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Remembering the Past: The History in Marriage Watches

Hamilton 918 Marriage Watch

I like old things.

I like the look, the feel, and the history.

As a collector of timepieces, I have always been fascinated by the intricate dance of history and modernity in watches. Among the many types of watches that have piqued my interest, "marriage watches" stand out as a unique blend of past and present.

These watches are not just time-telling devices; they are a statement, a bridge between the bygone era of antique pocket watches and the contemporary appeal of wristwatches.

What is a Marriage Watch?

A marriage watch is an antique pocket watch movement that has been repurposed into a wristwatch. This transformation involves taking the original movement and dial from a pocket watch and placing them into a new, often custom-made case designed to be worn on the wrist. The result is a unique piece of wearable history that combines the charm of vintage craftsmanship with the convenience of a modern wristwatch.

The process of creating a marriage watch has its controversies.

Purists in the watch community often frown upon altering antique timepieces, arguing that it destroys the integrity of the original artifact. However, as a collector, I see marriage watches as a celebration of the craftsmanship and beauty of these historical movements, giving them a new lease on life and allowing them to be appreciated in a new context.

One marriage watch in my collection is a watch that features a Hamilton Caliber 918 movement and dial manufactured in the early 1900s in the United States. Hamilton, an iconic American watch brand, was known for its precise and reliable timepieces, and the Caliber 918 is no exception. The movement in my watch is a testament to the engineering prowess of the early 20th century, a time when Hamilton was at the forefront of innovation in watchmaking.

The Hamilton Caliber 918 is a manual winding movement, requiring daily winding to keep it running. It's a ritual I cherish, connecting me to the original owner who would have performed the same task over a century ago. The dial of my watch, with its elegant numerals and classic blued steel hands, exudes a timeless aesthetic that is as stylish today as it was back then.

The case that now houses this venerable movement was crafted with the utmost respect for the original design. It was important to me that the new case protects the movement and showcases its beauty. This marriage watch is fitted with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which allows an unobstructed view of the dial and is paired with a VOELEN alligator strap.

The back of the watch is equally important to me.

Hamilton 918 Marriage Watch Exhibition Caseback

I like an exhibition case back, a common feature in marriage watches, which allows me to admire the intricate workings of the Caliber 918. Every time I flip the watch over, I'm greeted by the mesmerizing oscillation of the balance wheel and the steady progression of the gears. It's a visual symphony that never ceases to amaze me.

Are Marriage Watches Collectable?

Collecting marriage watches is not just about owning a piece of history.

It's also about appreciating the craftsmanship that went into these movements. Marriage watches come with a story and often display a high level of traditional craftsmanship. It's a craft that, in some cases, has been enhanced with modern-day techniques to create a watch that honors its roots while standing strong in the present day.

Marriage watches are not for everyone.

Serious collectors tend to show little interest in marriage watches, meaning they often hold little in resale value. But for enthusiasts like me, the value of a marriage watch is not in its potential for resale; it's in the joy it brings and the story it tells. I just like the history.

When considering adding a marriage watch to your collection, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, the authenticity and condition of the movement are paramount. It's essential to ensure the movement is in good working order and properly serviced. These antique movements should be serviced and restored before casing them in the new case.

Secondly, the quality of the case and how well it complements the movement should be carefully evaluated. A well-crafted case can enhance the overall appeal of the watch, making it a cherished item in any collection.

Final Thoughts

Marriage watches are a niche but fascinating area of watch collecting.

They embody a creative way to preserve and enjoy antique watch movements in a modern setting. While they may not be the focus of every collector, they offer a unique perspective on the evolution of watchmaking and the enduring appeal of mechanical timepieces.

When I wear my Hamilton Caliber 918 marriage watch, I'm not just telling the time; I'm carrying a piece of history on my wrist.

It's a conversation starter, a work of art, and a personal treasure all rolled into one. For those who appreciate the romance of blending the old with the new, a marriage watch is the perfect addition to your collection.

Thanks for reading.

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