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Hamilton's "Yankee" Piping Rock . . . "Click" to Login or Register 
Hamilton WW Expert
IHC Life Member
Hello Everyone:

I just received an "are you alive?" email from our friend, Don which subsequently promoted me to share a short summary of an article I've been working on.

I would first like to apologize for having been incommunicado for so long - business has kept me away from this forum as well as my Hamilton website. Fortunately however, in the time that I've been gone, I've been hard at work acquiring some very rare and unusual Hamilton's and I am hoping to update my Hamilton site (www.HamiltonWatch.info) in the not too distant future. But if you would indulge me, I'd like to quickly post a summary of a project I've been working on.

I've been working on an article regarding the Hamilton "Yankee" Piping Rock. The article will be significantly more "in-depth" than this summary, but nonetheless, here's a little "show and tell" until the article is completed.

Contrary to previous publications, Hamilton produced 35 examples of the Yankee Piping Rock (not 31 as is commonly thought). One watch was distributed to each of the thirty 1928 World Champion players, one watch was presented to the Yankee's owner, Jacob Ruppert, an additional one was given to the manager of the team, Ed Barrow and it is believed that the three remaining examples were retained by Hamilton (at least one of the three found its way onto the wrist of a Hamilton executive).

This very rare watch is considered by many to be the "holy grail" of American vintage watches. The combination of exquisite design and quality of the Piping Rock, coupled with the incomparable New York Yankee's, makes for a relic of great horological and historical significance.

In the early days of baseball, it was common for players to receive watches rather than rings for winning the World Series. Indeed, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's first commissioner and the individual credited for restoring credibility to baseball (after the 1919 Black Sox scandal) presented to each player on Opening Day, April 18th 1929 a "Yankee" Piping Rock in recognition for winning the 1928 World Series.

Each example was stamped in the back with a shielded eagle clasping two crossed bats and the Yankee name prominently positioned along with the words "World Champions" and the date of "1928." Unlike the reproductions that were produced by Hamilton in the 1990's, original "Yankee" Piping Rock's included the player's name engraved along the left (opposite the crown) side of the watch (See examples below).

This particular example belonged to Patrick Collins, member of "Murderer's Row" and eighth in line at bat. Considered by many to be the greatest baseball line-up in the history of the game, the 1927 - 1929 "Murderer's Row" included more "hall of famers" than any other team in baseball history. Members of the team included such great luminaries as:

Catcher - Pat Collins
1st Base - Lou Gehrig
2nd Base - Tony Lazzeri
3rd Base - Joe Dugan
Short Stop - Mark Koenig
Left Field - Bob Meusel
Center Field - Earle Combs
Right Field - Babe Ruth

Though 35 examples of the "Yankee" Piping Rock were produced, I have only been successful in tracking down four examples. Due in good part to their great rarity and because they are cherished by both baseball and vintage watch collectors alike, they are rarely if ever seen, and those that do exist, are likely very closely held.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone knows of any existing examples to please let me know - I am attempting to catalog each example and such knowledge would be invaluable to the article I am working on. In the interim, I'll keep everyone abreast of my progress.

Thanks and kindest regards,

PS - there are more pictures posted on the general message board. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to post more than one picture here. If you'd like to see them, please try clicking here More pictures of the "Yankee" Piping Rock

Yankee Piping Rock - back
Posts: 80 | Location: Carlstadt, New Jersey U.S.A. | Registered: January 23, 2005
Picture of Adam M. Dubin
Will, thanks so much for sharing this. Re: multiple pictures -- we all have to post multiple (consecutive) messages to do this, that's all. The interface only allows one image per posting.
Posts: 261 | Location: Chicago, Illinois USA | Registered: June 01, 2006
IHC Life Member
Welcome back Will -- we have all missed your informative contributions, and I have the understanding there are a load of questions waiting for you ! Hopefully you are back among us for a while ?

Posts: 423 | Location: West Walton, United Kingdom | Registered: November 16, 2005
IHC Member 500
Wristwatch Expert
Picture of René Rondeau
Welcome back, and what a fantastic thing to research! This is exciting news.
Posts: 183 | Location: Corte Madera, California USA | Registered: March 31, 2005

Perhaps you have heard our friend Gordon describe twice repairing Babe Ruth's 1928 Piping Rock when he worked at Hamilton.

Posts: 173 | Location: Columbia, Pennsylvania U.S.A. | Registered: July 13, 2004
Hamilton WW Expert
IHC Life Member
Hi Don:

I remember Gordon's story well.

When Gordon told me the story, I wrote notes to make sure that I had the story down correctly. I plan on incorporating it into the article since it is such an interesting piece of Americana.

Can you imagine, repairing Babe Ruth's "Yankee" Piping Rock? That Mr. Ruth thought enough about the watch to have it serviced tells me that he must have worn the watch, as opposed to simply putting it into a drawer as a keepsake.


Posts: 80 | Location: Carlstadt, New Jersey U.S.A. | Registered: January 23, 2005

The only problem with that was Babe Ruth was dead. Smile

Ruth died in 1948, the same year Gordon started working for Hamilton. Gordon was in hairspring assembly and adjusting until production stopped at Hamilton in 1970. Then he switched to repair service. I believe Gordon worked on the watch in the 70s and 80s. He retired from Hamilton in 92. So whoever got the watch after Ruth cared about it enough to have it serviced by Hamilton at least twice.

Posts: 173 | Location: Columbia, Pennsylvania U.S.A. | Registered: July 13, 2004
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