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Wristwatch Cinema: Hamilton’s “What Makes a Fine Watch Fine”, 1947

I really enjoy watching this every now and again. If you don’t own any of those old American-made vintage Hamilton wristwatches already, you’re going to want to after watching these videos.

This short was commissioned by Hamilton and produced by the Jam Handy Organization in 1947 as a training tool for its sales and marketing staff. It’s especially for those not familiar with the history of the American-made Hamilton watches, from an era when the Swiss watch brands were enjoying a massive surge in US sales as many US brands struggled to rebuild and re-tool after having spent WWII making war materials.

The first 5 minutes or so are a little bit on the cheesy side, but it gets much more interesting afterward when highlighting some of the details of the manufacturing process like how how steel was painstakingly alloyed into Ellinvar Extra to make hairsprings and how the factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania used to make a huge batch of bread dough every morning to use for removing dust from watch movements in the era before synthetics like Rodico putty used by modern watchmakers for the same purpose.


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