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Elgin National Watches - A-11 American Air Force Military Navigation Watch - c.1942s

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A Well Preserved Elgin A-11 American Air Force Watch, Issued c.1942 With Military Caseback Engravings.

Various watches were produced for the American military, however, the A-11 is perhaps the most iconic. It was established fairly quickly after combat began, that allied troops needed a reliable, sturdy and easily legible watch. Three American watch manufacturers (Elgin, Waltham, and Bulova) were contracted to make the watches and interestingly, the A-11 also saw service with the RAF (Royal Air Force) under the 6B/234 designation, the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force), and the Soviet Air Force.

The watch manufacturers seem to have begun with a 15-jewel sub-second movement and simply added a second-hand pinion and extra jewel, bringing the total jewel count on these movements up to 16.

The watches were also required to feature hacking (second-hand stops completely upon pulling out the crown) for precise timing and synchronisation, and therefore movements were of high quality, such as is illustrated here with this Elgin 539. 

What’s On Offer 

A well preserved American Air Force A-11 on offer in fantastic shape. The stark black dial looks well with sharp Arabic numerals which have transformed over the years to a beautiful buttery colour. A hand-wound, hacking movement with center seconds, an outer minute track with 10-minute demarcations, and minute and hour hands complete the dial which is encapsulated under the military stipulated 'unbreakable' plastic and showcased in a chromium-plated brass case. The brass is peeping through on some parts of the case, but at over 7 decades old, this is hardly a surprise and merely adds to the character of the watch which is in otherwise remarkable condition. A wonderful entry-level watch for any budding military or vintage enthusiast. 

Caseback engravings: TYPE A-11. SPEC NO. 94-27834-B. SERIAL NO. AF44-29762. MFR'S PART NO. 1788. ORD NO. W11-107 AC-267-73

Additional information

Made from

Case: Chromium-plated Brass

Dial: Black

Crystal: Plexiglas

Bracelet: NATO

Technical specifications

Winding: Manual

Movement Type: Mechanical

Caliber: Elgin 539

Jewels: 16

Waterproof: n/a

Power reserve: 40 hrs

Purchase details

Condition: Excellent

Model Reference: A11

Date of issue: c.1942

Warranty: 12 Months by VWS


Width (without crown): 32mm

Lug width: 16mm

Lug height: (lug to lug) 39mm

Wrist size: Adjustable