Men’s 1951 Elgin UDT ‘Frogman’ Canteen Military Dive Watch

Men’s 1951 Elgin UDT ‘Frogman’ Canteen Military Dive Watch

Item: W2486

Watch's origin: American

Number of jewels: 17

Case: Star Watch Case Company

Manufacturer: Elgin

Type of Watch:  Wrist

Type: Open-Face

Lug Width: 16mm

Dimension: 39mm by 31mm

Composition: Stainless

Other Attributes:   Military

Price: $7,495.00

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World War II was a turning point in horology. American watch houses ceased civilian production during these years and devoted themselves to producing timing instruments for the war. Elgin, then one of the largest watch manufacturers in the world, produced ship's chronometers, pocket and wrist watches and special order pieces military such as this example.


The agreement with American watch houses was that they would support the war effort by supplying timepieces for ground troops and equipment; however, after the war all timepieces had to be destroyed or decommissioned. American watch executives felt that if these watches were allowed back into the states, they would cripple business at a time when plants had not been able to produce and sell civilian watches for years. The United States government agreed and most of these faithful time companions were unceremoniously crushed, buried, or dumped to prevent them from competing with civilian watch sales.

We're thrilled to be able to offer this piece to those who won't settle for less that the absolute rarest and best examples of military horology.

Extraordinarily rare and in astonishingly original condition, this post-WWII Elgin Buships "canteen" or dive watch was produced in 1951 for use by Navy "UDT" or underwater demolition teams – the precursors to Navy SEALs.

In fact, 1951's "The Frogmen," the first movie about WWII underwater demolition teams – and the first movie featuring Scuba diving – showcased "canteen" dive watches with screw crowns. They were extraordinary instruments; part art, part engineering, part ordnance unmatched in resilience and excellence.

Featuring its original, factory high-grade Elgin model 647 17 jewel incabloc shockproof movement with center-sweep; housed in a  waterproof case with screw cap; this museum-grade example remains in fine original condition. Aside from a missing crystal, it emerged from its Seattle estate remarkably intact and original. Inside back marked “Timed and Cased by Elgin/Star Watch Case Company/Stainless Steel/2156/2236420

Of course we have left the watch exactly as found, save replacing its crystal, installing an N.O.S. correct nylon strap and cleaning, oiling and calibrating the piece.

We invite you to take a moment to study this historic piece, as well as encourage you to immerse yourself in the mesmeric world of military horology!