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Hamilton Solid-Gold Railroad Cases "Click" to Login or Register 
IHC President
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posted

Hamilton Solid Gold Railroad Cases

We have all looked in "The Complete Guide to Watches" and other sources noting Cool the fact that 14-Karat Solid-Gold Hamilton Railroad Cases were made available in both the Model 2 and Model 17 configurations.

But how many were made and more importantly how many are left are but two of the questions we keep asking. Recently we were informed of a factory memorandum which apparently indicates as few as 14 yellow, 6 white and 3 green solid-gold Model 2 Cases were produced during the late 1920s and early 1930s time period. That's a total of only 23 early 14K Model 2 Cases. And notice the numbers of yellow overwhelmed white and green, this was true in both solid-gold and gold-filled, so by the end of 1933 both white and green cases of gold or gold-filled would be discontinued by each of the case manufacturers, and so it goes.


Hamilton 1933 Memorandum showing production numbers...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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I will leave it to those with more time-experience in this hobby than I have to share their recollections of how many of each color Solid-Gold Model 2 Cases have shown up over the years. And we can also speculate on how many of each of three (that's right, three!) models of Hamilton RR Cases are left today.

In the next six images we share three cases from my collection in hopes they will help others who are on the lookout for them, share some information and see if more might surface. In the first image below you see the "Blind-Man's Numerical" dial on a late 1920s 23-Jewel Hamilton 950 movement.


Here we have a Hamilton Solid-White-Gold Model 2 Case...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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The next image shows factory markings inside the White Solid-Gold Model 2 Case-back. It is clearly marked as exactly what it is, there can be no doubt as to what you are holding your hand.


Distinctive markings inside the back on SOLID-GOLD case...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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This next one has never been shown in public before. At this point it is the only example of a Hamilton 14-Karat Solid-Gold Case A we are aware of. Whether this was in fact the only one struck is anybody's guess. This case is quite heavy and in several ways it is unlike anything else I have ever seen.


This Hamilton 14K 'Case Model A' may be the only one...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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Here are the factory markings inside the back of this one.

Those familiar with the Case Model A will immediately notice this is unlike any of the gold-filled examples in that the Hamilton name and address are not stamped. In every other respect this case is identical in design to the gold-filled cases, apparently even sharing the same series of numbers.


Unusual markings inside this 14K Gold Model A Case...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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Here is the Hamilton 14-Karat Solid-Gold Case Model 17 which was apparently available from the late 1950s until the end. This particular example carries its especially unusual "S-Prefix" therefore post-production 992B which was assembled in 1970 on special order for the first owner who was an executive of the Norfolk and Western Railway. At first glance, like the two preceding gold cases nothing would draw any special attention to it.


The Solid Gold 17 Case was in their catalog but few sold...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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This is something collectors of these watches need to know. Were I to quickly glance at the inside of this case-back I am not at all sure the markings would catch my eye. On this one, however the original red rubber stamp "H-8" stands out and then if you look just a little closer the "14K Gold" would probably raise a few goose-bumps. The original butler finish is still crisp on the outside of the case-back, so this one was very rarely if ever carried.


Here, another reason to examine every case very carefully...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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Wow! First the Pink Floyd reunion, and now these! Smile Very nice.

Larry
 
Posts: 661 | Location: Wisconsin in the U.S.A. | Registered: December 07, 2002
posted
Just put in my S.LaRose order for a #2 white solid gold case.

Really nice Lindell, and the white #2 is my favorite.

Other than this actual #2, i have seen a yellow #2 on ebay, and a friend knows where a yellow #2 USED TO BE years ago ($700 was a lot of money back then). These are the only solid gold Ham RR cases I am aware of.

Charlie
 
Posts: 723 | Registered: December 15, 2002
posted
Lindell, thank you for sharing those...

The tabulations shown were only up to late in 1933 and there seemed to be no record of Solid Gold Model 2 during the 992 and 950 Elinvar years... and there are no records (so far) for the 992B years... so it is "possible" there are a few additional, later yellow examples.. but they would be a very small number it seems..

The Model A... yes, the case mark is 'different' from all the other Model A examples... but it shares the same exact features as the GF model A from a similar time frame (smooth pendant shoulder)

Have you ever weighed this case against a GF Model A? I don't recall from our previous discussions...

The Model 17..... yes indeed that marking could be easily missed!
 
Posts: 1507 | Registered: November 20, 2002
posted
Back in the early days of my collecting, the early 70's, I remember hearing tales from my grandfather about going to a local jewelry shop and his saying he had seen a solid gold #17 cased 950B for sale in store inventory. This was in the late 1960's and while he did not speak of rarity, he did speak of expensive, ha!

I always thought that maybe there were a few hundred solid gold Hamilton cases in existance but of course it now appears that maybe only a couple dozen were made every 10 years or so, and with the #2 case being made from 1926 through 1953 it would seem logical that probably less than 70 were ever made in all colors total. Pretty rare by most any collectors standards and how many remain is anybody's guess. I have seen one yellow #2 that was destroyed because the only component of the case that remained was the back, clearly marked SOLID GOLD. That's one gone I know of.

I have seen several #17's and a few #2's, and all these were yellow except the white one Lindell is showing in this topic. I have seen a late 1940's 950B in a yellow solid gold #2 which looked original. It was sold at Ft. Wayne regional back in 1999 to a friend of mine, who owns at least 2 others. I have NEVER seen a green one, I have never even had a smell of one.

I once talked with Roy Ehrhardt at Ft Wayne back in '99 and he told me to be careful when buying a yellow solid gold Hamilton case #17 to make sure it was an original and not a aftermarket as some were made up or "reissued" in the early 70's by some folks who he said were selling them around 1972 and after as gold climbed from 35 dollars per ounce upward. He said the price on these gold restrikes was 200 dollars. I am not sure of the markings on these as how they compare to an original but unless you have an original handy to compare it to .......well you get the idea. Just food for thought as that story has been confirmed to me by other old watch dealers from time to time through the years.

At any rate back in the '20's when these solid gold cases were originally sold for 45 dollars or 10 times the cost of a gold filled one, there were only so many folks who could afford one. It boils down to the fact that it is a rare day when one sees a Hamilton solid gold case and even rarer when one gets to actually purchase one even if you can afford it. They simply are seldom offered for sale as they account for probably only 1 out of every 4 or 5 thousand gold filled Hamilton cases one will see. For that matter, I have seen many more Solid Gold Sangamo Special cases (around 15 ) than I have gold Hamilton #2's and 17's combined.

It is for sure with rarity now approximately known on these they will only esculate even more rapidly in price as time goes on. Happy "Solid Gold" Hunting!
 
Posts: 230 | Registered: January 11, 2003
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posted
Lindell,
Thanks for sharing the beautiful watches, I really appreciate you sharing these extremely low production cases.

Robert
 
Posts: 557 | Location: Southwest Virginia U.S.A. | Registered: December 27, 2004
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Mike, your observations are appreciated.

Terry's question on the 14K Gold Case Model A weight...

I weighed it against a gold-filled Case Model A with movements removed, checking them on my postal scale the gold case is half again heavier than gold-filled so as you might imagine, one can easily "feel" the difference.

Thanks for the kind comments everyone!

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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Wow-Wow-Wow

To see not one but three different Solid Gold Hamilton cases is beyond words. Thanks so much Lindell.
 
Posts: 1945 | Location: Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: August 01, 2003
posted
I agree Tony, quite a view indeed!

I went a little further and asked Don Dalberg when the green #2 cases were discontinued as I had never seen one from the late '30's, 40's or early 50's when the #2 was discontinued entirely. He said that his records only went up to 1933 but going by a 1935 Hamilton catalogue and also another from 1940, both those catalogues stated #2 cases in "yellow gold" only. One is to assume that yellow gold was referring to both gold and gold filled cases.

So , I will make a logical deduction from this and state that sometime by 1934 the green gold filled and solid gold green #2 cases were discontinued along with the white gold filled and white solid gold ones. So for added gusto, I will go out on a limb and say that the (3) three Green Solid Gold #2 cases listed in the sales records were the only 3 ever produced. Rare indeed! No wonder I could never find one!!

I now offer in the spirit of the old west wanted posters, a "Bounty" for a Solid Gold Greed.....er excuse me.. ..Green #2 case.........dead or alive! Prices discussed by several sheriffs and the "hanging judge" (Lindell, that's you) when you find one and bring it in, ha!...yeah right!.....Happy "Solid Gold Green #2 Case" Hunting!!
 
Posts: 230 | Registered: January 11, 2003
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Makes sense Sheriff Mike!

So if the aforementioned SIX WHITE AND THREE GREEN SOLID-GOLD MODEL 2 CASES were the only ones ever produced... SIX WHITE, THREE GREEN... then how many (few) of each do you suppose are left??? If we employ the "25% Theory" on premium items surviving that could mean one or maybe two white and at best one green.

Sounds like we need to form a posse!

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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Hey Guys,
From now on when I go to a watch show I know that I will not pass by a model 2, model A, or a model 17 Hamilton case without checking to see if there is just a chance that it might be a solid gold case.
What say you. Smile Smile Smile
 
Posts: 1945 | Location: Atlanta, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: August 01, 2003
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You got that right Tony,

And now, here is the latest! Through the courtesy of Don we now have definitive information on the Solid-Gold Case A we showed you earlier in this topic. He has found a 1956 price list I had not noticed with reference to the "14K Yellow Solid-Gold Case A" being available for the Grade 950B and Grade 992B Railroad Watches. That also led to the Solid-Gold Case A being offered in the 1956-57 Hamilton Catalog as you see below at what was then a very, very high price.


Below, 14K Solid-Gold Case A in the 1956-57 Catalog...


 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
posted
Second solid gold "A" case noted.

My buddy, who was collecting pocket watches before most of us were born, said he saw a Model A solid gold years ago. It was rough condition - price $400.

A guy from Atlanta had it. All he knows.
 
Posts: 723 | Registered: December 15, 2002
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Lin's SG Case A has never been in "rough" condition, so that must be a different example, establishing anecdotal evidence that a second SG Case A once existed. To me this "thrill of the hunt" type stuff is what makes watch collecting worthwhile. Cool Wink


Best Regards,

Ed
 
Posts: 6719 | Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: April 19, 2004
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Lindell, I was at a friends house yesterday and he showed me a #2 14k gold yellow case #395961 950 movement serial#1652601 in near mint condition.
 
Posts: 3204 | Location: Monticello, Kentucky U.S.A. | Registered: June 24, 2004
posted
Samie, a Wadsworth case in gold filled of 0395,000 dates to 1928 and would not have the little chevrons at the base of the bow and crown area on the frame.

Was wondering if this "gold" case has the little chevrons?.....Also this 950 movement was finished in 1926 at the latest by Gelson records, also the ones I have seen of solid gold #2 cases made in the late 20's have had a serial number range exclusive to theirselves for gold cases alone for Hamilton in the 0100,000-200,000 range.

This one seems a little out of kilter shall we say in serial number. Perhaps you would indulge us and let us learn a little bit here by taking a picture of the inside of the back of that case for our education, enjoyment and record keeping. It would be of great and positive proof help in our searching for more of these rare birds in the future.

Thanks so much!.......Happy Hunting!
 
Posts: 230 | Registered: January 11, 2003
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I talked to the owner of the #2 case and ask some more questions about it..He told me that he put the 950 movement in the case so I know now that it is not the original movement..
I asked about the serial# and the Chervons on the case..
It is in a saftey deposit box but he said i could take another look and some pictures next time I vist him.. pictures will tell it all.
 
Posts: 3204 | Location: Monticello, Kentucky U.S.A. | Registered: June 24, 2004
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Thanks Everyone,

I am glad so many of us find these Hamilton Solid-Gold Railroad Cases of interest. Perhaps from time to time we can continue this by adding additional confirmed sightings of these rare cases below in this topic.

Here are some more (sightings) in addition to those shown above...


950 number 1652600 from 1925 in much later 14K Gold Case 2 number J395961 from 1954 (05/07)

992E number 2637231 from 1940 in much later 14K Case 2 number 0054503 from 1948 (12/10)

950B number S1497 from 1942 in much later 14K Gold Case 17 number P164711 from 1960s (12/10)

950B number S4105 in 14K Gold Case 2 number H999100 (12/10)

950B number S6042 in 14K Gold Case 2 number J130157 (11/18)

950B number S8363 in 14K Solid Gold Case 2 number J273366

992B number C366046 in 14K Gold Case 2 number J273373 (03/08)

950B number S17645 in 14K Gold Case 17 number R862962 [THIS CASE ON EBAY 11/18 WITH MVT S21200 SAD!]

950B number S28951 in 14K Gold Case 17 number P018353 with "D.F. Madigan" on case-back

950B number S26051 in 14K Gold Case 17 number P277982

950B number S21186 in 14K Gold Case A number K393486 (08/07)

950B number S28552 in 14K Gold Case 17 number P551251 (02/08)

950B number S29021 in 14K Gold Case 17 number P224073 (03/08)

992 number 2579768 in 14K WHITE GOLD case 2 number 0144951 (09/18)


NOTE: That last entry is the only "other" known 14K White Gold model 2 case we are aware of.


"And the beat goes on..."

Lindell

Wink
 
Posts: 10521 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
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Two more examples sold at auction this week.

First a 992E in a model no. 2 case with different case back markings than previously shown here. Also, the case serial number isn't consistent with the previous numbers posted? [Check Lindell's graph above or Ed's post below] The movement serial number is 2637231. The watch closed at $4,300.00, including an ivory flip top cigarette box, on the "webs largest auction site".

Auction Images

 
Posts: 1426 | Location: Fremont, California in the USA | Registered: February 06, 2010
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Next is a 950B in a model no. 17 case. The case back is marked like the Star W. C. Co. example Lindell showed above with a very close P164711 serial number. The movement is S1497 and the watch sold for $6,600.00 online yesterday.

Auction Images

 
Posts: 1426 | Location: Fremont, California in the USA | Registered: February 06, 2010
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The 992E is from 1940 and it's interesting that the later Case #2's lack of patent date & 00-prefix serial number indicates it is from 1948, whereas the white solid 14k gold example Lin posted number 0123550 which dates to 1920s is immediately recognized as being prewar, since it has a patent date.

The case 17 that Richard posted is as he stated very close in number to Lin's but the 950B movement S1497 in the eBay case 17 is from 1942 which is fully 15 years before the Star case 17 was even introduced which was in the mid-1950s.

Unfortunately BOTH those auctioned movements and cases Richard posted are mismatched, put-together.


Best Regards,

Ed
 
Posts: 6719 | Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: April 19, 2004
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Here is another #2

 
Posts: 3462 | Location: Cleveland, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: February 03, 2006
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Posts: 3462 | Location: Cleveland, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: February 03, 2006
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Posts: 3462 | Location: Cleveland, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: February 03, 2006
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edge mark

 
Posts: 3462 | Location: Cleveland, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: February 03, 2006
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movement

 
Posts: 3462 | Location: Cleveland, Georgia in the U.S.A. | Registered: February 03, 2006
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The recently sold Wadsworth that Rob posted is also from 1948 according to our Wadsworth database as was the previous one. The Wadsworth H999-prefix series cases came just before the 00-prefix series but both were 1948 production.

See "Hamilton Wadsworth Case Numbers History and Database" for much more Wadsworth case information.


Best Regards,

Ed
 
Posts: 6719 | Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: April 19, 2004
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