ATPs . . . (more)

by Marvin

Hi Maurice,

Thanks for the kind comments.

Army Time Pieces (ATPs) were the watches issued to the Royal Army before the WWWs. Actually, there was some overlap since, according to Ziggy, the ATPs were issued from 1939 to 1945 and the WWWs came into use in 1943. In many ways the ATPs were similar to the WWWs: luminous hands and markers, fixed lug bars, 15-jewel Swiss movements, sub-seconds, water resistance, and screwback cases. The most obvious difference was that they usually had white dials (a few did have black dials). Also, they were smaller than the WWWs. As you know, the WWWs averaged about 35 mm in diameter (w/o crown), but the ATP average is around 32 mm. The measurements for mine are:

Cortebert 31 mm
Cyma 28.5 mm
Ebel 32 mm
Grana 32 mm
Lemania 31 mm
Moeris 33 mm
Record 32 mm
Rotary 33 mm
Timor 31 mm
Unitas 33 mm

Also, I get the impression that, while the WWWs were designed as military watches from the ground up, the ATPs were much more a case of 'making do' with available parts and available watches. I get the feeling that in some (many?) cases civilian watches were simply conscripted as ATPs. There seem to be more exceptions to the specs: black dials, spring bars, center secs, etc. While most ATPs are marked with a broad arrow, 'ATP', and a serial number, some don't have a serial number.

I don't really know about rarity, since it's much harder to pin down which Swiss companies actually made ATPs. Taylerson lists eighteen: Buren, Cortebert, Cyma, Ebel, Enicar, Eterna, FHF, Grana, Lemania, Limi, Moeris, Montillier, Omega, Reconvillier, Record, Rotary, Timor, and Unitas. But it's unclear whether ATPs from all of these companies do really exist. (Remember, Taylerson also lists Kurth and Thommen WWWs. At last count no one on MWR had seen either one of these.) In Imai, there are pictures of Eberhard, Mido, and Rodana ATPs. And of course, there has been an IWC ATP offered on eBay. (Our consensus here was that it was suspect.) Throw into the mix, the 'conscripted' ATPs I mentioned above and it's really hard to draw up a definitve list. (Of course, to add to the confusion, we see many suspiciously marked 'ATPs' offered for sale.)

Since ATPs are unpopularly small and are often in rather poor condition, they aren't very expensive. Disregarding the questionable IWC, I guess Ebel would stand as the 'most valued' because of its unusual case. Of those in my collection, I too like the Unitas best.


Posted on Jan 1, 2002, 3:11 PM
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