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Q: Watches worn by WWII pilots ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Watches worn by WWII pilots
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: herkdrvr-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 11 Apr 2005 04:54 PDT
Expires: 11 May 2005 04:54 PDT
Question ID: 507772
It is my understanding that WWII pilots in the USAF and RAF were
issued watches for use while flying.  I am looking for the name of
those manufacturers and the style of watch.  Of particular interest to
me are the issued watches given to RAF Spitfire pilots or the USAF
pilots who flew Spitfires in the UK.  I am also looking for current
manufacturers that produce detailed replicas of those watches--*not*
Battle of Britain memorial or novelty items.

Thanks in advance.

Subject: Re: Watches worn by WWII pilots
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 11 Apr 2005 10:23 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear herkdrvr-ga;

Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. 

The watch you are referring to is the famous Type A11, but let me give
you some background leading up to it:

From the onset of the war when sources were perhaps scarcer,
throughout the years toward the end of the war when more sources, such
as those in Switzerland were ?acquired?, the manufacturers of the
?navigation wrist instruments? (you have to love the government?s
nomenclature) issued to military personnel varied slightly, and later
varied greatly.

In February 1941 the 36-hour chronograph, a watch issued by the
military to aviation personnel in particular, was a product of
?W.W.II. Period RAF Pilot's "Longines" Wrist Watch. 1943?

?and in 1942 the Wrist Watch Mk VIII was a product of Waltham. 

?In May 1942 another RAF aircraft navigation wrist instrument was in
issue as the Wrist Watch Mk VIII, Navigators, namely an American 1942
model Waltham watch (US 6/0 size) with centre seconds but lacking
other Mark VII refinements.?

The primary, and most popularly remembered it seems was the American
Bulova Type A11. This also became enumerated as the Mark VIII with a
10 1/2" A. Schild SA Caliber 1238 movement. Elgin also made an
military A11 watch in both the ?hack and ?non-hack? varieties (a
?hack? was the pin that allowed for quick and easy synchronization).
Both of these brands of watches were issued to, and used by, both RAF
and USAAF personnel for a significant period of time during World War

By 1944 UK flight personnel were being issued watches produced by
International Watch Co., but very little is known about these
particular watches because historically they were collectively
cataloged as merely ?Watches, Wrist and Watches Wrist, chronograph?

By 1954 of course timepieces and wristwatches had exploded onto the
market and the military culture was no exception. The post World War
II manufacturers producing military issue watches were numerous: 
Buren, Cyma, Eterna, International, Kurth, Le Coultre, Lemania,
Longines, Omega, Record, Thommen and Timor.

So, in answer to your question, there is no one specific wristwatch
that was issued by/to RAF or USAAF personnel. However, if one must
narrow it down to the most popularly remembered GI watch of the time,
it would have to be the A11, hands down (no pun intended). As
mentioned above, these of course would be American Bulovas and Elgins.

Here is a fantastic example of a 1942 Type A11 made by Bulova:

?Original W.W.II. RAF Bulova "A11" Pilot's Wrist Watch. c.1942?

Here is a beautiful example of a Type A11 made by Elgin, circa 1943:

?Original W.W.II. USAAF. Elgin "A-11" Pilot's Wrist Watch. 1943?

As per your question about sources for replica watches, unfortunately
these watches are gone forever (except for the remaining originals).
There are no manufacturers currently making replica World War II era
Type A11 aviator watches.

I hope you find that my research exceeds your expectations. If you
have any questions about my research please post a clarification
request prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating
and your final comments and I look forward to working with you again
in the near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher





Google ://










Type A11
herkdrvr-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Thank you for your quick and detailed response.  It's a shame that
someone isn't remaking these watches--I personally think they look
great and have a timeless (no pun intended) quality, sort of like a
classic car.  Anyway--thanks for your time.  Regards, Herkdrvr

Subject: Re: Watches worn by WWII pilots
From: greenmantle-ga on 02 May 2005 22:19 PDT
I sent this page to my son with the comment that the watch is similar
to WW2 RAF watch. Hope you agree.

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