Very rare Hamilton “Byrd” men’s Streamline Moderne design wristwatch in solid 14K yellow gold, circa 1933.

The “Byrd” is one of the most sought-after Hamilton wristwatches due to its great rarity and association with the golden age of aviation and exploration. A mere 285 examples were produced in 14K yellow gold and they are rarely offered for sale. Housing the unique 19-jewel grade 401 rectangular movement, the “Byrd” was part of a series of watches named for famous explorers, in this case for U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr. (1888 to 1957), who at the time was believed to be the first to reach the North Pole by aircraft, in 1926. Byrd’s co-pilot on that flight was U.S. Navy Machinist Floyd Bennett, for whom Hamilton also named a wristwatch. The two men were each awarded a rare peacetime Congressional Medal of Honor for their efforts and Byrd was promoted to the rank of Commander by a special Act of Congress in late 1926. Byrd was also awarded the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross, and was again promoted by Congress to Rear Admiral in late 1929. Byrd also received the Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution in 1929, named for Samuel Langley, for Hamilton also named a gold wristwatch that same year. The "Byrd" was an extraordinarily expensive wristwatch for the Great Depression, and was priced to consumers at $140.00 in 1933. The large, modern-styled case was produced by the obscure Perrin Watch Case Co. of New York. This example is in excellent condition showing only slight wear. The beveled case edges and lugs edges are still distinct. The caseback is excellent, with a monogram. The case measures 40mm long by 27mm wide. Refinished dial is excellent. Has new acrylic crystal. This watch is powered by its correct 19-jewel Hamilton grade 401 manual wind movement, just serviced and running strong.

Price $5,000.