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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All,
I am just trying to find out if this Universal Geneve cal 263 is military or not as it has the engraving 1030307 on the case back?
Going by the smaller seven digit numbers on the case back 1034187, I understand that this was produced in 1943. The number above 20724 is either a reference number or patent number?
I will be replacing the crown.
I would really appreciate any information given. I have posted this in both military and vintage forums
Many thanks
Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much mkws! The pdf is great source of info for future use!
I agree with you, The watch does send mixed messages. The number in question on the back looks like it was engraved professionally and of course I try to be aware that there are sellers out there who want to add the military markings to add value.
I know the Dutch used UG watches in the past but there was normally a royal Dutch motif on the dial.UG also don’t seem to be on the ‘dirty dozen’ list of british purchased watchs that I have seen?

 

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I think the Dutch military used Universal Geneve in WW2 but they followed the British and German patterns of black dials and luminous hands and numerals like this


Matt


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Thank you very much mkws! The pdf is great source of info for future use!
I agree with you, The watch does send mixed messages. The number in question on the back looks like it was engraved professionally and of course I try to be aware that there are sellers out there who want to add the military markings to add value.
I know the Dutch used UG watches in the past but there was normally a royal Dutch motif on the dial.UG also don’t seem to be on the ‘dirty dozen’ list of british purchased watchs that I have seen?
There wasn't a Universal Geneve WWW. I think there wasn't an ATP Universal Geneve either. One thing's pretty much for certain- your UG is not of British military issue. No "broad arrow" mark on it, first of all. I am not convinced if it is military at all. Luminous hands and numerals don't make a watch "military". I mean, it might have been issued as a part of service equipment, but not necessarily in the military. Truth be told, I have no idea where would that be, but I believe it's more likely that this piece is entirely civilian.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There wasn't a Universal Geneve WWW. I think there wasn't an ATP Universal Geneve either. One thing's pretty much for certain- your UG is not of British military issue. No "broad arrow" mark on it, first of all. I am not convinced if it is military at all. Luminous hands and numerals don't make a watch "military". I mean, it might have been issued as a part of service equipment, but not necessarily in the military. Truth be told, I have no idea where would that be, but I believe it's more likely that this piece is entirely civilian.
Yes, you maybe correct? I think there are a couple of possibilities. Either the watch was a government/organisation issue equipment or the dial was changed after ww2 to look like a civilian model. Or its been engraved to make it look military to add value or its possibly a Frankenstein watch?
 

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Or perhaps more likely it was an entirely civilian purchase by someone who had a military connection and they had the number engraved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Or perhaps more likely it was an entirely civilian purchase by someone who had a military connection and they had the number engraved.

Thanks for that. As the watch is dated to 1943, it is plausible that someone serving in the forces purchased their own watch and had their service/staff number engraved on the back?

doing a quick search shows that 7 digits were often used by the British army.
 

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Thanks for that. As the watch is dated to 1943, it is plausible that someone serving in the forces purchased their own watch and had their service/staff number engraved on the back?

doing a quick search shows that 7 digits were often used by the British army.
Plausible, if the watch would have been purchased in the winter of 1944/1945. But even then, the WWW were just being introduced and issued, so why bring your own watch... I honestly don't know how a watch would have made it to the Isles from Switzerland in 1943, in the midst of a war.
One practice of stamping a military issue number on a non-military watch that I am familiar with was the case of the German army running short on equipment at the end of the war- they have "confiscated" (stolen) watches from civilians and stamped them with the D-something-something-H numbers, but that's definitely not one of these watches.
 
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Most of the watches used in WWII were civilian and not WWW. WWW was a restricted issue to those who needed them and were not as far as I'm aware issued to all of the rank and file.

Switzerland was neutral and supplied both sides so there were established supply routes for watches.
 

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Thanks for filling in the blanks in my knowledge. Yes, Switzerland is neutral since 1515, if I remember correctly... Still, I was a bit curious about the status of trade routes from Switzerland to Britain during the war.
I never said that the WWW were the majority of timepieces used in WW2- I agree that they were issued in small numbers. Looks like that's quite on the contrary to the ATP watches, surplus of which was- if I am correct- sold to jewelry/watches retailers after the war. So there must have been quite a number of them out there.
If the Universal Geneve in question was bought privately to be used on the frontline- someone made a good decision to buy it. That's because the UG, on the contrary to any ATP or WWW, has a shock device. If I remember correctly, the lack of shock devices in British military watches was due to the fact, that somehow they found it cheaper to have broken balance staffs replaced than to buy shockproof watches. That's where the Germans did it better- all D, DH and KM watches had to have a shock device (Incabloc).
 
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I suspect the Axis forces did not care to upset the Swiss by interfering too much in the supply of watches. I can only assume that they were biding their time until they were in a position to deal with the Swiss issue.
 
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