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Thread: Watch issued to RAF Flying Officer in 1970's?

  1. #1
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    Watch issued to RAF Flying Officer in 1970's?

    Hi folks,

    This is my first post and I was hoping that someone might be able to help me find a particular watch make & model.

    My uncle flew in the RAF and died in a crash in 1977. I didn't know him, but it would mean a lot to me to try and track down the watch he may have been issued with at the time.

    I've been stumbling around a few military website databases & various watch sites, but I'm still unsure what it is I should be looking for.

    It seems to be a transition period for issued watches, so possibly Hamilton or CWC W10? Being a Flying Officer, would he have worn a chronograph?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Hi, I hope I can help a bit.
    I donít think you will ever know for sure what he was wearing as a number of different watches were in service at this time
    However to narrow it down a bit when did he get his wings and what did he fly? The date he got his wings might narrow down the watch type he would likely have been issued, the type of aircraft he flew could help determine if he would have had a Chronograph or time only watch.

    One thing is certain however if he wore an issued watch whilst flying it would be marked 6B or 6BB for RAF not W10 for Army.

    Possible answers could include:
    Hamilton Chronograph
    Hamilton 6B
    Hamilton 6BB
    Smiths 6B
    Omega 53 (if re-issued to him)
    IWC MK11 (if re issued to him)
    Lemania single and double button Chronographs
    The sterile 6B (Although these were 76 issue I think)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Hi, I hope I can help a bit.
    I don’t think you will ever know for sure what he was wearing as a number of different watches were in service at this time
    However to narrow it down a bit when did he get his wings and what did he fly? The date he got his wings might narrow down the watch type he would likely have been issued, the type of aircraft he flew could help determine if he would have had a Chronograph or time only watch.

    One thing is certain however if he wore an issued watch whilst flying it would be marked 6B or 6BB for RAF not W10 for Army.

    Possible answers could include:
    Hamilton Chronograph
    Hamilton 6B
    Hamilton 6BB
    Smiths 6B
    Omega 53 (if re-issued to him)
    IWC MK11 (if re issued to him)
    Lemania single and double button Chronographs
    The sterile 6B (Although these were 76 issue I think)
    ^^Can't add much to that, except to suggest maybe you or one of your family see if you can track down some photos of him from that period in time. You may be able to see what he was wearing that way?

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    Thanks for the quick reply!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    Hi, I hope I can help a bit.
    I donít think you will ever know for sure what he was wearing as a number of different watches were in service at this time
    However to narrow it down a bit when did he get his wings and what did he fly? The date he got his wings might narrow down the watch type he would likely have been issued, the type of aircraft he flew could help determine if he would have had a Chronograph or time only watch.

    One thing is certain however if he wore an issued watch whilst flying it would be marked 6B or 6BB for RAF not W10 for Army.

    Possible answers could include:
    Hamilton Chronograph
    Hamilton 6B
    Hamilton 6BB
    Smiths 6B
    Omega 53 (if re-issued to him)
    IWC MK11 (if re issued to him)
    Lemania single and double button Chronographs
    The sterile 6B (Although these were 76 issue I think)
    I had hoped to find the information myself without dredging up painful memories for my mum, but might have to as I am struggling to find any RAF personnel information online.

    I know he primarily flew a Jet Provost and have a photograph of him with it. No visible watch though... It was a Jaguar T.2 that was involved in the crash.
    As for when he got his wings, I'd have to ask and see if I could narrow it down.

    Thanks gcleminson for the suggestion of looking through old photographs. I'm ashamed to say that I never considered that The ones I've seen aren't of the best quality, but definitely worth a look once I'm next past my parents place.

    Thanks again

  5. #5
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    I am sure you know this but the Provost was a training aircraft so he was either being instructed or an instructor.
    The Jag T2 was a conversion trainer so again he was likely either undertaking a conversion to type or instructing on type.
    Knowing when he got his wings will possibly help work out which.
    If newly qualified I would hazard a guess at a Hamilton chrono as these were new about the date he was sadly killed.

  6. #6
    Or a CWC asymmetrical chronograph - issued from 74 onwards

  7. #7
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    Even a lousy picture can be remarkably helpful in working out what the watch was. Even if it looks hopeless, stick it up and I bet weíll be able to get a consensus, at least about a few it isnít.

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    Thanks for all the feedback folks!

    I'll be swinging past my parents place on Friday, so will try and get a photo up or some more information over the weekend.

    So, would the watch have been issued to him when he got his wings? I'm not from a military background myself, so quite naive to the workings of the RAF.

    As a family it's not really talked about, so thanks for the extra info Sinnlover. From what I can remember being told years ago, he was being instructed at the time, but don't know any further specifics.

    Even finding a contemporaneous watch that he could have worn would mean a lot, but hopefully there's something in the photographs that narrows it down a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by manicmunnday View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback folks!

    I'll be swinging past my parents place on Friday, so will try and get a photo up or some more information over the weekend.

    So, would the watch have been issued to him when he got his wings? I'm not from a military background myself, so quite naive to the workings of the RAF.

    As a family it's not really talked about, so thanks for the extra info Sinnlover. From what I can remember being told years ago, he was being instructed at the time, but don't know any further specifics.

    Even finding a contemporaneous watch that he could have worn would mean a lot, but hopefully there's something in the photographs that narrows it down a bit.
    He would have been issued with an aircrew watch when he was issued his flying clothing gear so likely before 1977. Try to find out when he joined the RAF and add 1 year and that might narrow the field a bit. If he had been in the service for a few years he may well have changed watches several times, not that that helps. Ask your parents if they have his flying log book or any service papers from the RAF, these too would be rather special.

    Terry

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    Master ditchvisitor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manicmunnday View Post
    So, would the watch have been issued to him when he got his wings? I'm not from a military background myself, so quite naive to the workings of the RAF.
    If I recall correctly I was issued my first watch when I started basic flying training which was a plain Pulsar, once I arrived on the frontline I was issued a better chronograph.

    For reference this is what is currently issued.

  11. #11
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ditchvisitor View Post
    ..........

    For reference this is what is currently issued.
    That actually looks very good. Some of the earlier Pulsars looked... cheap. I am sure they were capable, but compared to the Seikos they replaced they were cheap looking. This is not bad. I would actually wear it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ditchvisitor View Post
    If I recall correctly I was issued my first watch when I started basic flying training which was a plain Pulsar, once I arrived on the frontline I was issued a better chronograph.
    Thanks for clarifying that ditchvisitor.

    I read somewhere that the basic 6bb's were issued to ground crews and the chronographs to pilots, but wasn't sure.

    Hopefully one type or the other should be distinguishable from photos, if I can find a clear one. Luckily, both look amazing anyway.

    That Pulsar chrono is lovely btw

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    Right, so after digging through loads of boxes of photos & documents my folks managed to find an invitation to his wings ceremony, which was 7th March, 1975.

    Anyone have a suggestion as to what may have been issued around then?

    Still looking through photos, but not struck it lucky yet...

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  14. #14
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    ...unless this is enough for any of you to go on.

    If it is, then colour me impressed!

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    I'd call it a 6bb, but I wouldn't say which one. I've got a Hamilton but not to hand. Can anyone supply the appropriate angles to compare?

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    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    That actually looks very good. Some of the earlier Pulsars looked... cheap. I am sure they were capable, but compared to the Seikos they replaced they were cheap looking. This is not bad. I would actually wear it.
    After seeing this thread last week I tracked down a NOS one from 2014.

    I like it.


  17. #17
    This is my Hamilton from that era



  18. #18
    Master subseastu's Avatar
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    I have a Hamilton 6bb from 1975. Had it a number of years but rarely gets any wrist time unfortunately. These pics are off my phone so can't give any of the watch from the angle in the picture I'm afraid.

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    You could ask on the PPRUNE forum, this link is to the military aviation sub-forum. Post what details you have and someone from that era will hopefully respond.

    https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation-57/

    Terry

  20. #20
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Looks like a Hamilton or CWC Chronograph to me
    It will be difficult to tell which from that photo as the cases are identical.

  21. #21
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    My Fleet Air Arm Hamilton chronograph Ö deliberately blurred wrist shots to try and emulate above photos' wrist shots


















    dunk
    "The energy expenditure of most people's weekly gym class workouts equates to the reward of one large doughnut afterwards" Ö Prof. Tim Spector, 'The Diet Myth' author

  22. #22
    Here is a Hamilton 6B issued to the RF in the 1970's

    There were three Chronograph also issued in the 1970's Hamilton, CWC, Newmark here is my CWC issued in 1981 mite of been the last year issued.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by River Rat View Post
    Here is a Hamilton 6B issued to the RF in the 1970's

    There were three Chronograph also issued in the 1970's Hamilton, CWC, Newmark here is my CWC issued in 1981 mite of been the last year issued.

    Hi River Rat, hope you are well?
    They are nice examples.
    I am pretty sure The CWC made chrono was last issued to the RN in 82 so yours is almost the last (prob same contract)
    The Precista chrono and the Newmark were 81/82. (Same bl00dy watch to be honest bar the name on the dial)
    The Hamilton 6b (both versions) were issued in 64-66.

    I do think the OP will be looking for a Hamilton or CWC 6b chrono. These will likely be the most likely watch worn.

  24. #24
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    Some lovely pictures here, but what would really help is pictures taken from precisely the angle and distance as the original.

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    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    Some lovely pictures here, but what would really help is pictures taken from precisely the angle and distance as the original.
    I'd need a model :) … And a good guess at the focal length / camera format used for original photo

    dunk
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    Quote Originally Posted by River Rat View Post
    Here is a Hamilton 6B issued to the RF in the 1970's

    There were three Chronograph also issued in the 1970's Hamilton, CWC, Newmark here is my CWC issued in 1981 mite of been the last year issued.
    You didn't mention the Precista. Hamilton, Newmark, CWC, & Precista aka 'The Fantastic Four'

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    Thanks again for all the posts and suggestions folks!

    I've been working away from home for the last few weeks, so haven't been able to search for anymore photos that might help.

    Well done on the one I posted though!

    I have to say, there are some seriously nice watches shared above. I won't pull the trigger until I've searched through a few more photo albums, but I feel drawn towards the Hamilton 6bb, so maybe thats a sign... or maybe it's just a damn fine watch!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ditchvisitor View Post
    If I recall correctly I was issued my first watch when I started basic flying training which was a plain Pulsar, once I arrived on the frontline I was issued a better chronograph.

    For reference this is what is currently issued.
    Agreed Velorum, the current Pulsar is amazing!

    I also managed to pick up a 2014 example and it hasn't been off my wrist since :)

    Thanks for sharing ditchvisitor!

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  29. #29
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    A friend of mine flew Jaguars (14 Sqn) and his issued watch was a Seiko (joined 1971 left in 1991).

    Not sure when it was issued though.
    Last edited by Andyg; 11th March 2020 at 20:30.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    A friend of mine flew Jaguars (14 Sqn) and his issued watch was a Seiko (joined 1971 left in 1991).

    Not sure when it was issued though.
    That would have been a Gen 1 (1988ish)
    Pretty sure he would have had an issued watch prior to the Seiko being issued.
    The Gen 1 is a really nice little watch (as is the Gen 2)

  31. #31
    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    That would have been a Gen 1 (1988ish)
    Pretty sure he would have had an issued watch prior to the Seiko being issued.
    The Gen 1 is a really nice little watch (as is the Gen 2)
    I will ask him when I see him next. Sounds like the same period as the OP uncle. In fact chances are that he is very familiar with accident.

    OP - do you know which squadron he was flying with at the time of the accident?

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    I will ask him when I see him next. Sounds like the same period as the OP uncle. In fact chances are that he is very familiar with accident.

    OP - do you know which squadron he was flying with at the time of the accident?
    I'm not 100% sure, but I've found some of his belongings with the No.43 Squadron insignia on it.

    The incident report lists that they flew out of RAF Lossiemouth in a Jaguar T.2, with the crash occurring in Northumberland in July, 1977.

    I've requested his service records, but I'm not sure how much more they would tell me.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by manicmunnday View Post
    I'm not 100% sure, but I've found some of his belongings with the No.43 Squadron insignia on it.

    The incident report lists that they flew out of RAF Lossiemouth in a Jaguar T.2, with the crash occurring in Northumberland in July, 1977.

    I've requested his service records, but I'm not sure how much more they would tell me.

    I will have a chat and see if he has any insight, but will PM you.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    I will have a chat and see if he has any insight, but will PM you.
    Thanks Andyg,

    That's greatly appreciated :)

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    43 Sqn flew the F4 Phantom FG1 in the air defence role.

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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velorum View Post
    After seeing this thread last week I tracked down a NOS one from 2014.

    I like it.

    Is there a model number perchance?
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    Is there a model number perchance?
    Just look for Pulsar Gen 2, they show up quite frequently on Ebay.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewismark View Post
    Just look for Pulsar Gen 2, they show up quite frequently on Ebay.
    Appreciated, thanks
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

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    Quote Originally Posted by brummie64 View Post
    Thanks for taking the time to look and posting the link :)

    I've found this and one or two other references to the accident, but they are all quite scarce on details.

    Every little helps though!



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