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Thread: Royal Australian Navy Droz Watch

  1. Default Royal Australian Navy Droz Watch

    G'Day all,

    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
    Thickness: 13mm
    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.


    Dan

    Last edited by EZMone; 04-06-2010 at 11:21.

  2. Default

    Whoa!

    Not a bad way to make an entrance - well, I guess you could have been in Speedos! *

    That Droz is lovely. I've seen some of the other varieties, including the suer compressor (dual crown) but that's a very cool watch indeed! Pre-dates the NSNs I guess, and the "H" and "O" markings are very interesting. Shame it's so difficult to find more information about these pieces.

    Welcome to the Forum!

    M

    *In joke. There was a thread a while back on MWR about Clearance Divers, small Speedies and big watches...
    Last edited by Noodlefish; 08-02-2010 at 21:40.
    Your bleeding-edge Now is always someone else’s past. Someone else’s ’70s bellbottoms. Grasp that and start to attain atemporality.

    the #watchnerd

  3. #3

    Default

    Fascinating, Dan, great entrance! I remember the fuss made about it on MWR - you won't find that happening here - "All's fair etc".

    This Droz is a new one on me. In Galicia's book there is an assymetrical case 1960 RAN Lemania with caseback engravings in a reasonably similar font - the RAN and the numbers are similar size but it has a broadarrow too - the markings are as follows:
    H.S.9 ^
    R.A.N.
    560

    There is also a '66 Droz Super Compressor which just has R.A.N. and a three digit service number (126) on the back - no broadarrow - but in a very different font to yours.

    The later Droz in Konrad's book has R.A.N. and 849 on the caseback, in slightly smaller engraving again, albeit very similar to the earlier 126 serial number watch, but with the markings placed differently.

    Looking at it positively, if your numbers were not genuine, surely any faker would have simply copied the engravings from a documented watch?

    Maybe Al' and Nalu can shed some more light on this?

    Looking forward to the next instalment.

    Regards

    Jon'.
    Last edited by StampeSV4; 08-02-2010 at 20:27.

  4. Default Thanks guys!

    I have added more info to my initial post of this thread.

    Thanks for looking

    Cheers


  5. #5

    Default

    Stellar post, Dan. Looks like you're going to be a real asset here. By all means invite over anyone else you know - we are recruiting - "Your forum needs you!".

    I was aware that the dual crown Super Compressor had been issued by the RAN but not your very early version nor the later cushion case - it always amazes me how "new" vintage military watches still turn up.

    It is these civilian watches procured for military use which pose the most problems for collectors - you really need to know your subject, which evidently you do.

    You seem to have carried out a great deal of research into these RAN issue Droz divers with first-hand enquiries for a change, rather than relying on hearsay and urban myths.

    I am certainly looking forward to your next post.

    Regards

    Jon'.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
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    Default

    What a great post, well done on research (and for getting your example).
    I can't help but notice that the date compressor (twin crown one) uses a different case than the non-date (note the lug separation, lug length and the cut-out for the crown at 2 on the the non-date), as well as having much less attractive hands. I wonder whether this is all original, I would have thought they'd have used one case variant?

    Dave
    If it's Lemania-powered, I'm interested. Tool Chrono - interested. Dive Chrono - interested. Interesting - interested

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveS View Post
    What a great post, well done on research (and for getting your example).
    I can't help but notice that the date compressor (twin crown one) uses a different case than the non-date (note the lug separation, lug length and the cut-out for the crown at 2 on the the non-date), as well as having much less attractive hands. I wonder whether this is all original, I would have thought they'd have used one case variant?

    Dave
    Well done Dave, I didn't even notice

    There is a civilian date version on scubawatch.org (pic borrowed) Case, dial & hands looks to be the same as the non-date RAN super compressor. The civi example has a case date of 1966.


    Maybe the RAN date version Super Compressor was a later model. It also has additional markings on the dial, "20 ATM" above 6 o'clock and instead of "17 Jewels" its "25 Jewels"

    Then again could be a put together

    Dan


  8. Default News Flash!!!



    A RAN Droz twin crown super compressor is currently available for sale online.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    1,057

    Default

    Thanks for the heads up.
    Not that I can buy it, but I love looking at them!
    Dave J

    "I may at times be wrong, but I am never in doubt"...anonymous surgeon.

  10. #10

    Default

    Can't see any caseback engravings on it - have asked the seller for details...

    Regards

    Jon'.

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