1941 Hamilton Lester | Restoration

1941 Hamilton Lester | Restoration

Technically made from 1941 through 1950, the Lester was one of many models that Hamilton 'reintroduced' to the consumer market in 1946 after halting production of commercial watches in 1943 due to WWII.

The Lester was offered with a couple of different dial variations; a blank painted dial and the more common 18k gold applied numerals like the one here.

This particular watch found its way back onto my bench with a broken crystal from a customer that bought it years ago. We were hopeful that it would just be a quick crystal replacement and maybe a regulation, but since the watch wasn't running optimally, we took the opportunity to give it another service. 

Taking a look at the performance, the rate is way too high and can't be brought down and the amplitude is far too low. 

With the 19 jewel 982 movement out of the case, it still looks clean which is a good sign. The 982 is an excellent American made movement and is found in dozens of Hamilton watch models.

There was some glass left in the bezel that had to be cleaned up as well.

This 982 has capped escape wheel jewels which need to be removed to ensure the pivot holes are cleaned properly.

Well, that doesn't belong there. Looks like a fiber of some sort made its way into the watch and wrapped itself around the 3rd wheel. This certainly was adversely effecting the performance.

This is the underside of the balance cock. Those two screws are the smallest in the entire movement.

Here you can see the regulator arm and the cap setting. Like disassembling the cap jewel on the escape wheel, it's critical to break down all of these parts prior to cleaning to make sure the balance jewel is completely clean.

The balance wheel is cleaned separately from the rest of the parts since it is much more delicate.

All the other parts disassembled and ready to take a hot ultrasonic bath...

...and all the parts out of the bath and drying before reassembly.

The train of wheels is installed and the train bridge is fitted.

With the balance cock reassembled and the jewel lubricated, the balance wheel is fitted into place.

Lubricating the watchmaker's side of the movement...

...lubricating the dial side

With the dial secured back to the movement, I give it a quick clean and brighten up the gold numerals.

Now the handset can be pressed into place.

After a thorough cleaning and lubrication, and a quick initial regulation, this 982 movement is humming along much better. 

With a NOS mineral glass crystal installed and the watch fully reassembled and back on its strap, this Lester is ready to head back home for many more years of enjoyment.


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