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Hi all. There are around PLENTY of GS/TP PWs, I'd say dozens per one Mark 'any', and indeed are Trade Pattern(s). Thinking it over I'm appraoching the conclusion that the GSTPs should not be considered true military watches, but "militarized", like Paris cubs à la bataille de la Marne (Gallieni's idea, if I'm recalling it right), and thus that the military marking only adds a very limited value. May I have your knowledgeable opinions ? About this, one more question: is there some kind person who could explain HOW the Swiss watches were reaching UK from 1940 on ? I think that in 1940 they could have been ferried via France, then via Vichy France or Spain-Portugal, and in 1941 via long trip to and from US, and then again via Spain but those are just suppositions, with no proofs whatsoever. Coul you kindly help me?
Thanks, thousands thanks !
I think that GS/TP marked watches are military watches since they were procured by the British military under military contracts and issued to their men for military purposes. I just think that they are perhaps one of the most common varieties of military watch. They would make a great area to collect since one could buy a great many with little difficulty and for little money.
Hi, Jim and thanks for your answer. I am becoming skeptical about the GSTP because I'm coming to the conclusion that the do have been issued, and been maybe used by military personnell, but "by chance", like a pack of bisquits bought at a shop and eaten by Montgomery (the general I admire most in II WW). My point is that they have not been made to military specs, this being the border between "military" and "used also by a soldier" things: in short the "GS" is absolutely ok, the "TP" spoils everything. I have on my desk right now a GSMK II, a Cortebert happily ticking in the usual some days endurance check before being taken into my collection. The MK II is the difference, to my eyes.
Have a nice day, and thanks again for your help
As I see it, a "Trade Pattern" item is no less military than one which is made to the specs of a govt. contract. This goes for telescopic sights, binoculars, etc. The GSTP's have military issue markings and so they are not the same as ordinary commercial items.
There are several explanations as to how these watches got to England. Being purchased before 1940 is one, via Spain is another, yet another explanation is that watches were shipped out in English diplomatic pouches. I don't know which story is correct, although I suspect all three of these explanations could have taken place.
Thanks for your time, Greg. Yoy say
"The GSTP's have military issue markings and so they are not the same as ordinary commercial items. " I think you mean that, having been bought for a military use, and in quantities, the items IN ANY CASE were conformant to a military spec, a fortiori. I take your point of view, but one simple last question : why have not been stamped as GS Mark II ? My questions come out the fact that I am making the "military watches" (orologi militari) section in my site www.orologi-da-tasca.me.uk, and I have to make my up whether take GSTPs in this section or not.
As far as shipments, I think it could be an interesting issue to study, but I simply cannot imagine where to look for. The first question is "how many" ? below this question lies one more, that is only before Dunkerque or even after ? I imagine that if the traffic went on in 1942 thru 1945 ways may be changed more than once.
Thanks for your answers, Greg
Military specifications and contracts are written for timepieces of various qualities, depending on the need and use. While some have very high standards, there are also many that call for very low quality timepieces. One example of this latter type are the MIL-W-46374 wristwatches. The U.S. Army contracted for these disposable plastic cased wristwatches in the early years of the Vietnam war. They are very much military timepieces, just very low quality ones since that is what was desired. A military wrote out specifications, companies contracted to supply them, they are marked with military contract and serial number markings, a military officially issued them to their soldiers and they were used in a military situation. GS/TP watches are no different. The British military wrote the specifications (which happened to be the same as what many makers were making for civilians at the time - but that is what the British military decided would meet its military needs - the British military contracted with companies to supply them, they are fully marked with British military markings, and the British military issued them to their British Army soldiers who used them in the war. This is entirely different from most WW I era wristwatches where a soldier or his family bought a wristwatch at a private store and the soldier wore it for his own private use during a war. No military had any role in the specifications, purchasing, marking, or issuing those kinds of timepieces. To my thinking those are interesting non-military relics that a soldier happened to carry for his personal use like a pen for writing letters home, or a religious medal to wear under his shirt for spiritual support.
Ok Greg, Jim ... I have amended my position on GSTP, and I have made required corrections to my site, quoting you both there (simply I said "thanks to the kindness and knowledgeable cooperation of my IHC 185 fellows Greg Crockett & Jim Hester": of course I will remove this if you wish, but I feel it right to publicly thank you).
Many thanks & warmest regards
Well, Mario: very interesting matter! Congratulations: your studies are always serious and of the highest level. Your method is always scientific and logical. This is making your web site one of the very best I've ever seen!
Well, I'd like to add my very modest "one cent worthing opinion", based over observations.
The question looks like the german D and DH timepieces one: sometime, here and there, somebody tries to say that they aren't 100% military. Every time, every effort gives new strenght to the "military nature theory".
Both GSTP and D, DH have features that were expensive and very rare and unusual on civilian timepieces, during the '30s and the '40s: screwed backs and luminous hands and numbers.
These features were very important, desiderable and needed in the military world, but not common at all in the civilian world.
This make me think that they were designed, produced, sold, bought and... above all BORN as "military stuffs".
How they were exported to UK, USA and Germany?
In the case of Wehrmacht, the swiss producers sent the stocks to german civilian agents who imported and re-sold the stuffs to the German Armed Forces. The same seems to be happened for the timepieces sent to the british armed forces.
We cannot be 100% sure, but there were many open commercial channels between Switzerland and both Axis and Allies.
For example: the Swiss air force bought some Me-109 by Germany before the war. During the war, German industries weren't able to sell them spare parts, because shortages. Who did sell the spare parts to Swiss Air force? United Kingdom did! There were many shooted down or captured Me 109 in the british islands and they were enough to give spare parts to Swiss. What did Swiss send back for exchange? Timepieces.
Of course, the commerce of timepieces was severely restricted and there are very few evidences and proofs. Timepieces were high and strategic technology, during the war, and documents about them were rare and restricted.
Let consider that the famous War Department Technical Manual, TM-1575, April, 1945, about maintenance of US Army military timepieces, was: 1) RARE (made in a pair of hundreds of copies), 2)RESTRICTED, 3) made only at the end of war and... 4) it does not show any swiss timepieces!!
I think that this is an important sign of how secret was the export-import of timepieces from Switzerland!
Click For: TM 9-1575 War Department Technical Manual
As the stamp "GSTP"... it is only one of the many different markings used by the UK armed forces: A, B, F, ATP, GS, HS, AM, WWW, 6B/159, 6E/50, MK2... etc etc Each of them has a different meaning, for different grade of quality, features, use, purpose...
Anyway, if you find a broad arrow you cannot be wrong: it is military stuffs.
Claudio, you're always too kind !
Let's come back to the matters: my personal idea is that the difference should be located in the TP. If it stands for Trade Pattern, then GS/TP are to be considered as MK X. If it stands for Temporary Pattern I do not think the discussion is over ...
As far as the issue of UK supplies. The example you brought about is enlightening (and stricking). It is to be considered, however, that one leg of the trade, i.e. BF 109 parts going to Swiss was not, in principle at least, a don't for Germany (the Grutli speech has been clear also to Hitler's hears, I deem). The other leg, watches to UK, was a trade that Gemany had to stop absolutely. So I imagine that there were two different paths for the two legs. When I consider such things, I always hear Hamlet's voice "There are more things in heaven and hearth, Mario, than are dreamt by your philosophy" (W.Shakespeare, Hamlet,I-5)...
Yes: you're right: the "hard core" of the problem is "what does TP mean?"
Frankly it is the first time that I see that it could be stand for "Trade Pattern".
I found this meaning very reasonable and very possible, but have always read that it stands for "Time Piece" or "Temporary Pattern".
Since I like the way you study and you find informations, I'm sure that this option is very possible.
For the same reason, I'd like to know how do you reached the theory that they could be the "Mark Ten"? I've never understood how the MK numberation works, but the sources I have already have a Mk X...
As for Germany and Switzerland... yes: Germany strongly would have liked to stop the trade of timepieces to UK... but the swiss did sell hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of timepieces to Germany too...
I came up with, "Trade Pattern" as the meaning of "TP" from my research regarding other types of British military equipment. For example, if you read "Without Warning" a book about Canadian Sniper equipment, by Clive Law, there is a description of the "off the shelf" telescopic sights the Canadian military purchased early in WWII. Mr. Law cites the official Canadian designation of these commercial optics as including the letters TP for "Trade Pattern."
Well, it is an interesting evidence.
But... are we sure that they used the same acronyms for every part of equipment?
I've seen that usually timepieces had different markings, very different from all other equipments...
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