Royal Flying Corps cockpit watch.....

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Hi all,

Are there any military experts around this forum ?
I'd like to know if the military case markings...ie the RFC 'arrow and A'....are more significant because they are in a circle or roundel ? (I'm au fait with the meaning of the marks etc etc).

Also, does anyone recognise the movement ?

The majority of the WW1 RFC cockpit watches were supplied by Doxa Omega Zenith and Electa, but others did seep into the mix. I can't find a match for this one though...unless it's a variant of the aforenamed makers.

I have tried most of the online sites and forums re this....but this 'roundel' is a hard one to pin down.

Thanks

Piers
 

Attachments

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,512
148
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
No particular significance to the design of the 'aviation' markings that I am aware of Piers. I don't recognise the movement. Nice example - a shame about the added bow but you do see more of them with that than without don't you.
 

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Thanks Davey,

Yes it's true......more often than not in my experience!

In the meantime, I whipped the dial off...and this is what I found. Any help ?

Piers
 

Attachments

Hawk53

Registered User
Dec 19, 2013
994
82
28
California
Country
Region
Piers, try contacting Bobbe53 via pm. He doesn't claim to be a expert, but he's damn good on researching and has spent a great deal of time on the military watches.

BTW, he's over in your neck of the woods. :eek:
 

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Will do Hawk53....thanks for that :)

BOBBE53 !!!....YOU OUT THERE :???:!!!:excited:
 

Neuron

Registered User
Nov 4, 2010
557
4
0
SF East Bay
Country
Region
Piers,

You have a very nice late WWI era cockpit watch. As you may know, various makers (Omega, Doxa, etc.) provided movements for the Mark IV and V, and the dials were marked with alphanumeric serials, like your B.L. 916. The initial letters were A, B, or C, and the B's and C's were double letters, such as BB or in your case BL. BB's, for example, were made by Omega. I don't know who made your finger bridge BL movement, but all of the BL's I have found have this same movement. These Mark V's seem to have been serialized such that runs began with 100 and went upward. The BL production seems to have been about 3500 (records indicate BL 100 to BL 3628, so yours is rather early in that run. As regards the A over arrow WD mark, the vast majority of Mark V's are not circled, but it seems that all of the BL Mark V's had the circle!
 

DaveyG

Registered User
Mar 21, 2005
2,512
148
63
74
North Wales, UK
Country
Interesting information Neuron, thanks. I have never paid too much attention to the serial number added to the dial as I haven't seen a sufficient number of these to extrapolate any information from it, however what you say makes sense. This policy seems to have continued into the GSTP era as those numbers can be attributed to manufacturers also but it has seemed to me that cases were 'mixed and matched' at Maintenance Units and, again, I have rarely been able to identify what code letter refers to what manufacturer. There does seem to have been a policy gap during the period when the pocket watches were marked GS MkI and GS MkII.
 

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Piers,

You have a very nice late WWI era cockpit watch. As you may know, various makers (Omega, Doxa, etc.) provided movements for the Mark IV and V, and the dials were marked with alphanumeric serials, like your B.L. 916. The initial letters were A, B, or C, and the B's and C's were double letters, such as BB or in your case BL. BB's, for example, were made by Omega. I don't know who made your finger bridge BL movement, but all of the BL's I have found have this same movement. These Mark V's seem to have been serialized such that runs began with 100 and went upward. The BL production seems to have been about 3500 (records indicate BL 100 to BL 3628, so yours is rather early in that run. As regards the A over arrow WD mark, the vast majority of Mark V's are not circled, but it seems that all of the BL Mark V's had the circle!
Hi Neuron,

Many thanks for that!! These watches are very tricky to research. I have gleaned some useful info' from MWR...but your input here re the serial number and the case mark is much more specific, and certainly no-one else has mentioned this movement having appeared in any other pieces.....so much obliged :)
That said....I am still surprised that even after all the research around, no-one has pinned down this particular movement.
Very frustrating!

Piers
 

bobbee53

Banned
May 6, 2012
682
6
18
62
Cossethay, Derbyshire, England.
Country
Sorry Piers, I'm unable to add any info to the thread! :-(
Here is a little something to make you laugh instead...


[plain]http://forums.watchuseek.com/attachments/f11/2114306d1416665316-wristwatch-1898-earliest-photograph-ww1-1914studio-pic.jpg[/plain]

WW1 1914studio pic.jpg
 

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
23,234
582
113
63
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Country
Region
Ben Roberts of Ch 111 in Ottawa might be of some help on this clock, if you wish to contact him.
 

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Sorry Piers, I'm unable to add any info to the thread! :-(
Here is a little something to make you laugh instead...


[plain]http://forums.watchuseek.com/attachments/f11/2114306d1416665316-wristwatch-1898-earliest-photograph-ww1-1914studio-pic.jpg[/plain]
Great! Cracking picture!
BTW...which part of Derbyshire ?

Ben Roberts of Ch 111 in Ottawa might be of some help on this clock, if you wish to contact him.
Cheers Kevin...obiged,

Piers
 

S.Humphrey

Registered User
Oct 4, 2012
892
62
28
Maryland
Country
Region
Hi Piers,

Is that a Minerva caliber?
I can't seem to find the reference right now, but it looks very similar to some of the Minerva models I was looking recently.

Regards,
S
 

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Hi Shiny,

Now...I haven't investigated Minerva. I'll see if I can find any matches. Again..there don't seem to be any overt clues on the dial plate, apart from the serial number.

Thanks for the suggestion :)

Piers
 

PJQL

Registered User
Jun 13, 2011
1,436
49
48
Cornwall UK
Country
Region
Bobbee53...sent you PM...:)
 

Sheep Farmer

Newbie
Aug 18, 2017
14
3
3
Country
This may be an old thread but I don't think anyone else has solved this problem.
I have a Royal Artillery World War I watch with the same movement and the same dial font. The main differences being my watch is a 17 jewel version with the micro regulator on the balance cock. It is also housed in a standard pocket watch case. The watch is signed Paul Garnier Paris. As my watch is broken I was on the lookout for parts and came across a gallet electa advertised by Welwynwatchparts.co.uk
Gallet recently told me that they had their cockpit watches cased in England. My watch clearly shows that the army were also sourcing watches in France and it's a fair chance they were buying for the Royal flying Corps as well as for the Royal Artillery.
 

Rick Hufnagel

Just Rick!
NAWCC Member
Donor
Oct 25, 2018
2,594
3,937
113
37
Pittsburgh pa
Country
Region
I have one of these movements as well. Very similar to the OPs. Thank you for resurrecting this thread, shineytickythings.

The case does not contain the military markings. It's a philadelphia "imitation silver" which I assume was marked that way to comply with foreign regulations because "Silverode" is too misleading. No clue if it's original or not. The whole watch certainly looks like it went through a war.

I was told this was a Gallet/Electa movement. Certainly not set it stone and open to exploring any possibilities. Do you have a picture of a Tavannes 918??

Sorry for the older pictures. The watch is still in this condition for the past few years, hanging out in the "fix it when I learn how" pile.

IMG_20180706_173722725_1530975243662.jpg IMG_20180706_173627356_1530975254014.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: eri231

Forum statistics

Threads
168,247
Messages
1,467,315
Members
48,194
Latest member
JCB4BASS
Encyclopedia Pages
1,060
Total wiki contributions
2,955
Last update
-