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Thread: CWC Chronographs - is this information accurate?

  1. #1
    Grand Master SimonK's Avatar
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    CWC Chronographs - is this information accurate?

    There's a fella selling a two-register CWC chronograph with date window on a French forum claiming, in good faith I would say, that it is a Fleet Air Arm issued watch from the 90s. It looks to me like a civilian model sold by Silverman's, in fact like the one I own, albeit mine is dateless but with a ghost position on the crown. He is basing his claim on this website linked in the sales post.

    Is this information accurate? The website states that these watches are Fleet Air Arm issued watches, and that the BBC also used the same watches which also had a NSN number. It seems strange to me, but perhaps it is correct, what do you think?

    https://cwcaddict.com/chronograph-mech7765

  2. #2
    Master
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    I've seen a couple of BBC ones - in fact there is one up for auction shortly by Watches of Knightsbridge.
    The guy that runs that website knows his stuff and is a huge collector of CWC.
    Suggest having a search over on the MWR forums, lots of good info over there.

    maseman

  3. #3
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    The owner and main contributors to this website are well known CWC collectors
    I too thought these were civi purchase only but I believe some evidence may have surfaced recently regarding small numbers / a trial batch. - direct from CWC.

    I would take the sales pitch with a pinch of salt, if these were issued they would have been so in small numbers.
    There are known BBC issued watches of this type and the earlier version, one is coming up for sale in the next Watches of Knightsbridge Auction


    Beaten to it by Maseman
    Edit:- I think the dateless versions are ones being claimed as issued not the date versions.
    Last edited by Sinnlover; 19th November 2020 at 12:43.

  4. #4
    Grand Master SimonK's Avatar
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    As I said I think the seller is acting in good faith in linking the CWC site (he wants €1200, by the way). I'm pretty familiar with the Silverman's CWC offerings as I have the dateless version, which took over duty from a genuine RAF issued Hamilton which had become a bit fragile for daily wear.

    I wondered if this site was kosher (apparently it is) or just another of those 'Edmund Hilary wore a Rolex, Steve McQueen wore an Explorer II...' fountains of regurgitated myths and poor research.

    If it is true that BBC watches had NATO, and especially Royal Navy, stock numbers that is also strange, the Nero Lemania stopwatches and CWC and other wristwatches I have seen were engraved 'BBC' with a serial number.

  5. #5
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    The website is genuine and is supported by lots research.
    To clarify the BBC watches, they do not have the NSN they are marked BBC and serial number as you have pointed out.

    To sum it up , I think the non date version may have been a unit purchase item in small numbers. The majority were private purchase

  6. #6
    Master
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    I certainly saw plenty of the mono pusher and two pusher asymmetric cased CWC/Hamilton etc mechanical bicompax chronographs in the Royal Navy in the 19080s, and they were still being worn by warfare officer colleagues as late as 1988. There were also a few of my Fleet Air Arm aviator colleagues sporting Seiko quartz models from around 1983. But I never saw any of these CWC models with the dials at 9 and 12; though that doesn't prove that they were never in RN service.

    They have been advertised by CWC for a while, but CWC have also had the quartz tricompux model, which I understand was the CWC proposal when quartz came in, ultimately won by Seiko. It seems most unlikely that if MOD issued a specification for a quartz model, that CWC would submit a mechanical offering.

    There was at the time a big functional advantage of quartz over auto - that is, much greater accuracy, which is very important when co-ordinating military activities, and when navigating. WIS enthusiasm for mechanical movements would have been seen as bizarre! It was certainly why I spent 300 on my own quartz Heuer 2000 chronograph in 1983, when for under 600 I could have bought a hand-wind, mechanical Rolex Daytona - I wanted accuracy and reliability and WR, not the opposite. Seems weird now, I know....

    And unit purchase of watches in the 1980's? I don't think so. That was all centralised. We got what we were issued, and I had upwards of 6-8 watches and clocks on my charge, that I had to sign for.
    Last edited by HappyJack; 19th November 2020 at 23:58.

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