I have WW2 Canadian Military PW housed in a Dennison case. It has a nice 15 jwl Helvitia movement by General Watch co. It has a nice Roman Numeral dial which I believe to be by dennison as were the hands. On the back is the Broad Arrow and the no B387, Question: What does the B mean in this number. and has anyone else seen an Allied military watch with a dial with Roman Numerals? I have not been able to find anythin re the "B" but do see it on other watches. I am including a few pics to look at. Any help, opinions etc would be appreciated. John
Posts: 313 | Location: Kincardine, Ontario in Canada | Registered: November 25, 2013
I am not an expert on these but here are my initial thoughts. The marking on the back of the capital C with the broad arrow in it was used from 1939 to 1945 by the Canadian military. The serial number that starts with the letter B may be using a format that was used before the war where the letter would indicate the maker/supplier of the timepiece and the number the serial number for that particular maker/supplier. It may be something else but this is my semi-educated guess. Hopefully there will be someone who comes along who knows for sure and who can either confirm my guess or say for sure that it is something else. As for the Roman numeral dial, this was a style that was somewhat common in the late 1800s and into the first decade or so into the 1900s. After then and up to the present most military time pieces were Arabic numerals because they were easier to read for most soldiers and sailors and so were quicker to read and had fewer mistakes in readings. I am surprised to see it on a WW 2 pocket watch to the point where I wonder if it is a replacement dial that might have been installed at some point during the watch's trips to the watchmakers to be repaired or serviced either during the war or afterwards while it was still in military ownership or after then when it was sold as surplus to the public. It may very well be original, but my first thought is it is possible it is not especially as you point out that the case and movement are by different manufacturers.
Posts: 858 | Location: Baltimore, Maryland USA | Registered: September 20, 2004