Hamilton 16S 17J adj. grade 974 pocket watch #56224, handsome nickel split plate movement with a fancy plate layout, screw-down jewel settings, and elaborate concentric circle damascene pattern and is marked with the jeweler's information "Whitcomb Bros. Lancaster, N.H.", DS porcelain enamel dial with fancy Arabic-style numbers and a subsidiary seconds register is also marked "Whitcomb Bros. Lancaster, N.H. 17 Jewels", the dial does have a large expert repair at 10 o'clock with some damage to the "10", a smaller expert repair at 4 o'clock along with a series of faint hairlines, purple steel spade & whip style hands.
Re-cased into a heavy yellow gold filled (YGF) hinge back & bezel (HB&B) case with a coin edge frame, engine turning under the large fancy blank monogram shield surrounded by floral designs and a heavy bow, case is showing normal even wear overall with some smoothing to the engine turning on the back bezel, a few small pin-head sized scratches and a few small spots of brass starting to show in the pendant and bow, additionally there is a bit of damage on the back frame by the movement where it appears someone distorted the lip (cosmetic issue only, does not affect the running, setting or closing of the case), measures approx. 52mm in diameter x 70mm in length x 15mm thick (crystal included). A high quality Hamilton from the 1890s that is showing its age but still running strong in very good condition, perfect to carry everyday!
- Year Made: 1898-1899
- Jewels: 17J
- Setting/Movement Type:
- Adjustments: 1-3 positions
- Model/Grade: 974
- Serial #: 56224
- Movement Finish: nickel
- Movement Details: fancy plate layout, marked "Whitcomb Bros. Lancaster, N.H."
- Dial Material: porcelain enamel
- Dial Details: jeweler's mark, "Whitcomb Bros. Lancaster, N.H. 17 Jewels"
- Case Style:
Gold Filled - Yellow
- Case Details: re-cased
Case Length, bow included:
- Crystal Material: plastic
The Hamilton watch company began business in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1892 and still operates today. The last watches produced in the American factory were made in 1969, after which the company was sold to a Swiss owner.
We also offer a collection of reference and research books for a number of different watch manufacturers, which can be found in our Watch-Related Books
section. As an additional resource, we've posted a Serial Number Production List
which includes information for Hamilton serial numbers and dates of manufacture.
The NAWCC also has a comprehensive article
about the company; additional information may also be found on Wikipedia
You may browse all of our men's pocket watches from this manufacturer at our Vintage Men's Hamilton Pocket Watches
This watch is in good running condition, unless otherwise noted in the description. This means that on receipt, pending any item-specific running conditions noted in the description, you can expect the watch to be winding and setting properly and to run smoothly while keeping reasonable time. We consider "reasonable time" to meet these basic guidelines:
- Railroad Grade Watches will be keeping +/- 5 minutes per day
- Pocket and Wrist Watches with 15 or more jewels will be keeping +/- 10 minutes per day
- All key wind watches and watches with 14 or fewer jewels will be keeping +/- 15 minutes per day
The above guideline is the lowest standard in which we would ship out a watch, however in most cases, you will see much better timekeeping. Most of our watches have been in storage for many years, so if you plan on carrying/wearing them everyday, you should consider having them cleaned and oiled soon, and then once a year thereafter to keep them in top running condition. If the watches will be for occasional use or display, they should be cleaned and serviced every 3 to 5 years depending on use.
As of September 30th, 2023, we are not offering a cleaning and service option through PM Time Service. While we do hope to offer this again in the future, we are unfortunately unable to meet customer requests for watch servicing at this time. Please note that, unless otherwise mentioned within the "Full Description" tab, this watch is being sold in good running condition and is ready to wear or carry on arrival.
This watch features a jeweler's mark, or name of the retailer that originally sold the watch, in addition to the name of the watch manufacturer. Jeweler's marks may be engraved or printed on the dial, case or movement, depending on the watch. See the Full Description for details specific to this piece.
The jewelers' mark was a pretty common practice during the early to mid-1900s, and does continue today. A jewelry shop would commission a small run of watches directly from a watch manufacturer, such as Hamilton, Illinois, etc., who would then add markings for that jeweler at the factory to the dial, movement and/or case. This would allow for the jeweler to offer a customized branding of a high quality watch without the prohibitive cost of directly manufacturing the watch components and assembly.
The most common example that most will recognize is with Tiffany & Co., which for a short time did manufacture their own watches but realized it was cost prohibitive for their label and transitioned to commissioning watches from high-end watch manufacturers instead. On many of their vintage watches, you'll see the "Tiffany & Co" markings on the dial, and occasionally also stamped on the movement and case, but additional markings on the movement will show Longines, International Watch Co., etc. to also indicate the manufacturing company.
Unlike modern quartz watches, most vintage watches need daily winding in order to keep the watch functioning for timekeeping. Additionally, there are a number of different ways to set the time other than simply pulling the crown away from the watch body. We are happy to provide an overview of each of the different setting types on our "How To Use" page
, where we also provide information on proper winding techniques for each style and some suggestions for the proper long term care and storage of your watch.
For your gift giving convenience, please find a consolidated overview of the information on this item, with no reference to the price, on this printer-optimized page