Bonus Vintage Post from Will Roseman

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Bonus Vintage Post from Will Roseman

Post by koimaster » January 20th 2010, 7:56am

Joe DiMaggio is as much a part of Americana as Hamilton is - both represent the best of American culture and refinement and both served as the finest examples of American excellence. As such, I find it only befitting that the Hamilton Seneca* below was Joltin' Joe's favorite wristwatch and it was a watch that he wore with great pride (you can see the watch on his wrist in the picture below - I have more pictures if anyone is interested). During his career, Mr. DiMaggio received over fifty wristwatches, some as gifts, many as awards or presentations - but this watch meant something more to him, according to his grand-daughters, it was one of Mr. DiMaggio's favorite watches and he kept this watch in his jewelry box up until the day that he died.

This watch had particular significance for Joe as there were three things that the "Yankee Clipper" was particularly proud of - this Catholic faith, his Italian heritage and his working-class up-bringing. "Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio" was raised by his Sicilian parents in San Francisco and was named "Giuseppe" after his father and "Paolo" after Saint Paul, his father's favorite saint. Joe's father was a fisherman as were previous DiMaggio's before him though Joe had no liking for the profession. Thankfully, his talent with a ball and bat saved him from a fishing career but Joe never forgot where he came from; so when the St. Raphael's Holy Name Society presented him this 14K gold Hamilton Seneca, he took particular pride in knowing that it came from an Italian congregation from the Italian fishing village of Bridgeport, Conn.

On September 19th 1937 Joe traveled all the way up to Bridgeport Connecticut to meet the congregation of Saint Raphael and the Saint Raphael's boy's baseball team. He took the team back with him to Yankee stadium where they were given the honor of watching Joe at his best. He was heard saying that it was "one of his proudest nights in the stadium" and that "his greatest wish was to live up to these boys expectations." Just prior to the game, the team made a special presentation to Joe in the presence of tens of thousands of fans - the Hamilton Seneca. I had the privilege of interviewing an individual who assisted in the presentation to him and though he was well into his eighties, he remembers it as one of the most exciting times in his life. He told me that the Hamilton was chosen because it was considered the finest watch made at the time and they had it engraved in his honor. The team members contributed to the watch's purchase and this kind gesture struck a note with Joe as it reminded him of himself as a boy and he told them that he "would wear the watch as a reminder of where he came from and the sacrifice of this parents and all Italian immigrants that came to this country for a better life."


* The Seneca was offered as one of a new series of 14K solid gold Hamilton's containing the newly introduced 982 19 jewel movement. This new design series was constructed "curved to fit the wrist" and even included a unique curved dial construction. Of the solid gold "first generation" models to utilize the 982 19-jewel movement, the Seneca holds the longest production record. Originally named "Seneca," Hamilton changed the name of this model to "Sherwood" shortly after release. There are no existing Hamilton records which indicate the reason for the name change.

PS - I am writing an article about the watch and it's presentation for the NAWCC Bulletin and will post the article here once completed (if allowed, I am not sure what the rules are regarding the posting of complete articles here).


“Your heart was warm and happy

With the lilt of Irish laughter

Every day and in every way

Now forever and ever after."
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