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RFC Aircraft Watches - Mark V Letter Codes "Click" to Login or Register 
posted
Your photos look great. This appears to be in excellent condition except as you say for the bow and the replaced crystal. Do you have in good running order?

Do not worry about not having the actual history of the watch. This is rarely the case as these were used as one size fits all in RFC/RAF aircraft of the Great War and they would be switched from one aircraft to the next as the aircraft of the day were only meant to last a few months before being replaced with the next more advanced model that were constantly coming along on both sides. Also, most of these that are identified tend to not have rock solid provenance as to being in a particular aircraft. Family stories are all to commonly jumbled as the decades go by and we are now at the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of the war so that is a great many decades. These are fun to own on the basis that they were used in the Great War which was the first large scale use of aircraft in combat. Previously aircraft had only been used in small ways in conflicts.
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
IHC Member 1892
posted
Yes, it is running fine after I replaced the mainspring. I have reservations about the crystal as it has a convex shape and I have read that they should be flat. One of the pics was an attempt to show this. Would you have an opinion as the weather it could be original or not. I could probably replace it but want to be sure I am not removing the correct one.
 
Posts: 322 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
posted
They are typically flat with a slight bevel, and they are glass, not plastic.
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
IHC Member 1892
posted
Thanks Jim; I am going to hold off for awhile. Not sure what I have here. Thank you for your help, John
 
Posts: 322 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
posted
Hi new to here but doing some research on my pocket watches

I've come across a Mark V
with dial markings
30 Hour
Luminous
Mark V
RSD 16/1/26

CB 5380

Original Flat Glass
needs some work though
The Balance staff is broken and so is the mainspring, these will be sorted in the next few weeks

was curious about the RSD ? and the date?
here are some pictures

Ken

 
Posts: 43 | Location: Kirkcaldy, Fife in the United Kingdom | Registered: January 26, 2014
IHC Member 1892
posted
Hi Ken: Welcome to IHC185. I am relativly new as well but have found the members very helpful with different problems. I also have a Mark V (see watch above yours). I dont know the answer re. the RSD and date but suspect it has something to do with a reissue of the watch on that date. ( I am sure someone with a lot more knowledge about this will join in when they have time). I wondered if you could add a couple of pics with a side profile of the crystal. I am not sure if mine is correct or not and have neverhad another in my hands to compare. I also had to replace the MS in my watch and finally found one in Europe. You may have an easier time finding one at home though. Good luck with the watch.
 
Posts: 322 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
posted
Hi john
Thanks for the welcome and info
I've added a side on picture the glass is flat and thankfully in very good condition
I may have a glass for this as my father is a retired watchmaker and he has boxes of pocket watch glasses, I'll have a look through and let you know

 
Posts: 43 | Location: Kirkcaldy, Fife in the United Kingdom | Registered: January 26, 2014
IHC Member 1892
posted
Hi Ken: Thanks for the response. I think from comparing the glass mine is a replacement. It has a smaller bevel and more curve than yours. It is also a Zenith so I would assume they would all be the same. If you could fine one that matches yours I would be interested, Thanks again. John
PS I assume you have read through this entire post.There is a lot of information in it but I am not sure if it mentions anything about the added letters and dates. I remember reading somewhere that some of the added nos. and dates indicated if the watch had been reissued. It would appear to me that most of the watches would have been reissued at some point as they were used for a long time. I am sure one of the resident expert will soon fill us in about this.
 
Posts: 322 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
posted
Hi John
yes I've had a browse through this post and thought as you say maybe a reissue or repair just wondered what the letters stood for..
might take me a couple of days to look through the glasses as there is a few large boxes will definitely keep you posted though.

Ken
 
Posts: 43 | Location: Kirkcaldy, Fife in the United Kingdom | Registered: January 26, 2014
posted
Your RSD marking should stand for "Returned Stores Depot" which was an organization in the British Army. It believe that it would be a marking that indicated the watch had been serviced/overhauled by the RSD on that date and was ready for reissuing. These watches were constantly being repaired and reissued by the British Army for various uses up through the second world war. After the second world war they were finally sold off as surplus to the public.
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
posted
Hi Jim
Thanks I was curious as to what the letters stood for, that clears it up.
John I've had a look through several hundred glasses/crystals and found one that is a fraction smaller to mine so far, although I'm going over tomorrow again for another rummage, can you measure your glass/bezel and I'll try and match it up? He has them sorted roughly in sizes in different drawers and so far a lot are very similar but with a slight dome to them and it's a case of flicking through one by one Roll Eyes I kinda like that sort of thing though as there's always something in the next drawer/box.
When I showed him the watch yesterday he couldn't recollect how he got it but said "mainspring and a balance no problem I'll have a look"...I also pinned him down to show me how to do the balance Smile
 
Posts: 43 | Location: Kirkcaldy, Fife in the United Kingdom | Registered: January 26, 2014
IHC Member 1892
posted
Hi Ken. My glass would appear to be about 47mm. The glass is still in it so I might not be spot on though. If you find a few in that vicinity I can pop it out and get a better shot at it.
I stumbled on another Mark V today. It is pretty rough but has the no. CC 758 on it. It is missing the glass and the dial is cracked and the hands are missing. I dont know if the CC code has been identified but I put in an offer on it as it would be a scarce one. Wont know for a few days if I get it. I think there has been only few CC ones found. You want to spend as much time with you Dad as you can. Not only is it good family time but when he is gone so is all that valuable knowledge. Please say hello to him from a country boy from Canada. I wish him many years retirement!
 
Posts: 322 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
posted
CC watches are somewhere in the middle in terms of rarity with at least 4,415 of them made. All but one are from unknown makers, and the one that has been found with a marked movement is Moser. Since that is the only one so far, I imagine it is more likely a replaced movement than CC being the code for Moser - at least until we get more information which so far has eluded us. With numbers like this, this is not one of the rarer makers - it is somewhere in the middle.
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
IHC Member 1892
posted
Thanks for that information Jim. If I do get it I will put up some pics of the movement.
 
Posts: 322 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
posted
Hi John
I've had a good rummage through the Glasses/crystals and only managed to find one that's 47mm all the others are slightly domed. here's a picture
Unfortunately it's scratched and quite thick, measures 3mm which is thicker than the glass on mine if you feel this would suit your watch I'm happy to forward it to you ?
95% of the others have the size sticker on them, this one didn't which makes me think it's been used.

Ken

 
Posts: 43 | Location: Kirkcaldy, Fife in the United Kingdom | Registered: January 26, 2014
posted
Dear Experts
To add to the list of watches I have just acquired a Moise Dreyfuss Mark IV.A watch No 357 A.G but I have a problem, the case back does not have the usual broad arrow but has a long arrow which goes from the bottom to top of the case back, this is not what I normally find on WD watches, any ideas?
 
Posts: 7 | Location: Ludlow, England | Registered: July 03, 2014
posted
There is a photo of a Mark IV.A in Wesolowski on page 35 that has the long arrow (spanning the diameter of the case back along with a small king's crown and AM (for Air Ministry)in the center on either side of the arrow shaft. Also the dial on that one has a very small A and broad arrow on the dial under the serial number. Does this sound like yours?
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
posted
Hi Jim
Thanks for the prompt reply, under a glass I can see marks either side of the "long arrow" but cannot make them out as they are so faint, but still confused as to why a long arrow is used as opposed to the more usual braod arrow?
 
Posts: 7 | Location: Ludlow, England | Registered: July 03, 2014
posted
Hi again Jim

There is no marking on the dial of the watch which you mention but I have worked out the mark longside the "long arrow" which is Sth on one side and a number on the other which I cannot make out.
 
Posts: 7 | Location: Ludlow, England | Registered: July 03, 2014
posted
I'm not sure why the long arrow instead of the broad arrow. What I do not understand is why it does not have the broad arrow and A on the dial at least. It is possible that the king's crown and AM on the back was a later in the war marking added to the long arrow but I do not have any documentation to prove this. It is possible that your watch is a bit of a marriage which could explain the lack of dial markings, but this is only a guess at this point. The thing about these watches is they were well made to withstand the strong vibrations of the aircraft from their early motors and the wind shaking the whole thing. Add to that the rough field take off and landings, the heat and the freezing temperatures during the summer and winter and the cold at high elevations, these watches had to be strong. Also, these were not used once and then thrown away items. The RFC and RNAS, and then from 1918 on when they were combined into the RAF regarded these simply as pieces of equipment that were to be serviced again and again, replacing parts as needed to keep them operational. Then later these were given to other parts of the War Department for their continuous use and refurbishing as needed. Some were sold off as surplus in the 1920s, but most were kept and used until after the second world war. Throughout all this time no one had any interest in keeping them all original. They were simply repaired with new or scavenged parts. I do not know for sure, but it is possible this is what you may have - a case from a different watch.

I believe that your watch's added marking of Sth, indicates it is one that was sold after the First World War. From what I can discover so far this Sth was struck by the Southern Railway Company who bought some to issue to their employees to keep their trains running on time. Of course they wanted to be sure their watches were not pilfered so they applied their marking.
 
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
posted
Hi Jim
Firstly I would like to wish you a happy 4th July, we do not celebrate it too much over here, cannot think why not!
Your comments are greatly appreciated, and what I could have is a marriage of various watches. I have been racking my small brain over the Sth marking as I see this has come up in previous discussions, the Southern Railway Company existed from 1923 to 1947 but was identified by the letters SR and not Sth, could be an MOD surplus mark but cannot find any such reference. Still the long arrow mark intrigues me, it is almost elegant compared to the standard broad arrow and reaches the full extremities of the case back as if it were specifed to do so.
 
Posts: 7 | Location: Ludlow, England | Registered: July 03, 2014
posted
The long arrow described only ever appeared on one watch: the Admiralty Mark II supplied by Armstrong Bros. So it's simply a switched case back, although the Armstrong case back is rarer and often seen replaced with a WD back...!

The Mark IVA with long arrow case back shown in ZMW's book just adds to my theory that black dialled Mark IVAs of that type were reissued by the British military but there is no proof of that.

Hope this helps,

Regards,

Martin

P.S. I agree that the long arrow is a more elegant rendering of the broad arrow device than many others...
 
Posts: 37 | Location: United Kingdom | Registered: September 17, 2010
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