During WWII, the UK imported various goods and equipment from the USA – not yet at war – on a large scale starting with the Lend-Lease Act but also before this law came into effect.
The watch we present here was manufactured in 1940 and is a prime example. It is the standard watch for British bombers navigators and was manufactured for the Air Ministry by the famous American watch maker Waltham.
This piece is in excellent condition. The reference marks at the back of the casing show its military origin. They read: A.M., Chronometer, 6B/60, G & S Co. Ltd, 259/40. It must be noted that despite being officially called a ‘chronometer’, it is in fact a watch.
Its 23-jewel mechanism holds the number 30560.378. It has been serviced and works perfectly. The mere fact that the watch is in good condition is exceptional when one knows how particular and delicate it is to set the time. Winding the watch is done, as for any other mechanical manual movement, by using the crown. However the disconnection-gear is not set by pulling the crown. Setting the time is done by unscrewing the front crown that holds the glass in order to get to the dial. On its edge at the number 11 level is a small handle that needs to be worked to unlock the mechanism. The hands can then be freely rotated using the crown. In the same way that access to the mechanism is usually done through the back by unsnapping the case, here this is achieved by unscrewing the case.
This is a beautiful collectible and precision item!
Waltham, 23 jewels pocket watch, diameter 50 mm / 1.97" (c. 1940)