In 1892 Hamilton was founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and began producing pocket watches. Their focus has always been to make accurate affordable timepieces. In 1914 they became an official supplier to the U.S. Armed Forces during WWI, they shifted production from pocket watches to the more convenient wristwatch. In 1926 Admiral Richard E. Byrd became the first aviator to reach the North Pole, circling it for 13 minutes before returning to base. He timed this pioneering 15 hour and 57-minute flight with a Hamilton watch.
As soon as America joined the Allied forces in World War 2 they stopped producing watches for consumers to focus on the enormous task of supplying the U.S. Armed Forces. They produced over one million timepieces including wristwatches and marine chronometers, even earning an Army-Navy E award for excellence in manufacturing.
On May 16 1974 Hamilton was sold to SSIH, which is the previous name of what is now the Swatch Group. They remained in the US until 2003 when they transferred their operation to Biel, Switzerland. From this date forward they were able to put on their dials Swiss made.
We have here a stunning circa.1943 Hamilton “Cambridge” 14ct solid gold tank case 21mm x 38mm that curves over the wrist perfectly with its curved edges and slim lugs. The crown protrudes out on the right-hand side with it's domed shape, that makes winding a pleasure. Its subtle domed original glass crystal adds a visually pleasing view of the cream dial with its outer minute track and applied elegantly shaped gold numeral indexes. The gold dagger hands are complimented with a square sub-seconds register at the 6 o'clock position. On the reverse a plain back. Inside a Manually Wound Hamilton Cal 982 19 Jewels 18,000 Beats per hour. These in-house movements were manufactured in their factory by smelting the alloy and rolling out their own hairsprings; they grew 'boules' of artificial ruby in their lab and cut their own jewels; every screw was manufactured in the Hamilton factory; even the oils used to lubricate the watches were refined in their own chemistry lab. This highlights the attention to detail and engineering excellence Hamilton had for creating their timepieces. Fitted on a 16 mm brown leather strap.
Points of Mention
This watch is sold with its period-correct Hamilton cream bakelite box as photographed with a beautiful decoration, no original Hamilton paperwork is provided. The watch comes paired on an aftermarket leather lizard grain strap. The watch is from Circa. 1943 based on the serial numbers on the movement. Atop the case is the original glass crystal, these are impossible to find again as being actual glass it cannot be polished, I have decided to leave it original as it is part of the charm, however, a new acrylic crystal could be made at an extra cost and wait on request. The movement has been serviced and this comes with our 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty.
I always love these vintage rectangular Hamilton watches, but oftentimes the cases are rolled gold and I would rather solid gold wherever possible. Thankfully this came across my desk and I just couldn't say no, beautiful 14ct gold case, original dial and hands which have aged so well considering its age, the great movement inside, and overall just perfection in my eyes. Whilst certainly on the smaller side by today's standards, this wouldn't likely be an everyday watch for most anyway and reserved for special occasions, this would work perfectly for that!