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Military Watches of the World: Great Britain Part 1—The Boer War Through The Second World War

Military Watches of the World: Great Britain Part 1—The Boer War Through The Second World War


In the second portion of our arrangement zeroed in on military watches from around the globe , we will inspect the military watches of Great Britain, starting with the appearance of the wristwatch during the Boer War and proceeding through the present day.

The Boer War, The “Wristlet,” and The Great War

Prior to the twentieth century, the “wristlet,” or a little clock worn as a pendant on an arm band, was only worn by ladies, as men suspected them female and problematic. In any case, accounts from the Second Boer War (1899-1902) depict warriors jury-fixing pocket watches by fastening on wire hauls and appending calfskin lashes to them for use on the wrist, which liberated the hands for the more important assignments of both causing and dodging death.

At the start of World War I (1914-1918), pocket watches were as yet the standard timekeeping instruments of the cutting edge noble men, and a few units were given various them for use by non-combat work force like telephonists, telegraphists, and so on Nonetheless, it wasn’t well before watch makers went to the acknowledgment that war on a particularly huge scope was changing their market, as the sheer quantities of troopers who required the time on their wrists was requiring a move over to reason constructed wristwatches. Truth be told, by 1915, notice of wristwatches had just become commonplace in war-time verse and composition, showing that the “wristlet” was not, at this point just the domain of ladies, yet additionally of troopers at the front.

For the most part officers were required to buy their own wristwatch, ideally with a glowing dial (radium-covered) and a “unbreakable glass” precious stone, and numerous British goldsmiths advertised these “campaign” or “service” watches in the day by day press.


However, from 1917 the British military gave a set number of wristwatches with the aforementioned highlight set and expansive bolt/chronic number, however once more, these appear to have been intended for signals faculty, engineers, and so forth The War Department reviewed and tried various Swiss-made wristwatches that by and large highlighted unsigned developments and dark polish dials with radium hands; those with snap-back cases were dismissed as unacceptable for combat conditions for screwback models of the Dennison or Borgel type. It ought to be noticed that basically no British watchmaking firms created military-issue or military-type wristwatches, but instead utilized Swiss-made watches or Swiss-made developments with British-made cases.

After the war, numerous men essentially kept on wearing their wristwatches, moving this new “gadget” into the standard and to a great extent supplanting the pocket watch.


The Second World War

WWII saw Britain produce various wristwatches for issue, maybe the most universal of which was the A.T.P. watch, or Army Trade Pattern. These watches were fabricated by various Swiss companies (the specific number has been hard to find out however is by all accounts somewhere in the range of 17 and 22) and all common comparable qualities: a 15-gem development housed in a round chrome or steel case somewhere in the range of 29 and 33 millimeters in measurement, a white or silver dial with brilliant pips/mallet on the files, iridescent hands, and running focal or sub-seconds. A portion of the casebacks were of the screwback type and some the snapback, however as a conclusive military determination sheet has so far not surfaced, it has been hard to find out whether these were planned to be waterproof.

A lesser realized claim to fame watch was the Hydrographic Survey piece delivered by Longines, which included a 51-millimeter authentic silver case made by A.T. Oliver, a Longines 12.68N 16-gem manual-wind development, and a metal dial with radium-painted files and house of God hands, just as an extraordinary waterproofed assurance framework for the winding crown that is suggestive of the U.S. BuShips “canteen” watch. These were curiously large jumper watches planned for use by the Hydrographic Survey, the arm of the Admiralty liable for outline and mapmaking, and the British military’s answer to the Italian Panerai; it is accepted that under 50 were made and less than ten individual watches have been cataloged.

For airplane route, the M.O.D. had watches delivered under the 6B/159 spec, alluded to as the “Mk. VII” watch. These pieces were created by JLC (frequently marked “LeCoultre” on the dial), Omega, and Longines, and highlight a 36-hour switch development with blued steel hands, steel or plated case, silvered metal or white finish dial, and Arabic numerals, however they are some of the time seen with dark dials and it is indistinct whether these are unique or later MOD replacements.

Confusingly, another notorious WWII-time watch, the Air Ministry-gave “Weems”- type guide watch, was given with a similar spec number as the aforementioned piece. These watches, made related to Lt. Commander P.V.H. Weems of the U.S. Naval force during the 1930s, were planned explicitly for synchronizing the seconds hand on the watch to a sign radiated by radio. This was a framework that originated before hacking and assumed a significant part in aeronautical navigation.

These watches highlighted a particular metal bezel and two crowns, the lower of which controlled the development ordinarily, and the upper of which was just a screw-down gadget that secured the turning bezel, showing where the seconds hand agreed with the radio sign. The majority of these piece were worked by Longines and cased by Keystone in the U.S.; notwithstanding, during WWII, the “Weems” idea was authorized to Omega and around 2,000 watches were made for issue to RAF staff through the Goldmsiths & Silversmiths Company. JLC likewise made a form of this watch, cased by Samuel Smith & Sons.

Perhaps the most famous British-gave wristwatch of the War was, nonetheless, the W.W.W. (Wrist Watch Waterproof), commonly alluded to as the “Dirty Dozen” watch after the well known 1960s war film and concerning the way that 12 Swiss firms created these watches under agreement to the M.O.D. While there was some mercy in the specifics of the spec, the watches shared to highlight a few things for all intents and purpose, like a dark dial with Arabic numerals, iridescent moment and hour hands, a shatterproof precious stone, a railroad minute track, and a 15-gem development. A few cases were tempered steel and some were chrome, and the handsets vary, however all were sub-seconds models highlighting case measurements somewhere in the range of 35 and 38 millimeters.

Each producer conveyed as numerous watches to the M.O.D. as creation would permit, however this was essentially more watches for more modest firms and more from any semblance of Omega, Cyma, and Record. The W.W.W. watches were planned for “general service,” however by and by it appears they were given to radio administrators, ordnance officers, and so forth, instead of the regular infantryman.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Great Britain portion, in which we look at British-gave military watches from the post-WWII time through the Vietnam War era.