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English Military Helvetia pocket watch "Click" to Login or Register 

I bought this at the Alameda antiuqe fair a while ago I collect military watches when I can find them this is the first none US one I bought.I know it's WW2,for the English military and it's made by helvetia and it's swiss.The swiss sure played with both sides of the fence I know they sold to the German military I guess any body money is good when a war is going on.I would appreciate any more info on this watch what it was used for and what branch of the English military used it.
Thanks Mike
Posts: 523 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 23, 2008
Here is some info I found out,The GS stands for general service,the TP for time piece and it was issued to all and sundry I found this out at another forum I just thought this forum would like to know what I found out.
Posts: 523 | Location: Northern California in the USA | Registered: November 23, 2008
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Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
Hello Mike,

Thank you for the excellent images. I started a thread on G.S.T.P. watches on this formum a while back.


From my research I believe "G.S.T.P." stands for "General Service - Trade Pattern." The war office used the designation "Trade Pattern" for items of equipment purchased off-the-shelf rather than being made to military specifications.

G.S.T.P. (also marked GS/TP) watches were issued by the Royal Army. I would suppose artillerymen and communications personnel would be on the short list of watch recipients.

Best regards,
Posts: 1878 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
Most experts believe the GS/TP stands for 'General Service/Trade Pattern' though you do find a reference here and there suggesting it could stand for 'General Service/Temporary Pattern' The Trade Pattern refers to the grade of the movement being a basic commercial design of the day rather than a design made for specific military standards and requirements. As you have found out, it is a British military watch. In addition to the GS/TP marking, it has the broad arrow marking. That is what the three line 'crow foot' symbol represents - an arrowhead. The broad arrow has been used on all sorts of British military equipment for a very long time.

GS/TP watches were made in very large quantities during the war (1939 - 1945) and on any given day you can find many for sale at modest prices on Ebay and in dealer's stocks.

These were made for and used by the British Army as a basic pocket watch for soldiers. The RAF and the Royal Navy watches have different markings for their services and while they also are not rare, they are not as plentiful as the Army watches.

GS/TP watches were supplied to the British by a many makers. I believe that the number below the GS/TP marking is the manufacturer's code letter followed by the serial number for that maker's production. All of the Helvetia ones I have seen have a P in the first position of the serial number so your's fits in and it should be the 26,813th (I think they started at 101 rather than 1) GS/TP pocket watch supplied by Helvetica to the UK Ministry of Defense. These were also issued by British Commonwealth countries' militaries, though most of those have an additional marking to indicate which Commonweath country issued it. For example, India would have a letter I above the GS/TP marking.

If you work on your watch, be careful not to disturb the yellow/brown luminous material on the hands or dial. It is radium and you do not want to inhale any dust. It will not glow in the dark, not because it is no longer almost as strong at it was the day it was made, but because the zinc sulphide it is mixed with has been oxidized by the energy in the radium over the years. It was the zinc sulphide that glowed and it was the tiny bit of radium mixed in with it that provided the energy to make it glow brightly. Even though there is very little radium in the paint, you do not want to get it down inside your body such as in your lungs by breathing its dust or ingesting it by getting some on your fingers then using your fingers to eat some food later.
Posts: 862 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004
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