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Sheffield – big and simple vintage American (AWW 36)

Specifications

Name: Sheffield PM AM 24
Movement: Baumgartner 866, 1 jewel, Swiss made, unadjusted, pin lever, 18000 bph
Time display: 24 hour, minute, seconds, 24 on top
Case: chrome plated with stainless steel screw back
Size: 46 mm with crown, 48 mm lug to lug
Height: 12 mm
Face: silver AM half, black PM half; hours 6, 12, 18 and 24 lumed on red background; even hour numbers and odd hour markers in black or white; metal bidirectional bezel with odd hour numbers - AM half black, PM half metallic
Text on dial: [Sheffield logo] AM PM T Swiss Made G1
Text on back: SWISS MADE 5 ATM TESTED STAINLESS STEEL BACK BASE METAL BEZEL AND INDICATOR
Hands: metallic lumed hour and minute hands, red seconds hand
Water-resistance: 5 ATM water resistant
Crown: unsigned crown at 3 to set time
Crystal: domed acrylic crystal
Lugs: 20 mm
Bracelet: original stainless steel bracelet with tri-fold clasp



Foreword

Nowadays you can divide watches mostly into big, large and huge categories. 50 years ago the preferences were completely different. To find a watch from the 60s measuring 46 x 48 mm is almost impossible. But here it is.

I got this Sheffield from Italy. As it is common with sellers from Mediterranean countries you be prepared to haggle. The starting price was EUR 280. Too high, no doubt. I made my counteroffer which was accepted. Nice.

Comments

I always thought that Sheffield is an English brand. This is my first Sheffield watch and I started to collect basic information about Sheffield watches. Maybe there was 100 years ago a pocket watch maker in Sheffield, England, but here we speak about watches from the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] half of last century, who mostly had following logo on the dial.



I’ll tell you – this is an American company, Sheffield Watch Inc., based in New York, founded I think in the 50s. Sheffield was producing cheap watches. First they produced simple mechanical watches based on European components (and maybe assembled in Europe), then cheap quartz watches assembled in Asia. You can read in forums: “Sheffield watches were the Timex of their day”. That means that most of the Sheffield production is not very interesting and valuable for collectors.

This 24h Sheffield watch is for me the most interesting Sheffield I ever saw on the pictures.
In the 60s several bands offered similar 24h watches – with similar movements and dial designs – Eurastyle, Fashiontime, Megalo, Timemaster.

Eurastyle primer:



They all have similar dials with highlighted and lumed 6, 12, 18 and 24. Other common feature is that inside they have pin lever movements, usually from Baumgartner.

BFG Baumgartner was a Swiss movement maker (read also Baumgartner (BFG)). They were the world’s biggest pin-lever (or Roskopf) movement maker. Many cheap watches in 60s and 70s, especially most of the jump hour watches, were equipped with Baumgartner pin-lever movements. These movements looks more like ancient clock movements put inside the wristwatch. Most of them have only one jewel. I remember, that first watchmaker who saw this type of watch from me refused to service it – “I know, these are the watch-like actually unrepairable things”. And I’m afraid that a lot of truth is here. They will not even clean it, because after the service you will see something like a watch keeping time, but here the results are unpredictable.

Good read is The Miracle of the Pin Lever Movement - TimeZone.

Here is one video showing how the pin-lever movement is working: BFG 866 CLD DIG - YouTube

Sheffield has inside a well-known BFG Baumgartner 866 movement. This movement has several modifications, some with digital circles especially made for jump hour watches. This one is the simplest one without date, only hours, minutes and sweep seconds hands.

The movement has following texts: Sheffield Watch Inc., Swiss Made, one jewel, unadjusted.



When you put this watch to the time machine you can see how unstable this movement in compare to the more modern ones is. The ticking rate is changing every second to quicker and slower. As an average (without cleaning and I said that watchmakers will not even clean it) you can expect accuracy up to plus-minus 5 minutes per day. The 15-jewel versions of this movement exist too and maybe they are better, but you can’t trust the simplest 1-jewel movements 50 years later.

The bidirectional bezel for 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] time zone is nice and working good. I like the design of bezel and dial. From all the similar watches listed above I would say that Sheffield 24h is the best. One special additional feature is the original stainless steel bracelet, which fit nicely to the overall design and for sure will raise the value of this watch.

How big is this watch you can see here next to the Glycine Airman 2000.



One unanswered question for me raised by Sheffiel watch is text "T Swiss Made G1" on the dial. I don't know what G1 means. Other similar texts are explained (Swiss T 25 (T Swiss made) - Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie):

"T Swiss made T" means that the watch is Swiss and contains a certain quantity of tritium that emits less than 227 MBq (7.5 mCi). "Swiss T<25" means that the watch is Swiss and contains a certain quantity of tritium that emits less than 925 MBq (25 mCi). Most Swiss watches use photoluminescent light emission, sometimes indicated by the optional marking, "L Swiss Made L".
Summary

This watch is only for collectors. After 50 years these pin level movements are not good anymore. If you accept the daily range +- 5 minutes, you can wear it.

For collectors it is an interesting item:

  • Unusual size for a vintage watch
  • Good representative of former popular type of movements
  • Good representative of former popular type of dials

The price? If you can get it for

  • 50€, you are lucky,
  • 100€, you are collector
  • 150€, you are desperate collector
  • 200€, you have a problem.

The nice pictures below are made by previous owner of this watch, good Giorgio from Venice, city of gondolas..

 

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Re: Sheffield – big and simple vintage American (AWW 36)

Very nice! I've seen some nice sporty Sheffield dive watches from the late 1960's. I had heard it was an American company, but that's nice to have confirmed. Have never seen an example like yours though! Enjoy that unique piece.
 

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Re: Sheffield – big and simple vintage American (AWW 36)

I wonder if it is possible to replace vintage movement with modern movement - best of both worlds: great visual design + accuracy?
 

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Sheffield – big and simple vintage American (AWW 36)

Thank you, shock6906 and Afka for your photos and research on your Sheffields - shock's thread here:
https://www.watchuseek.com/f5/my-newest-24-hour-watch-sheffield-am-pm-1013886.html
I spotted in the 24hr gallery sticky that these share a lot of dial details with my newly unearthed Eurastyle - these articles confirm it, fantastic to have so much info!
By shock's definition I'm *very* lucky - £20 for the watch out of a miscellaneous box at a watch fair, and it's keeping time within a minute a day :D

Love that gold sunburst!
 
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