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Why can't all G10 watches be like this!

#21
One thing that always puzzled me.
During WWII the Swiss made watch movements for both sides. In which case, how did they ship out the movements for the allies during hostilities?
 
#22
I had recently found out that my godfather (ex-reg RTR) whilst as a TA RE Sgt was issued this gem in 1970 which he still has to this day:


View attachment 332229 View attachment 332230

I can appreciate that 'back in the day' there were a lot of Swiss movement watches still in circulation and many probably had filtered down to TA unit stores, however, this one is a bit special.
After a (surprisingly) quick bit of research I found that it was a one-off run made in 1953 for the RAF to be issued to pilots and navigators and was one of the very first UK military watches to have it's dial marked with tritium.
Apparently this was done because the WWII era watches which contained radium had been discovered to be unnervingly radioactive when stored in bulk!
Only 5900 were ever made and are now highly sought after by collectors.
Sort of makes my old quartz CWC look rather feeble.
The big mystery for me is how these rather nice RAF watches made it into a small RE TA unit stores when surely there were enough army purchased watches to go around?
My BQMS in my TA (RA) unit offered me an Omega just like that (in 1964?) He had discovered he had about 12 in stock, and offered them to all the senior NCOs and us officers. He strongly hinted that if lost on exercise, we would only have to pay about £15 for the loss.
I never took him up on that, but I wish I had now.
 
#23
One thing that always puzzled me.
During WWII the Swiss made watch movements for both sides. In which case, how did they ship out the movements for the allies during hostilities?
Maybe this is of interest?

From The Economics of Neutrality: Spain, Sweden and Switzerland in the Second World War by Eric Golson.

Watches, Timepieces and Detonators for the Allies:

No previous studies have resolved the importance of Swiss precision timepieces for the US and the Allies. Whether for Army, Navy, Air Force or even Special Forces, watches and timepieces allow for the accurate coordination and synchronization of units; they also provide precise timing for navigation and devices such as detonators. During the Second World War, the American and British watch industries were not sufficiently developed to offer such precision in the mass quantities required by their war effort. The principal source for such precision timepieces was Switzerland. Allied watch requirements versus availability demanded the rationing of timepieces, with allocations of military supplies typically only to officers and enlisted men, who needed watches to perform their duties.

This rationing was a direct result of shortages of accurate and precision timepieces in the Allied sphere; acquiring extra precision timepieces was a priority amongst Allied economic planners. Correspondence from the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC indicates that the US authorities were confiscating Swiss watches destined for other North and South American countries, including other Allies, in order to boost their own supplies. They did this despite American and British complaints about similar German tactics throughout this period.

Swiss watches purchased by the United States and other American countries were considered priority exports. They were typically taken to Portugal or the UK. From there, they were flown to the East Coast of the US for onward shipment in the Americas. Available correspondence suggests that, during 1943 and 1944, watches destined for other American countries, both Allies and neutrals, were confiscated at the US ports while awaiting onward shipment.

Table 4.12: United States Imports of Swiss Watches and Movements, 1942‐1944 (in thousands) Year Total Swiss Exports Net United States Imports As a % of total Swiss Exports

1942 13,958 5,293 38%
1943 14,533 7,994 55%
1944 11,838 6,500 54%
Sources: NARA RG107/160/929, folder marked “Watches for Post Exchange,” memo dated 3 May 1945. Notes: includes both finished watches and movements.

A 1944 memo quoting the Chief of the Clock and Watch Unit of the War Production Board provides new statistics for the number of Swiss watches that actually reached the US. Whereas official Swiss statistics indicate that the Americans purchased 28% of Swiss watch exports in 1942, American import figures put the levels considerably higher.

As seen in Table 4.12, at the peak of Swiss wartime export production in 1943, the US was absorbing nearly 8 million of the 14.5 million watches and movements produced; this equates to just over 55% of Swiss exports, compared with the official figure of 35%. Similar differences were recorded in 1942 and 1944. Switzerland was the main American supplier, with an estimated 33 million watches sent to the United States during the war, over two‐thirds of American supplies.566 But even after diverting Swiss watches from other destinations, the rate of imports could not satisfy American demand.

Army correspondence indicates annual shortages in millions throughout 1942‐1944.567 Unfortunately, because of a lack of specific data it is difficult to know exactly how many watches the United States expropriated from third‐party neutrals.
 
#24
e strongly hinted that if lost on exercise, we would only have to pay about £15 for the loss.
In the late 70s, our CQMS hinted similarly but the "about" was worrying - something to do with the cost of replacement at the time of loss so it could be considerably more. At £15, that was more than 2 days' pay so we all stuck with new-fangled digital watches that cost £5 and kept much better time.
 
#25
In the late 70s, our CQMS hinted similarly but the "about" was worrying - something to do with the cost of replacement at the time of loss so it could be considerably more. At £15, that was more than 2 days' pay so we all stuck with new-fangled digital watches that cost £5 and kept much better time.
But not as kool.
 
#26
I managed to wear one home in about 1993, and thought that I had cracked it. I would have gotten away with it too if it wasnt for that pesky PSI and the sign stuff out book.
 
#27
Maybe this is of interest?

From The Economics of Neutrality: Spain, Sweden and Switzerland in the Second World War by Eric Golson.

Watches, Timepieces and Detonators for the Allies:

No previous studies have resolved the importance of Swiss precision timepieces for the US and the Allies. Whether for Army, Navy, Air Force or even Special Forces, watches and timepieces allow for the accurate coordination and synchronization of units; they also provide precise timing for navigation and devices such as detonators. During the Second World War, the American and British watch industries were not sufficiently developed to offer such precision in the mass quantities required by their war effort. The principal source for such precision timepieces was Switzerland. Allied watch requirements versus availability demanded the rationing of timepieces, with allocations of military supplies typically only to officers and enlisted men, who needed watches to perform their duties.

This rationing was a direct result of shortages of accurate and precision timepieces in the Allied sphere; acquiring extra precision timepieces was a priority amongst Allied economic planners. Correspondence from the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC indicates that the US authorities were confiscating Swiss watches destined for other North and South American countries, including other Allies, in order to boost their own supplies. They did this despite American and British complaints about similar German tactics throughout this period.

Swiss watches purchased by the United States and other American countries were considered priority exports. They were typically taken to Portugal or the UK. From there, they were flown to the East Coast of the US for onward shipment in the Americas. Available correspondence suggests that, during 1943 and 1944, watches destined for other American countries, both Allies and neutrals, were confiscated at the US ports while awaiting onward shipment.

Table 4.12: United States Imports of Swiss Watches and Movements, 1942‐1944 (in thousands) Year Total Swiss Exports Net United States Imports As a % of total Swiss Exports

1942 13,958 5,293 38%
1943 14,533 7,994 55%
1944 11,838 6,500 54%
Sources: NARA RG107/160/929, folder marked “Watches for Post Exchange,” memo dated 3 May 1945. Notes: includes both finished watches and movements.

A 1944 memo quoting the Chief of the Clock and Watch Unit of the War Production Board provides new statistics for the number of Swiss watches that actually reached the US. Whereas official Swiss statistics indicate that the Americans purchased 28% of Swiss watch exports in 1942, American import figures put the levels considerably higher.

As seen in Table 4.12, at the peak of Swiss wartime export production in 1943, the US was absorbing nearly 8 million of the 14.5 million watches and movements produced; this equates to just over 55% of Swiss exports, compared with the official figure of 35%. Similar differences were recorded in 1942 and 1944. Switzerland was the main American supplier, with an estimated 33 million watches sent to the United States during the war, over two‐thirds of American supplies.566 But even after diverting Swiss watches from other destinations, the rate of imports could not satisfy American demand.

Army correspondence indicates annual shortages in millions throughout 1942‐1944.567 Unfortunately, because of a lack of specific data it is difficult to know exactly how many watches the United States expropriated from third‐party neutrals.
Slight thread drift... a story from my brother, who spent many years in the watch trade.

There has long been a problem with counterfeit watches. The Swiss decided some years ago to do something about it and set up a committee to address the problem. But they couldn’t work out how new designs were being leaked to the counterfeiters so quickly.

It turned out that the culprit was the head of the committee set up to address the issue.

No criminal charges, no fuss. The Swiss being the Swiss paid said culprit a large sum of money to retire and never darken the industry’s door again.

Nice work if you can get it.
 
#28
Good luck, his unit was canned under Options For Change :)
Was the option, to continue without any stores due to theft or close?
 
#29
Indeed, but consider the OGps of the era - 20 blokes with digital watches, all telling the same time, having to reset their watches every day because the Colonel giving the time check had a mechanical G10 watch that lost a couple of minutes a day.

At the end of a fortnight, you'd think you were almost in a different time zone.
 
#30
Indeed, but consider the OGps of the era - 20 blokes with digital watches, all telling the same time, having to reset their watches every day because the Colonel giving the time check had a mechanical G10 watch that lost a couple of minutes a day.

At the end of a fortnight, you'd think you were almost in a different time zone.
Yup, digital watches are great for accuracy, but hopeless for quick hacking.
And lets face it. Analogue watches are classy.
 
#31
Maybe this is of interest?

From The Economics of Neutrality: Spain, Sweden and Switzerland in the Second World War by Eric Golson.

Watches, Timepieces and Detonators for the Allies:

No previous studies have resolved the importance of Swiss precision timepieces for the US and the Allies. Whether for Army, Navy, Air Force or even Special Forces, watches and timepieces allow for the accurate coordination and synchronization of units; they also provide precise timing for navigation and devices such as detonators. During the Second World War, the American and British watch industries were not sufficiently developed to offer such precision in the mass quantities required by their war effort. The principal source for such precision timepieces was Switzerland. Allied watch requirements versus availability demanded the rationing of timepieces, with allocations of military supplies typically only to officers and enlisted men, who needed watches to perform their duties.

This rationing was a direct result of shortages of accurate and precision timepieces in the Allied sphere; acquiring extra precision timepieces was a priority amongst Allied economic planners. Correspondence from the Swiss Embassy in Washington DC indicates that the US authorities were confiscating Swiss watches destined for other North and South American countries, including other Allies, in order to boost their own supplies. They did this despite American and British complaints about similar German tactics throughout this period.

Swiss watches purchased by the United States and other American countries were considered priority exports. They were typically taken to Portugal or the UK. From there, they were flown to the East Coast of the US for onward shipment in the Americas. Available correspondence suggests that, during 1943 and 1944, watches destined for other American countries, both Allies and neutrals, were confiscated at the US ports while awaiting onward shipment.

Table 4.12: United States Imports of Swiss Watches and Movements, 1942‐1944 (in thousands) Year Total Swiss Exports Net United States Imports As a % of total Swiss Exports

1942 13,958 5,293 38%
1943 14,533 7,994 55%
1944 11,838 6,500 54%
Sources: NARA RG107/160/929, folder marked “Watches for Post Exchange,” memo dated 3 May 1945. Notes: includes both finished watches and movements.

A 1944 memo quoting the Chief of the Clock and Watch Unit of the War Production Board provides new statistics for the number of Swiss watches that actually reached the US. Whereas official Swiss statistics indicate that the Americans purchased 28% of Swiss watch exports in 1942, American import figures put the levels considerably higher.

As seen in Table 4.12, at the peak of Swiss wartime export production in 1943, the US was absorbing nearly 8 million of the 14.5 million watches and movements produced; this equates to just over 55% of Swiss exports, compared with the official figure of 35%. Similar differences were recorded in 1942 and 1944. Switzerland was the main American supplier, with an estimated 33 million watches sent to the United States during the war, over two‐thirds of American supplies.566 But even after diverting Swiss watches from other destinations, the rate of imports could not satisfy American demand.

Army correspondence indicates annual shortages in millions throughout 1942‐1944.567 Unfortunately, because of a lack of specific data it is difficult to know exactly how many watches the United States expropriated from third‐party neutrals.

Rolex used to sell watches to Allied POWs and trust them to pay up after the war had finished.


Found: A Magnificent World War II Rolex 3525 And The Story Of The RAF Officer Who Wore It
 
#32
but hopeless for quick hacking.
A button press to set the seconds and adjust the minutes at leisure? Compared with stopping your watch before the OGp because the time check would give you 10 seconds notice of a change that might need more than a minute to complete - and while you fiddle with the minutes, you might inadvertently lose your seconds.
 
#33
FWIW I bought an Omega Chronostop ( drivers watch) in the Naafi at St Tonis in 1969. Still got it. I think it cost about £10. Had it cleaned about five years ago. Whenever people see it they want to buy it:-D.
 
#34
I take your point. But, for the Rolex it was a build request out of the ordinary as it is not standard on their Sub's.
Yeah your are right my g10 and Seiko pilot all have solid pins whereas my Rolex sub does not. Rolexes as you know also have drilled lugs (I think that's what they are called) so the mod cases are significantly different to civilian ones.
 
#35
Indeed, but consider the OGps of the era - 20 blokes with digital watches, all telling the same time, having to reset their watches every day because the Colonel giving the time check had a mechanical G10 watch that lost a couple of minutes a day.

At the end of a fortnight, you'd think you were almost in a different time zone.
I've got a very hazy memory of attending a Brigade O-Group when my BC inquired of the Brig, will you accept Gunner Time?

At the time I thought who is Gunner Time, and why would the Brigadier want him.
 
#36
Yup, digital watches are great for accuracy, but hopeless for quick hacking.
And lets face it. Analogue watches are classy.
I was reading somewhere with all the yoof relying on their mobiles for everything that telling the time using analogue is slowly becoming a lost ability.
 
#37
Yeah your are right my g10 and Seiko pilot all have solid pins whereas my Rolex sub does not. Rolexes as you know also have drilled lugs (I think that's what they are called) so the mod cases are significantly different to civilian ones.
I stupidly gave away my G10 watch and a divers watch, you know what it's like when you get gizzits. Always fancied one of the official Seiko pilot watches, them's getting 'spensive nowadays too. I swapped the pins on my Rolex Sub for the stronger versions as I use a NATO strap - Factoid: Rolex call the NATO strap an 'Admiralty Strap'. They also charge around 45 quid for one instead of the few quid you can get them for on fleabay.
 
#38
Back in the 60's / 70's the SBS and Navy Clearance divers had an issue of speshully made Rolex Submariners. One of the features was that the pins that retain the strap were actually welded in and not springy thingy's - the idea being that a springy thing may, perhaps break and the watch fall to the depths mid-mission. They also have what are called Sword Hands, a minute bezel and some unique engraving on the rear.

These things were issued to many a Poole dweller at the time ........... and do you know the amount of blokes who had to tab the boards for loss of kit (the watch) and pay the amount (and claim back on kit insurance) was astounding. These things rarely come up for sale and if they do they are considered to be one of the shiniest of shiney things by collectors with serious wonga.

This one went for 55,000quids BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | £55,000 clocked up for rare Rolex so hang onto yer dad's watch, you never know.
Some tool in Sydney reckons he has got one. They really are worth big big money.

The problem is this tool has faked his. He is claiming he bought it of a SF guy who transferred out here. The watch has an engraving on the back, but the spring bars are not correct - someone has just soldered in what looks like cut off nails - and the name on the back is a dead giveaway. No one ever engraved s name on them for obvious reasons.

The same guy was caught faking a rare Panerai a couple of years ago......
 
#39
Some tool in Sydney reckons he has got one. They really are worth big big money.

The problem is this tool has faked his. He is claiming he bought it of a SF guy who transferred out here. The watch has an engraving on the back, but the spring bars are not correct - someone has just soldered in what looks like cut off nails - and the name on the back is a dead giveaway. No one ever engraved s name on them for obvious reasons.

The same guy was caught faking a rare Panerai a couple of years ago......
Been to Singer's has he? There are a couple of bod's there that sell all the parts to convert a standard Sub into one of the 'lost' MilSub versions.

The real thing:


From: MILSUB ( MILITARY ISSUE ROLEX SUBMARINER )

'Spare Parts' for MilSub's ==> Raffles Store & Watch Dials - Page 1 - Raffles Dials
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
#40
Some tool in Sydney reckons he has got one. They really are worth big big money.

The problem is this tool has faked his. He is claiming he bought it of a SF guy who transferred out here. The watch has an engraving on the back, but the spring bars are not correct - someone has just soldered in what looks like cut off nails - and the name on the back is a dead giveaway. No one ever engraved s name on them for obvious reasons.

The same guy was caught faking a rare Panerai a couple of years ago......
Name ?
 

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