1942 V&C Kriegsmarine Deck Watch

Further to Dean's post about the deck watch that he purchased 


I have just purchased this
1942 V&C Kriegsmarine Deck Watch

The interesting thing about this watch is that like Dean's the case and movement were mated together in 1942 and in fact the case number is only 5 off Dean's watch and the movement number is only 15 off !!! 

1942 V&C Kriegsmarine Deck Watch

Alex was kind enough to advise me that the movement had been sent for observatory trials but upon checking the Geneva observatory had no record of the watch.

The watch does not have a jeweled centre wheel like Dean's, which may explain why it did not go to trial, or alternatively the bridge may have been replaced at some point.

The case back is original but I have not posted a photo of it because unlike Dean's the Swastika has not been removed. Otherwise the case back is almost identical. The Kriegsmarine number on the back of Dean's watch is 4929 and the number on this watch is M4937. So once again the watches have had a close association.

As Dean pointed out in his article the records for the history of this watch were destroyed during WWII so the watches history will remain a mystery.

That said if anyone can give me any leads to follow up on and in particular the observatory mystery I would love to hear from you. Is it possible that the watch was sent to Neuchatel for trial?

I would also really like to thank Dean and Alex for their patience and my never ending questions. We really do have a wonderful forum and I hope you enjoyed my post. 
Congratulations Hamish, in just a little while you have built quite
03/06/2013 - 11:44
an impressive VC collectionyes
An exciting find Hamish
03/06/2013 - 17:06
Congratulations on your Krieg heart and welcome to the military chapter of THL wink.  FWIW, I've yet to come across a V&C with observatory rating from Neuchatel as the Manufactures tended to align with their regional facilities.  Probably for marketing reasons, V&C did send some competition movements which did well in Geneva to Kew in England as well.
I might have an answer...
03/07/2013 - 00:13
Hamish, can you tell me what is engraved underneath the inventory number M4937?
I hope so!!!
03/07/2013 - 02:02
Hi Dean,  Prior to purchasing the watch I was advised that I KL was engraved under the inventory number. Upon receipt of the watch and under magnification it appears that the engraving is I K1.  The confusion is understandable given that the engraving is faint and the watch has obviously been used. I previously thought that the engraving may have originally been X KL (second class chronometer) but I dismissed the idea after looking at the watch and seeing the similiarities between my watch and yours. That said I am very interested to hear what your thoughts on the matter are.....
An enhanced picture
03/07/2013 - 03:14
Hamish, I've enhanced the picture you sent.  I can see a faint "M" to the left of 4937, and beneath appears to be "II.KL".  The only reason this may be helpful is that a Kriegsmarine B-Uhr II Klasse was regulated for isochronism in two positions, not the five positions for chronometers, so there would be no need for an Observatory bulletin.  As a II Klasse, it would be a true "deck watch" rather than a navigation watch, and equivalent to the British HS3.  It's purpose was as a "comparing watch" to carry the correct time from the main marine chronometer to the other general-duty watches and clocks of the ship. You can confirm if this is correct or not with a loupe...please keep us informed.
Re: An enhanced picture
03/07/2013 - 09:44
Dean, thank you for taking the time to enhance the photo and post your thoughts. I have sent the watch to Geneva for a service so I will not be in a position to look at the markings for some time. So the mystery remains but I will post my findings as soon as possible. Do you know how many watches the Kriegsmarine purchased from Vacheron? I think I read a post from Alex previoulsy that Vacheron did not want to disclose the number but I may be wrong. That said I would be very interested to know how many were sold and what the breakdown was between I K1 and II KL was?
I wish!
03/07/2013 - 18:04
you'd have more luck finding those facts in the bombed-out wreckage of the Deutsche Seewarte in Hamburg than getting it out of the clutches of VC angry.  Quite honestly, their obsession with secrecy of production numbers for vintage watches is NOT LOGICAL!
the logic behind not providing production numbers
03/07/2013 - 18:34
I definitely understand your position and I would love to systematically have the production numbers but the main reason is that to obtain these numbers someone from the archives department needs to sytematically go through the log books of each year and manually count each individual piece which has been made and do so for each year and the time it takes to do this is immense. The next issue is legal. Sometimes a specific reference number was not produced for a certain period of time, however this would mean that the person from the archives dept will still need to check each and every log book of subsequent years after the last one where the reference number was specified just to make sure that production was not relaunched. Imagine the time this would take.   what would happen if VC gave a certain production number and a watch was sold at a high price as a consequence but at a later date it appears that production numbers were higher. Could the owner of that reference ask VC for damages because what he thought was a rare and expensive watch is not as rare as he thought?
D*mn the lawyers
03/07/2013 - 22:10
present company accepted wink, but there must be ways around these issues.  As far as time and resources to research, this would be fixed once and for all with digitization project for the entire archives.  Instead of production numbers, perhaps we could instead be allowed to see the original order which will reveal how many were requested but not necessarily delivered.  This has been done with the Corps of Engineers order yes.
This would be great...
03/07/2013 - 23:02
especially for watches with historical significance like the Kriegsmarine
thank God I stopped lawyering. Your suggestion makes sense for
03/08/2013 - 10:25
special bulk orders like the Corps of Engineers or the Aluminium watch but not for regular production models...
Great! When can we start?
03/08/2013 - 17:53
The military orders would be a great place to begin enlightenedheartcheeky
Clarification re Neuchatel
03/07/2013 - 23:55
For the record Hamish, I should make it clear that I'm referring to pre-WWII observatory testing.  Following WWII, VC and the other big observatory competitors like Omega, Zenith and Ulysse Nardin began to send their movements on the road, as it were, to exploit worldwide advertising opportunities, including stops at Neuchatel.  It was a brief but intense era of timekeeping excellence which came to a screetching halt in 1973 with the forced-substitution of COSC testing for real trials.
Thanks for sharing Hamish
03/07/2013 - 17:25
Though I can not be of any help here I appreciate a lot infos you share with Dean.  Thanks guys. Francois
Thanks Francois
03/09/2013 - 11:08