Question about Hamilton 950 and casing

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by DeweyC, Oct 10, 2019.

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  1. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Feb 5, 2007
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    I understand for a while Hamilton only sold the 950 as a cased watch but later catalogs listed it as a movement only.

    What would be about the first year of completion would a movement have been cased in a Mainliner (case 5)?

    When did they stop casing them in the Hamilton clamshell cases?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Sep 21, 2002
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    Hi Dewey,

    The 950 was sold as a movement only for a short time in 1909-12 .

    They were Factory cases starting in 1910 in Gold Factory cases in Walnut Boxes.

    There is some information missing about when they started to 14K White Gold plating or flashing the movements, but it looks like it was in the 3rd year.

    Halligan's just notes "Later description" in his notes. These early cases were the long pendant "Antique Style" .

    The true "Mainliner" cases were Hamilton marked, not the J. Boss style that looked very similar but was not Hamilton marked and Terry Hall discovered that the backs have 2 ridges rings around the outside, that the J. Boss cases do not have, really the only rules should be if they are not stamped Hamilton, they are not Mainliners.

    The Mainliners were introduced with the 992E in 1937 about 2 years after they discounitued the 950.

    Hamilton started casing them in RR cases, the Model 2 case in 1925-26 , The case 3, 4, 5 started in 1926,1927,1928.
     
  3. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Thanks Jim.

    I did some more research and see 1925 was the year Hamilton dropped the jointed cases for the 950. I also realized that as you said, I was misnaming the case as a Mainliner when in fact it is really Keystone Railroader (from what I read). I read this case was available some 15 years before the Mainliner and there are differences.

    I did a couple 950s for a customer a few months back and decided I really needed one. Set me back $500 but it has not been abused. I also did his 950Bs but event though I have one or 2 992Bs and made my business on the M21, the 950B does not attract me. To me, the 992B represents the production use of Elinvar and all that meant, while the 950 represents the highest finish and performance of a Hamilton watch. I read somewhere legitimate (maybe an old JCK?) that a 950 took 32nd place out of 50 watches submitted to Greenwich, beating out many watches top Swiss finishers. May have to go back and find that. I know it was pre WWI.

    Since the case appears to be contemporary to a 1925 950 sold as a movement only, I will keep it as is.

    This watch has the white gold finish you described elsewhere and it has the beveled regulator spring. No botched screws and the hands are perfect royal blue. The only thing out of place was the balance cap jewel setting; gold flush mount from something else. After a couple calls I decided to make it using a Hamilton flush mount 3rd setting and an endstone from a Hamilton setting.

    After all is said and done, it has a 6 second 6 position error, so I am not unhappy. Did have to tweak it 14 times though. Gotta love quarter screws.

    The back of the case indicates it was worn daily (thin line of brass around the back). I doubt this was used to run a train.

    950a.JPG 950b.JPG 950c.JPG
     
  4. johnbscott

    johnbscott Registered User
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    The serial number?
     
  5. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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    Apr 12, 2001
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    Glad you got straightend out on the model 5 case....
    Note there are some member resources for Hamilton Price lists and catalogs which give information regarding when the 950 was sold as movement...
    https://nawcc.org/index.php/82-museum-library-/museumlibrary/884-hamilton-catalogs-and-price-lists-vol-i
    Limited data there as the scanning was not completed, unsure if that was from a lack of $$ resources, or what.....

    Here are some data points for 950-950e....
    sorry if some of the handwritten serials are not fully legible....
    950 box label.jpg 950e.jpg 2457768 boxed 950 label.jpg 2457768 boxed 950 movement.jpg 2457786 950 LABEL - BOX ONLY NO WATCH.jpg 2457786 950 LABEL.jpg 2631371 950e boxed label.jpg 2649052 950e mod a case.jpg 2649281 950E box label A case.jpg 2649281. 950e in B box.jpg 2649930 950e.jpg 2649930 case marking 950e mainler variant.jpg
     
    Diana Kelly-Levesque and viclip like this.
  6. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    I found the Kew record. It was in the 1909 trials watch number 752521, a 950. It got 88.2 out of 100. It was the 35th best that year with the best getting 94.5.

    Here is the page.

    upload_2019-10-15_2-8-30.png

    It beat a few Pateks and two Karrusels, not too shabby for a production watch, although I suspect it spent a lot of time with a Swiss adjuster.
     

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