Deck Watch: 1930's Waltham Vanguard Royal Navy Deck Watch 632

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Michael Payant, Jan 30, 2016.

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  1. Michael Payant

    Michael Payant Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
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    Greetings all,
    I am looking for a little help regarding this deck watch I have recently acquired. I will tell you what I do know and hopefully there are members with other examples or information that can be added to help.
    It's a 1930's Waltham Vanguard 23 Jewel Royal Navy Deck Watch. The large style "broad arrow" on the rear case is indicative of Royal Navy in the mid to late 1930's. It is adjusted to 6 Positions making it suitable for the observation time trials and standards of that era.

    Through the NAWCC Waltham Serial Number records I was able to determine that my movement was manufactured in the first run of the 23 Jewel Model 1908 Grade No. 1623 Vanguard of 5000 pieces. The movement was cased in England by The Dennison Watch Case Company.
    I assume, by its Broad Arrow case markings, its service was in The Royal Navy until the piece was sold by the Ministry of Supply in the mid to late 1940's when excess supply of clocks and watches were sold in large batches to civilian outlets like Bravington's Jewelers High Street London, such as this example was.

    I have been able to locate only 7 other examples to compare movements, cases and markings. ALL 8 examples have the large "Broad Arrow" marking on rear case, 3 have a Broad Arrow marked dial with corresponding numbers to the movement, 4 out of the 8 are marked with the "H.S.3". I have compiled a list to be seen below.
    During research I have found one example (29451241) brought up in a NAWCC thread titled "23 Jewel Vanguard Regulators" and a member was able to date the movement to "August 1937".

    How can I date my example?

    I have not been able to find any NAWCC information that points to a month and year production. Other online serial number dating sources I find give approximate dating from 1935-1939. Is there any way to pinpoint a better date?

    Does anyone have good information regarding the "Cuprel Reg'd" case? When did Dennison use the "Cuprel"mark? Would that be an accurate dating method?

    I'm looking for any further information regarding the Waltham Vanguard Royal Navy Deck Watch of this era. I have included a list of all the known examples I could find and with the corresponding markings listed.

    If anyone has an example not found on the list below please add it to the thread so I can keep an updated record. Thank you!!

    Serial No./ Broad Arrow Case/ Broad Arrow Dial/H.S.3 marked/ Bravingtons/Cuprel Case #

    29376321 / Yes / Yes -632 / No / Yes / 5108
    29377090 / Yes / No / Yes / No / ?
    29451241 / Yes / ? / Yes / ? / ?
    29452283 / Yes / No / Yes / No / 8351
    29452875 / Yes / Yes -2875 / No / No / ?
    29453655 / Yes / No / No / Yes / 5547
    29454592 / Yes / Yes - 4592 / Yes / No / 5080
    29454742 / Yes / No / No / Yes / 3229

    001.jpg 006.jpg 007.jpg 008.jpg 009.jpg 002.jpg 003.jpg 004.jpg 005.jpg
     
  2. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Dec 14, 2001
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    Interesting watch. My guess is that this is from between 1939 and about 1943. England was desperate for good watches and MoD was taking anything considered a reliable watch. YOu did not ask about this but its regulator is broken and since replacements are available you should consider replacing it.
     
  3. Michael Payant

    Michael Payant Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
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    Dr. Jon,
    Thank you for your opinion and good eyes on the regulator whip. I did not notice that! Are there any sources for regulator whips you know for this watch? I can not seem to locate one.

    Now in regards to the dating of the watch I must disagree with you putting the time period much past 1940. During the era you speak of to 1943 American manufacturers such as Elgin and Hamilton did produce deck watches for the Royal Navy but they were made in the 1000's such as the Elgin Grade 581 and the Hamilton 3992B. Both were made with the upgraded coin edge bezeling of that era, this Dennison case is earlier in my opinion and we do not see the Waltham deck watch high grade in high numbers such as Elgin and Hamilton examples, this is another reason to put it Pre-WWII.
    Also the broad arrow mark on the dial looks cruder than the refined originally produced dials from the Elgin and Hamilton factories. The broad arrow on the Waltham dial is of an earlier period seen on deck watches mid to late 1930's and even earlier post WWI. The broad arrowed dials were manufactured direct from factory in Elgin and Hamiltons case and not applied by the Admirality like other examples.
    Also, in 1940 the Admirality changed the designations of deck watches to the H.S. system, giving chronometers, chronometer watches, deck watches and other timepieces all numbers coordinating with their system of regulations, observations and time trials: HS1, HS2, HS3 and so on.
    Why would some of the Waltham Deck watch examples I have been able to locate be marked HS3 while others are not? The only answer I could derive is that the Waltham deck watches were sent and issued prior to this system was developed, some (about half the examples I could locate) were marked with the HS3 while the other half were not. That means that some were sent for service to the chronometer section for service and re-designated to HS3 after the system was started. That means time pieces that were already in the field, never made it to the CS for service did not get marked. The older pieces that did not make it to the CS may have been downgraded to just "comparing watches" when the new supplies were coming in such as but not limited to Elgins 581 and Hamilton 3992Bs.
    All the Waltham Vanguards have the large early style Royal Navy broad arrow not seen on the Elgin or Hamilton rear cases. All this is opinion of course but the years dealing with, seeing and collecting these pieces just shows an earlier period than the 1940's.
     
  4. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
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    Dec 14, 2001
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    Your point about pre 1940 is well taken.

    The 6 position adjustment dates it to the 30's. It may have been bought in the early 30's and donated by a civilian owner. They called for these in the early days of the war.

    As to spare regulators, they show up on eBay on occasion. Your best option may be look for a movement on eBay with the right regulator. I know a few people and if I locate one I'll PM you.
     
  5. Michael Payant

    Michael Payant Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
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    Dr. Jon,
    thank you for your reply! That may be a plausible conclusion to why I can only find the 8 examples. Do you know of any documented pieces that were obtained by the British Government this way? It would be great to compare and even start its own thread topic about the subject!

    Yes please! If you do find a whip regulator that will suit my watch in "your travels" please contact me and we will sort it out. Thank you again! M
     
  6. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Aug 24, 2000
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    The Vanguard seems to me to have been marked later with the broad arrow, and number on the dial and perhaps the Vanguard as well. The markings do not appear to be under the glaze. I have also seen others with the Bravington and broad arrow on the case that appear to have been done at the same time. Would it have been to Bravington's benefit to mark these as ex-military for civilian sale?
     
  7. Michael Payant

    Michael Payant Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
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    The Broad Arrow as well as the cooresponding movement number "632" would have been later by the Admirality UNLIKE the later Elgin 581 and Hamilton 3992b done at the factory for the Brits.

    Bravingtons did scribe their name on the back of timepieces that they purchased from the British Government MoS for private civilian sale. Given the fact that ALL 8 examples I could find have the large Broad Arrow but only 3 have the jeweler "Bravingtons" signature prove that the LARGE rear case Broad Arrow was added priviously by the British Government to show ownership.
     
  8. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Aug 24, 2000
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    I am sure you are right, but the broad arrow looks much more stylized than those on the other military watches.
     
  9. Michael Payant

    Michael Payant Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
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    #9 Michael Payant, Feb 7, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
    Hi Tom,
    Yes the style of this Broad Arrow is not seen often but seen in different variants such as the "Pattern 301" and "Pattern No. 6" ASDIC sonar watches. The only thing missing is the "angle lines" inside the broad arrow.
    I've also posted some photos of another example noted in my original thread up top but shows the front and back of watch with same markings. This one is marked HS3. I have yet to see an HS3 marked example that was sold by the MoS to a civilian outlet like "Bravingtons". To good for the likes of them I guess!!

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
  10. Michael Payant

    Michael Payant Registered User

    Dec 22, 2015
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    Here is another photo of an example with dial markings. I apologize for the quality of the photo. The three shown in the thread are the only three I can find with markings on the dial.
    image.jpeg
     
  11. papazulu

    papazulu Registered User

    Jul 3, 2012
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    The stye of the Pheon was used from the early 20ies and denoted Marine use!
     
  12. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Doesn't "Pheon" refer to the barbed form of broad arrow used in heraldry? I do not recall seeing any barbs on those used on timepieces.

    Although common with maritime use, I thought the British broad arrow was a general service mark relating to government stores i.e. ordnance.
     
  13. papazulu

    papazulu Registered User

    Jul 3, 2012
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    ...you are not quite right with your assumption, pheon is the commonly used name of such and strictly speaking, the pheon marking Kings and later Queens property.
    It is the form of the pheon which is relevant, and that form which Michael Payant shows, dates it to the beginnig of last Century.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the mark on a Royal Navy revolver

    [​IMG]
     
  14. papazulu

    papazulu Registered User

    Jul 3, 2012
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    #14 papazulu, Mar 23, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
    Here are the extracts from British MoD specification 05-34/Issue 2 (dated 17 May 1984) entitled "Marking of Service Materiel" ...Note their use of the word "Pheon" and the distinct difference in shape of the pheon compared to Michael Payants.

    extracts from British MoD specification 05-34/Issue 2 (dated 17 May 1984) entitled "Marking of Service Materiel"


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Also read the question Greg Crockett made on this thread
    : https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?18687-Royal-Navy-A-AMES-LTD-Waltham
     
  15. rolandantrobus

    rolandantrobus Registered User

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    #15 rolandantrobus, Jun 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
    WOW! And I just thought it was called the "crows foot". Anyway I make the date of your watch to be 1936/7. I don't think it is possible to get a "month and year date" there are just not the records existing. Is there a missing 1 after the 632 on the dial? I notice a bit of rubbing and all the other examples have four numbers. Just noticed this thread is a couple of months old, sorry to have resurrected it.
     
  16. Accutronitis

    Accutronitis Registered User

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    Wow when your right, Your right !

     
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