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Rare 1940s Reconvilier Civilian - Civilian version of the Reconvilier ATP


Rare civilian version of the famous Reconvilier ATP 'grail' piece - non military issue, otherwise identical to the military ATP version

The ATP collection are known as the earliest officially-issued British military watches, occasionally referred to as the 'Excellent Eighteen'. 16 Swiss manufacturers (some of whom produced multiple ATP variants) were contacted by the British Ministry of Defence during the beginning of World War II and asked to produce what came to a total of 18 military pieces, all very similarly and carefully designed and specified for military service. Their successor, the dirty dozen, built heavily on this concept of standard specification and quality watchmaking, but it was first coined here with the ATPs. They had to be legible, sturdy, easy to wear and reliable as anything. For many horologists today, the values that drove the production of these watches are the core facets of passion for watches. Only 133,000 were produced, and even fewer survive. Many of them were decommissioned and resold to the public, many of them hoarded by military collectors and others left amongst the remnants of the Western Front after WWII. 

Fortunately, a small number of certain brands of ATPs were produced for civilian use as well. Uptake was unsurprisingly low: the wartime economy left little in the way of disposable income, let alone enough to purchase a Swiss watch, but they do exist. This Reconvilier is one such piece, and it is for us as beautiful as the ATPs, if not more so thanks to its near pristine preservation. It does not bear the commonly associated Military 'Pheon' (Ministry of Defence Broad Arrow), nor any of the military serial/issue codes. We'd say that the reason this Reconvilier is so beautifully preserved is the fact that it was not issued to the military but sold as a dress watch to a civilian or a member of the forces could have bought it for there personal use! To see a Reconvilier ATP itself surface is extremely rare, but whenever they do, it's even rarer to see one with much in the way of a dial still clearly legible as is this civilian piece. 

What's on offer

The case, dial, crown, glass and strap are all in truly excellent vintage condition on this Reconvilier Civilian. The dial, with its black arabic numerals, iconic 'sunk', radially brushed sub-seconds dial and stylish Reconvilier signing, is rarely seen in condition as fine as this. The case in particular is noticeably pristine from a distance, retaining its polished shine across the bezel and case edges. Upon close inspection of the case back and lugs, scratches are present, but these are minimal and purely aesthetic. There are no larger scratches or marks present anywhere on the watch. The largest would likely be on the crown, which shows two marks where it has been scraped/knocked. This is shown in photographs, and we hope you'll agree that it is not significant.

Additional information

Made from

Case: Nickel chrome plated.

Dial: Original

Crystal: Acrylic.

Bracelet: Black leather strap.

Technical specifications

Winding: Manual

Calibre: 120

Purchase details

Condition: Excellent, for its age, and in full working order.

Model Reference: C1153

Date of issue: c.1940


Comes with a 6-month VWS guarantee.


Width: 29mm

Lug width: 16mm

Lug height (lug to lug): 37mm