Omega 1953 'Fat Arrow' RAF-Issued Pilot's watch - Ref. 2777-1 - 6645-101000 6B/542
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Omega 1953 'Fat Arrow' RAF-Issued Pilot's watch - Ref. 2777-1 - 6645 - 101000 6B/542 - Original images included from the RAF pilot that the watch was issued to (see first product images).
In 1952 the British Air Ministry contracted their longest standing London watch supplier, Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Ltd, for an order of 5900 wristwatches. They in turn contacted Omega to manufacture the watches to the exacting specification set out by the Air Ministry. The order was received by Omega in June 1952 and the watches were delivered in May 1953. Part of the requirements were that the watches needed to operate in demanding conditions, these watches were required to be waterproof, shockproof and antimagnetic to ensure the watch didn’t interfere with the instruments in the aircraft during crucial operations. The inner casing was constructed from iron to ensure its anti-magnetic qualities.
The watches were originally issued as so called “Thin Arrow” pieces but subsequently recalled and redialled as the original radium dials were deemed too dangerous by the MOD when stockpiled. Thereafter the dials had safer tritium “Fat Arrow” dials and the nickname stuck. Due to the year the watches were delivered and the nature of their duties, these watches are fondly known as “53 Omegas” and are highly desirable with collectors due to the unique nature of their use but also the interesting history behind them. The watches have therefore become much harder to come by and any in great condition command a premium.
What's on offer
The present watch is a rare treat having come from the original owner who served in the RAF from 1965 – 1999 as part of their Lightening, Hunter, Phantom, Hawk, Tornado and Hercules squadrons. More importantly, however, this watch is supplied with a full set of original photographs directly from the owner (see images). A detailed story of the watch's issue and subsequent use in the RAF will be provided upon sale to the next owner, together with these photos. These include evidence of this watch itself on his wrist whilst gearing up for/debriefing from RAF flights, as well as a rare image of the current Duke of Cambridge as a young boy climbing into a cockpit with this watch in shot. This exact watch was on the pilots wrist whilst based in Scotland, Cyprus, Germany, Wales and the Falklands as well as within the UK’s Heavy Aircraft Test Squadron at the government’s research base at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. This watch was the pilots every day watch whilst flying for many years until the RAF issued him a more modern Seiko Gen II which is when he stopped using the Omega watch we now have here for sale! A truly historical piece and one we are hugely proud to be offering to market.
The watch itself remains in remarkable condition for a watch that has spent a life on the frontline. The case shows sign of patina but only in line with age and use, nothing substantial. The deep black dial retains its depth and the Arabic indices are crisp and legible. The lumed sword hands show nice signs of age with light patina and the hour hand has lost a little lume towards the base of the hand but doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of the dial. This watch is not only a great piece of history to delve into but a remarkable wristwatch to enjoy wearing for many adventures to come. The background and journey the watch has already been on is a huge talking point and with any military watch, has a real charm and allure which only makes the present watch all the more special.
Case: Stainless steel, soft iron inner.
Dial: Black 'Fat Arrow' tritium dial.
Bracelet: NATO/Leather strap.
Movement type: Manual.
Condition: Excellent for age. 9/10.
Model reference number: 2777-1 / 101000-6B/542
Date / Year of issue: Cold war era, 1953.
Sold with a 12-month guarantee.
Width (without crown): 37mm
Height (lug to lug): 48mm
Lug width: 18mm
Wrist size: Adjustable.