Spotting a Fake Elgin Buships Canteen Diver + Info


Registered User
Jan 5, 2021

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. As everyone knows this case has been re-issued over and over again, and unfortunately there has been a sellers reproducing these cases. It has gotten worse since now they are being listed as original with an elgin 539 or 647 civilian movement, not the E. The cases have gotten more original looking too, they dont have that powdery looking finish now, but tell tale is in the inner and outer crown there will always be a machine mark on the top with a tiny pip. I own 3 of these so i know. however the pip on some cases isnt there but the radial swirling machine markers should always be there. I feel like the cases are ruining the market. I have a USN XXXC listed now and it has a NOS signed buships dial right from a wwii vets estate that was also a watchmaker while in the navy....I feel its not getting the attention it deserves due to the fact that some must think its a repro case.....esp since there is no lead sealed crystal. See attached photo of the machine marks.

also i have done extensive research on this watch. There is no concrete proof of this but here is my theory. warning it may contradict popular belief.

1. The correct movements respectively: XXXC Hacking nickel black 539, USN BUSHIPS Hacking 647E. The 647 didnt exist until 1950 and it is fact that they were assembled at the Elgin Factory. The XXXC cases were used to case the remaining 539s left in stock after the war. In the Elgin Database the majority of the XXXC cases have a 539 and the majority of the BUSHIPS cases had the 647E. BUSHIPS casses with 539 (nickel black only) could still be considered original due to the fact that when a watch was sent to the ordinance dept for repair they would often replace the entire movement. In some cases repairs were made in the field by soldiers using TM 9-1575 a manual for wrist watch field repairs. So its possible a BUSHIPS case could have had the movement swapped from 647 to 539 but I take this with a grain of salt and would be too hard to tell so I would not pay for a BUSHIPS marked case with a 539.

2. the XXXC cases were the early cases not the BUSHIPS case. Why? Because Mil spec# 18W18(INT) '44 required a waterproof case. Which was met by the Hamilton and Elgin. Mil spec# 18W8(SHIPS) '47 was a revision of the earlier spec which added that USN BUSHIPS needed to be double signed on the dial as well as the case back. The XXXC cases would not meet the spec's requirements.

3. The XXXC cases were not WWII issued. WHY? because SS cases were not made during the time because of steel shortage. Steel was allocated to making pennies in order to save copper for bullet casings. Commodities were usually swapped around during war time. which is why I believe Only the Hamilton's "a base metal case" would have been issued to the (NCDU). I believe they were issued between 45-47.


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Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre