I recently purchased a Hamilton Chronometer

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by FloridaLou, Mar 26, 2015.

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  1. FloridaLou

    FloridaLou Registered User

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    #1 FloridaLou, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2017
    Hello All,

    I just purchased a Hamilton model 22 chronometer.
    The markings on the bottom of the chronometer reads: MTD. Watch Bureau of Ships US Navy. N (in a circle) 7782-1941.

    The plate on the outside reads: N (in a circle) 7782-1941.

    The inside of the chronometer reads: Hamilton Watch Co. Model 22 - 21 Jewels Adj to Temp & 6 Pos, Made in USA
    With a serial number : 2F3817

    I assume that this means Adjust to Temperature and the 6 Position scale above the seconds indicator. What does this do?

    It runs well and while the outer case needs work, the rest is very good.

    IMG_9400.jpg IMG_9401.jpg IMG_9402.jpg IMG_9403.jpg IMG_9404.jpg IMG_9405.jpg IMG_9406.jpg IMG_9408.jpg IMG_9411.jpg IMG_9413.jpg Where can I find replacement straps for the case?

    The glass covering the face of the chronometer is plastic, is this correct?

    What is an approximate age for this chronometer?

    Thanks all.

    IMG_9400.jpg IMG_9401.jpg IMG_9402.jpg IMG_9403.jpg IMG_9404.jpg IMG_9405.jpg IMG_9406.jpg IMG_9408.jpg IMG_9411.jpg IMG_9413.jpg
     
  2. Tinker Dwight

    Tinker Dwight Registered User

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    I don't think this is a true chronometer. It looks to be a
    Swiss lever escapement and has no chronometer label.
    Nice clock though. I suspect the dial goes to the
    fast slow adjustment on the escapement.
    Tinker Dwight
     
  3. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    I've moved this to the American Pocket Watches forum to see if we can get some better replies.
     
  4. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #4 Ralph, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
    "I assume that this means Adjust to Temperature and the 6 Position scale above the seconds indicator. What does this do?"

    I'm not sure I understand your question, but the markings on the movement, "Adj to Temp & 6 Pos", mean adjusted to temperature and position, to maintain accuracy under varying conditions. The balance assembly has been calibrated to compensate for temperature changes. The adjusted to 6 positions is more apropos to the pocket watch version of this deck watch. The 6 positions are face up, face down, stem up, stem down, stem at 3 and 9 o'clock.

    This is a deck watch and not literally a chronometer. As mentioned above, this watch movement will also be found in a pocket watch style case.

    The indicator between the center and the twelve is an up down indicator and shows the power reserve or amount of winding left to power the watch... two days for this type of watch.

    Your deck watch was made in 1941.

    Ralph
     
  5. chief13365

    chief13365 Registered User

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    It is in nice shape for a war years Hamilton. The dial is in especially nice condition!
     
  6. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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    The outer box was typically screwed down to a surface on the bridge or other area of a boat. The inner gimballed box could be removed to secure it in a different location.

    "right at" 29,000 of the model 22 movements were produced... but not all cased as yours.... as mentioned above you will see these in a large base metal 'pocketwatch' case with a winding pendant at the twelve position.
    There were also padded storage boxes for these examples, but they were not gimballed. The box had a round cut-out which had a second crystal to allow viewing of the time while the deck watch was tucked safely away.
     
  7. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    Not a chronometer? It appears that the Naval Observatory and Hamilton defined them as such. Two images of my own model 22, S# 7744. Very close to the S# of the subject model 22. image.jpg image.jpg
     
  8. Luis Casillas

    Luis Casillas Registered User

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    #8 Luis Casillas, Mar 26, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2015
    The terminology on these is a bit fiddly. You can see in the photos in this thread that Hamilton labeled the Model 22 as a "chronometer watch." The Model 21 is a "ship chronometer," according to the documents shown in this page.

    If I understand correctly, the English (in the 19th century/early 20th?) would have referred to the 21 as a "chronometer" (on account of it having a "chronometer escapement"), and the 22 as a "half chronometer." (Or not; did the term "half chronometer" apply only if the watch had a fusee but not a detent escapement? The terminology is fiddly...)

    On the other hand the Swiss term "chronomètre," as I understand it, was based on precision, not escapement, and could therefore apply to both.
     
  9. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    And yet the model 22 was actually used on ships! I understand from Marvin Whitney's book on the marine chronometer, these were used on hospital ships, tankers, freighters, mine sweepers, etc. etc. so let's say there were chronometers with detent escapement, and chronometers with lever escapement. Mine runs within 10 seconds per week, So I'm satisfied to call it a chronometer watch. If these weren't meant to be used aboard an ocean going vessel of some kind, they wasted a lot of time, effort, and money outfitting them with gimbals.
     
  10. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    The terminology is tricky and it depends on where you are an what language you speak.

    The Hamilton 22 in English is called a torpedo boat watch. It did the same thing a marine chronometer did, that is it was a navigation instrument, same function as a marine chronometer. It have to have very similar performance and they were tested by teh same people who rated marine detent chronometers. These large lever watches came into being as recognition that the ride on small ocean going ships was too rough for a marine detent chronometer such s the hamilton 21. In French, a model 22 is called a "Chronometre du Bord". They are tested a bit differently but they are both very good. They are sometimes called deck watches which is misleading. A deck watch carried the time from the chronometer to the deck where the navigation is done, using a sextant. These are typically nice watches but they do not have to be very accurate, as does a torpedo boat watch.

    The Swiss began to call lever watches that were submitted for testing (whether they had to pass is vague) chronometers in 1865. Engilsh speakers insisted that a chronometer has to have a detent escapement. The model 21 is thing of beauty and arguable the best of its type ever built but delicate, hard to build, and maintain and, in my view, completely unnecessary.

    My view, which is heretical and outside the mainstream, is that the Model 21 was a colossal blunder. All the lives lost because we could not get enough model 21's to sea are an enduring memorial to the idiocy and pig headedness of the Naval Observatory and it minions. The distinction between a watch and a chronometer in terms of the ability to get a ship "to the appointed place at the appointed time" simply did not exist. A model 22 was more than good enough and lot more rugged.

    The British Hydrographic (ocean mapping) distributed and rated watches for the British Navy. A full up capital ship navigation watch was labeled with a broad arrow and marked HS1. A torpedo boat watch they labeled an HS2 also witha broad arrow which is what they engraved on the model 22 watches they issued. A deck watch which could also be used to geolocate an airplane was engraved HS3. The Hamilton 4992B was an HS3 to them.

    Shortly after World War II Paul Ditisheim set a timekeeping performance record with a timepiece he called a chronometer and it had a lever escapement.

    If that seems hindsight, consider that the English firm Parkinson and Frodsham sent two pocket timepieces to the Geneva timing contest of 1876. One was a detent and it got a third place. The lever watch made by the same maker got a first.

    These model 22's are are superb timepieces. I'd call them chronometres du Bord.

    Neat item and probably more than you wanted to know.
     
  11. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Registered User
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    This is from the Hamilton Model 21 Chronometer Manual

    M21.jpg

    And this from the model 22 manual

    HamM22-06.jpg

    Don Dahlberg
    NAWCC volunteer
     
  12. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Moderator
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    Doug brings up a terrific point.

    The term "Chronometer", however you spell it (country to country differs) is hotly contested as to "True meaning". Many of us "purists" think of it as a watch that has a particular kind of escapement that lets power out of the mainspring in short constant bursts or ticks. (I have even seen some sites that suggest the term originally referred to a "metronome").

    The definition I came across today on line is different: an instrument for measuring time accurate time in spite of motion or variations in temperature, humidity, and air pressure. " is much different.

    Today, the COSC (And several other entities) issues "Chronometer certificates". Each entity has their own variances. (If you search this forum you will also note my research on American "Certificates" of timing issued by our own governemnt.)

    Goodluck!!

    Jeffrey P. Hess
     
  13. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Registered User
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    Dr. Jon said:

    "My view, which is heretical and outside the mainstream, is that the Model 21 was a colossal blunder. All the lives lost because we could not get enough model 21's to sea are an enduring memorial to the idiocy and pig headedness of the Naval Observatory and it minions. The distinction between a watch and a chronometer in terms of the ability to get a ship "to the appointed place at the appointed time" simply did not exist. A model 22 was more than good enough and lot more rugged."

    I am not sure I understand this statement. Care to explain?

    Don
     

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