Deck Watch: The Royal Navy's 3992B

Discussion in 'Chronometers' started by Leigh Callaway, Jan 7, 2017.

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  1. Leigh Callaway

    Leigh Callaway Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Sep 5, 2011
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    IMG_3690.jpg IMG_3692.jpg


    Herewith photos of my Hamilton 3992B, serial nr. 3C1772. I am interested in learning how these watches were used by the Royal Navy.
    First, some recent history: in a post January 13, 2013, DaveyG wrote: “On withdrawal from Naval service, the UK based [3992B] watches were returned to storage at Herstmonceux Castle . Some were subsequently issued to the Royal Air Force for use on the nuclear bomber (V) force..”
    Documentation which came with the watch indicates it left Herstmonceaux Castle on March 24, 1967. The case back is etched with the Air Ministry section and reference number “6B/60.” So it’s easy to imagine this was a navigational watch used aboard the V bomber of 1967, the Avro Vulcan.
    Back to the Royal Navy: another post in this forum (HUDD, March 12, 2016) notes a 3992B used by the father of its previous owner who served in HMS Quorn. The post indicates that Quorn was sunk after the previous owner’s father was transferred. So, at least in this case, the watch may have been issued to an individual, not a vessel.
    The back is etched “NAVIGATION MASTER WATCH” and Whitney calls it a “Master Navigation Center Seconds Watch.” Test tolerances were average daily rates not to exceed five seconds, and variation from the average daily rates not to exceed two seconds over five days. That rate variation translates to significant navigational error over time, so it’s hard to believe the 3992B was issued as a master timepiece for extended periods.
    The 3992B is also described as a “deck watch.” This most likely means it was a source of time throughout the ship after hacking to the chronometer, thus not disturbing the latter. In this role, it’s similar to the U.S. Navy’s comparing watch, the 2974B.
     
  2. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User
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    Aug 27, 2000
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    Some navy ships carried three full sized chronometers. The rule was that the chronometers were NEVER to all be in the same place at the same time (can you spell Kamikaze?). These were often called a "comparing" or comparison watch, used in comparing time on the chronometers.
     
  3. River rat

    River rat Registered User
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    Apr 4, 2009
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    Nice watch. You did do your home work the same info about this watch is in the book a concise guide to military timepieces by Wesolowski and Doug is right used as a comparing watch the Navigator would get a fix on the time from the ships chronometer then go on deck to do the navigation sighting here is a link that mite help.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_by_chronometer
     
  4. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 14, 2001
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    I suspect from the marking and packaging that this watch was for aircraft navigation.

    I am guessing on this because I though that aircraft navigation watches were marked "HS 3" and this is one not but the HS 3's are usually 4992B's or equivalent Elgin or Waltham models.
     
  5. River rat

    River rat Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Apr 4, 2009
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    #5 River rat, Apr 5, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
    Here's the info out of Wesolowski book the price is wrong the book a little old wished the prices were the same these days. And the poster said one was issued to a sailor on the HMS Quorn no aircraft on board so could of been used as a comparing watch and some might of been used on aircraft.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Quorn_(L66)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Barry Armstrong

    Barry Armstrong Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 3, 2015
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    Nice Watch. On my "wish list". Not easy to find a nice one.
     
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