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If you can obtain a copy of Col. Townsend Hand-Written serial numbers you will find that Hamilton had a confusing time getting started in the 16 size watch business.
The first 2000 16s watches they produced were assigned the 960's series grade numbers.
This was in 1896, the 3rd year of operations and these early 16s watches were sold to their trusted customers Webb C. Ball and Ezra Bowman.
I suspect that they wanted them tested and input back about their preformance and suggestions on how to make them a better timepiece.
Hamilton started out the 16 size watches with 50,000 serial number blocks and this can be confusing. If you look up the serial number in most guides it will show watches with these serial numbers to be made in 1898-99.
I will start off with the 960
Serial number 50,533, bridge movement
Serial number 51,641 a bridge movement
Serial number 50,007 a bridge movement
Serial number 51,176 a bridge movement
Serial number 50,769 a bridge movement
Serial number 51,652 a bridge movement
Serial number 56,569 a 3/4 plate movement
Serial number 59,355 a 3/4 plate movement
Serial number 54,747 a 3/4 plate movement
Serial number 55,635 a 3/4 plate movement
The 960's series were a mixed bag of watches. Within the blocks of allotted number they changed some watches even within the block to upgrade some and this is why we have some disagreements about's 961's being finished as 951's. Thank goodness within the serial number records they did hand record many, many individual watch numbers to be sure there was no confusion.
They got it all running smoothly and within a few years they were producing some of the best timepieces in the world. These early watches set the standard for the great watches to come.
The 960-965 were bridge movements and
the 966-969 were 3/4 plate models.
This is a estimate of production numbers of the 60's series. They are all limited production watches, except the 960, and highly collectable. WHY?
THEY DON'T MAKE THEM ANYMORE!
It is more amazing to see em lined up!
|IHC Life Member|
Thank you Jim for the great 960 series pics. I have really enjoyed studying the pictures. Look forward to seeing you in Daytona.
IHC Life Member
Wonderful post Jim, great reference photographs of this series for Hamilton collectors
Thanks Jim for the great pictures and also drawing the attention of all the Hamilton knowledgeable folks. I wanted to ask if anyone can shed some light on the issue of larger pillar plates on early 16s Hamiltons? Cooksey’s book makes reference to 670 being produced in 3 runs and seems to indicate that it is only 17j movements. The three runs are 51,001 to 51,300, 52,001 to 52,300 and 53,001 to 53,070. I have a 961 that is #51449, which is outside the range of serial numbers shown in the book, and it also has a larger pillar plate. The plate measures 1.7355” compared to 1.694” on a much later 960. Thanks.
The price guide is incorrect on this information.
I don't image there are many of the serial number watches mentioned out there for verification, but I am showing this one, serial number 53025.
The guide says NO GRADE NUMBER ASSIGNED
All of the serial numbers mentioned in the price guide are numbered model grades. For the benefit of everyone who does not have a serial number ledger I am showing the following information. Copy it. Please report any serial number watches listed below.
No. 51,001 - 51,300 Five runs. Three models within this range.
51,010 - 51,010 - 963 (10)
51,011 - 51,020 - 965 (10)
51,021 - 51,060 - 963 (40)
51,061 - 51,070 - 961 (10)
51,071 - 51,400 - 963 (269),965 (45),961 (17)
No.52,001 - 52,300 Seven runs. Three models within this range.
52,001 - 52,010 - 968 (10) 16s 3/4 plate
52,011 - 52,070 - 972 (60)
52,071 - 52,080 - 968 (10)
52,081 - 52,090 - 972 (10)
52,091 - 52,100 - 968 (10)
52,101 - 52,250 - 972 (150)
52,251 - 52,300 - 974 (50)
No. 53,000 - 53,070 Two runs. Three models within this range.
53,001-53,020 - 969 (10)
53,021-53,071 - 973 (51)
Notice the full dial on this 17s. I guess that this movement came in a GOLD case and the case was sold for scrap. I bought the movement lose.
A good thing for Hamilton collectors is that these 17s pillar plate movements fit nicely in a Waltham model 88 case.
The Waltham Model 88 were a detent stem system exactly like the early Hamilton's were and the stems will interchange.
I am speculating on this, but the fact that both of these movements are the only 17s DETENTS that were produced in American watches, Mr. Cain and Mr. Rood probably hired the Waltham people who developed the Model 88 and they applied it to some of the first Hamilton 16 size watches. FWIW
To answer your question about the 17s pillar plate there is not much know about the reason that they are all mixed up within the Hamilton runs. These are some I picked out for reference.
I have already copied it into my ‘Info on Hamilton’ file; thanks for the wealth of information. You also brought up a couple of important things I had not given much thought to - dial and case. The 961 with the larger pillar plate is in a very nice case that seems to fit properly, but I don’t know about the dial. Curiosity is killing me and I’ll be going to the bank in the morning to get it out of the safe deposit box for a closer look. I recently acquired a fairly rough 964 (#50810) and have managed to bring the movement back to respectable condition but I am not sure about the dial. The dial that came on it was a double sunk AN with just ‘Hamilton’ on it and in very poor condition. I found a single sunk AN dial with ‘Hamilton Watch Company’ on it but because this is such an early watch, I am guessing I should be looking for a Roman numbered dial. Does anyone have thoughts about correct dials and hands for these early 16s Hamiltons? Thanks.
Here's another 961 Serial No. 81102 C. 1899/1900
IHC Member 321
any one see 968 movement like this? thanks.
Jun had two images on photobucket that did not access properly. I was able find the links to those images and attached one to his post and the other in my post here.
Dr. Debbie Irvine is a masterhand for tracking.
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