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Hi,

In the new edition of Forbes Life magazine, they have an awesome article that discusses why some automatic watches cost $500 and others cost $50,000. They attributed the difference in price to the amount of finishing effort on the movement. In fact, they categorize watches by Basic Finish, Machine Finish, and Hand Finish. The most expense watches do hand finishing on the movement.

Does anyone know the type of finishing effort on Hamilton watches?
 

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Every modern Swiss manufactured Hamilton wristwatch I've seen has basically an unfinished movement with the exception of the rotor.

Original Lancaster made Hamilton watches have very nicely finished movements.
 

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Great article thanks for the link - it's true that the price is affected not only by the extent of finishing but also whether or not a certain watch brand is "hot" at the moment. A good example is probably Panerai - a brand that was relatively unknown until the Italian Stallion bought a few and gave one to the Terminator - at least that's what Wikipedia said ;-)
 

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This reminds me of a question I've always had. Does the amount of finishing/decoration serve a purely aesthetic function as the name seems to imply? Or does it provide a mechanical benefit as well? In other words, is a "hand finished" movement any more accurate or durable than the completely unfinished base movement, or does it just look nicer?
 

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This reminds me of a question I've always had. Does the amount of finishing/decoration serve a purely aesthetic function as the name seems to imply? Or does it provide a mechanical benefit as well? In other words, is a "hand finished" movement any more accurate or durable than the completely unfinished base movement, or does it just look nicer?
Yes, the finish on a movement is purely for aesthetic purposes. I've never known the finish on any of my watches' movements to affect their reliability or accuracy. In fact, some of the most accurate movements that I own are the ones that are least pleasurable to look at (i.e. the Miyota 8215). A totally unfinished movement, but it runs like amazingly well, and many of the watches that I have with this movement keep time as well or better than my ETA 2824's or Sellita SW200's.

I will say, though, that personally, I find a finished movement to be one of the most beautiful forms of art, especially a hand finished one. Take this Valjoux 7751 for example:

http://www.swissmade-watches.com/ebay/movements/val7751_lux/VALJOUX_7751_lux.jpg

I don't know about you, but I would gladly pay double or triple the cost of a standard, unfinished Valjoux 7751 to be able to have that in my watch. :)
 
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