Cliff's Hamilton 946

Did you come by your watch in an interesting way? Does your watch come with a story? Provenance adds value ... and interest too. Tell your watch provenance story here.

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Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Robert Smothers » Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:37 am

Irvin...Glad you asked!

Back in 1968 I was spending the last half of my summer in Tifton Georgia with my family working on the tobacco market. At age thirteen unloading tobacco and readying it for sale was my first job other than mowing grass, or shagging golf balls. My entire family would travel from North Carolina to south Georgia for many years to work for my great uncle who owned the tobacco warehouse.

It was in my very first tobacco season when I met Clifford Hammond, a tall black man that also worked for my great uncle. One day when we were in the warehouse office, Cliff said "come here boy, I've got something to show you." Cliff said, "If you'll sit down I'll show you my watch." Cliff swung the watch on a chain, just like I had seen the hypnotist in the movies. Needless to say everyone in the room came to a stop as Cliff removed the back off the case, as he spoke of all the jewels that we were about to see. With our eyes wide open he showed us his watch , and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The watch absolutely glowed, and sparkled until Cliff put the back lid on the watch, and exclaimed "it's a Hamilton."

For years, and years I would see Cliff and I would ask him about his watch. He would often have the watch with him and he would announce the time. I would ask Cliff for another look, and he would usually say, "oh no it's too dirty in here to take the back off, maybe another time. Cliff would often proclaim the value of the watch, raising the stated value over time. One day I asked Cliff if he would ever part with the watch and he said, "it would take a pretty penny to buy this watch."

As time past, I moved on from college, and in to a career in farming, and helping run the family tobacco warehouse business in North Carolina. Cliff retired, but at the very least would come by the tobacco warehouse to visit his old friends that still had to work. For years and years I asked Cliff about his watch, and he finally said he put the watch in his lock box because it was so valuable. Cliff would always exclaim you know the watch is a twenty three jewel?

In about 1996 I saw Cliff, and told him that I had been doing some studying on pocket watches, and that I could probably look up the value of his watch. Cliff did not seem too interested in my opinion on the value of his watch, and would exclaim that it was too much trouble to get the watch out of his lock box. I did not make Cliff an offer on the watch because, I did not think he wanted to sell it, and it had been many years since I had seen it, and I was not absolutely sure what model it was at the time.

In the Fall of 2000 Cliff came by the tobacco warehouse for his annual visit, and said "Robert, I'm gonna sell you that watch!" Cliff went down to the bank and removed the watch from the lock box where it had rested for 15 years or more. When Cliff returned we looked the watch up in the book, and determined a Hamilton 946 in top condition would book for 6 hundred. Cliff's watch was in a well worn case, with a good movement that needed a good cleaning. I offered Cliff 7 hundred which was 1 hundred over high book for his watch, and he proclaimed, "we have a deal." Cliff also noted that of all the people that he had ever shown the watch to over the years, he wanted me to have it. Cliff is still around, and in his mid 80's, and he ask me about the watch, when we run into one another.

I am sure that Cliff's 946 is the watch that hooked me on pocket watches. To this day I have never seen a watch movement with more eye appeal than that of the 946 Hamilton. Forty years have passed since I first saw the 946 in south Georgia. As many of you know I collect mostly 16 size Bunn Specials....but WOW that 946 Hamilton is some watch!

Robert
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Irwin » Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:47 am

A tremendous tale. For Cliff, the watch was clearly a much prized and valued possession.
Can we possibly see some pics of the watch?
IF
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Robert Smothers » Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:45 am

Below is the 946 Hamilton from the story. In no way can I do the 946 justice with my limited photo skills. Everyone that has had the opportunity to hold one in hand will know what I am talking about.

946Hailton.jpg
946Hailton.jpg (159.28 KiB) Viewed 6149 times
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Irwin » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:08 pm

Robert, Thank you for posting the pic.
A splendid looking watch 'engine room'. I like the intricately patterned damasceening. I would also be proud of this watch.
It gave a lot of pleasure and comfort to Cliff - no doubt about that.
How about the dial? Any chance of a photo of the 'business side'?
IF
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Robert Smothers » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:25 pm

Here is the "Business side"

946Front.jpg
946Front.jpg (128.82 KiB) Viewed 6121 times
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Larry Burwell » Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:27 am

Hi Robert,

That's a great story behind a spectacular Hamilton you have known personally for 40 years. I'm glad you now have it for your own.

Larry
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby terry hall » Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:13 pm

lemme tell ya... it's even better holding the watch and listening to Robert tell the story.... ;)
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Charlie Sides » Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:54 pm

GREAT STORY Robert. Got a kick out of reading it. I know you will cherish it for a life time.

And yes, those 946's do cut a shine.
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby Tom Huber » Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:47 am

Robert, A great watch with a great story!!

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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby John Johnson » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:02 am

Robert,

That is one of the most beautiful damaskeening patterns I have ever seen. You really do have a treasure there, and thank you for sharing it with us.
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby bascall » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:26 am

Now that's a good story and what a watch!
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Re: Cliff's Hamilton 946

New postby rrpktwtchr » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:05 pm

Thanks for sharin', Robert . . .

Great story about a great watch and a couple of great fellas well . . . ;)
Timely regards,
Jim McKinney
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