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I have 4C146179, which is set-up as a Hamilton 992B. Based on the research in this forum, this watch dates to 1970 and was part of a clean-up run of 992B's that Hamilton produced, after they ceased formal manufacturing of that watch in the U.S.
The authenticity of this watch ( and others) faces two hurdles:
1. I have not seen any uncontrovertable documentation (I.E. a letter from Arthur Sinkler telling his workers to assemble a 992B order from 4992B pillar plates.)
2. Both the 992B and 4992B were designed with the highest degree of parts interchangeability, parts were not serial numbered, etc. It would be easy "create" these watches.
If I am wrong, please correct me.... but my understanding is that authentation of these watches is highly dependent upon their serial numbers and where they stand in relation to other "factory-new" examples, that carried more documentation in the form of original boxes and labels.
My watch was a "find." It came to me in a Model A case, with shoulders, and with a set of FAT 950 case-screw marks. It was certainly NOT the original case. Likewise, the dial, which was enamel and dated to at least a decade before my watch. Based upon that knowledge, I recased it in a Mod 15 case with a (horrors)"proper" melamine dial!
From reading the posts in this forum, I gather that there are less than 20 examples that are known and so authenticated. My watch's serial number falls squarely within those that have been authenticated by the consensus of our experts.
Most, if not all of these watches have been similarly "found." I don't know that a single example has been marketed and sold, specifically as a "clean-up" last run of 992B's.
If our research is true, these watches would be a critcal piece of any Hamilton collection and certainly of a 992B specialist's collection
So.... does anyone have a guess what the market value of such a watch would be.... advertised and represented as we have determined it's origin? Also, if a market were to be established, by a sale of such a watch, that reflected it's rarity and it's historical significance, wouldn't there be a rush, by unscrupulous sellers, to "produce" other fraudulent examples?
Good question Peter. If there is a premium being paid for them, it is not evident. This probably due to the seller not knowing what he had. A little sales hype could push the price and I think could be warranted.
It seems that a small subset of a large production can demand a premium, ie the various 163 bunn specials marking variants. The large production (992b's , bunn specials, etc) means more collections can "play" versus smaller production items like McIntyre's, Otay, etc.
Once the collector ranks grow, they naturally start looking for variants in their chosen areas.
At the present time, if you had a 4c 992b sell between informed buying and selling collectors, I would guess there would be a 15 - 20% premium. I think this premium will grow much higher as the knowledge on this board is more widely circulated.
I paid a 15% premium for mine, over what NIB 992b were going for. I just wanted it, and got some very good help authenticating it. The seller only knew it was a 992b.
As for making them up, the large gold cap jewel setting for the escape wheel ( I think I have that right) is yellow gold on all the b's except for the 4992bs which are white gold. Also, there are holes drilled in the train bridge to accomodate the sweep seconds function. Assume this all could be changed over from a regular 992b, but then you would have a train bridge on the donor watch with holes staring up at you.
More tonite, but the antecidal stories from still living collectors that were active, and from the jewelry store owners of the time lend some creedance to the story of there being a 'clean up' run... the stories are of the offering to the jewelers of the time....
I believe also Art Zimmerla mentioned this in his talks... Art, from my understanding, spent much time at Hamilton in the time frame applicable to this discussion....
i posted somewhere else on this forum and others the packing slip from one such example dated november 1971. it has remained "unsold" and is in the possession of the jewelery store owner... have held it in my hands a few times...
Maybe Don can come up with the documetation you seek...
BTW, I bought mine from a living estate auction, the owner stated he had the watch since the 70's.. but did not say it was new... but it looks pretty good...
one other clue is as you have observed is the case style applicable.... 16 possible, 15 more likely and 17 most likely...
What was this range of numbers peter my 4c 992B is ser# 4c148300
Mine is 4C146179. If I recall, Lindell told me that it was within a range of documented "last-run" watches. From the article, I understand that they may have not been produced in perfect sequence.
i have in database ( which i am behind in updating)...
these are all finished as 992B movements, there was no evidence of having the sweep second bridge removed from the plate, leaving the holes. they all had a 992B plate.
I saw 4c140736 (from memory) on ebay this past week. It was a 4992b all the way. Is this a high enough # to get excited about it?
I have a 4992B from 1959 (AF 59-21799) which was either the final contract or close to it.
The movement in that one is 4C134785 and it's reputed as coming from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio for whatever that's worth. (But I get excited about all of them! )
To address Peter's question about originality and flesh out part of what Terry mentioned above, we do have unused, original, factory boxed 4C-prefix 992B examples that literally have never been in a pocket. Apparently these movements were randomly finished from leftovers in 1970 after production had ceased at the end of the previous year. Every indication, including discussions with a former employee is that not very many, perhaps a few hundred of these were finished. There is no reason at this point to believe the numbers would be all-inclusive or consecutive. The "last-in, first-out" practice on materials often occured down through the years in watch factories.
They were consistent in being inconsistent so perhaps we will never know all the answers.
that's gettin up there...
and also there are unfinished plates around with a high C prefix number...
I've just come into possession of a very nice condition Hamilton 4992B, Serial No. 4C123529. The case carries a Contract Number of DA-36-038-ORD-20573. Does anyone know which year this would have been manufactured and for which branch of the service it may have been made for.
Any information would be appreciated.
IHC Member 321
Your answer may be just two posts above.
Notice my reference to "AF 59-21799" being the Air Force Serial Number on my case apparently from a 1959 contract. Your watch and mine are both from close to the end of 4992B production.
Mine has this information...
SERIAL NO. AF-59 -21799 < This is critical information.
The "AF" is Air Force and the "59" denotes 1959
How does yours compare to this one?
thank you for your help.
The back of my watch reads, Serial No. AF-58-11235. So based
on your explanation I assume mine is from 1958.
IHC Member 321
That would be my understanding as well.
Is yours the usual black 4992B dial with G. C. T. on it or is it something else? Please share an image with us when you have time to do so. These watches from toward the end are very interesting and hardly any information is available about them.
here's what the dial looks like.
IHC Member 321
IHC Member 321
IHC Member 321
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