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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I thought I would post these to show that some wild things still remain out there.
I am currently in Kabul, Afghanistan. At one of the local bazaars I frequent every time I am here, I ran across these. Normally, I look only at Russian/Soviet watches, from the Soviet/Afghan War period. These caught my eye due to the same reason I look for Soviet watches: because of their connection to past Afghan wars.
Here are 2 Elgin pocket watches & 1 Rolex watch. All are from the late 1930s-early 1940s; made for the British military and have remained here for the last 75 years. I must admit I found it humorous that no one on the Rolex Forum (80+ views) had any insight or any comment. Perhaps things will be different here. :think:
IMG_7693 (800x380).jpg IMG_7692 (800x393).jpg
 

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Amazing finds to be honest. Could you share bit more? Such things as pricing and working condition. I'm adding a subscription to this thread as I'm interested myself to know more about these watches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your response!

Given that His Majesty's troops were here before and during WWII, it is not hard to believe items such as these are still about. Considering there is no great market for such things as these will explain how they have languished here for so long. The fact they run and keep remarkably good time (all things considered) is testimony to their being kept and not sold or not having traded ownership. They can benefit from a service, but the Rolex and one Elgin vary less than a minute over several days. The other Elgin runs perfectly in certain positions and stops in others. This being said, the movements are amazingly clean to look at. The Rolex dial and case have matching numbers. The case back numbers is different, though of the same vintage.
Perhaps some purist will frown upon that, but consider its life experience. to change a case back is almost like changing the tires/tyres on a vintage car... the body and movement are untouched.
One Elgin is reverse-stamped from the inside, whereas the other (MKI) is stamped from the outside and on the inside with matching numbers.

What little I have been able to learn thus far:
The Broad Arrow mark denotes British Government Property.
MK I is the highest grade Army issue pocket watch marking circa 1925.
GS MK II is a pocket watch marking circa 1935.
GSTP = General Service Timepiece/Temporary Pattern marking, Army issue, 1939-1945
There is a photo of the Rolex's brother in the below named document. I have included a screen capture, though I am uncertain if it will translate into the appropriate format of the message.
Movement photos are available, if anyone is interested.

The above information is found in "Guide To Military Timepiece Markings" and is available in .pdf form (I found on Google). I wish I could cite the author and give proper credit, but that information is not on the document.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My apology - I failed to answer a specific question.
Rolex - $450
GSTP Elgin - $100
GS MKI Elgin - $75

Perhaps the prices are not commensurate with normal civilian watches of this period, but given the provenance, I am okay with what I paid.
 

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The broad arrow used to stand for W.D. or 'War Department' property (now the UK Ministry of Defence). I've got some old pint beer glasses with the arrow on and 'WD' underneath.

I love the font on the Rolex.
 

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An additional - and perhaps slightly off-topic point: the Cortebert movement was the basis of the Rolex's movement, but is also the basis of that used in the Soviet Union in many pocket watches, mostly branded as Molnija. This leads to some sellers of Molnija watches on eBay claiming that they have Rolex movements, which is of course a bit too fanciful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
saltddirk and LordBrettSinclair - thank you for the kind words.
Ah, The esteemed Mr. Seele! Wonderful to have your input, as always. I thought to post these along with my new Soviet acquisitions on F10, but did not know how it would be received. I took photos yesterday of the Soviets I just got in Kabul. I hope to post them today.

Cheers!
david.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you sir. I try to save as many as I am able, before I return to the US and the opportunity is lost.
 

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I've never been particularly interested in vintage watches, but these pieces are simply amazing, especially with their links to history.

Have subscribed to this thread... Don't want to miss out on any other discoveries you make.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've never been particularly interested in vintage watches, but these pieces are simply amazing, especially with their links to history.

Have subscribed to this thread... Don't want to miss out on any other discoveries you make.
Thank you , sir, I take that as both a vote of confidence and a high compliment. There are others I previously obtained on the Russian Forum. Please visit my bio page and click on recently started threads. There are several pretty cool ones with links to the Soviet/Afghan War of the 70s and 80s.
One day I may post an album, but I don't want my wife to know the extent of my addiction!!! :)
 

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Your Rolex is indeed a Cortebert caliber 540 movement. Rolex didn't make any of their own pocketwatch movements but sourced them from Cortebert, Montilier, Recta, Record, and others. Nice find!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
You may want to post an inquiry over here, if you haven't already:

Military Watch Resource - Main Forum

These guys will know exactly what you have and what the current market is for the items.
gatorcpa
Thank you very much to a fellow Floridian. I have just registered and await the the hoops through which I must jump.

Hoops have been surmounted and post made. Thanks again gatorcpa!
Here is the link to my new thread at MWF:
http://www.mwrforum.net/forums/show...n-please-New-Afghan-Finds&p=252436#post252436
 
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