my lastest find ~ Hamilton 950 B NOS in 14k!

J

james shutts

Hello,
I thought I would share my lastest find with everyone. I just purchased it today, fresh out of a home. He answered my ad for buying old pocket watches. It is a NOS Hamilton 950 B in a 14k gold case. Still has hang tag with marked down price. Never sold or used! This looks to be as nice as you are going to find one. I really doubt there is a nicer one out there. Other than some minor light scratches on the back, it is truely mint! My watchman said it is a gold train. Is there a way to tell for sure? Are there many of these housed in Hamilton 14k cases? How rare or good is this? I just fell in love with it & was smiling from ear to ear as I left his home. I love this job...

Jim

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J

james shutts

Hello,
I thought I would share my lastest find with everyone. I just purchased it today, fresh out of a home. He answered my ad for buying old pocket watches. It is a NOS Hamilton 950 B in a 14k gold case. Still has hang tag with marked down price. Never sold or used! This looks to be as nice as you are going to find one. I really doubt there is a nicer one out there. Other than some minor light scratches on the back, it is truely mint! My watchman said it is a gold train. Is there a way to tell for sure? Are there many of these housed in Hamilton 14k cases? How rare or good is this? I just fell in love with it & was smiling from ear to ear as I left his home. I love this job...

Jim

https://mb.nawcc.org/

https://mb.nawcc.org/

https://mb.nawcc.org/

https://mb.nawcc.org/

https://mb.nawcc.org/

https://mb.nawcc.org/

https://mb.nawcc.org/
 

Don Dahlberg

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I am so glad we cannot discuss present value or prices. I think I would be sick at my stomach with jealousy. :)

Nice watch. Through December of 1957 there were 24,588 950Bs produced. I do not know how many were in sold gold cases. In 1958 the price for a 950B in a 14K model 17 case should have been $375. I assume that "fair price" was no longer in effect by this time.

Don
 

rrwatch

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What a great find.
My understanding is that very few of the 950B movements were cased in solid 14 Kt cases. That, combined with the unused (can we say mint?) condition truly makes for a superb addition to anyones collection.
However, your movement does not contain the gold gear train. With a serial number of S 29946 it is right at the end of 950 B production. The gold train was eliminated very early in the 950 B life cycle, somewhere between S 3688 (known to have the GT), and S 3961 (listed as having the brass train).
 

terry hall

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CONGRATULATIONS !!

wONderful condition.....

Ed is, of course, correct on the gold gear train.

The 'stamp' inside the case back. N-8?
 
J

james shutts

Thanks for all the info. Ed, you confirmed my thoughts, thanks.
Terry, the mark is stamped in red & looks to be "H-8".

I love this place...

Jim
 

John Cote

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I have seen 2 of these, plus yours in my collecting days. Both have been unused or close to it. I think these were too expensive for the average RR man. One of the examples I know about is owned by a good friend of mine. We both saw it when a watchmaker friend of ours had it...but he saw it first. These cases are incredibly heavy.

Nice find for sure.
 

Kent

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Yes, a very nice find indeed!

Thanks for showing it to us,
 

RON in PA

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WOW!

Thanks for sharing with us.

Now a question for the knowledgable, 950s and 950Bs sell today for aproximately 3 times the price of a 992 or 992B. That is understandable, they are much rarer based on numbers produced. Back in the day when 950s and 992s were for sale retail what was the price differential and perhaps more interesting, what made the 950 a "better" watch from a mechanical and timekeeping point of view?
 

Kent

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950s and 950Bs sell today for aproximately 3 times the price of a 992 or 992B. That is understandable, they are much rarer based on numbers produced.
To quote Col. Potter: "Horsefeathers!"

950s and 950Bs only seem less common when compaired 992s and 992Bs because the 992s and 992Bs sold over a half of a million each - an incredibly huge quantity. Just about any other railroad watch (except perhaps the Elgin No. 571 B.W. Raymond and Waltham No. 1623 Vanguard) can be considered to be much rarer than these two. There is no way that the 950 (over 20,000 made) or the 950B (about 30,000 made) can be considered to be rare, or even uncommon. Their current value is based upon the simple perception amongst collectors that they are high grade, collectable watches.

Back in the day when 950s and 992s were for sale retail what was the price differential and perhaps more interesting, what made the 950 a "better" watch from a mechanical and timekeeping point of view?
You can view Hamilton's descriptions and specifications (and pricing) of the 992 and the 950 in the 1912 Hamilton Hand Book (courtesy of Duke University's "Emergence of Advertising in America" website).
 
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Don Dahlberg

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Based on the Sept 15, 1950 price list:

992B
#2 case 14K gold $300.00 inclucing federal tax
#2 case 10KK gold filled $90.00
#11 case 10K gold filled $90.00
#A case 10K gold filled $90.00
#15 case Stainless steel $71.50

950B
#2 case 14K gold $320.00
#A case 10K gold filled $100.00

So the 950B was not much more than the 992B at this time.

The only difference as far as time keeping, the 950B had class A hairsprings (part 34002), where the 992B had class B (part 33002). Class A must not have a "temperaure compensation coefficient more than 0.04 sec/day-degree F when used in conjustion with a 12% nickel silver balance wheel". In 1958 the timing standards were identical.

Don
 

RON in PA

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Thanks for the replies, in 1912 the 950 movement was twice as expensive as the 992 movement. Two more jewels and it was a "gentleman's" watch. Seems like a bit of "mine is bigger than yours" or my Patek is better than your Rolex. Yes, "poppycock".
 

mdloggins

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Both were railroad watches. All of the majors made 23 jewel watches probably resulting from the questionable rules put forward by Webb Ball along with "great jewels race" also initiated by Mr. Ball.

But, make no mistake. The 950b and 992b are considered the best. That is why they are desirable. The fact that they were working watches places a real premium on condition.
 

Kent

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All of the majors made 23 jewel watches probably resulting from the questionable rules put forward by Webb Ball ...
What rules?

... along with "great jewels race" also initiated by Mr. Ball.
Ball constantly argued against higher jeweling, considering 17 and 19 jewel watches to be superior due to lower maintenance costs.

In the ... detailed instructions to watch inspectors of the Cleveland & Pittsburg(h) Division of the Pennsylvania Rail Road (known as the "Standard Railroad of the World" as reported in the Jewelers' Circular - Weekly and Horological Review, January 17, 1906, pages 84 & 88 (<span class="ev_code_blue">Courtesy NAWCC Library</span>), Ball stated:
B. - While the foregoing schedule for new watches includes 21, 23 and 24 jeweled grades, the results of experience have proven such high jeweled watches impractical and "short lived" for railroad service. Their complicated and delicate construction renders them liable to get out of order easily, difficult and expensive to repair, The efficiency and safety of the time service are thereby impaired and the cost of maintenance of watches is increased to employes.
C. - Therefore it is suggested and recommended that employes when purchasing new watches for use in railroad service, should select 17 or 19 jeweled grades, which have steel escape wheels, sapphire pallets, double roller escapements, Breguet hairsprings, patent regulators, adjusted to temperature, isochronism and five positions. Besides the regular standard, 17 jewels, the 19 jeweled watches must have two bearings jeweled in the going parts of the mainspring barrel, to fill all the requirements.
This 1906 Ball Ad emphasizes the point. It was Dueber-Hampden and Illinois who continued the jewel count war (Started by Dueber-Hampden in 1891) when they came out with the first 23-jewel 18-size watches in about 1896.
fixme7111936
 
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J

james shutts

There has been a lot of talk between the 992B & the 950B. It seems each has it's loyal fan base. I'm just curious, let me ask you a question. Hypothetically, there are two watches in your grandfathers estate & you will get one, your cousin the other & you have first dibs, you get to choose either of these watches, the one pictured above (950B) or a 992B in the exact same condition. Which do you choose & why?
 

John Cote

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Originally posted by james shutts:
There has been a lot of talk between the 992B & the 950B. It seems each has it's loyal fan base. I'm just curious, let me ask you a question. Hypothetically, there are two watches in your grandfathers estate & you will get one, your cousin the other & you have first dibs, you get to choose either of these watches, the one pictured above (950B) or a 992B in the exact same condition. Which do you choose & why?
Are you nuts:???: :biggrin:

I would choose the 992B because it is worth less, it is not as good looking and has a much lower prestige factor....and I want my cousin to get the best watch! (not!!!)
 

mdloggins

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Kent - I believe Mr. Howard considered 15 jewels as FULLY jeweled. The Old Howard watches were all considered railroad grade with their paltry 15 jewels. Ball's insistance on 17 or 19 being enough is my justification for partially blaming them for the jewel wars. With the starting point at 15, not 19. Just my two cents.
 

mdloggins

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I would have been much more correct to use the term contributed or sustained rather than initiated when referring to Ball's contribution to the jewel race. But, contribute they did.
 

Don Dahlberg

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I would go along with the fact that 17 jewels are much better than 15. There is a lot of wear on on the center wheel pivot holes. Ball knew this. Anyone who has repaired 15 jewel watches knows this. For long time use, 19 jewels with a jeweled barrel makes some sense, but not a great deal. Beyond that it is overkill for the purposes of a railroad watch. Ball had a lot of faults, but I would not put the jewel race on him. Late he had go along with it or lose business.

I am not saying that a 23 jewel watch is not a better watch. If you want to make a watch that approaches chronometers, then the use of olive/cap jewel sets beyond the balance wheel will help isochronism, but this far exceeds railroad needs. To take advantage of these extra jewels you would have to do a major job of adjusting and maintaining that adjusting. This is what you got in a Patek. It is not what you got in a 950 except for the early years when the adjusting tolerances for the 950 were slightly better than for the 992s.

Some prices for comparison at various early times.

July 1919 992 movement $47
950 movement $75

July 1922 992 movement $48.50
950 movement $85.00

June 1932 992 movement $48.40*
950 movement $65.00

*Jan 1929 the sale of 992 as movements only had been discountinued. You could still order one in for replacement purposes.

Sept 1933 992 #2 yellow GF case $60.00
950 " " $70.00


July 1940 992 #2 yellow GF case $60.00
950 A yellow GF case $75.00

You can see the two prices get closer.


Which watch would I rather have? The answer is the 950B in a solid gold case. I could sell it and buy a whole bunch of other neat watches that I could actually wear without fear of loss or damage. I am not the kind of guy who likes to visit his collection in the bank.:)

Don
 

Kent

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Regarding the earlier statement by mdloggins,
The Old Howard watches were all considered railroad grade with their paltry 15 jewels. Ball's insistance on 17 or 19 being enough is my justification for partially blaming them for the jewel wars. With the starting point at 15, not 19. Just my two cents.
and to support Don's point,
Ball had a lot of faults, but I would not put the jewel race on him. Late he had go along with it or lose business.
I urge you to take a careful look at paragraphs 1 & 2 of Ball's April 15, 1891 Instructions to Watch Inspectors of the LS&MS. Of the watches he lists (noting that others of equal quality or above were acceptable), only the Hampden grades are 17-jewel (at the time, Hampden didn't have a 15-jewel watch adjusted to position). All of the other accepted watches (specifically including the Howard "Gilt Heat & Cold") are 15-jewel.

The stuffy Howard Watch and Clock Co. kept cranking out 15-jewel watches suitable for railroad time service while its sales went south. Everywhere else, 15-jewel (and 16-jewel) railroad grade watches were fast disappearing during the early 1890s as they were discontinued by Hampden, Columbus, Waltham and others.

No, Ball didn't write the end to 15-jewel watches, the watch companies did as they promoted the "more is better" attitude of the jewel count war.
 
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Kent

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Why did Ball sell 23 jewel 950's ...?
Selling top-shelf luxury items to make money is very different from leading, instigating, or even contributing or sustaining an industry-wide trend. Each and every jewelry store, jobber, distributor and manufacturer participated in profiting from customer demand to the same (or to greater) extent that Ball did.

Why did Ball ... have Hamilton "create" the only 23 jewel 992's?
He didn't make a ton of money selling a lot of these, did he? To be honest about it, I don't even know what this watch is, was one actually made?

So, copies of the surviving railroad time service rules show that while the railroads who contracted with Ball's Time Service company for time service inspection and certification permitted the use of 21, 23 and higher jeweled watches, they continued to accept (with Ball's concurrence) the same 15-jewel watches that served the industry well for 30 years and more, the 15-jewel, full-plate, adjusted, 18-size movements. And they did so until the watch companies themselves discontinued those movements, at which point the next lowest jeweled watches (17-jewel) were not only accepted, but were recommended.

A look at the Ball serial number charts on pages 33-38 of “American Railroad Watches,” George E. Townsend, Col. G.E. Townsend, Alma, MI, 1977 (still in print, see Heart of America Press) shows that Ball only offered the tiniest quantity of 21-jewel Official Standard watches (and a miniscule number of 23-jewel watches) prior to 1910. This was long after the watch industry had produced and sold tens upon tens of thousands of 21 and 23 jewel movements.

Even after that, Ball contiued to offer 17 and 19 jewel Official Standard watches until demand fell and a number of these had to be up-jeweled to 21-jewel to sell.

No, Ball stayed behind the rest of the industry in trying to keep the jewel counts down.
 
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mdloggins

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My point was that Ball did it for the money just like everyone else. Since they were also the guardians of the "standards" it seems they would be encouraging the jewel race. Just my logic and my 2 cents worth.

http://www.pocketwatchtime.com/A175/A175.html

Take a look at the 23 jewel 992 Ball. Apparently a standard 992 with jeweled main barrel.
 

Kent

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My point was that Ball did it for the money just like everyone else. Since they were also the guardians of the "standards" it seems they would be encouraging the jewel race. Just my logic and my 2 cents worth.
Well, now that you've seen that Ball fought against the jewel race and consistantly accepted lower jeweled watches into railroad service, have you readjusted your logic and altered your opinion?

The rest of the pocket watch collecting community considers your example to be a 23-jewel Hamilton-Ball grade No. 999. Do you also believe that an 18-size, 23-jewel Hamilton open-face movement is really a 23-jewel grade No. 924?
 
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terry hall

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The example you linked to may share some design features with the 992, but a 23j 992 it is not...


In these early 16 size 999 movements, there are a couple of distinct features...

* Motor Barrel ... jeweled in the 23 and non jeweled in the 21

* a 'different' means of anchoring (or retaining) the hairspring stud...

* the RR seal (the disc mounted in the movements)

These features alone should distinguish it from a 992.

both of these features were available only on the early movements.... somewhere 'around' B609xxx did this change to a going barrel and a typical 16s Hamilton hairspring retainer with the two screws.... but there are still a few components that are unique to these movements.

Yes, there are some common design traits... but these traits are also used on the 974, 972, and other 3/4 plate movements.... but there is enough difference in the grade descriptions to make each one unique.


If you want a closer analogy.... consider a 950E and a 998E ...... they share more in common than the 992-999 16s.

PS.... this topic seems to be straying from the original subject....


.
 

GD1

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He loved it just long enough to put it up for sale on a well known auction site.
 
J

james shutts

The watch was worth more than I thought & it deserves a better home than I can give it. If it was a $1500.00 watch I would have held on to it but since my thing is large complicated stainless steel wristwatches, I would not use it. If I kept it, it would be kept in a drawer & that would be a shame. I like to use my watches, not just look at them under glass. Let someone who would truely appreciates it own it & enjoy it.
 

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