A fascinating video on Hamilton in its heyday

This video, courtesy of the Prelinger Archives, was made in 1947 and details production of watches at Hamilton Watch Co.’s Lancaster, Pennsylvania plant. It’s fascinating to see how vertically integrated Hamilton was at the time. The video shows not only the company’s metal foundry but also hairspring production as well as a mini refinery making lubricants. It is tempting to remark on how times have changed, yet there is so much that is the same in production and assembly. The hairspring production for instance is virtually the same today (like at Lange Uhren for example), except that all the companies making in-house hairsprings buy the alloy from Nivarox. And from the height of this industrial power, in just over 20 years Hamilton was no longer making watches in America, and a few years after that it was gone for all intents and purposes. Even though its namesake today produces solid timepieces like the Pan Europ chronograph, it is not the same Hamilton as before. – SJX Skip to 4:52 for the interesting part on watchmaking.

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A top class screwdriver

Bergeon, the Swiss maker of precision tools widely used in watchmaking, just unveiled its latest Dynamometric Screwdriver. It allows for torque of between 10 to 120 mNm. These cost several hundred francs, but are pretty damn cool. There isn’t a better way to change that strap secured by screws.

The model number is N°6901-TBPR-120 in case anyone wants one.


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COMPARE: Lange Datograph Old And New

Last December Lange announced the new Datograph Up and Down, 12 years after the original Datograph, which has become a landmark watch. A friend of mine asked me for a pictorial comparison of the new and old Datographs, and here it is. Because Lange maintained the proportions of the dial, even increasing the size of the date, it looks remarkably similar at first glance. Even the model reference remains the same 405.035.

New Datograph on left

But upon closer examination the differences are clear. The new model has a power reserve, shorter minute indices, baton hour markers, and a shorter central minute hand. Overall it looks more modern.

In addition to being wider, the case also has thicker bezel, while the case band seems to be the same height.

And the movement is nearly identical though differences are obvious, like the in-house balance wheel in the new model, as well as the changed chronograph levers. The new movement is the L951.6, while the original Datograph was L951.1.

New Datograph L951.6

Original Datograph L951.1

As I wrote in my comprehensive report on SIHH 2012, the new Datograph is characterised by its incremental changes. For an existing Datograph owner it is not different enough, unlike say the Patek refs. 5070 and 5170. But the Datograph remains one of the best traditional-style chronographs out there. – SJX

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