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Here is a recent acquision. Can someone tell me more regarding its age and use. I would love to know more about the rear markings like a serial number range of how many of these were produced. I would love to see any other member examples for comparison. Thank you all, hope you all had a great holiday.
In its box. I do not think the case is original though.
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Sergeant at Arms
|IHC Member 1335|
I'm hovering around trying to figure out how to get me one-or even this one-she's a real beauty
That is a beautiful watch in exceptional condition, Michael!
I do not have much information, but I believe it is called a Torpedo Boat Watch and would have been used on a smaller U.S. Naval vessel such as a Torpedo Boat or a Patrol Boat. The N and O monogram on the back of the case stands for U.S Naval Observatory which created the specifications for these in 1904 and with various updates they were made and used up through the second world war era.
Yours would likely be somewhere after 1913. Whitney refers to a pair that were tested and accepted by the U.S. Naval Observatory in 1913 that had movement numbers 2,975,236 and 2,975,672 which had Naval Observatory serial numbers 4,019 and 4,054 respectively. Given the movement and N.O. serial numbers on yours are later, but not too much so, my guess is they are slightly later but I would not know by how much other than the number of movements made by Longines and the number of chronometer watches purchased by the N.O. for the Navy indicated by the later serial numbers.
Whitney also illustrates the carrying box this should be in - a padded mahogany or rosewood box with the logo "Longines / 7 Grand Prix" printed on the lining on the inside of the lid. He also illustrates one of these in the standard 3 level gimballed box which apparently is how they were mounted on the boat.
Hopefully someone else will be able to add some more on your really nice new timepiece.
Beautiful piece...Go on Tom, show him what case it was meant to be in
My WWW collection is now complete, time to look for new ventures!
Thank you Scott, Tom, Jim and Werner. I would love to see the original and intended deck box for this watch. Mine will have to sufice for the timebeing.
Jim thanks again for all the interesting information.
I must appologize if this watch has been previously covered in a topic posted on IHC 185. I will attempt to locate one and attatch the link to combine both topics. I would love more imput, information and photos related to this timepiece. Thank you all.
Does anyone have an idea or estimate of the worth of these timepieces. I will attatch a few links of others for sale. Are these prices accurate?
Thanks Tom for the link!
I have been doing a little research on the correct carrying case for this watch. One example I have seen is just like mine BUT.....there is an outer carrying case that accompanies it. Shame, I just had one in my possesion recently!!!
If someone can figure out how to make the photo larger that would be great.
Here is another style deck box for this watch:
Here is another style as well:
See # 43 in the picture.
In my opinion I think I may have the original deck box but missing the outer carrying one. On the hunt now!!!!
Here is some interesting information I just obtained from the Longines Museum curator regarding this watch:
"Dear Mr. Payant,
Thanks for your email and interest into Longines watches.
For your information, Mr Krebs is now on retirement and I have the pleasure to give answers about vintage Longines watches.
So, following your request, please find here below the information I found in our old hand-written registers :
The serial number 2'978'036 identifies a deckwatch in silver.
It is fitted with a Longines manufacture caliber 21.29 that was first produced in 1910.
It was invoiced to Longines-Wittnauer Watch C°, who were for many years our agent for the USA, on the 29.07.1919.
Hoping this information is convenient to you, I remain at your entire disposal for any additional information you may require.
I wonder given the date of sale in 1919 if this watch or movement was produced years earlier and held for a future buyer. Every resource I have checked dates this movement from 1912-1914. I have posed this question to Ms. Bochud and I hope I get a responce. I am already thrilled with the information she has so graciously given.
May anyone here have an answer to that question?
According to Whitney, the correct carrying case for these Longines torpedo boat watches is the one shown as #43 in your photo. It is called a three tier box and you can see part of the 'Longines / 7 Grand Prix' marking on the silk lining in the top in the photo peeking through the circular cutout in the middle tier. The green felt lined case yours is now in seems to be a very nice and sturdy case to keep it safe, but by comparing it to the one in figure 43 in your photo, it does not seem to be a part of the original three tier case these were supplied in.
I think it is possible that these deck watches may have had a variety or at least a few different style deck boxes through its military service life. I have seen two other examples (total of 3 now) of the Longines torpedo boat (T.B.W.) watch with my style case. As you mentioned in an earlier post these watches were used up and through the WWII era. It may have been possible the watches were kept in use but the deck boxes were upgraded or changed to suit the military’s needs at that moment. What would happen if the original 3 tiered deck box was damaged? It may have been given a more modern replacement to match other deck watches or chronometer deck boxes being used during that time.
As we get closer to the WWII era we see inner and outer carrying boxes such as for the Hamilton Model 22 Chronometer Watch. The two inner watch boxes (Longines vs. Hamilton 22) are similar but not the same as I am able to compare them both in hand at this moment.
Also, I think we must keep an open mind that not one book or person has all the answers or can possibly list all varieties of timepieces and accessories throughout their military service history originally issued or not. I do know that one supposed world renowned military watch expert, that has published several books on the subject by the way (quite expensive ones I might add), has been proven wrong time and time again. These mistakes were found by one of our own IHC 185 members which is something I do not care to continue on with at this moment. I think we can accept the fact as military watch collectors is that anything is possible in this field of horology in military history.
My example having not even seen WWI action and probably not even placed into military hands until 1920 or even 1921 may have been issued an upgraded or different style deck box than what is ordinarily recognized as the correct original. Or, maybe like mentioned above it was still in service during WWII and was issued deck boxes to compare to what was being used during that era. I am sure we will never know but we must keep our minds open to the possibility. I would be the first one to suggest my box not to be original as I actually did when I first posted pictures of it. But after some research and finding 2 other examples and comparing similar deck boxes of that era I am not to sure now.
Here is another example of the Longines US Navy deck watch in an inner deck box like mine. Obviously the outer case shown is not in my collection as of yet. I have attached a link with more information for all to view. Regards, M
You make excellent points, Michael. Especially about the fact that these torpedo boat watches were being used over several decades and during that time they were likely transferred from one carrying case to another as the cases were worn out and replaced, and as new suppliers of replacement cases were contracted during all of that time. I am sure there was no one in the services who was thinking about eventual collectors 70 years in the future and their desire to have everything 'all original' as it was delivered by the company. They were just keeping these serviceable over the years. My guess is these were mostly made in the first decade, such as your example and they came in those three tier boxes, but that over time they acquired a number of other 'official' boxes.
As for Whitney as a reference, I agree that there is no way for anyone to be infallible and I am constantly frustrated by his lack of details that I would really like to know, but on the other hand, unlike many other researchers and writers, he was there in the day and had direct access to the official files and examples of the timepieces. His book is a summary of that so I normally place more confidence in what he says than others who have come later. But that is all part of the fun of the hobby, the quest to figure out the history of these really nice and well made timepieces when all we have is tantalizing and incomplete information with often conflicting sources.
Do you know what would make this Longines deck watch research full circle is getting the US Naval Observatory's time trial records for this watch. So I did a quick Google search and was able to view a few "Google books" online. I was able to find a few "Annual Reports of the Naval Observatory" in the general time period they were conducting time trials on these Torpedo Boat Watches. It was very interesing but tedious to locate time trials as they actually list each timepiece separatly by brand name then by serial number or even by the "N" in "O" mark already given to the timepiece in a privious trial.
The scans are not too great and quality is bad but there is some good information there. I was able to view about 30-40 different Longines T.B.W. time trial results. Not my particular example unfortunatly. What I did learn in reading quickly through the reports is that it is stated most American made T.B.W. and chronometers were substandard and up to the same level of dependability as Swiss manufacturers. I saw a few (like 2 or 3) Hamilton examples but not more than that. Also is that the cleaning and calibration of these timepieces was begining to be reverted back to the original manufactuer or subbed out contracted work. Already back then between 1911 and 1920's is was becoming a burden to accomodate all the timepieces' cleaning and repair. It was quite interesting.
This promted me to contact the USNO and this was their responce:
I get this question quite frequently, and I wish I could provide you with more information.
From 1830 - 1950 the Observatory rated every chronometer in the U.S. Navy inventory, but by 1950 there were simply too many clocks for the limited capacity of our instrument shop. The rating activity was transferred to the instrument division at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard at that time, with all clocks and associated records passing out of our hands by 1951. The subsequent disposition of those records is something you'd need to get from NNS. It is possible that they are in the National Archives, but I simply don't know. You might try contacting the NNS Public Affairs office at 757-396-9550.
Regards, xxxxx xxxxxx"
This promted me to contact the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and I spoke with the historian there and he was perplexed as he has never heard or seen any of these records. He asked I send him an email with information regarding the USNO time trials of T.B.W.'s and chronometers and photos of the timepeice in question. This was his responce:
"What a beautiful instrument.
I am familiar with the Torpedo Boats and their role here at Norfolk WW I era.
I shall establish an open file for your project as promised. Please feel free to follow-up but again hope would be slim but miracles do happen..."
So I guess I am back to square one with this research. Do you or anyone know more about obtaining USNO records on time trials during this era. Does anyone know how to access information from the National Archives. I know this is a large amount of work for such a small bit of information but it IS interesting and we are taxpayers by the way. If anyone has any ideas or more information for me it would be great. Regards to all!
Michael, I congratulate you for your thoughroness. This is what collecting mil-watches is all about.
You are becoming more and more proficient as you go along, well done for being so persistant, wanting to get to the bottom of things! If only there were more collectors like yourself, then there would be less half informed, half made up or "hear say" copy and paste information available on the net...Keep up the good work!
My WWW collection is now complete, time to look for new ventures!
The 'National Archives' has their headquarters in Washington, D.C., but they also have a couple of facilities in other places like Alaska, Georgia, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Texas, California, Missouri, Kansas, New York, Pennsylvania, etc. Different facilities can get microfilms from the others, but they tend to hold different parts of the overall collection. I have done research at a couple of their facilities. They are very welcoming, and all you need to do is find out which one will have the material you need, go there, register as a researcher and learn the rules you must follow as a researcher, such as how to ask for documents and show you will treat them properly to safeguard them for future generations. The public is not allowed in the areas where the actual documents are kept - you must use microfilm catalogs to find the reference to what you want, you give it to the librarians, and several times a day they take those requests that have piled up from all of the researchers and they go and pull them for you. When you are done with the material, you return it to the librarians and they are the ones who put it back in the stacks.
The National Archives will not do the research for you - they don't have the budget for a staff of such researchers - they operate on a shoe string budget since Congress really does keep federal government agencies budgets to a minimum, especially agencies that are not high profile like the Archives. You either need to go their facilities and do your own research, or they can help you find a local professional researcher who you can privately contract to do your research. They do have a couple of librarians who float around who can give you some advice on how to research things, but there are not many of them and they are trying to do this for the large number of people who use the Archives so they can only provide brief and basic advice to each person who asks for their help.
My suggestion is to call around first, starting with the main office in Washington, D.C. to find out if they actually do have these records somewhere in the collection, and if so which center you should go to for them. Do not be surprised if they come back to say they do not have the records. Many people think the Archives has a copy of every government paper that was ever written and that is not the case. They only have what has been given to them and too often such records are incomplete or may have been destroyed at some time in history before the Archives ever got them. For example, if you want an effort in frustration, try getting miltary serviceman records from WW 1 and even WW 2. About 80% of the Army personnel records for those discharged between 1912 and 1960 were lost in a huge fire that destroyed the Archives Missouri facility in 1973 which is where they were kept.
It is definitely worth a try though. Here is a link to a good place to start in contacting the main headquarters of the National Archives
Thank you for the last post as it gives me an idea where to start. I have the feeling I will be looking for a long time. Well, what else do I have to do right! Just kidding, we all lead busy lives and love the distraction from time to time. Thanks again for all you help.
No! Thank you Werner for all your wonderful information and timepieces you have shown from your museum. I would love to be the curator of my own museum someday. You and everyone here at 185 have been a great help and a wealth of knowledge especially Jim Hester, Tom Brunton, Burt Cifrulak a special “brother” of mine, Scott Whittey, Mason Stewart, Gerd Hoermedinger and Mr. Crockett of course.
Also I would personally like to thank YOU Werner for all your charitable donations to the honorable and hard working people of the Russian Federation and Greece. I sure you understand what importance your donations have made and the point I am trying to make! Cheers to all!
I am sure most of us have seen it already but here is another example for auction or sale on eBay at this time. Quite the piece with a hefty asking price as well. Regards all. M
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