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"I was hoping if someone can help to positively identify this military Stopwatch which my wife found when clearing out her parents’ house following their death...this which would appear to be a British Admiralty Pattern 4 stopwatch. Apart from the large Admiralty arrow on the back with Pattern 4 and a four digit serial assumed serial number there are no other marks on the outer casing"
"All that is on the front dial are the words ‘Swiss Made’ on either side of the number 30.There is the word ‘Materials’ stamped on the frame to the main internal mechanism and the number 91934. There is also the number 399866 stamped on the inside of the back flap. Apart from these marks there is no manufacturers name anywhere I can easily access to see. I found a photo of an identical stopwatch on one website and they appear to be saying it was a WW1 Admiralty Pattern 4 stopwatch. The stopwatch appears to be in working order with minor dents on the edge of the casing. See photos attached."
"Can anybody shed some further light on this including whether you consider this to be rare, much sought after and valuable?
I look forward to hearing from someone knowledgeable on this subject.
Many thanks & best wishes"
I am not an expert on these, but yes it is a British Admiralty Pattern 4 stopwatch that would have been used by the British Navy during WW 2. As for the maker my first thought is it could be Lemania. They were one of the largest producers of these for the British Navy during WW 2. I am not a Lemania expert though and hopefully someone here can confirm or correct me on this.
As for rarity - you do not find these in every dealer's stock, but they were made in large numbers and few were thrown away or destroyed after the war - they were sold as surplus. So, no, they are not especially rare relative to other timepieces of the era.
As for being sought after - yes all military timepieces are sought after but it of course is a matter of relativity. There are small issues such as the dents and heavy wear, but the biggest issue is that this is a stopwatch. There are some collectors who collect them, but it is not much different from most other timepiece collectors who have a much stronger desire for actual watches and especially actual watches with extra complications. So, yes it is collectable and there are collectors who would like it but the list is not long and so demand would not be especially strong.
As for being valuable - again it depends on how one defines the term. Yes it is valuable since it is an artifact from WW 2 and they are not making any more of them. It has history imbued in it just like all other old timepieces and this one has military history in it which it what military timepiece collectors value. On the other hand if one limits the definition of valuable to how many dollars or pounds it would fetch in the open market then it is not the kind of thing that most people would see as life changing. There is one of these that someone has been trying to auction on Ebay for a number of weeks now. This is not my auction, I do not know who the seller is, and I have no connection or interest in the auction other than seeing whether it sells and at what price, if any. The seller's first attempt put a starting bid on it at 65 pounds (about $99) and it received no bids. They relisted it with a starting bid of 49 pounds (about $75) and as of today the auction time is halfway through and there are no bids. The struggle of this to sell at what I see as a minimal amount of money is in my opinion due to its being a stopwatch and not a pocket watch or chronometer, along with it not being very rare relative to timepieces of this war. Here is a link to the auction if you would like to follow along and see if it gets any nibbles at this price: Pattern 4 Stopwatch auction
Thanks Jim for responding with your valuable insight.
Happy to give you my thoughts, Debbie. I did make one tiny error in my comments - I accidentally left out the word "not" in my point about they are NOT making any more of these.
Here is the next response we received...
Many thanks for your detailed opinion on the stopwatch. I have had a look at the WW2 LemaniaStopwatch you referred to on eBay and noted that the pattern of the stop button on the side is quite different to the one I have, as well as the shape and arrangement of their main winder buttons. The internal movement of both stopwatches are also quite different from eachother so it would appear on the face of it that is may well not be a WW2 Lemania that I have. Is it possible that this could be a WW1 model as the only photograph I have found so far on the internet which is identical to the stopwatch I have, referred to it as a WW1 Admiralty Pattern 4 stopwatch?
As I mentioned, I am not the expert on these Pattern timepieces. They were made for use in both wars and in between. The Pattern designation means there was a set of specifications that a contractor had to meet to supply timepieces under contracts for these timepieces. Normally, there were many different companies making such timepieces under such contracts during this long time and so there are small variations among each of the makers. Also, the better quality makers tended to feature their brand name on the timepieces they supplied while small companies and especially middle men type operations who bought bulk movements and cases and put them together to sell to the Navy or Army or RAF tended not to have brand names on them.
Whether it is Great War, in between the wars, or early WW 2 the value does not vary much for four reasons - it is a stopwatch and the majority of collectors prefer regular watches or chronometers; these are not rare; the conditional is average; and it does not have a magical brand name to attract collectors of the high end brands no matter what kind of timepiece it might be. All of that aside, it is a nice timepiece with historical military value and should be lovingly conserved in the owner's collection.
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