Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

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Mugea
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Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#1 Post by Mugea » Sat Jan 21, 2023 9:06 am

We all like nice surprises, don’t we? I mean surprises like finding out the watch you bought is a solid gold watch. Or some nice extra the seller did not mention. Something like this.

To start with a VERY nice surprise:

Recently, I bought another Hamilton watch box. I bought it, because of the color and the “Masterpiece” inscription. The box looks like this:
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_03_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_03_1366.jpg (92.7 KiB) Viewed 159 times
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_05_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_05_1366.jpg (90.34 KiB) Viewed 159 times

The seller’s description:

“Hello, this listing is for a Vintage Hamilton Masterpiece Award Watch Presentation BOX & CASE ONLY with strap. Watch not included. Good condition.”

The strap was shown in one photo. Well, a strap… so I didn’t pay attention to it. But it turned out, the strap was a big and wonderful surprise:

Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_06_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_06_1366.jpg (91.63 KiB) Viewed 159 times
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_07_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_07_1366.jpg (109.71 KiB) Viewed 159 times
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_08_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_08_1366.jpg (161.3 KiB) Viewed 159 times
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_09_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_09_1366.jpg (145.12 KiB) Viewed 159 times

So, an original and unworn Hamilton watch strap! In medium brown suede - I wonder what regular model came with a sued strap in medium brown? A Mr. Wilbur R. Reed, Sr. received the watch (and the box) in January 1959. According to some newspaper info I found, Mr. Reed (born 1902, died 1993) worked for a company A. E. Staley Mfg. Co. in Decatur, IL and was awarded with the watch for being employed for 25 years in January 1959 (297 other Staley employees were honored on the same occasion). Obviously, Mr. Reed did not like the strap and replaced it by another strap or bracelet. In any case, he (and the seller) did not pay much attention to the strap. Otherwise, he would have noticed an interesting detail:
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_11_1366.jpg
Hamilton_Masterpiece-Box_11_1366.jpg (97.44 KiB) Viewed 159 times

So, an original Hamilton strap with a 14K gold buckle! Much more worth than the box itself….

The watch which came with the box was – of course – a Masterpiece model. Two possible candidates seem to be likely, as the two are pictured with light colored straps in the catalog and having the matching lug width of 11/16”: the Lansing and the Courtney. I’d say the Courtney is it.
Hamilton-Catalog_Masterpiece_1959_Lansing_Courtney.jpg
Hamilton-Catalog_Masterpiece_1959_Lansing_Courtney.jpg (152.54 KiB) Viewed 159 times

Anyway: this strap is what I call a nice surprise… What’s your story?

Regards,

Martin

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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#2 Post by retroworx » Sun Jan 22, 2023 4:03 am

Nice score, Martin!
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#4 Post by HandyDan » Sun Jan 22, 2023 9:59 am

Martin - you never cease to amaze me with your detailed research and background - that's as impressive as the items you find!
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#5 Post by Nookster » Sun Jan 22, 2023 10:03 am

Does your box show a model number? Congrats, awesome band.
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#6 Post by afire » Mon Jan 23, 2023 9:00 am

Nice score!
Real men wear small watches.

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Mugea
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#7 Post by Mugea » Mon Jan 23, 2023 9:33 pm

Nookster wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 10:03 am
Does your box show a model number? Congrats, awesome band.
Thanks! No, the box doesn‘t show a model number. But judging from the catalog image of the strap of the Courtney, I’d say the box in fact contained a Courtney. Just guessing, I know.

So. Would anybody share a comparable surprise?

Regards,

Martin

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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#8 Post by hamiltonelectric » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:52 am

I have a story that dates back 35 years now, so it's certainly old news. In the late 80s I ran ads in Horological Times seeking Hamilton Electric parts. I got tons of material that way. One day a watchmaker wrote me and said he had a Model 500A movement for $15. That was a bit pricey for the time but I wanted as much material as I could get, so I mailed off a check. What I got in return was a MINT, pristine, gorgeous Meteor with original metal band. And a 500A movement inside. The seller thought so little of the watch itself that he valued it only for the movement. It turned out that the micro-weld holding the tiny box to the trip spring had failed, probably right after selling the watch new. Rather than repair it the jeweler must have tossed it in a drawer and forgotten about it.

Another time someone offered me a 979 movement with a junk case. It was cheap so I figured why not? The "junk" case was a white gold Piping Rock with a broken hinge. But the lug was still attached to the strap, so I had a jeweler repair the hinge and I had the world's cheapest Piping Rock.

Good times................

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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#9 Post by Nookster » Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:31 pm

Two fantastic buys Rene!
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#10 Post by Nookster » Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:35 pm

There were several Masterpiece Award Watches made, especially by the awards division which I think yours was based by the description on the box.
Attached is a sample of a couple to tease you with. They were not named, but rather given numbers to identify with and why I asked if your box had a number.
It might be model #869, but I don't have a reference that high, mine is 704.
Attachments
206-S.jpg
206-S.jpg (60.07 KiB) Viewed 87 times
208-S.jpg
208-S.jpg (79.41 KiB) Viewed 87 times
201-S.jpg
201-S.jpg (84.06 KiB) Viewed 85 times
202-E.jpg
202-E.jpg (75.97 KiB) Viewed 85 times
704 QC-Masterpiece (2).jpg
704 QC-Masterpiece (2).jpg (495.95 KiB) Viewed 82 times
Materpiece Explanation.jpg
Materpiece Explanation.jpg (179.5 KiB) Viewed 82 times
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#11 Post by SFC » Wed Jan 25, 2023 12:03 pm

I'll add a pleasant surprise story. Its a fun Hamilton story that was more luck than skill. Years ago I bought a Hamilton "Amelia" model. Its a very attractive model whose only catalog appearance was in 1941 (possibly available in 1942 as well). I purchased it off eBay with only a few photos to look at. The watch was on a metal bracelet. When the package arrived I was confused because inside the package was a circa 1960's men's Omega watch box. The box left me puzzled because I simply did not buy it. I thought the seller might have shipped me another item they were selling. However, inside the box was the "Amelia"... And when I inspected the hallmark on the watch bracelet it read 10K Gold Gemex. Long story short I got two bonus surprises that I had no idea I was going to get. What I liked so much about this buy was that the gemex gold bracelet was a perfect match for the Hamilton watch. This model is closer to a green gold case rather than the classic yellow (the catalog photo shows the greenish tone). And the tone of the gemex bracelet was an exact match which made it look like the case and bracelet left the factory together. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the watch on my computer but I still own it with no plans of every selling :lol:
hamilton amelia.png
hamilton amelia.png (1.45 MiB) Viewed 47 times

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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#12 Post by statsman » Wed Jan 25, 2023 2:49 pm

(I don’t buy enough watches).

No, really, great stories!

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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#13 Post by Nookster » Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:30 pm

Mine looks like this. The Mars Bar!

You can see how they matched up the item number on the box tags.
Attachments
Sample.jpg
Sample.jpg (71.91 KiB) Viewed 41 times
203 (2) QC-Masterpiece.jpg
203 (2) QC-Masterpiece.jpg (28.26 KiB) Viewed 41 times
mars.jpg
mars.jpg (70.01 KiB) Viewed 41 times
mars-1.jpg
mars-1.jpg (43.33 KiB) Viewed 41 times
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Re: Pleasant surprises after a buy – I like to read your story!

#14 Post by Time Exposure » Fri Jan 27, 2023 8:07 am

Not quite as high on the Amazing scale, but I did buy a 1940s 14k gold Wesley model back in the early '90s that was fairly priced. I was so fixated on the watch at the time that I neglected to appreciate the box, the unused alligator Hamilton strap, and the 14k gold buckle attached to it.
Naturally, my post falls under the "Useless Without Photos" category. This may be the kick in the butt for me to search through a few boxes, now that my Hamilton fever has returned!

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