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Discussion Starter #1
My mom does estate sales and knows I'm into watches, but I've never been a vintage guy. Anyway, she said she had something for me; apparently she was cleaning out her safe and had forgotten that this was in there from probably 10 years ago.

Anyway, it's made by Hilton Watch Co, marked Swiss and 17 Jewels. A bit of Google tells me this is a Venus Cal 188 (1949 to 1966) and I'm guessing 1950's. Case and back are solid 18K gold and the inner back is base metal. The watch winds up and runs very well. I can't get it to the second because it's not a hacking movement and it's hard to work with my one year old grabbing at everything. Anyway, it's keeping accurate time after 24 hours.

It was on a cheap and frankly, ugly, Speidel expand-o-band or something which I'll try to sell for a few bucks. I ordered a crocodile strap and a deployment to put it on. The plexi crystal is crazed pretty badly and I don't know if it's OK to replace this or if I need to keep it on - that's one thing I'd like help with. The dial is in really great shape, though the lume is missing from about half of the markers.

Not worried about valuation since I think I'll keep it though 34 mm is pretty small for my wrist. The fact that it's solid 18K makes it worth well more than she paid for it.

Any information that you might be able to provide me would be helpful. I should have cleaned it before I took pictures, it's looking better after wiping up the dirt shown here.

Hilton_1 (564x423).jpg
Hilton_2.jpg
Hilton_3 (564x423).jpg
Hilton_4 (564x423).jpg
 

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That's a very nice watch you have there.
Here is the info Mikrolisk has on the Hilton Watch Co.
Mikrolisk - The horological trade mark index

I do not think there is any lume as such, it might have been paint on the markers from its being refinished. The pitched Dauphine hands are not lumed, and the markers at each hour do not look the type for it either, though I may be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the information. I think that you are correct on the lume; this must be decorative paint flaking rather than lume.

It's dawned on me in looking for information on this company that the watches must not be avidly collected, else there would be more information out there. No matter, I'm still enjoying it immensely and am looking forward to getting it on the new band.

One question about the crystal. It's in bad shape. Is there any downside to replacing it, assuming this is a standard part that I can find easily?
 

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Crystals are readily replaced without reducing value much. The exception would be branded crystals (e.g. Omega with a tiny Omega symbol in the middle over the hands). As long as the new one is the same material as the old one (matters more for sapphire crystals in more modern watches, don't replace with a mineraly crystal!), you should be OK.

Hartmut Richter
 

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And treat the watch (and yourself!) to a dark tan alligator strap, this will transform your watch almost as much as a new crystal.

Bob.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks bobbee...I ordered a crocodile strap (dark tan!) two days ago along with a gold-tone deployment clasp. It's coming from CA so will probably be here by the end of the week.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
OK, so I popped the bezel/crystal off and measured it. 31.0 mm wide and 3.2mm thick. The bottom edge has just the slightest bit of bevel to it. I'm searching all over but I have no idea what size to buy. Seems like most of the 31 mm that I find are under 3 mm thick, and the 'high dome' are near 4 mm thick. Can anybody school me on crystal sizing, or point me to somewhere that I can figure out which one to order (and from where - I was looking at eBay.)

Here's some photos...the crystal just presses into the bezel from the top, which then presses into the case.

Crystal_1.jpg


Crystal_2.jpg
Crystal_3.jpg
 
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