950B was that my Grandmother left it with a repair place and never picked it up. She died in 1973 At some point the repair place found her name scratched inside the back cover and returned it to my dad. I think that is why the crystal look so clear and the watch is clean and bright.

    Is the crystal some how crimped in the cover? I wounder if I could just bring the front covers in to a repair place and have the crystals repaired/replaced. As for the minute hand on the 924 is there a place I could buy one and put it on myself?

    Thanks again for the time you spent replying to me. It is appreciated.
     
  9. mgssrs

    mgssrs Registered User

    Mar 18, 2017
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    Thanks I did see that and wounded about it.
     
  10. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    I am sure that Robert made a typo and meant to say Crystal instead of dial.

    Yes, you can install the minute hand if you can find the correct one (try eBay).

    I would also find an age appropriate case for the 924, and they both would have had glass crystals when new.
     
  11. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    In deed, I was referring to the crystal and not the dial, thanks to our friend Tom and Jim for bringing this to my and your attention. I posted my comments at 3 minutes after midnight and things were a bit foggy. :screwball:

    The watch repairer's have a special tool to insert the plastic crystals, but I believe the glass crystals may be glued in place (someone will correct me if this is an incorrect method). I would take the complete watch to the repairer for the new crystal. I believe Jim answered your question about purchasing a correct minute hand for the 924.

    Robert
     
  12. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    Below is an image of the Hamilton 924 (open face) and 925 (hunting - pendant at 3 o'clock) from a 1910 "Hamilton Watch" catalog.

    Robert
     

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  13. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    Robert,

    Just out of curiosity...Robert or anybody...What do you think of the appropriateness of this bold Montgomery dial as a factory issued dial on this relatively low SN 950-B. Has anybody seen any evidence...boxed examples or factory evidence that Hamilton would have shipped this watch with a dial like this...without the "23 Jewels" marking? I love this dial style but I am just curious about it on the 950-B.
     
  14. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    John,
    My vote would be that the dial was switched from the original ,23 Jewels.

    Why would anyone order a regular 21 J 992B dial when the watch wanted to shout out for the world to see, it was a 23 Jewel watch?
     
  15. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    John, Jim,

    Below is a boxed label for a 950B with a BMNUM "Blind Man Numerical" i.e. Montgomery dial within the serial number range mentioned.

    Robert
     

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  16. Larry Treiman

    Larry Treiman Registered User

    Jan 18, 2009
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    #16 Larry Treiman, Mar 20, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017


    A listing in a Hamilton catalog from c.July 1941 for the 950B states "...with heavy Arabic dial (shown) or choice of other railroad dials." The dial "shown" was the usual #535 Hamilton "23 Jewels Railway Special" dial, which was based on the #532 "Mainliner" dial used on the 23-jewel grade 950 Elinvar and marked only "HAMILTON". At least to the best of my knowledge and experience (almost 50 years), I am unaware of any Hamilton 16-size enamel dial other than the #535 marked both "Railway Special" and "23 Jewels".

    Soooo, if a purchaser wanted, say, a Montgomery-style dial on a 950B, especially back in those hectic times on the eve of WWII, I don't doubt for a second that Hamilton would have taken a nice, new #537 B.M. Numerical dial marked "Railway Special" already in stock and pictured in the same mid-1941 catalog on a 992B and installed it on that 950B,along with the appropriate hands. Note that the dial doesn't say anything about how many jewels the movement does have! A good watch doesn't have to brag or shout out anything about itself.

    As for the watch, I suspect that it was relieved to finally relieved to get rid of those "un-railroady" baton hands and those poor minute hour and seconds markers crammed between concentric circles, that some say look like railroad tracks. Obviously those people haven't looked carefully at real railroad tracks and are thinking of Lionel-type tinplate toy train tracks. That stuff might be okay on other watches, but in my not always humble opinion, just doesn't look appropriate on a railroad watch dial! <];>P


    Larry (a.k.a. "anybody") Treiman
     
  17. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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    To put a visual to Larry's comments.. here are the pages from 1941 catalog have to do them as links...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Well..................
    John asked about what we thought about the dial ..................and Robert pictured a Boxed example of an exception.......... and Larry editorialized his usual opionions.....
    and Terry was nice enough to show what was available............sooooo....
    What we have is a bunch of opinions........... and without a box to prove it was what the customer wanted........................... we still have a bunch of opinions................


    No surprises......... this is what the MB is all about.
     
  19. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
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    This is really interesting. Thank you Robert for posting the box picture. I guess that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the originally posted watch could have come from the factory as shown. That Bold Monty both as shown in the original post and in the 18s version are my favorite, what I will call...later Hamilton dials. I like the dial on the originally posted watch. Given that it is a family watch I am willing to think it could be original. Original or not, it is an exception...a beautiful exception.

    As Jim said..."No surprises.......this is what the MB is all about." Thanks Mgssrs for the original post and thanks boiz for all of the great info! Let's hear it for the National Association of WATCH and Clock collectors!
     
  20. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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  21. mgssrs

    mgssrs Registered User

    Mar 18, 2017
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    Wow you guys are good digging up all that info. I really have no idea if the dial is original or not and I have no plans to sell it. But I do think it would be cool if it is different all the others but still original dial.

    Thank you all for your help.
     
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