Been deciding which watch to debut on my first thread and after days of indecision, I have settled on my RAN Droz.
Fished it out of the Bay last year. Caused a bit of a stir on MWR when I did as I had purchased it before the auction concluded and one or maybe more of the bidders where also MWRines.
There were also some skeptics as there are known but unseen examples around and nothing a potential buyer could compare it to. The seller had mentioned the last example sold some 14 years ago, whether there is any truth to that, who knows. Some mentioned that it was the first of its model to be sold in a very long time, in that regard it gives me some comfort and that I bought it much less then the BIN price, makes it easier to swallow.
A lemon? Don't think so. It keeps excellent time. A franken? Hope not.
Back to the watch. Supposedly the first or earliest RAN issued Droz, the watch has AS. 1580 movement housed in a stainless steel case (No movement pics at the moment. Don't have the tools to open it. Will try and get one another time) Details as follows:-
Size Specs & Description
Case Width: 40mm (excluding crown) 44mm including
Lug to Lug: 49mm
Lug Width: 20mm
Black dial with luminous hour makers and gold gilt lume filled hands. Push-in & screw down crown with bi-directional bezel and a heavy domed crystal.
Looks to be a Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA) made case. The familiar dive helmet logo is just visible on the case back. I have not as yet confirm if its a Compressor case. Most likely that it is but would get a better idea if I had a look inside the case back.
There are 3 types of compressor cases. The Compressor, Compressor 2 & Super Compressor. More info can be found at http://www.scubawatch.org/EPSA_SC_FAQ.html
I suspect my example would be the first Compressor version case. (Picture borrowed from scubawatch.org)
Here are some profile shots of the watch, dial & case back
There are supposedly - mine included - 4 known types of RAN Droz. The first/earliest as above. The second & third is a dual crown Super Compressor as M (Bremont125) has mentioned in the second post to this thread. A date & non-date version. (Non-Date Pics borrowed from Johnny B on MWR now owned by doktoralex and Date version pic borrowed from watchyouwant on the same forum)
Fourth is a single crown cushion case Super Compressor (Photos borrowed from lambstew on MWR)
I do not know the exact year these were issued but my guess would be that they were sort of issued in the order I have listed them. lambstew from MWR has indicated that his Droz cushion case Super Compressor housed a ETA 25 jewels, 2783 calibre and that apparently he mentions, the movement made its debut in 1974. So I guess the the cushion case version would be the latest known version of the RAN Issued Droz. (Pics again borrowed from lambstew)
I did however contact the RAN Heritage Collection. Where a Mr. Fred Haynes assisted with some of my queries.
The abbreviation of H.O. stands for "Hydrographic Office" and it pre dates the NSN as M (Bremont125) has mentioned.
I had hoped that there maybe records in existence but unfortunately they where all disposed of when the watches went out of service.
The Droz where usually issued to Clearance Divers (CD) but from what Mr Haynes suspects that the Droz - referring to my example and its markings - were also issued to other branches.
He also mentioned that items in service with the Hydrographic Office were also marked HS9 as mention by Jon (Super Moderator) in the third post of this thread. HS meaning "Hydrographic Service" I guess.
I further queried if pre NSN watches had markings unique to the branch of the RAN's CDs. Unfortunately there is no such info. The only way one could identify a person as a CD as Mr Haynes mentioned, was if they were wearing Speedos and a big watch. (Great to see M recalls my thread on MWR)
Seeing that I couldn't get more info from the RAN Heritage Collections. I emailed a few x servicemen from the RAN CD teams regarding Droz watches.
Got one response from Tony who mentioned that he was issued a Droz. Which version he couldn't quite recall but he did mention that it had a single crown, with large hourly markers on the dial and large markings on the bezel. From his description I assumed it was the latest Droz model. I emailed him a pic but he couldn't confirm.
So that's as far as I got. If anyone has further info or if anything I have presented is incorrect please let me know and I will add/amend the post.
Thanks for looking.