The Culling Collection of Military Watches

Date of Auction: 9th June 2020

Sold for £160

Estimate: £100 - £150

American military: A US Airforce Type A-11 wristwatch, by Elgin, 1945, the signed black dial with luminous Arabic numerals, outer seconds track and cream hands including centre sweep seconds hand, the 15 jewel movement signed ‘Elgin, USA’ and numbered ‘L15876’, the nickel chrome plated case with screw down back bearing US military issue details ‘A.F.U.S Army, Type A-11, Spec. No. 94-27834-B, Ser. No. AF45-8646, MFR’S Part No. 2114, Ord. No. W33-038ac-6600, ELGIN’, on a one piece olive canvas strap, dial diameter 26.5mm. £100-£150


The Type A-11 is perhaps the most iconic US military issue watch of WWII. In 1942 the specification was issued by the US armed forces calling for a robust watch with hand-wound, hacking movement, of minimum 15 jewels, with centre seconds, an outer minute track with 10-minute demarcations, and minute and hour hands. The hacking function (whereby the second hand stops completely upon pulling out the crown) allowed for ease of synchronisation and precise timing. There was some variation in case design and both unlumed and lumed versions of the watch were produced. Three American watch manufacturers (Elgin, Waltham, and Bulova) were contracted to make these watches.
The cases used on the A-11 were generally chromium-plated brass, with the specification markings on the stainless steel case backs to include the service for which the watch was intended (generally A.F. U.S. Army), the type (A-11), spec. number, serial number, manufacturer’s part number, ordnance number, and manufacturer’s name. According to the instruction handbook produced by the War Department for the A-11, straps were to be either one or two-piece canvas in olive drab color. Crowns were notched for easy grip and crystals were specified to be ‘unbreakable’ acrylic.