Military – James Dowling Vintage Watches From James Dowling Fri, 18 May 2018 10:55:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 006 BRITISH ARMY ISSUED HAMILTON W10 MILITARY WATCH Falklands Conflict Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:08:13 +0000  


Made by Hamilton Switzerland (now part of the Swatch Group), not the original US company; these watches were standard issue to all three British armed forces, the only difference between the watches issued is the case back engraving, which shows that this one was an Army watch. Its issue date is 1973, so it is likely to have seen action in the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The case is an unusual one piece case in a tonneau shape, the movement is removed through the glass opening at the front, after the split winding stem is removed. The movement itself is a Hamilton cal 649 (actually an ETA 2750) with 17 jewels, with incabloc shock protection & a hacking seconds facility.

The rear of the case has full British military markings, including the issue number, the marks are:

the MOD broad arrow




The watch measures 32.5mm Diam, 41mm lug to lug and is 10mm high; it takes an 18mm strap and has fixed strap bars, the watch runs well and keeps time, and it has been serviced.


005 Unusual Eterna Czech military watch from the mid 1930s Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:03:35 +0000 Interesting Eterna Military Wrist Watch made for the Czechoslovak Military prior to WWII  and has the most unusual case construction I have ever seen. There are 4 distinct parts to the case, a movement holder/case back, a central case body with lugs, the glass and a securing ring which locks the case back and body together.

The original black dial is signed Eterna and it has heavy luminous numerals, steel skeleton hands with luminous infill and sunken subsidiary seconds dial at the 6 position. The unusual Stainless Steel 3 piece Case has a separate movement holder/caseback and downward facing faceted lugs

The case back is engraved with the inscription, “MAJETEK VOJENSKE SPRAVY”  (which means “Property of Military Affairs”) and the issue number 100343.

The movement is the Eterna Cal. 520 rhodium plated 15 Jewels Movement, with an oversize compensated balance; like most movements of this period, the balance is not shock protected.

The case & dial are both 90% whilst the movement is 95%.

The watch measures 36mm Diam, 43mm lug to lug and is 8.5mm high; it takes a 19mm strap and a heavy sueded dark brown leather strap is fitted to the watch.


£950.00 (approx. $1,375.00 US)

003 Australian Air Force Hamilton Pilot’s watch; Vietnam era Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:48:15 +0000 RAAF Hamilton

Hamilton FAPD 5101 navigation wrist watch was issued to USAF navigators during the Vietnam war and shortly after, they are quite rare and very desirable. But this isn’t one of them; this is the much more rare Australian Air Force issue version

The movement is a Hamilton cal 684 (which is actually an ETA 2391) with 17 jewels; it is jeweled to the center wheel and has a direct drive sweep seconds hand.

The movement is protected from magnetic influences by a Faraday cage comprising a soft iron movement ring, removable movement cover and an extra thick dial.

The dial is matt black with small luminous inverted triangle marking each of the 12 hour positions, position The dial also has full Arabic numbers in white. The dial is unsigned, apart from a tiny “Swiss” below the outer minute track. The hands are white painted skeleton leaf shaped with needle points and heavy tritium infill; obviously after all this time the luminous no longer functions.

The case has an unusual construction with an annular recess in the case body into which the gasket fits, rather than the more common method of placing the gasket on the case back. The inside of the case back is signed “Hamilton Watch Co Swiss Made”; the case back is signed with Austrailan Air Force issue marks. The watch has fixed bars.

The case is 95+%, whilst the dial and the movement are both 99%.

The watch measures 37mm Diam, 46mm lug to lug, it is 13mm high and takes an 18 mm strap and a new NATO (G10) strap is fitted.

£4,000.00 (approx. $5,750.00US)

036 Zenith Special original Pilot’s watch from the 1930s Thu, 26 Oct 2017 19:17:54 +0000 This watch is one of a number made in the decade prior to WWII, which are collectively known as “aviator’s watches”, but more correctly as Pilot’s or Navigator’s Watches. The IWC Mk IX is probably the best known of the bunch but Zenith, Movado, Omega, Helvetia & Avia and many others also made similar watches.

Large size cases, black dials with radium numerals & hands and a rotating bezel with a movable pointer below the glass are the distinguishing features. Most of them seem to have been designed for and used by the nascent German Luftwaffe pilots although they were never really issued; however the overall design lived on in the Hanhardt chronographs used by the Luftwaffe during WWII.

An identical watch is shown in K. Knirim’s “Military Timepieces” on page 373 and what is most interesting is that this watch also has the very large winding tube protruding from the case side to enable winding while wearing flying gloves in the unheated cockpits of those early days.

The watch uses the brushed gilt finish in house manufacture Zenith Cal. 13-2-1, numbered 3059418, it has Manual Winding, and ‘snail shell’ micrometer adjustment of the regulator. Like all watches from this era, it has no shock absorption for the balance staff. The movement is protected by a dust cover; which, unusually, is made from mineral glass, allowing the movement to be seen in all its glory.

The alloy case is in not so good condition, the rotating bezel moves freely, but the screwed back has experienced some corrosion over time.

The Original Black enamel Dial has a sunken subsidiary seconds dial at the six position the indices are luminous bars, with double bars at the 12 position. The ‘pencil’ hands are luminous, but as can be expected with an 80 year old watch, none of the luminous still functions.

The dial is 90%, whilst the movement is 95% and the case is 80%.

The watch measures 35.2mm Diam, 39.5mm lug to lug, it is 12mm high and takes a 20 mm strap and a black leather strap is fitted.

£2,500.00 (approx. $3,350.00 US.)

029 Lemania Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm chronograph Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:40:23 +0000 This is a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm one button chronograph from the late 1950s.

Unlike the later “asymmetric” one button chronographs, this is a much larger version and unlike the later one this case was used by Lemania alone.

Fleet Air Arm navigator’s wrist chronograph with the case engraved with the stock control number 0552/924-3305.

The dial is silver with large black Arabic numerals for the except 3 and 9, the subsidiary dials are quite small in comparison to the rest of the watch. There is a circled T below the centre post, indicating that the watch uses tritium on the hands although there is no luminous on the dial, and it is obvious that there never was.

The movement is a Lemania caliber 13CH-1 with 17 jewels, gilt finish, column wheel operation of the chronograph functions and no shock protection on the balance. The movement is not numbered.

The movement is 95%, whilst the dial and the case are both 85%.

The watch measures 39mm Diam, 46mm lug to lug, it is 14mm high and takes a 20mm strap and a new NATO (G10) strap is fitted.

£2,250.00 (approx. $3,000.00 US)

027 Smiths British Army Falklands era watch Thu, 26 Oct 2017 18:11:14 +0000 Dating from 1969 this is a very special model as it was the last mechanical watch supplied to the British armed forces and in fact these watches were the last mass produced mechanical watches made in England.

The watch is engraved ‘W10’ on the caseback, meaning it was issued to the Army. Being issued in 1969, it is likely to have seen service during the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The cal 115 movement has 17 jewels, indirect center seconds and is numbered 60466E; it has a gilt finish and the classic exposed winding wheels and click spring; like all British military watches from this period it has a “hack” seconds facility.

The gloss black dial has white painted full Arabic numerals with a “railway lines” outer seconds track, heavy luminous batons at each quarter hour mark and smaller luminous dots for the remainder. The dial is signed “Smiths” at the top and below that is the circled T (standing for Tritium) and there is the British broad arrow mark above the 6.

Smith’s quit the watch business in the early 1990s and are back in their original business of instrument manufacturers making gauges for aircraft cockpits and most of the scanners you will see at airport security lines.

The case is 95%, as is the movement, whilst the dial is 95+%. Please note that the watch hacks correctly, unlike many of the Smiths military watches.

The watch measures 35mm Diam, 46mm lug to lug, it is 11mm high and takes a 17mm strap and a new replica of the original fabric one is fitted.


024 WWII Luftwaffe Navigator’s Compass Thu, 26 Oct 2017 16:46:56 +0000 A companion piece to the WWII German B-Uhr watches, this is (in fact) a much rarer item. It is a Luftwaffe wrist compass specification number FL23235-1. Normally worn on the right wrist, it was used in conjunction with maps and the Navigator’s watch for the dead reckoning calculations.
Larger than the (already huge) B Uhr watch in every dimension and made from easily breakable Bakelite it is no wonder that so few of them have survived.
The compass is made from two sections, a black Bakelite base and a rotating transparent top housing. Contained inside the base is the compass ring, which is also made from transparent Bakelite and which has a floating circle with the compass points painted in black. Interestingly the degrees have the final 0 omitted (so 330° is shown as 33) each of the 30° makers has a small radium dot next to it and the North indication is marked with a large red N and a luminous triangle and large dot. The base is stamped with the serial number 4043
The top of the rotating “bezel” has two sights, the black one having a “V” cut in it enabling it to be used to “draw a bead” on the red one like a gunsight. There is a thin black line painted under the glass which must be lined up with a similar one on the floating compass rose. On the bottom of the unit is a rotating shutter, which enables light to come through to enhance visibility.
This is only the second one of these I have seen, however I have seen about a dozen Panerai ones, as the Panerais were made from metal the survival rate is understandable. However every Panerai compass I have ever seen had badly discoloured liquid which made them unreadable and therefore unusable. This German one is as clear as the day it was made & works like a dream.
The whole of this item rates as 90+%
Diameter 62mm; Lug to Lug 74mm; Height 22mm., it takes a 17mm strap and the original strap is still fitted.

£1,500.00 (approx. $2,400.00 US)

Please note that the information in the above description draws heavily on two publications “British Intelligence in the Second World War Volume 1” ISBN 0 11 630933 4 and “German Military Timepieces of World War II Volume 2” ISBN 0 9529103 6 5.

023 IWC Mark 1 B Uhr with recent factory service and archive documents Thu, 26 Oct 2017 16:42:49 +0000 This is one of the rarest & most collectable of the famed WW II German “B-Uhrs”, the IWC version. The watch has just returned from Schaffhausen where it underwent a full service & was fitted with a brand new strap made by IWC in the original pattern and it is accompanied by official IWC factory archive papers and invoices.

These watches are commonly known as “B-Uhrs” short for “Beobachtungsuhr” or observer’s watch; however a more correct translation would be “Navigator’s watch” and were used by the navigator to perform navigational calculations.

These IWC watches have the highest quality movement ever fitted in a B-Uhr wristwatch, it is a calibre 52T marine chronometer quality, with a cut Guillaume balance equipped with heavy gold adjusting screws. It has 16 jewels, most of them in chatons and the seconds hand is direct driven. The balance spring has a Breguet terminal curve and the balance cock is fitted with a “swan’s neck” micrometer regulator. It has a hacking system operated by the winding crown, when pulled to the hand setting position a small spring pushes up against the 4th wheel & stops the balance. Only 1,000 of these watches were made & were shipped to IWC’s Berlin agent, Siegfried Heindorf, in 1940. Knowing that the heaviest Luftwaffe bomber losses were during the second half of 1940 (the Battle of Britain), it seems reasonable to assume that not many survived.

The case is unlike all other B-Uhr watches, it made from stainless steel with a separate antimagnetic movement cover. It has the specification number FL23883 engraved on the case side opposite the winding crown. And inside the case back the full history is also engraved, this shows the maker, IWC; the specification number FL23883 and the movement number 1014589. There is a separate anti-magnetic dust cover and this bears the case number 1033909, which is also stamped inside the case back.

The dial is unique style to IWC with a large triangle and 2 dots at 12 and the remainder of the hours as large luminous Arabic numerals, however unlike all the other makers, the 6 and 9 are open. The blued steel hands, including the sweep seconds, have heavy luminous radium paint.

These watches were not “issued” in the same way as in the Allied air forces, rather a bomber Navigator would be supplied with one prior to a raid and it would be returned to the stores after the mission was de-briefed.

Dial & movement are both 99+% whilst the case is 95%.
Diameter 55mm; Lug to Lug 66mm; Height 17mm., it takes an 25.5mm strap and a modern replica strap is fitted.

£27,500.00 (approx. $31,500.00 US)

019 Very rare 1981 Foresta SAR DGzRS 200m Dive Watch Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:25:25 +0000 The watch is one of a batch of 20 issued to the DGzRS in 1981, the DGzRS is the German Search and Rescue organization; somewhere between the USCGS and the RNLI in the UK.

(DGzRS means “Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger”, or, in English “German Maritime Search and Rescue Service”) You can find out more info on the English page of their website

Foresta were a small Swiss firm who made watches under contract to stores and wholesalers, rarely putting their own name on their products. Like many comparable firms they made their watches using commercially available parts, the watch uses the same MONNIN case as the early famous HEUER Divers. Caseback inside is marked with             ” BREVET + 503.305 MRP.SA SWITZERLAND ”

Google for “Heuer 503.305” or “Monnin 503.305”, to discover how desirable they are.

The unidirectional bezel has an acrylic insert, similar to the early Seamaster 300 ones, the numbers are engraved into the rear of the bezel and then filled with luminous paint, so that no amount of rubbing will cause them to fade. The screwdown crown is protected by large pointed crowns and the sapphire glass is unmarked.

The movement is a Swiss quartz 7 jewel one signed by Harley

The matt black dial is most unusual, with giant luminous Arabic 6,9 & 12 numbers and large white and red striped batons for the remainder, all the numbers have luminous dots at their periphery. The hands are also unusual with a ‘spade’ shaped hour hand and a wide ‘pencil’ minute hand.

The watch keeps excellent time, as one would expect from a modern quartz watch, it has just had a battery change and has been pressure tested to 100m and it passed with flying colours.

Diameter 41.5mm; Lug to Lug 46.5mm; Height 10mm, it takes a 20mm strap and a new black NATO strap is fitted.

£1,500.00 (approx. $1,950.00 US)

015 Tornek Rayville TR-900 with amazing provenance Wed, 13 Sep 2017 10:16:43 +0000 Price on application  ]]> Churchill once described the Soviet Union as “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” I can’t think of a better description for the TR-900. For many years few even knew of its existence, developed at the height of the Cold War to counter the Soviets’ expertise in naval mine laying, but it found its main role on land in the jungles & paddy fields of South East Asia during the Vietnam conflict.

All TR-900 watches are rare, but this one is especially rare as it recently came directly from Blancpain with a sheaf of documents including a letter from Allen Tornek; in the late 1970s almost all TR-900 watches were destroyed by the US Atomic Energy Commission, as low-level radioactive waste. This makes this watch extra special as it remained at Blancpain’s Rayville factory for 40 years and never went either to Tornek or to the US Navy and so shows the finish that these watches had when new.

The movement is the automatic, cal. AS 1361, signed Tornek Rayville, with 17 jewels and incabloc shock protection.

Their rarity has made the TR-900 one of the most valuable of military watches, one sold earlier this year for almost $115,000

The case is 95%, the dial is 95+% and the movement is in 95% condition.

It measures 41mm diameter, 48mm lug to lug, and 12.5mm high it takes a 17 mm strap and is on a new beige NATO style strap.

Price on application