Ziggy on WWW Markings (this is really good stuff).....
I just heard from Ziggy Wesolowski on the subject of WWW markings, as discussed below on this Forum. I don't think
he'll mind if I quote his thoughts in their entirety--
Initially WWW markings did appear c.1943, as appears to be indicated by the issue of IWC MkX's...
These WWW markings were an abbreviation of Wrist Watch Waterproof, and were stamped/engraved on a variety of
watches supplied over many years, through into the late 50's... Initially the WWW range of watches conformed to one
specification, characterized by watches such as the Omega WWW (that is to say they were issued with black luminous
dials, screw backs, sub seconds and at least a 15 jewel movement - adjusted or otherwise).
Obviously the MkX IWC was an early exception to the screw back... and so it was to go on; exceptions would be made
on a variety of the fundamental characteristics of the WWW watch.
Below is pretty much a definitive list of WWW's produced - compiled in no particular order:
WWW series watches
1. IWC Mk X (Unusual WWW - only series with snap on back)
7. Lemania (Only WWW watches to be supplied with sub secs and sweep secs hands)
13. Invicta (only purpose made WWW watch with white dial)
Sorry if I've missed any out...
Certainly when the military first began to take stock of the standard WWW's during WW2, they still had a number of
ATP (Army Time Piece) examples in stores - Consequently, a number of the earlier ATP watches were engraved with
the WWW mark. These are easily identifiable as re-marked ATP's, as the ATP watches were considerably smaller than
the WWW's being supplied.
Some WWW examples were being made and delivered for military service in abundance, through into the late 1950's...
Issue of these watches would have carried on for a great many years thereafter. With a huge supply of spares, the
military would have serviced and maintained their stock of WWW's, until it became economically unviable to do so, or,
they were disposed of as surplus. As James K says, it is highly probable that WWW watches were issued during the
Gulf War... But these were at that time, already some 40 years old! Nevertheless, they were still capable of telling the
Of course many of the listed WWW suppliers did produce other types of military issue watch during those same years.
And, although many of the later designs such as the IWC MkXI or Omega '53's, could be categorised as WWW's, they
weren't. This is most likely because the MkXI's and '53's were both newer models, conforming to more recent specs,
and, being supplied to forces other than the Army...
Initially WWW watches were for army issue - (albeit this state did not last for long). With the military being the
military, there was a great deal of interchange and many 'army intended' WWW watches were quickly supplied to the
Royal Navy, who seem to be under represented in the wristwatch line throughout the WW2 period.
Of course the RAF had a pretty much unique line in WW2 issue wristwatches... but these, virtually overnight, became
second rate timepieces when compared with the practicality of the newer WWW range. Consequently the RAF also
received their share of WWW's. Of course the RAF were soon to take receipt of their top notch MkXI's, and other such
watches which were in a totally different league, re-establishing themselves as the horological wristwatch masters of
the armed forces.
It is rare (but not impossible) to find a WWW issue watch with any other marks denoting which branch the watch
served in... I suspect that it's simply because they were issued from a pool of WWW watches - A pool into which
anyone of the services could dip into.
The later (non WWW) watches would indeed have their branch codes engraved on to the back of the watches... This
became standard practice in the years following the establishment of NATO.
Just to confuse matters further, the military had a habit of making up marriages of watches. The Lemania and Records
do in fact both share the same case specs - That is to say both these WWW watches share the same letter codes on
the rear of the screw backs, identyfying the same case maker in both instances. Lemania and Record are not the only
examples of interchangeable cases being used within the WWW range... It is therefore likely (I summise) that
examples such as the Invicta, produced late in the WWW series, may well be down to the military using up surplus
WWW cases. If this is so, it may well account as to why WWW's were being produced for so long - seemingly after
newer specifications and marking had superceeded them.
Waste not, want not seems to be a fitting epitaph to the British military authorities.