Don't know what it says, but I'm fairly sure it is Japanese.
Huh tough luck in Japanese. I had a contact in Tokyo,forwarded him the photo, let's see if and when he will respond,will post further.
Bobsy from MRW wrote this;"I believe it says: "Yu Wen Biao's Special Gift to the Chief of Shi Jing".
Yu Wen Biao is a name and Shi Jing is probably a place or institution."
If you need it translated still.
Post here and I will ask my Japanese Horologist friend
NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.
"Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
"Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
"By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
According to my wife. It looks like the writing on the left is probably Chinese and the the writing on the right is Japanese for somebody called Ishi (family name) who was a section boss. Maybe some kind of memorial watch for him. Sorry can't be clearer but the kanji is difficult to understand clearly.
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My contact replied, he says:
Thank you for email.
This is two people's names.
It is a present from Chinese to the Japanese.
Chief Ishii Keison. (message appended to a note accompanying a gift, requesting the recipient to keep the gift at hand.)
[Yomon Heu ji ?] Zou. (offer)
(The reading of Chinese people's name is not known. )
It is carved like this.
Thanks everyone for taking the time and effort to answer my question.
If it was military oriented, I would have bid on it.
Sorry for coming in late.
The inscription is in Chinese, making the watch a gift from a Chinese person 余文彪 (in modern pinyin rendering, Yu Wenbiao), to a Japanese person whose family name is 石井 (Ishii). It reads top to bottom, right to left, thus:
主任 Head of Department
惠存 literally "kindly take possession", but usually marked as a gift to someone.
余文彪 Yu Wenbiao
持贈 offers as a gift
So, rendered in English:
"To Department Head Mr Ishii, From Yu Wenbiao".
I do not know the age of the watch, but the penmanship of engraving suggests something more than a few decades old. If it was before the end of WWII, then it was probably made in occupied China.
Last edited by Seele; August 7th, 2014 at 04:59.
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