One of the fun aspects of vintage watches is to spot them in movies. There are lots of old black and white movies with characters wearing watches of the day and spotting a Hamilton is always exciting. Then there are modern movies where people wear prop watches from the period the movie is set to take place in. In fact, I’ve been contacted many times to see if I can provide watches for movies in production. Then there are movies somewhere in between black and white days and modern times.
A good example is the movie Jaws where one of the main characters, Sheriff Brody, wears a Hamilton Lyndon. The Lyndon was introduced in 1953 and produced for two years. That was 20 years prior to the release of the movie – similar to someone wearing a watch from 2001 in a movie today.
There are a couple of times in the movie where the watch is prominent, one of the best is at the end when he’s trying to shoot the air tank in Jaw’s mouth.
The Lyndon was a good choice for the scene as it was one of Hamilton’s sealed (CLD) models with gaskets in the crown and around the crystal to keep the environment out of the inside of the case.
Of course, gaskets don’t last forever and eventually moisture and the elements can work their way into a CLD watch. I recently received a Lyndon in serious need of TLC but it’s an heirloom and the owner wanted to see if it could be restored.
The back of the case shows a lot of wear, especially to the back of the lugs.
The Lyndon opens from the front once the bezel is separated. Now you can see the dial is actually missing the 5 numeral and the second hand is clearly a replacement. The crown is also a replacement and it’s lost most of it’s gold color and presents more on the silver side, although my camera and lighting didn’t pick that up.
The gasket inside crumbled to bits and most of the time when you open a CLD today the gaskets are long gone. There’s also a gold reflector ring that surrounds the dial when it’s installed.
Tucked inside the case is an 18 jewel 8/0 sized 748 movement. The movement lifts out the front and requires a two-piece stem to separate the movement from the crown. This stem design is sort of like the wooden train tracks where a mail hub fits into a female slot. In this example the female side is in the crown and the male side is the stem going into the movement.
Most of the round -don models from the 1950s share the came crystal. So the Lyndon, Reardon, Haddon, etc. use a PA435 crystal, if you can’t find an exact Hamilton replacement.
The movement gets stripped to it’s most basic parts and thoroughly cleaned. You get a sneak peak at a replacement dial I happened to have from another project watch.
My Hamilton CLD crown doesn’t want to fit in the case… this is very strange.
Comparing the project watch case (left) with another Lyndon example, the project watch appears to have had the stem tube replaced with something very different. So a proper CLD crown will no longer fit.
The reassembled movement is ticking away and sitting on the timer to find out how well it’s running.
Not too shabby… I’ll leave it just as it is.
It took a while but I finally found a crown that would fit the stem tube on the case and I was able to fit a female stem to match the male hub of the movement. I also installed a proper second hand to complete the restoration.
This watch turned out great and I’m sure the owner will be delighted to get it back. Let’s hope it stays out of the water from now on.