Internet Horology Club 185
Hamilton 4992B back cover markings?

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April 27, 2018, 14:07
Stephen John Ward
Hamilton 4992B back cover markings?
Hi folks from the UK.
I have recently purchased a 1941 4992B and unfortunately, it seems some previous owner has sanded out the original letters / serial numbers on the back cover.
The watch has been serviced by our great chap Roger Nolfe and is superb.
Would any member have another back cover to sell or, what do people think about having it re-engraved with as near a serial number etc to correspond with the date serial numbers?.....
A great club.......Steve.

April 27, 2018, 14:08
Stephen John Ward
The back cover.

April 27, 2018, 15:25
Eugene Buffard
I would just cut the back out. Put a glass in it.
April 27, 2018, 16:27
Stephen John Ward
Great idea Eugene.
April 28, 2018, 03:00
Stephen John Ward
Is it difficult to cut the back out and put a glass in it?.
April 28, 2018, 03:41
Lindell V. Riddle


To open up the back you would need a watchmakers lathe the tools to go with it and the skill-set to do the operation. Not too practical sounding for your situation. But perhaps Roger could do it for you, or it might be possible to find a bezel from a scrapped case and put that on the back. (If you plan to carry such a watch consider plastic crystals to protect the movement.)

Your first thought to re-engrave the back could be explored, begin by going to our Military Forum...

Check the first BOLD FACED Topic titled "Evolution Of 4992B and 3992B Markings, Numbers and Database" and there you will find complete, accurate 4992B examples with proper markings on their case-backs.

(NOTE: I moved your topic to Military with a link back to Pocket Watches where you began.)

Anyhow, sorting through the examples in our Military Forum may help you understand them better.



April 29, 2018, 03:25
Jim Hester
Re-engraving the back with the appropriate data would be a bad idea in that it could never be done properly such as the exact size and spacing of every number and letter. And even if you could get someone to get it close, you would not have the correct data for the serial numbers. In either case, a knowledgeable collector may balk at buying it as either a faked case or a marriage should you ever wish to sell it in future. You could leave it as it is, or try to find a donor watch with a trashed movement but decent case, or even a case that has lost its movement at some point. That may not be easy and it would not be the right case for your specific movement since the numbers would not match, but it would at least look more correct to a casual glance than the one you have. By the way, sometimes the military markings on these were removed deliberately by someone who either 'nicked' the watch from the Army Air Force or who came by it legitimately as surplus but who did not want any questions asked about how they came to own a piece of government property. If it were mine and I wanted to have a proper example of this nice watch I would leave it as it and sell it for what I could get for it then buy a completely correct example to have in my collection.
April 29, 2018, 04:51
Lindell V. Riddle

I agree with and fully endorse Jim's comments directly above.

My initial thought of exploring or even considering a re-engraving of that case would NOT be wise or prudent. There are far too many faked-up watches out there already. This is particularly true of 4992B examples as thousands were sold off as "Army-Navy Surplus" and many of those worked-over with altered to 12-hour gearing and re-dialed as beginner-projects in watchmaking schools. In collecting these I have come across quite a number of mixed-up case components or movements re-cased incorrectly.

In fact it seems that all too often when an altered messed-up watch surfaces the "anything for a buck" seller almost invariably makes an outlandish claim like "rare and valuable" or "one of a kind" or "prototype" when it is nothing of the kind.

Thanks Jim Hester, hopefully everyone will read and follow your excellent advice.



April 29, 2018, 12:20
Stephen John Ward
Thank you so much Jim and Lindell for your valuable comments. I will search the long search for a replacement back.
The previous owner was a Mr Oswald Barkess who served in the British Army in the early 1940s. He achieved the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 and sadly died of throat cancer 20 years ago. (please see attached picture).
This site is brilliant and thanks to everyone as usual..............Steve.

April 29, 2018, 13:09
Larry Lamphier
I just saw this.

I have a back cover, but don't know if it is correct for that movement.

April 29, 2018, 13:10
Larry Lamphier
Another picture

April 29, 2018, 13:33
Stephen John Ward
Yes please Larry!....I can pay by Paypal with no fees at your end. Postage to England, UK.
Kind regards, Steve.
April 29, 2018, 13:41
Larry Lamphier
Steve, Send me an email to - - with your correct address and I'll get it right out to you.


April 30, 2018, 09:58
Buster Beck
That's not the correct back for the Hamilton 4992B, just so y'all know.

April 30, 2018, 11:48
Stephen John Ward
I will be delighted to receive it as it is a vast improvement on what is on there. Thank you Buster for highlighting it anyway.
May 04, 2018, 11:07
Jim Hester
Buster is correct. That is not a correct case back for a 4992B. Here is another thread with some good photos of 4992B's with some correct case backs.

The case back being offered is a very nice military case back but it is for an entirely different kind of timepiece - one that would have been used by the U.S. Army. Here are the U.S. Army Ordinance Department codes for Army watches from that time period. You can see the OE code here and that it should go on a U.S. Army 21 jewel railroad grade pocket watch.

OA - 7 to 9 jewel pocket watches
OB - 15 to 17 jewel pocket watches
OC - 7 to 9 jewel wristwatches
OD - 15 to 17 jewel wristwatches
OE - 21 jewel railroad grade pocket watches
OF - 15 to 17 jewel wristwatches with waterproof case
OFA - 15 to 17 jewel wristwatches with waterproof case, Air Corps (Navigation, Type A-11, substitute standard)
OG - 7 to 9 jewel wristwatches (waterproof cases)
OS - stopwatch
OW - 7 to 9 jewel pocket watches made before Nov. 12, 1940 and remarked later
OX - 15 to 17 jewel pocket watches made before Nov. 12, 1940 and remarked later
OY - 7 to 9 jewel wristwatches made before Nov. 12, 1940 and remarked later
OZ - 15 to 17 jewel wristwatches made before Nov. 12, 1940 and remarked later
May 08, 2018, 09:14
Stephen John Ward
Thank you all very much for your invaluable advice.