WWI British Pilot Watch
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  1. #1
    Member speedbird_500's Avatar
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    WWI British Pilot Watch

    Greetings,

    If anyone could shed some light on what I have here, that would be great. The inscription on the back leads me to believe that this watch belonged to a WWI British Air Officer. Air Officer Commanding or AOC.

    The watch needs a new 27mm crystal as the old one is cracked. The fingerprints on the movement aren't mine, they are from a previous owner. I store the watch in a display case with the broken crystal covering the beautiful porcelain dial.

    Any idea what the make might be? Long shot I know. There are no marks inside the case back other than service marks from watchmakers.

    For the crystal, who should I send it to? I don't plan on wearing it, but I would like to make sure it is sealed up to prevent anything happening to the dial.

    Anyway, thanks for looking















    simonp67, busmatt and joeuk like this.
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  2. #2
    Member J.D.B.'s Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    I can tell you it's exquisite. Good going on the preservation, rather than restoration.
    Thank you, I'm flattered, but, please don't click any "Likes" for me (unless there's a prize for "most likes")?

  3. #3
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    Hi,

    These watches are not so delicate that they need to sit in a display case - I wear trench watches of this period often - indeed I am wearing one from 1915 right at this moment. The glass crystal should be easy - but I cannot recommend anyone in particular on your side of the globe.

    Anyway, your movement (which is the closest you will get to identifying a manufacturer) is made by A. Schild S.A., Grenchen, CH, - calibre number 153. It is a perfectly fine, mid-grade 15 Jewel watch. It is good to see an example of this type of Paris Square case with an engraved date of 1917, as people often think they came later in time, which of course they didn't.

    Kris.

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  5. #4
    Member speedbird_500's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    Thanks guys!

    I don't keep it in the case because I'm afraid to wear it, just to keep it safe until I can get the crystal replaced.

    I had a feeling it is indeed an AS movement. Would this case have been an export model or something likely purchased in France?
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  6. #5
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by speedbird_500 View Post
    Would this case have been an export model or something likely purchased in France?
    Having a look at the markings on the inner side of the case back would be most helpful in answering that question. Any silver hallmarks there?
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  7. #6
    Member speedbird_500's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    It's absolutely clean. Not a mark to be seen. I thought this was strange myself
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  8. #7
    Member speedbird_500's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    There are 2 service marks I can see, but it's impossible to read them. One ends in "50" methinks.
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  9. #8
    Member JackW's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by speedbird_500 View Post
    It's absolutely clean. Not a mark to be seen. I thought this was strange myself
    Looking at the photo, I'd guess that you have a nickle rather than sterling/sliver case. No hallmarks also suggests this. Check on the lugs, some UK import sponsors would mark the other parts on the case too. Also see if the bezel has roman numbers etched to match the case back. Maybe you already know this?

    In what part of the globe are you located, as Trim put it, for suggestions on the acquiring the crystal?
    busmatt likes this.
    All that I know is based on the hard work and writing of others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. To quote Newton, "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

  10. #9
    Member speedbird_500's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    I'll take a peek when I get home. There is a Roman numeral alignment mark but also a male/female pip for alignment as well. There is no mistaking how the caseback attaches.

    Do you guys feel this is confidently European/French/UK market ?

    I'm located in the US, the watch came from the U.K., but in 100 years, and 2 world wars, I don't put much stock in location.

    I'd love to find out who AOC Lewis might have been. Can you imagine what this watch saw if it was owned by a WWI pilot? Purchased just two months before the battle of Third Ypres, Passhendaele, wow.
    busmatt likes this.
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  11. #10
    Member JackW's Avatar
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    Re: WWI British Pilot Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by speedbird_500 View Post
    I'll take a peek when I get home. There is a Roman numeral alignment mark but also a male/female pip for alignment as well. There is no mistaking how the caseback attaches.
    The roman numerals are not about alignment but for keeping bezels and case backs together through either original fabrication or movement fitting.

    Being in the US, crystals are easy... Contact Kurt (aka Veritas123) - https://forums.watchuseek.com/member.php?u=94177
    I get most of my NOS crystals for these style watches from him. You'll need a good quality caliper to measure the opening.
    Last edited by JackW; August 25th, 2017 at 02:20.
    All that I know is based on the hard work and writing of others. I can only aspire to augment this body of knowledge. If I am wrong it is because of my own failings. To quote Newton, "If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

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