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I have this Mark V 30 Hours NL, and it seems pretty good, at least to my eyes. But I'm not a specialist in military watches, and I'm rather puzzled by the high serial number, 2270638, see movement below.May I kindly ask for your opinion ?
Thanks & regards to everybody
and here is the movement
a nice one ! Isnt it a Zenith?
buongiorno Enzo. Si è uno Zenith, vedo solo ora che il coperchio ha nascosto il marchio. Mai fare le cose alla mattina presto
Goodafetrnoon Enzo. Yes it's a Zenith, I noticed only now that the back of the case covered the name in the picture. I'd not do things too early in the morning ...
The face of your watch is from a British military watch that would have been used in an aircraft during the first world war. These were pocket watches that had a long winding stem with no hoop. They were pressed into a bracket on the instrument panel of the aircraft and then removed after each flight by the pilot for safekeeping.
These watches normally had two serial numbers - one is the serial number on the movement and that was the one given by the maker of the watch. I am not an expert on Zenith company serial numbers, but I understand that they reached 2 million watches made around 1920. If that is true, then the serial number on your movement seems to be too high for it to be original to the dial which is a first world war vintage, but as I pointed out, I am not a Zenith expert and I would defer to anyone who knows Zenith serial numbers. The second serial number is the one given by the British Air Ministry and that is the pair of letters followed by the number on the dial. Many different companies made and sold watches to the Air Ministry during the war and each company was assigned a different pair of letters. The letter pair on your watch face is CB which is the one that Zenith made watches were given. The number following the CB is the sequential serial number for Zenith made Mark V watches so your watch face is serial number 758 of the Mark V watches supplied by Zenith.
These Mark V watches were well made and after the war they were kept and re-used and continuously repaired by the British Air Ministry and Royal Air Force for many years. Because of this one should not always assume that a movement is original to the case and dial and it may be a later replacement. There were still a great many of these Mark V watches being used up into the second world war era. Your dial has a notation on the dial painted by hand in white lettering 'G.S. Type' This would have been added in the late 1930s or early 1940s by the British RAF to show it met the requirements for general service use.
The back of the case for your watch is not shown, but if it is the original case it will have engraved into it a large letter 'A' and an arrowhead shape separated by a long line.
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Jim, that was quite a report on Mario's watch....
Boy the information that our membership has and is willing to share, at the drop of a hat,(or even a participle)is incredible and much appreciated by ALL THE MEMBERS....
Thank you Jim for sharing your knowledge in this manner....and you, Mario, for sharing your nice example that you posted to start this string....
I'm curious, now, to know and see what is on the back side of the case your watch is housed in....does it have the Large A and arrowhead symbol or not....
Now Mario, you have to show us....
Jim, Jerry, many thanks and have a nice day!
I was concerned with serial and I took the back markings for granted: after your comments things seems to clarify, when you (Jim) remarked tht "These Mark V watches were well made and after the war they were kept and re-used and continuously repaired by the British Air Ministry and Royal Air Force for many years". This give a sense both to the "G.S. Type" and to the Air Ministry marking on the back; morever I read somewhere (may be in the long thread about Mk Vs in this forum) that some time after war they added the loop for convenience, since the PWs were used more on the ground that aboard, and this fits again perfetly with Jim's remarks. Meanwhile I have written to Zenith asking infos about the serial number: if they will answer I'll report here (they say to allow 4 weeks)
Here follows the back cover, and below the inside of the back cover itself.
Again, have a nice a day and many thanks !
here's the inside
Very nice, Mario. The "A" "line" "arrow head" marking is the one that would have been applied to the case during the first world war. The Crown and A.M. (for Air Ministry) marking on the back is as you say, a later marking - likely around the second world war.
I have not been able to find out for sure whether the British military ever added hoops to the winding stems to convert these into a more standard pocket watch configuration, but it would make sense they they did some of this. Another way that makes sense is that when these left the hands of the British military and found their way into private hands through the military selling them for surplus (or when they found their way into the private market by less legitimate means), I would expect most people would have had their local watchmakers add a hoop to make it more useful for civilian use. Perhaps there was a combination of both ways at work. In any event, ones with the hoop are much more common than ones without.
Hi Jim. Sure, and it occurs to me that the only watches witout hoop you find around are those with the pendant at 6, tipically for car dashboard, that would have been quite uncomfortable to read ... As far as "legitimate means" if I am not wrong there should be an "S" mark for "Sold out of service", but until now, I have seen only one (a GSTP, moreover) with that. In any case, specs say that the power reserve for that movement is 34 hours: until now it has been running for 32.5, not bad I'd say.
Thanks lot and have a nice weekend
36 hours sharp, not one minute more not one minute less. A good mainspring, isn't it?
From what I have seen, the British Army sold a great many watches as surplus without an 'S' marking. Perhaps that was only applied for a narrow time period? I don't know. The best example of easily identifiable surplus British watches without an 'S' are the ones that were sold by Bravingtons. They were a company on High Street in London that retailed watches. After the second world war they purchased very large quantities of watches that the British military was selling for surplus to then sell to their customers. Bravingtons stamped their name into the case backs in large letters so they are very easy to spot. You see these all over and none of the ones I have seen have an 'S' stamped into their backs. Do a search for Bravingtons on Ebay and you will see what I mean.
Sure, Jim, but I was thinking that the "Bravington's" was stamped BEFORE pressing the PW at His Majesty's Service since as far as I know, they had a very long close relationship with Horse Guards, something like you go at the shop, buy the watch you like, and the "militarize" it. May be I have got this strange idea reading of an officer in Sudan with Kitchner in 1898 who, receiving a voucher form the Pay Officer mumbled "Ehi, I didn't realize we're paid too"
My theory to date for the "S" mark is that it was stamped into watches sold out of military stores to service men. The WWII German Army sold watches to troops or issued them on loan. The German Army noted this fact in the record book of each man and not on the watch. Though it's a stretch, I think the British may have had the same practice in place at that time. To test my theory I have to find some British pay books or similar individual records and see if watch issue/sale information was ever recorded in them.
Jim, Greg, thanks a lot.
I am getting the conclusione that the hoop was added to Mark Vs when they wer derated to MK II, or GS Type, that is in 1935 or so. The fact is that when there is no derating info there's no hoop too, as afr as I have seen. May be the conclusion is a little bit stretched, but somehow makes sense I hope. However the mystery still lingers in my mind on the PWs that became civilians without any further mark, like the CB 758. I would like to have some infos about Mark III & Mark IV : could you be so kind to help me ?
I have read a number of references that Bravingtons purchased large quanties of surplus watches after the war to sell to the public. I have also read a number of comments from people who were in London in the late 1940s and 1950s who observed these being sold by them. I have yet to see anything about Bravingtons selling to servicemen during the war. My thinking at this point is they were just a retailer of surplus watches and they applied their name to these surplus watches for marketing and advertising purposes.
Your thought about adding the hoops to the stems in 1935 is interesting, but I have seen many of these with no GSTP or later markings both with and without the hoops so I am not convinced that hoops were only added by the Air Ministry rather than by private watchmakers after the watch made its way into private hands. Another thing to think about is that all of these watches are now in civilian hands since the Air Ministry sold off whatever old pocket watches they had in inventory in the years following the second world war. I am sure many were sold off in the prior years as well as many finding their way into private hands by less legitimate means. That means that each oc these watches have been in civilian hands for between 60 and 90 years, depending on when it found its way out of the Air Ministry, and that is a very long time for someone to have had a hoop added to the stem to make it into a more functional pocket watch.
I found it is a very nice and interesting watch, in very good conditions: it has not only a good mainspring, but I would say good overall conditions too.
How does it perform? I've got three of those RFC/RAF watch. One doesn't work: it needs to be serviced, but the other two have great performances!!
Two of the mine have the loop: it is a common modification, not always professionally made... Only one of the mine, white dialled and marked W/I\D, has no loop.
Anyway, I see another modification here: somebody has modified the dial of the yours...
It WAS BORN not luminous, but somebody transformed it in a luminous watch, painting the hands and drilling some dots on the dial filling them with luminous compound. Am I wrong?
What do you think? Who did this modification? Has it been made professionally?
AM observer "6E" pocket watches were non luminous...
So, was it privately made by a civilian after the last war? I wouldn't be sure, because, usually, civilian pocket watches are non luminous, why a civilian could have needed to modify it?
Maybe it was a modification made during the Great War to add a useful feature to the watch? Maybe yes, but why they didn't cancel the word "NON" before "luminous"?
Have you ever seen anything similar?
I think that the watch could have very interesting histories to tell...
Well, Claudio, my idea is that it got the luminous paste in 1935, when it was derated to standard (GS Type) PW. Indeed they started even to cover the Mark V inscription, but, evidently, preferred to add the "G.S.Type." (notice the end dot ... I think that they choose that way because on RAF inventories the CB 758 WAS a Mark V, and so making a change on dial would have implied a burocratic nightmere. I am studying military UK PWs, and I feel that the way of handling, marking, accounting for was so British ... a mixture of spit-and-polish and amateur-like attitude. US military were quite more ... industrial. And RN was peculiar itself, a world apart look at this
Well, this back markings is quite unusual... I cannot understand why there is the typical wide and big Royal Navy broad arrow AND the 6B marking, used by the AM...
I would like to see the front side, too: maybe this will help.
Do you know and trust the seller who sold it?
Claudio, the PW itself is ok, as you can see
and, more important, movement is right, 1944 vintage from the serial no. Generally, besides my friend Dave here I do not trust much sellers, not because they want to take advantage on you, but because there are so many mistakes & such an ignorance that you have to check three times ... and after don' t buy.
Well, I see... I supposed it was a pocketwatch, not a stopwatch... this is the reason I asked for the image of "A side", before to say anything more...
Much better... for me it is ok. The 6B marking seemed quite unusual to me, simply because it is not a 6B marking!
Frankly, a pocketwatch with those markings would have been very odd...
I have always seen those ASDIC timer without that 6B markings, but I must admit that don't know enough this kind of timepieces (never have got UK stopwatches in my hands and never studied...) so I cannot say anything. It seems ok to me.
For sure, you will meet anybody who is expert enough, here...
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