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When helping to clear out the house of my aunt, who's moving into a care home, I stumbled upon an interesting piece which belonged to my uncle who passed away quite a few years ago. He had a long career in the Dutch Royal Navy, and actually stayed in the service as a civilian after retiring.
Let me explain first that I am not a watch collector nor expert, but I do enjoy things that are nicely engineered, which is why I was looking at this particular piece. My niece was kind enough to let me have at is a remembrance. I do like knowing as much as I can about things I own so I started researching it online this morning (since my uncle was the only one who knew anything about it), and this led me to this site.
The piece itself is a Hamilton Model 21. It's in a gimbal box, and it seems the lower part of the box belonged with it, and the upper part was sourced separately (more about why I know this later on, my uncle collected quite a lot of things and he might have had the lid already or maybe he bought one after acquiring the Hamilton, I don't know)
The serial number on it is N112, both on the dial and the mechanic itself. It was uncorked, and it doesn't have a balance lock. Fortunately, I wound it when we found it, and it worked, and we transported it while it was running. It's been running for over a day now, accurately. I do intend to cork it, since I have no clue about when it was last serviced.
There are no papers with it, but it has 2 small handwritten, same handwriting, stickers on the glass that give a little sight into the history of it.
The first sticker says Hr Ms Dolfijn, which indicates a Dutch naval vessel. More specific, a submarine. There have been three of these, the last one is still in service, so it is pretty certain to indicate either the first or second one.
The first Hr Ms Dolfijn was a British U-class submarine (original P 47) which first sailed in 1942 and was decommissioned in 1952. The second one was built in Holland, and was in service from 1960 till 1982.
The second sticker says "Afleveren zonder deksel" which translates to "Deliver without lid".
So most likely these stickers were put on when it was either sold or auctioned to indicate the origin and a remark about it not having the original lid for the box.
I would be extremely grateful for any and all insight I can get from experts. Like manufacturing dates, vessels it was assigned to and so on. If there are any tips and hints about other resources I should turn to, they would be very much appreciated as well.
Lastly, I do understand the process of corking the movement, but I am uncertain of whether or not I should block the movement when it has run out, or stop the balance when it's running and block while the movement still has power in it. If it's the latter, how would I go about stopping the balance?
Thanks in advance for any help and information!
Detail picture 2
Detail picture 3
detail picture 4
Detail Picture 5
Now that I have posted the pictures, I am looking at picture 4 and notice a part that has been added at some point and looks like a mechanic to actually block the balance. One would still have to open the movement (as opposed to the one which looks like a Y and was used by the US service)
You were the fortunate recipient of a very fine chronometer. The arm which you noted in picture 4 is the lock for the balance wheel and was added during some of the chronometer servicing. It eliminates the need to cork the balance wheel. I have attached a couple pages from the Model 21 Service Manual NAVSHIPS 250-624. The first shows the locking arm and the second describes the correct method for stopping the balance wheel and putting the arm in the locked position.
Stopping the balance wheel
Thank you very much for the information Robert. So it seems there have been 2 upgrades made to the model 21 to add a locking device. The one that is in mine and illustrated in the service manual pages you attached, and the fork mechanism I noticed on other ones.
It is a very nice piece, it's still running to the dot at the moment. I'll go ahead and block it once it has run down the 48 hours.
|IHC Member 1016|
What a nice find. Enjoy that timepiece.
I found that there are ledgers for these chronometers and they can be accessed digitally. I have tried to register access them site but it seems to be extremely hard.
If anyone is able to get me the document, I would be very grateful.
Quick update: I received an email from the Dutch Government that they passed on my request for information to the Ministery of Defense. Really curious to find out whether or not any records are still available!
Elmar, the information in Hamilton's ledgers is pretty limited. It shows that serial number 2E112 was finished 2-25-1943. The original delivery date and contract number are lined out and 2 additional dates and contract numbers added. I don't thinks there is any information available on the various contract numbers. Here is the ledger entry.
|IHC Member 1335|
hi Debbie;sorry but I have only the same information that is listed here!!! Tom
Robert, Tom (and Debbie of course!), thank you very much for this!
Another quick update. I managed to get in touch with the Dutch Navy Submarine Veteran organization. They are currently trying to find out as much as they can about the piece. The Hamilton Model 21 has been confirmed as being used in our submarine service.
Furthermore, they passed my original email and pictures on to a historian who wrote several books and papers on the nautical history of the Dutch Royal Navy.
Very excited, owning a piece like this is pretty special as is, but having it's history makes it so much more so.
Thank you for sharing this information with us!
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