Jewellery, Watches, Antiquities and Objects of Vertu (24 November 2020)

Date of Auction: 24th November 2020

Sold for £260

Estimate: £150 - £200

British Military: A WWI Mark V aviator’s pocket watch, the black dial signed ‘B.B.4216, 30 hour, luminous, Mark V’, with Arabic numerals, outer minutes track with large luminous spots to the hours and subsidiary seconds dial, with top wind movement, within a white metal case with signed hinged cuvette and snap on back and bearing British military issue broad arrow pheon under underscored ‘A’, watch diameter 52mm. £150-£200


The Mark V aviator’s watch, circa 1916, was made by a variety of manufacturers, including Electa, Doxa, Omega and Zenith (other manufacturers also remains anonymous, producing unsigned examples). Each watch was fitted with a 15 jewel movement, selected for its ability to maintain accurate time despite the constant vibrations endured whilst fitted to an aeroplane’s instrument panel. The Mark V was available in three versions, with the standard 30-hour, non luminous pattern being the most popular, with a later luminous version was used by night fighters, although the constant vibrations caused the radium paint to disintegrate. The third type was an eight-day variant.

See: Wesolowski, Z. M., A Concise Guide to Military Timepieces, 1880-1980, Crowood Press, 1996, p32.