Omega - 1953 RAF Issue - The 'Thin Arrow' Dial - 6B/542 Military Watch - Reference 2777-1
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A wonderful Omega 1953 British, RAF-Issued Military watch with rare original 'Thin Arrow' Dial and case back makings 6645 101000 6B/542 with a low issue number of 1506/53
Only 5900 of these watches were manufactured for the British Royal Air Force in 1953 and that was the only year of issue. They were protected against instrument magnetism by a soft iron shield covering the movement and the dial was also made of soft iron and thicker than normal to form a protective sandwich, in effect. The movements were also adjusted to chronometer standards but not officially rated!
The original production watch featured the 'thin arrow' that is seen on the dial of this example, signifying use by the UK armed forces. All 5900 watches were first issued with Radium lume on the dial and hands. Later the watches were sent back to have the Radium dials and hands replaced with Tritium, because of the extremely hazardous nature of Radium in large quantities. To mark the tritium modification the MoD had the thin arrow replaced with a fat arrow.
What's on offer
The previous owner, and client we purchased the watch from, inherited it in 1972 from his father, (his father's issued watch) in its original thin arrow, plus radium, configuration. We are told that the original owner had served in the RAF through WW2 and beyond, and had worn this watch as a pilot in the RAF, from the late 50s and into the early 60s. This example did not originally receive the tritium/fat-arrow modification, but the original iron dial has recently been restored with modern lume by Swiss Time Services Ltd; trading a few percent of authenticity for worry-free usability. The dial looks 'unchanged but fresh'. The client made the decision to have this work carried out after he damaged the glass a few years back whilst wearing the watch on a daily basis for a good number of years! As it needed a new glass and a service to keep it in good working order, the decision was taken to refinish the dial, replace the glass and crown for genuine Omega signed replacements so the watch can continue to be worn and enjoyed safely by the next custodian. The outstanding restoration that has been carried out by Swiss Time Services (an official vintage Omega service centre), is one of the best jobs on a watch of this nature, that we have seen in over 30 years!
The watch is a model reference 2777-1 SC and military reference 6B/542 with caliber 283 movement which is running perfectly. The case of this example is also in superb condition. The chunky crown is eye catching and really adds to the character of this piece. The deep black dial retains its appeal and the Arabic indices are clear and crisp, with added bonus of being able to see the watch at night having the modern lume.
Fitted with a choice of coloured NATO strap, this watch really is a historically interesting and important timepiece, one which any enthusiast or collector would relish to own and we are so lucky to be able to offer it for sale, especially with the provenance and back story that we have from the son of the original pilot, along with images and a short history of the pilot! Unfortunately, we don't have permission to publish the photos or information here on our site, but we would be happy to give the next owner as much information and as many images as we can for their records and to keep with the watch.
Case: Stainless steel
Crystal: Omega Plexiglass
Bracelet: NATO style strap
Movement Type: Mechanical hand wound
Condition: Excellent 9/10
Model Reference Number: 2777-1SC
Date of issue: 1953
Guarantee: 12 months by VWS
Lug width: 18mm
Lug height: (lug to lug) 47mm
Wrist size: Adjustable