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Hamilton pocket watch dial? "Click" to Login or Register 
Picture of Gary E. Foster
Hello everyone; My question deals with an 18 size, grade 925 that I saw recently. The movement was in an open face case and the second hand bit was at 3, with the winding stem at 12. I know this is a hunter movement, so this is a "sidewinder". I assume this was an aftermarket dial, but it was marked Hamilton and was of (to me ) pretty nice quality. My brother bought this watch on Ebay and is convinced that it is some rare variant. Comments please. Thanks, Gary.
Posts: 1012 | Location: Western Pennsylvania in the USA | Registered: February 17, 2007
IHC President
Life Member
Picture of Lindell V. Riddle


By the early years of the Twentieth Century there was a move on to standardize Railroad Watches. Gone were fancy dials, Roman-numeral dials and eventually hunters also came under scrutiny. They had front covers that had to be opened causing delay, and most Time Inspectors were requiring Open-Face Cases and the number 12 to be at the crown to avoid any possibility of confusion in difficult lighting conditions.

That signaled the use of replacement "conversion dials" such as the one you describe on your brother's watch. Conversion dials permitted a hunter-style movement that had the crown at 3:00 to then have the crown at the 12 when placed in an Open-Face Case. Most conversion dials were metal to cut costs of manufacture, but they were also produced as porcelain-enamel and those are more desirable.

Conversion dials are not rare but they are an interesting part of the history.


Posts: 10553 | Location: Northeastern Ohio in the USA | Registered: November 19, 2002
Picture of Leon Harris
Hi Gary, Here is my conversion dial on my 925 Hamilton watch. I to thought it was very interesting. Smile

Posts: 296 | Location: Livingston, Tennessee USA | Registered: May 20, 2006
And my 16S non-RR grade Hamilton 975 (not quite so nice as Leon's).


975 conversion dial
Posts: 153 | Location: Northeastern United States | Registered: December 18, 2005
Picture of Sheila Gilbert
Very nice examples you guys, Thanks!

Norman, I think your watch is wonderful. I like it.
Leon, That watch looks new! WOW

Posts: 3094 | Location: La Plata, Maryland U.S.A. | Registered: May 22, 2004
Picture of Gary E. Foster
Hi Leon; The dial on your watch looks very much like the one on my brothers, yours is a bit cleaner though, a very nice piece. Thanks to all for the replies. Gary.
Posts: 1012 | Location: Western Pennsylvania in the USA | Registered: February 17, 2007
12-Size Expert
Picture of Robert Schussel
The type of dials in this thread are often seen on 12 size watches.
My guess is this was a way to get rid of the hunters sitting in the vaults and a way for a customer to get a more modern look ( open face) for their existing hunter.

Posts: 621 | Location: Vallejo, California U.S.A. | Registered: July 10, 2004
Picture of Toby Hendricks
I'm new to collecting these watches with the second hand in the 3 position. Are the "guts" positioned the same? Can this style dial go on any watch? Toby

Toby Joe
Posts: 3 | Location: Texas in the USA | Registered: August 12, 2020
IHC Member 3083
The movement is not the same in a hunting case and an open face watch, as the second hand is in a different location. What determines which dials can be used with a specific movement model is the location of the dial feet. On different models, the feet may be located at different positions.
Posts: 10 | Location: Tucson, Arizona in the USA | Registered: December 17, 2022
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