Newest addition

Hi Everybody,

I just wanted to share my newest acquisition with you.  It arrived in the mail this week and I just took some quick and dirty pictures.

Newest addition

Newest addition

Newest addition

Newest addition

Newest addition

This is a VC Deck Watch made in approximately 1943.   According to Marvin Whitney’s book “The Ship’s Chronometer”, approximately 100 of these watches were made for the British Admiralty.  I don’t know if others were made (this calibre was still listed in a VC’s Parts Catalog from 1967, 26+ years later – so it may very well have been used in other watches, though I’ve never seen or heard of them before).

The watch is classified as HS2, which is the level right below HS1 - Ship’s Master Chronometer.  

(HS1 – was a Ship’s Master Chronometer with detent escapement and tested at either the Greenwich or Kew Observatories. 

HS2 – Chronometer Watch, or Deck Watch, with lever escapement and also tested at either the Greenwich or Kew Observatories)

Steve G. wrote a very detailed post about his Deck Watch, and mine is the same watch ref. number – just without the original wooden case.

The watch is 60mm in diameter, has a silver case and uses the beautiful 21 ligne, cal 166 with indirect center seconds, operating at 18,000vph.  It was beautifully finished to the highest of standards and representative of VC’s best.   Look at the gold finish (the related cal 162 and cal 163 were rhodium plated), Geneva Waves, black polished stainless steel, etc. I just love staring at it.  Being a “tool” watch, it was made with accurate and consistent timekeeping as it’s “raison d’etre”,  it uses a guillaume balance, has 21/22? jewels (I’ve seen it listed as both 21 and 22 jewels), and was originally regulated to very high standards.

What attracted me to this watch was it’s merging of technical capability with beautiful finishing.  I love the blued steel hands, blued steel balance spring with overcoil, gilt movement (reminds me of the new cal. 1003/3).  You name it, this watch has it from a chronometry point of view.  It’s simplicity belies it’s technical capabilities.

I’ll be sending this watch into the VC spa for restoration and CofA.  I will take much better pictures of it after it’s return.

BR, Dan

Re: Newest addition
06/03/2011 - 07:22

Very nice Dan. The decoration on the movement is very nice. The number on the case seems to be matching with part of the movement number. Nice.

I noticed that too!
06/04/2011 - 04:14
Thanks for your comments. I feel more comfortable in being able to get a Certificate of Authenticity with the case engraving and movement number matching as well. BR, Dan
A Superb V&C "Working Watch"
06/03/2011 - 07:28

A great piece of history Dan, and yours looks in fantastic shape cheeky.  Perhaps this is a good time to share some info on the Hydrographic Service...

In 1683, the King Charles II appointed Captain Grenville Collins as Hydrographer to the King and placed him in command of the first British warship dedicated to marine survey work.

the Hydrographic Service of the Admiralty was established in 1795 for the purpose of creating up-to-date charts and hydrographic information for ships of the Royal Navy.

The first Hydrographer of the Navy, Alexander Dalrymple, was actually employed by the East India Company.  However, he was replaced by a naval officer in 1808.  Since then, the responsibility has been exclusively given to officers of the RN.  In 1809 the Service (actually called Department back then) became responsible for supplying the fleet with chronometers.

Before any chart can be produced it was essential that a reference position was identified in terms of latitude and longitude. Latitude was determined by astronomical observations and became more accurate after the sextant replaced the quadrant. Once a reliable chronometer was available, the determination of longitude was also greatly improved.

Approved chronometers were marked on the case back by the British Admiralty. The Royal Navy designations since 1939 were:

HS1 - Marine Chronometer ((detent escapment)

HS2 - Chronometer Watch adj 5 posn

HS3 - Deck watch adj 2 posn

HS4 - Fleet Air Arm aircraft watch (panel mounted)

HS5 - Survey Boat Pocket Watch

HS6 - Ships Chronometer with gimballed mov't

HS7 - Sidereal Watch

HS8 - Fleet Air Arm pilot's wristwatch

HS9 - Chronograph wristwatch

HS10 - Diver's wristwatch

HS11 - General Purpose wristwatch

CW with Broad Arrow signifies Chronometer Watch.  If several deck watches show different times, it is the chronometer that rules.

Today, the Hydrographic Service consists of two branches.  The Surveying Service is a specialist branch of the navy with a fleet of survey ships manned by 750 officers and men.  The shore-based Hydrographic Service employes 800 personnel, with headquarters in Whitehall, includes the Directorate of Naval Oceanography and Meterology, the chart depots at Rosyth, Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Gibraltar, the Hydrographic School at Devenport, the Chronometer Section at Herstmonceaux, and the Hydrographic Department at Taunton. 

Thanks Dean for the info on HS
06/04/2011 - 04:21
I knew about HS1 - HS4, but didn't know about all the others. Very interesting info. BR, Dan
now that my friend is a fantastic find, the contast of the movement
06/03/2011 - 11:18

is a ight for sore eyes and the Guillaume balance is the icing on the cakeheart

Thanks Alex, do you know how a gilt finish is polished?
06/04/2011 - 04:28
The traditional gilt finish produces more of a matte finish. Do you know how the Geneva Waves are applied to a gilt finish? I would imagine the risk of wearing through the coating makes this quite difficult to do. Or do I have the mfg. processes mixed up? BR, Dan
not sure it is gilt finished, I wonder if it is not polished brass but
06/04/2011 - 13:25
Will check
Thanks, that sounds more probable, though some type of coating
06/04/2011 - 14:13
might be needed to prevent brass from tarnishing? Though it's not authoritative, I saw an old Christie's Auction description for this model watch that listed the finish as being gilt. (which is why I mentioned it in the first place, but it also brought me the confusion). Thanks for checking and I look forward to hearing the definitive answer! :-) u BR, Dan
I checked and the movement is in fact gold plated (nt)
06/07/2011 - 12:53
Thanks for checking Alex (nt)
06/08/2011 - 16:19
Great find!
06/03/2011 - 20:38

Congratulations on your newest, Dan! Dean has infected you with his spirit for historical watches! :-)


Well, you are one of the key culprits in infecting me with VC! (nt)
06/04/2011 - 04:31
A great watch and a description made by fabulous SteveG...
06/03/2011 - 21:49
Thanks Berny for the link to SteveG's article
06/04/2011 - 04:37
I've read it many times and it is what actually sparked my interest in this watch. I never thought Steve would sell it to me, so I had to wait and hope to find another one come up for sale. This is just my lucky year to find one. :-) BR, Dan
Re: Newest addition
06/03/2011 - 22:37


You lucky so and so!

What a wonderful watch and in such great shape. A real marvel.

and thanks, berny for the link to SteveG's sight...a great review of the watch.


Thanks Joseph! (nt)
06/04/2011 - 04:40
gorgeous, wear it (in your vest) with best of health :-)
06/05/2011 - 12:28


Thanks, I'm occasionally a fashion heretic...
06/06/2011 - 23:14

and will put a pocket watch into the small, front, pocket of my jeans, :-)

Fantastic Dan...
06/06/2011 - 18:55

The movement is exquisite. Enjoy to the fullest!



Thanks Mike! :-) (nt)
06/06/2011 - 23:15