1948 Hamilton Brandon | Restoration

1948 Hamilton Brandon | Restoration

Made for four years from 1948 through 1951, the Hamilton Brandon was the first in the CLD ("sealed") lineup of watches. The CLD line of watches came with a series of gaskets that were designed to keep moisture and dust out of the case and were marketed as "weatherproof". This line predates the "waterproof" watches that were introduced by Hamilton in the late 1950's.

While later versions of the Brandon came with fixed lugs, only the 1948 model featured the swing lugs found on this example.

With the bezel removed, I can get a good look at the original black dial. There are not a tremendous amount of black dial models that Hamilton offered, but this is one of them.

The Brandon uses a split stem. The crown post on this model is the female half and the movement half is male. This particular design does not snap into place, rather it slides in and out from the side. If I were to try to just pull the stem apart, it would damage something and I'd be on the hunt for replacement parts.

The stem is separated so that the dial and movement can be removed from the case.

The absence of any watchmaker's marks on the back indicate that this is, in fact, an original un-refinished dial.

The green schmoo, called verdigris, shouldn't be there (obviously). I'll clean up as much as I can by hand before cleaning the parts in the ultrasonic machine. 

This is what dried, failed lubrication looks like. What makes this even more concerning is this is the pallet fork pivot jewel. This jewel does not, well....should not be lubricated.

Using a sharpened piece of pegwood, I polish each of the jewels. This helps remove as much of the old oil as possible so the ultrasonic cleaning is just that much more effective.

Hmmmm....not sure how this was allowed to happen. The crystal should sit flush, or at least evenly, in the bezel.

Lots and lots and LOTS of arm cheese in the bezel that needs to be taken care of.

There are a few chips in the crystal. I want to try to save this crystal since it's original and NOS replacements can be hard to find. I'll break out some diamond polishing paste in various grits and see if I can polish these chips out.

Out of the cleaner, and the reassembly well underway, the pallet fork is reinstalled.

The components that make up the balance cock were disassembled for cleaning. Now it's time to get them back together again.

The hairspring stud screw is tightened down to secure the balance wheel.

After 30 minutes or so of polishing, working down through the grits, the chips are not completely gone, but they're definitely improved. 

I was able to find an original crystal gasket and pressed the crystal into the bezel, making sure it was seated properly. This will go a long way to keeping arm cheese from getting into the bezel in future. 

I also happed to have a NOS crown for the Brandon in my stash that I'll use. The o-ring on the crown that was on the watch had completely failed.

Looking much better. Just need a strap and this little guy is ready to roll.

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