Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

Thread: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

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  1. #1
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    Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    I'm not even sure this is a watch (see attachments please) ... the previous owner was an elderly gentleman who, back in the day, was a skier for the US military, as well as an Olympic sub. The only marking I could find on it so far says it was "made in France", beyond that, I don't want to open it up yet to look at the movement ... if it even has one ! The "minute hand" is the only thing that moves when you use the cerated spin dial on the bottom. Otherwise the hour hand doesn't move at all. That little pin sticking out over the dial ... I wonder if that used to be a crown that was there ? Pushing or pulling on it accomplishes nothing. I don't know what the "feet" marking is supposed to indicate. At first I thought it could be some kind of altimeter, but I simply don't know. I got it at an estate sale and tried to glean some information, but this was the best I could do. The back side has a sticker that is mostly torn off, which says "Property of John (something or other), from a city in New York". The sticker info is typed on it.

    If this is easily identifiable by someone, then awesome. Otherwise, I'm wondering if it was some kind of standard issue item ?

    Thanks to anyone who can solve this mystery. I tend to pick up odds and ends like this which I can't identify lol :)
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  2. #2
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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    I am pretty sure that it has nothing to do with timing but is instead a distance measuring device. I presume the pin resets the two hands to zero (at 12:00). You then run the whole thing along a distance, e.g. a roll of cloth or paper, to measure off a distance of up to 25 feet (equivalent to nearly eight metric metres). It doesn't need to be wound up so a crown would not be needed.

    Interesting find, though.

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Hi and welcome
    As Hartmut says not a watch
    BUT
    a map distance calculator - you run it along the map and the distance and read of the scale

    Old and very cool
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Map distance calculators are similar but have rather more complex dials. There are several scales, returning different results according to the scale of the map (e.g. 1:10000). This one gives a direct, linear equivalent.

    Hartmut Richter

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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Map distance calculators are similar but have rather more complex dials. There are several scales, returning different results according to the scale of the map (e.g. 1:10000). This one gives a direct, linear equivalent.

    Hartmut Richter
    Yessssssssssssss ........ Bingo ! The 1-12 are inches, completing a revolution gives you a foot at a time :) The cerated dial is so that it won't slip on a surface. Yesssss. And a 1:1 direct equivalent. Also, when I spin the dial by hand, it doesn't move the *foot hand*. It requires a bit of pressure to do that, as though it were contacting a surface.

    Awesome ! Thank you so much to the both of you for your reply ! Mystery solved ! Now if I can figure out it's exact date of origin, manufacturer, etc :)

    Very cool indeed :)

  7. #6
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Quote Originally Posted by g2b2 View Post
    Yessssssssssssss ........ Bingo ! The 1-12 are inches, completing a revolution gives you a foot at a time :) The cerated dial is so that it won't slip on a surface. Yesssss. And a 1:1 direct equivalent. Also, when I spin the dial by hand, it doesn't move the *foot hand*. It requires a bit of pressure to do that, as though it were contacting a surface.

    Awesome ! Thank you so much to the both of you for your reply ! Mystery solved ! Now if I can figure out it's exact date of origin, manufacturer, etc :)

    Very cool indeed :)
    Exactly and very, very cool.
    a great piece
    enjoy
    adam
    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"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Quote Originally Posted by HOROLOGIST007 View Post
    Exactly and very, very cool.
    a great piece
    enjoy
    adam
    Indeed :) And thanks again :)

    Just for general knowledge ... once I knew what to Google for, I just now quickly stumbled upon one like it:

    Antique 1930s French Opisometer Map Measurer door Retromagination

    They are called opisometers, or curvimeters. I'm going to gently remove the sticker from the back of it later and I'm guessing it will be the same as the one in the link shows, since they are essentially the same item from all appearances. Super cool !

    Thanks again to the both of you :)

  9. #8
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Quote Originally Posted by g2b2 View Post
    Indeed :) And thanks again :)

    Just for general knowledge ... once I knew what to Google for, I just now quickly stumbled upon one like it:

    Antique 1930s French Opisometer Map Measurer door Retromagination

    They are called opisometers, or curvimeters. I'm going to gently remove the sticker from the back of it later and I'm guessing it will be the same as the one in the link shows, since they are essentially the same item from all appearances. Super cool !

    Thanks again to the both of you :)
    no thanks to you for posting a great piece and it's full descriptions that is surely it.

    regards
    Last edited by HOROLOGIST007; May 28th, 2013 at 23:50.
    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"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Quote Originally Posted by HOROLOGIST007 View Post
    no thanks to you for posting a great piece and it's full descriptions that is surely it.

    regards
    Your welcome :)
    Just to round it out, I took the sticker off the back and it indeed has the same registered mark. However I can't find anything out about "Henri Chatelain". The man himself lived in the 1700's ... yet this is dated to the early 1900's by the few sites I've come across. And most say they are *assuming* the H C stands for Henri Chatelain :) Oh well, more digging to find out what the H C *actually* means ...

    Thanks again all ...
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    Re: Is this even a pocket watch ? Previous owner was military skier (circa 40's I think)

    Best regards, Mike

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