The “Weems” Mk VIIA wristwatches issued to pilots and navigators of the RAF during WW2 are highly prized among vintage military watch collectors and enthusiasts.
Although there were five manufacturers of these very special watches; Longines, Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Zenith and Movado, the Omega is arguably the most coveted and elusive of them all.
On 5th January 1940, the Air Ministry placed a special order with Omega for 2,000 watches ref. CK 2129. The order was marked urgent and delivery was to be made from 10th March 1940 to Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co Ltd, London.
Sadly, very few of the 2,000 examples issued in 1940 remain in existence and those that do are seldom offered for sale.
The Omega “Weems” Mk VIIA 6B/159 has obtained cult status in recent years, primarily due to the actor, Tom Hardy, wearing a replica example in Christopher Nolan’s 2017 WW2 epic, Dunkirk.
The watch has become so iconic that some independent watch companies have produced homage watches based on the “Weems” design. One such manufacturer is the Great British Watch Company, whose Spitfire Watch is inspired by the Omega “Weems” CK 2129.
Due to their considerable age and history, “Weems” watches are typically found in poor condition. It is common to find the original dial replaced, the winding and locking crowns missing and the elaborate Air Ministry case back markings removed.
We are, therefore, thrilled to have recently acquired a fully complete and original Omega “Weems” in incredible “drawer-find” condition.
The watch was not functioning when we acquired it and had not likely been worn for many years. As such, we instructed Simon Freese to sympathetically clean and service the movement. Simon is an expert horologist and renowned Omega specialist. Remarkably, despite working on vintage Omega wristwatches for twenty-five years, our Omega “Weems” is the first example he has ever worked on, which is a testament to the extreme rarity of these watches.
Happily, the wonderful Omega 23.4SC movement was in excellent condition and the service was carried out without the need for any replacement parts. Remarkably, Simon was able to regulate the movement to within 10 seconds per day, which is comparable to the timing of a modern-day mechanical wristwatch.
Other than a simple clean and service of the movement, no other work has been undertaken to the watch. This includes cleaning the case and polishing the glass, both of which have been left untouched.
The original winding crown is bent, presumably due to an impact it sustained in its long distant past, which again has been left unaltered. It would be possible to change the crown with a new replica replacement. However, preserving the originality of such a rare and historic timepiece is always our primary concern and replacing the original, albeit, bent crown would be tantamount to sacrilege.
Simon Freese, in conjunction with Renfmedia, has produced an excellent video on the watch in which he explains its history and the work undertaken during its service. This video can be viewed on our new YouTube channel below:
We have contacted Omega to obtain an extract from their archives for the watch. Unfortunately, they were unable to provide an extract as their records are incomplete. However, they did confirm the movement was produced on 3rd September 1940 (exactly a year after the commencement of WW2) and delivered to the UK where the case was produced.
Omega has long since boosted that over 50% of the navigational watches issued to the RAF during WW2 were produced by them. This includes the 2,000 “Weems” watches they manufactured in 1940.
It is likely our example would have been delivered to the UK soon after the movement was produced at the beginning of September 1940. Consequently, it is almost certain it would have seen action during the decisive Battle of Britain and throughout the duration of the Second World War.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that so few examples remain in existence, particularly ones in complete and unmolested condition, making our example a dream for most vintage military watch collectors and Omega enthusiasts.
The watch is an honest survivor and faithful companion of The Few, whose courageous exploits kept Britain free from Nazi tyranny and helped liberate the rest of Europe.
The Omega “Weems” of Dreams has now been listed for sale on our website and we trust it will go to someone who will truly cherish its history and service and that of the brave men and women who fought alongside her.
Thank you for your interest.