South Bend grade 315 Military watch

Fred Hansen

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
5,377
399
83
Country
I recently picked up an 18 size South Bend grade 315 in a nickel case marked "U.S. Shipping Board" on the rear. I believe Lyle Stratton's South Bend book mentions that these were the only military contract South Bend watches.

I'd be interested in any information on these and would enjoy seeing any examples out there. I'd be especially interested in any opinions on what the likely total production was and if there what variations there may be to the movements and dials.

Fred
 

Fred Hansen

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
5,377
399
83
Country
Some pics ... movement serial 893124, case serial 962225, SS Roman dial ...
 

Attachments

Fred Hansen

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
5,377
399
83
Country
Two of these passed through a Jones-Horan auction a few years ago.

One of these had the same case and dial style, its movement serial number was 893713 and its case serial was 962077 ...

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm14_a.jpg

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm14_b.jpg

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm14_c.jpg

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm14_d.jpg

The other had the same case but a sunk-seconds Arabic dial, its movement serial number was 893148 and its case serial was 962190 ...

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm15_a.jpg

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm15_b.jpg

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm15_c.jpg

http://www.jones-horan.com/images/0504/jm15_d.jpg

The movement and case serials of these three so far in this thread are fairly close to one another, and I'd definitely be interested in movement and case numbers of other examples to see how they compare.

Fred
 

JTIBBS

Registered User
Oct 19, 2005
8
0
1
South Bend also produced a 16 size model 219 that is found in US Shipping Board cases. Here is 840745 in a US Shipping Board swing out case. Both the 315 and 219 I have are Roman numeral dials.
 

Attachments

Fred Hansen

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
5,377
399
83
Country
Another recent sighting ...

Movement #893697, SS Roman dial, correctly marked nickel case but I couldn't make out the serial number
 

Michael Payant

Registered User
Dec 22, 2015
44
0
0
Hello all,
Here is another example of the South Bend Grade 315 U.S. Shipping Board watch. It has serial number 893080 and nickel case number 962008. Also the, which many of you may find interesting I found an advertisement in the June 1925 issue of "Motor Boating Magazine" from the Emergency Fleet Corporation acting within the US Shipping Board. The advertisement is for selling excess chronometers, deck watches and pocket watches to the general public. My guess, the South Bend grade 315/219 pocket watches were used as "Comparing Watches" to the deck watches or could have been as simple as "Officers assigned" timepieces. I wish my Great-Grandfather was savvy enough to put an order in for 100 Chronometers and put them away!!! Oh well...... ;)
023.jpg
024.jpg
018.jpg
017.jpg
image.png
014.jpg
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Dave Coatsworth

Senior Administrator
Staff member
NAWCC Business
NAWCC Fellow
Sponsor
Feb 11, 2005
7,635
2,281
113
61
Camarillo, CA
www.daveswatchparts.com
Country
Region
Interesting... I recently picked up a lot of 11 of these U.S. Shipping Board cases. I wonder if they once held South Bend movements or were destined to hold them. Has anyone ever seen any other type of movement in one of these cases?

Case483.jpg

Edit: After reading the advertisement above, I see that they might have also held Elgin movements.
 

Dave Coatsworth

Senior Administrator
Staff member
NAWCC Business
NAWCC Fellow
Sponsor
Feb 11, 2005
7,635
2,281
113
61
Camarillo, CA
www.daveswatchparts.com
Country
Region
The case numbers for the 10 that I still have are:

961144
961149
961188
961333
961518
961552
961771
961910
961982
962080

These cases do have faint case screw marks but otherwise appear to be unused. My guess is that they were put together for some contract, never sold and the movements later removed and recased for non-military sale.
 
Last edited:

Michael Payant

Registered User
Dec 22, 2015
44
0
0
For what I have seen they have all been Grade 315's in the Shipping Board cases. I have seen one with a replacement dial but they have all been pretty standard. Now the big question is: why would there be 11 empty cases in one lot? That's strange. The Elgins would have been big like a Torpedo Boat Watch size in the wooded cases per the description. Never seen ANY Torpedo Boat size US Shipping Board pieces. Seen plenty US Navy but never Shipping Board.
 

Fred Hansen

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
5,377
399
83
Country
The Elgins would have been big like a Torpedo Boat Watch size in the wooded cases per the description. Never seen ANY Torpedo Boat size US Shipping Board pieces. Seen plenty US Navy but never Shipping Board.
I don't know what the relative proportion of US Navy vs. US Shipping Board markings were, but I've had both 36 size Hamiltons and the oversize cased freesprung Elgin Father Times with US Shipping board marked cases. I think the pics are on my old computer so will probably be a while before I can access them again but one of the Elgin deck watches I had was in its original US Shipping Board marked wooden box with matching serial to the case back.
 

Michael Payant

Registered User
Dec 22, 2015
44
0
0
They must certainly be a rarity in the Shipping Board cases. I'm my collecting years I have only owned one 36 size military watch and that being a Longines US Navy WWI era torpedo boat watch in wooden case.
the only other US Shipping Board timepieces I have seen were the gimbaled Elgins in the U.S.S.B brass plate marked boxes and the cooresponding engraved markings on the underside of the brass movement tub.
I would love to see the photos Fred if you can access them.
That alone may make an interesting thread to compile ALL the different makes and types of US Shipping Board timepieces!
 

Michael Payant

Registered User
Dec 22, 2015
44
0
0
I'm pretty sure the US Shipping Board was the origin. Bureau of Ships I believe came later.
All the "spin off" organizations from the one kept coming.
 

LStratton

Registered User
Sep 14, 2000
186
4
18
Longmont, CO the banana belt of Colorado
Country
Region
U.S. Shipping Board - 1917-1927 - The U.S. Shipping Board was established on September 7, 1916 and organized in January 1917 to revitalize the U.S. Merchant Fleet and regulate foreign and domestic shipping.It's functions operating the government merchant fleet were lost to the Merchant Fleet Corp. in 1927, which was also consumed by the MaritimeCommission. The U.S. Shipping Board was re-designated in the Department of Commerce in 1933 and then dis-established and replaced by the Maritime Commission in 1936.
South Bend 16s, 19j, grade 219 were also sold to the Shipping Board but not in the quantity that the 315 was.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Michael Payant

Registered User
Dec 22, 2015
44
0
0
Thank you for showing your example Paul. That is the first USSB Elgin 36 size I've seen. Excellent example. Thank you for sharing.
 

Fred Hansen

Registered User
NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
5,377
399
83
Country
Just saw another of the U.S. Shipping Board Grade 315, movement serial number 897274 and case serial number 961121.
 
Our 2021 National Meeting in Hampton Roads Virginia
Topic related ad experiment