Ebel ATP - Push-through case back - WWII British Army-Issue c.1944
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A rare British-Issued Ebel 'Push-through' case WWII ATP (Army Trade Pattern), British Army military issue markings on the case back with the MoD 'Broad Arrow'
One of the elusive 'ATP' series, this Ebel has quite literally been through the wars, but lacks the scars to show for it. A precursor to the famous ‘Dirty Dozen’ watches, produced for the British Armed Forces during World War II by 12 world-famous watch manufacturers (hence the nickname). The ATP (Army Trade Pattern) series of watches was made available at the start of WWII via a Military of Defence contract with 17 Swiss suppliers in 1939 (amazingly, in an effort to demonstrate neutrality, the Swiss supplied almost identical watches, this time with black dials, to the Germany military).
Just over 133,000 ATP watches were produced during World War II, and while the watches were meant to have been destroyed as fighting drew to a close, many were decommissioned and some continued in service.
The ATP watches are considered true British Military watches, made available at the beginning of the Second World War by an MoD (Ministry of Defence) agreement with 16 Swiss watch manufacturers, dating from 1939. Of these 16, Timor, Ebel, Lemania and Revue each made two variants, often denoted by a small variation in the dial, case back or movement. In this case, it's the case back: the other Ebel ATP variant features a 'screw-down' case back, unlike the push-through variant seen here. This case back features smoother edges with rounder extremities for a slightly comfier wear.
Ebel's ATP issues have become highly desirable as vintage pieces due to their solid 32mm stainless steel case construction: many other variants from manufacturers such as Reconvilier, Leonidas or Moeris were plated with nickel due to tight wartime budgets.
Shortly before writing this, I timed the Ebel on the timegrapher, where it performed amazingly. It's running to under a second gain/loss a day, with strong amplitude.
What's on offer
Thanks to no corners being cut during its manufacture, this Ebel looks amazing to this day. Bearing its original radium hour lume plots, the detailing on this watch face is stunning, showing signs of green, cream and yellow vintage patination. It's the dial face that really jumps out here though. Look at that deep tropical tone- rare is it that a watch does this so uniformly and evenly without darkening. This is the stuff of dreams of most vintage watch collectors. The sub-seconds dial at 6:00 features concentric radial brushing, adding a reflective contrast to the dial face thanks to its reflective brushing and the fact that it is cut just shy of the watch face to create a more interesting watch face to look at. The lug bars are fixed, as is typical of ATP watches to act as a belt and braces mechanism if the strap failed during conflict. The case is particularly sharp, and the original factory brushing can still be seen on the edges. The bezel does show mild scratching in places, but this is to be expected with age.
Case: Solid stainless steel
Dial: Original dial.
Bracelet: Fabric NATO strap.
Calibre: Cal 99 (AV232)
Condition: Excellent, for its age, and in full working order.
Model Reference: A.T.P.
Date of issue: c.1940
Comes with a 6-month VWS guarantee.
Lug width: 17mm
Lug height (lug to lug): 41mm