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Indo China Wars 1945 - 1975. Covering, French Indo China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, etc.

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A few vietnam watches.
Old 02-13-2014, 09:41 PM   #1
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Default A few vietnam watches.

Some of you that know me know of my Interest In watches, here are a few of the pieces I own from the Vietnam period to Include L to R;

Seiko diver first model with 'water proof' marked dial. Dated 68 this belonged to a 'Nail' backseater and Is the fore runner to the model worn by Martin Sheen In apocalypse now. The Japanese call these the 'Uemura' watch named after this amazing fellow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Uemura

Then we have 2 different examples of the 'SOG' Seiko, followed by 68 and 69 contract plastic Westclox service watches. The 68 was completely un-mendable having a one piece stem (although I know a clever fellow who can fix them) but they broke so regularly that this was replaced with a split stem on the 69 contract. Last but not least Is a very nice PX purchased Seiko Diashock.

Well, that's about It for now, hope you like them.

Regards, Guy.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:44 PM   #2
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:46 PM   #3
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:05 PM   #4
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Plastic case types I don't believe can be taken down for repairs,(unless they went through the front crystal) , mine didn't look like it could be popped off like the metal cased watches...... think they just threw em away when they croaked...had one once that didnt even work, and still sold it for a decent price . Anybody know about the plastic ones like the two at the bottom right photo? I would think there must be at least one watch repair guy in the membership roles here . Its getting tougher to find a good guy to clean a watch or repair it at a decent price any more...I used to have a guy who would do it right for 25.00 each..those were the days.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:01 PM   #5
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My Vietnam era watches.

-The top 2 are Benrus type 1's, one is dated Nov 72 and the other is sterile, just a serial number on the back. I have pics of SEALs wearing these in Vietnam.

From l-r:

-Rolex Tudor Submariner 7016, supposedly worn by a SEAL but I have my doubts, still a great watch.

-Rolex Tudor Submariner 7928, another watch that was used by SEALs.

-Zodiac Seawolf with an SEAL Olongapo band. The band has a name, could be one of 2 SEALs with the same last name who did tours in Nam.

-Rolex Tudor Submariner 7016 with "snowflake" dial with a SEAL Olongapo band. The belonged to a SEAL who was of the VN era but didn't make it over. This watch was found in about 6 inches of sand by a guy with a metal detector after El Nino in 1997. I got it in 1999. The band has since been returned to the SEAL who lost it in the surf zone in 1985. Too long of a story to tell here. I still have the watch.

-Rolex Submariner 5513, mid/late 60's.

-The last 3 are Zodiac Seawolf watches that were issued to SEALs from late 1969 on. Good little watches. Plenty pics of SEALs wearing them in Nam.

They all mainly sit in my safe deposit box.
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Old 02-14-2014, 12:50 AM   #6
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I love those Seiko Dive Masters, I own ten of them. Probably the best military related watches there is. I wear one every day, that I have only had to have serviced twice in ten years.
On the Zodiac's I think I still have four or five left.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:09 AM   #7
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Very interesting topic, had never contemplated the diversity of Viet era military watches. Great post to all.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:57 AM   #8
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Zodiac Seawolf was $50 in the PX.
Nice watch, but not bullet proof.
Mine saved my wrist, but did not survive.
Most common watches in VN overall were the ubiquitous Seikos.
Dirt cheap and reliable.
SF watch de rigueur was Rolex GMT Master followed by Submariner.
I paid $190 for my GMT at PX in Taipei.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:18 AM   #9
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I still have my Zodiac ? bought in the PX in 1970 with the wide leather band.
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watches
Old 02-14-2014, 02:57 PM   #10
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I have one of the Seiko Diver's Automatic watches that belonged to a Navy aircraft survival equipment man. A friend of mine bought a storage unit last fall and called and said there was a lot of Navy items in it and if I was interested.
I met him at the storage unit and bought all the Navy stuff. About 18 flight deck jerseys (in light green), a box of Navy ship and squadron patches, a parachute, a life raft, medals, insignia, etc.
Anyway, a Seiko watch was in there also but it wasn't working. So I took it to a local jeweler. He checked it out and said it just needed servicing and the cost would be $75.00. I asked him it the watch was worth spending $75.00 on and he said yes indeed that it was one of the best Seiko watches.
I picked it up a few days later and it has been working perfect since. I got curious so I did a little research on Seiko watches via the internet. I found out by the serial number that it was made in August of 1980 and it was one of two models of the diver's watch. One made for the U.S. market and one made not for import into the U.S. The one I have was not made for the U.S. market. So in August of this year it will be 34 years old and I wear it everyday!
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:32 AM   #11
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A person ought to know that very few watches actually were issued, and then on a haphazard basis.

Divers need a watch, so they actually most likely had one issued, possibly same-same pilots.

I wore my 8th grade graduation watch til it broke and I bought a Seawolf for no special reason in the PX.

There was a 5th Grp CSM at Nha Trang who was a Seiko dealer. He was known to pressure young guys into buying them.
Most watches then were fairly plain without a lot of high speed stuff which was just beginning to appear.

Wrist compasses were cool, but pretty rare as they got snatched before us guys in the bush could get them.

I had a green watch for about a week before it spontaneously dis assembled.

I still wear the GMT I bought in 1969. I go to SF conventions and see a lot of other guys do as well.
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Old 02-18-2014, 07:04 AM   #12
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Thank you one and all for your comments and reminiscences .

Mike, I had heard that It was unusual to be Issued a watch and that most wore what they brought with them or purchased something In the PX. Your comment about the plastic watches made me laugh as that Is pretty much what everybody I've spoken to who owned one said; they are absolutely rubbish which Is why good ones are so scarce today. they are not waterproof and were known to give up the ghost under even the least robust of showers; pretty good Idea for Issue In a climate like Vietnams . I'm guessing the guy who signed off that contract may not have had much of a career after that.

Bob, I agree entirely, I wear the 8000 series as my everyday watch and It's nigh on bulletproof. When I got It In the grouping It looked really bad and I didn't know If It was recoverable but a service, new glass and a face clean and It was good to go. Pretty Impressive considering It hadn't been touched since manufacture.

Spike, beautiful collection of watches there many thanks for sharing them with us. I had a small Rolex collection which I sold about twelve years ago to buy a Land rover NAS. With my usual impeccable timing they were worth twice what I sold them for within eighteen months, DOH! I managed to hold onto a Tudor snowflake that had been Issued to a Rhodesian diver, It was my everyday watch until It had to go a couple of years ago to finance a new engine and box for the aforementioned Landy . You'd think I would have learnt my lesson! The Zodiac's are nice little watches and I've had both models but I find them a bit small as was the vogue of the time. I keep promising myself that my next big purchase will be a birth year Submariner but I never seem to hold onto the money long enough, lol.

Anyway, sorry for the ramble, thanks again to all who posted and If there are any more period pieces lurking out there please feel free to post them as I'm sure we'd all love to see them.

Yours, Guy.
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Old 02-18-2014, 08:50 PM   #13
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Years ago I talked to a WW2 pilot who was issued a nice watch of some sort.
On out processing, they took it and smashed it with a big hammer right in front of him.
Just a story, but I have heard similar ones.
Heard the same about the leather jackets including bomber crews.
Some nicely painted up. Ended up in burn pits.
Different stuff on different days, though.
Never any absolutes in the military.
I worked in the HALO shed, briefly, they had altitude timers that automatically opened parachutes at a set height if the jumper was not able.
They were good for twenty uses or so.
They smashed them after 10, as I recall.
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Old 02-18-2014, 10:28 PM   #14
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There is an interesting story I heard about the Russian watches....it seems they say the russians never honored any countries patents on anything while the soviet union CCCP was in power...and that russian watches are basicly knock off of rollex'es...they say you can tell by the way they tick....so remember that when you see an old one , and it keeps time well...I just found a nice one for less than 5.00 and keeps perfect time....Just wanted to bring that up since some are not aware of it. There are some nice watches in this thread....
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:27 AM   #15
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Hi Mike,

None of that would surprise me and I've heard similar horror stories. In the early to mid 90's Molesworth Air base was being de commissioned; I used to get the government list and travel down regularly to the auctions where one could buy anything from the entire shop fittings from the px to refuelling probes for jets. A lot of the stuff was on dexion shelving In one of the hangers and certain areas were off limits. I strayed into one of these one day without realising and was really excited to find several boxes full of body armour, 25 sets to a box, plus a couple of boxes of M16 ammunition pouches, literally hundreds of them. I was just looking for a lot number when a guy came up and told me there was a mistake and that row should have been roped off, the Items were not for sale and were going to Peterborough for disposal. When I asked him what that meant he said It would all be cut up and destroyed Including the webbing to stop It falling Into the 'wrong hands'. I just laughed because all of it was available from surplus shops and some of It was obsolete and collectible as opposed to current Issue, when I pointed this out to him he just shrugged and walked off. the cost to the tax payer must have been enormous.

Juoneen, some of the earlier Russian watches were very nice like this lovely Raketa which Is basically a knock of of the WW2 LACO's used by the Luftwaffe http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-USSR-RU...item1e86e4a249. They are very reliable and keep time with a well made if slightly agricultural 17 jewel movement. However there were a lot of factories churning out watches In the former Soviet Union and many of them are truly terrible, after the wall came down and they went Into export overdrive they just got progressively worse.

Yours, Guy.
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