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Serial number 2000050 was part of a batch of watches that went to the finishing department on 9/10/12 and 4/4/14. Serial number 2002464 was part of a batch that went to the finishing department on 5/15/17 and 7/28/17.
Hamilton did not produce wristwatches for men until 1916. These movements were initially intended for women's watches, but many ended up sitting in the vault or sitting on the sidelines in production for many years. Only three batches of this movement were made. These two watches belong to the first and the last runs. They probably all started on the production line in the 1912 era, but were held on the sidelines at various stages of production until they were brought forward for use in the earliest men's wrist watches.
|IHC Life Member
Do we know how many were turned into mens' wrist watches ?
I do not think we have records on how many were used in men's watches. Will Roseman and Bryan Girouard wrote an excellent article in the NAWCC Bulltein (April, 2006, pages 167-173.) They have done the most thorough job of going through the old Hamilton records on wristwatches. They do not comment on the 988, though the article is about 0 size movements.
We do know the total production of the grade was very small. The finishing department records show the three runs as follows:
2001001-700 (then the 700 is crossed out and 800 hand written beside it)
This gives a total of 2000 or 2100 movements. The "official" Hamilton number is 2,098.
The last batch went to the finishing department in 1917, so we can assume these were all used in men's watches. As I stated before, the first batch went to the finishing department on 9/10/12 and 4/14/14. The second batch went on 8/14/14. I do not think they would bring a new batch to the finishing department until the earlier batches had been finished. So I assume that the first batch went into women's "Chatelaine" watches. The three year gap between the second and third batch suggests that they stopped selling the movement in women's watches sometime in the second batch. That puts the number for men's watches at between 300 and 1100. It is a safe quess that the number is significantly less than 1000.
The two batches between the second and third 988 were 986 movements. These were also 6/0 size. The total production of the 986 was 56,895 and another 91,300 as 986A. Most of these were used in men's watches.
|IHC Life Member
Quoted from October 25, 2006 23:01
"I just noticed John Johnson's 986 thread which features another of these early ones. The hole I was curious about is filled with a blue screw. Is this a service screw to secure the setting or a mainspring release or..?"
Now that I have access to a 988, bought on ebay in a $60 watch, I can illustrate the function of the "blue screw"
It is really the slotted end of a pivot (B) on which a cam (arrow A) rotates. The cam has a forked end.
When the "blue screw" (B) is rotated anticlockwise the forked end of the cam fits against the rounded end (arrow C) of a part of the handsetting mechanism to hold this in the winding position when the movement is out of its case. The uncased movement being of the negative set style would normally fall into handsetting mode when uncased.
|IHC Life Member
And from the dial side, thru a hole in the plate, picture center, you can just see the forked end of the cam bearing against the rounded side of that part of the handset mechanism.
|IHC Life Member
Further to the early posts on these beautiful movements I have recently been able to buy a further two 988 movements with the
numbers --- 2,002,014 and 2,000,0077
So I now have numbers 77, 2014 and 2464. One oddity is that number 2014 differs in its finish from the other two - having less elaborate damasceening, and having other minor differences.
|IHC Life Member
If Will Roseman reads this, maybe he can explain why the middle number above is different.
I'll take a crack at it.
2000001-2001000 went to the Finishing Department on 9/10/12 and 4/4/14
2002001-400 went on 7/27/17
2002401-800 went on 5/15/17 and 7/28/17.
You see that a runs did not go to the finishing room in the order of their numbers. Runs were often broken up into subruns. Some movements were sent through the line with "gray" plates, which were not finished or damaskeened. This was so they would be ready for a private label or special damaskeening if requested. Finally they did not leave the finishing room in the same order that they went in. A movement that was not under great demand would be put aside. When they were needed, the grabbed which ever ones were on top. My theory is that the middle movement was sent through as a gray plate, but it was never used for a private label. At some point they decided to finish it and get it out the door. They used a fast and easy damaskeening, the bar pattern. So 2002014 was the last to leave the finishing room, even though it started in the line in the middle. It might have been set aside for several years. Since Hamilton stopped keeping ledgers for individual movements at about 840000, we have no way of knowing when it was finished.
|Hamilton WW Expert
IHC Life Member
The middle 988 that Dan is showing was "finished as a 986 movement" even though it is plainly a 988. Hamilton records show that a portion (I am on a business trip so I don't have my records here and I can't recall the exact number) of the 988's were finished as 986's.
When I get home, I'll tell you which ones were finshed as such.
I hate it when the facts get in the way of a good theory.
I recently acquired a ladies Hamilton wristwatch in a 14 Kt gold case. My internet search led me to this specific message board as it appears I have a model 988, 6/0 size, with 17 jewels. Serial number of movement is 2,001,666 and the case is numbered 6840262. Hoping to get the experts opinion on this site as to the history and exactly what I have. The stem is at the 3 o'clock position and doesn't appear it was ever used as a pendant type watch. Patent number on the band indicates 1937 so not original if this watch was from approx. 1912. The watch is not currently working, hoping for advice as to where I go from here. I'm not really a watch collector and not sure whether I should try to repair or simply sell on to someone who would appreciate this antique watch more than I. Comments please! I will try to attach photos. (unable to add attachments, sorry)
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