It is far from a secret that the crew at Dial + Bezel are huge fans of military issued watches. Outside of the fantastic history that comes along with these watches is more often than not fantastic design. Now you might be wondering why such utilitarian watches would have great designs, but the answer is function and simplicity. These watches we built for a purpose and that purpose drove their designs. Top of mind for the armed forces ordering these watches, from a design standpoint, were legibility, robustness, and ease of use and all of those goals come through in the visual language of these watches. This Omega 53 Fat Arrow is a great example of this design ethos with its brushed stainless steel case, black dial with super eligible white numerals and big hands to make it all easy to read. Lets not forget about the history though, because this watch has a lot of it. In 1952 the British Air Ministry (RAF) placed an order with Omega for 5900 watches. Those watches were delivered in 1953 and they all featured a “Thin Arrow’ on the dial, and were lumed with radium, a highly radioactive material. Almost immediately, the watches were deemed unsafe by the RAF and returned to Omega to be redialed. Omega redialed almost all of the watches with new dials featuring tritium and a new “Fat Arrow” to distinguish them from their predecessor. The RAF was happy with the new dials and issued them to pilots and aircrew. Redialing is often not a good thing in the world of vintage watches, but for this watch it is an integral part of its official history.
Internally, Omega would refer to this watch as reference CK2777-1 SC, but militaries have their own designations that they use to categorize, inventory, and identify their various assets and this includes watches. This is clearly apparent from the cornucopia of numbers and identification symbols found on the caseback of this watch. There is a lot going on with these numbers so we will break it down for you.
Thin Arrow: The thin arrow designated the presence of radium in the original watches before being sent back by the RAF. Although the dials were changed, and now featured a fat arrow to designate tritium lume, the casebacks remained unchanged from their original form.
645 101000: This number is a NATO designation for this particular watch. 645 was their code for a wrist watch and 101000 was the specific model number
6B/542: 6B is the RAF part group number for ‘Aircraft Navigation Equipment, Accessories and Unit Servicing Parts’ and 542 is the designation for a pilot wrist watch, indicating that these watches were issued to pilots or aircrew.
764/53: 764 is the production number out of a total of 5900 total watches made and 53 indicated the production year of 1953.
The 37mm stainless steel case is in very good condition. It has light scratches throughout the case and crystal but no major flaws to note. The crown, which is correct, and thought to be original, does have some more substantial dents that should be noted. The caseback is also in good condition but does have two substantial scratches that can be seen in the photos. It should also be noted that the strap bars are fixed, which is correct.
The Dial and Hands
All “Fat Arrow” Omega’s technically are redials, but as this was done at the behest of the RAF it is considered correct for the watch. The dial itself is in very good condition with no major scratches or flaws to note. The lume is flat but has aged to a rich light caramel color that is consistent across the dial, and consistent to the lume in the hands.
This watch features a hand wound Omega Calibre 283 movement which is covered by its original iron covering and shock ring. The watch is running well and the service history is not known
|Location||New York City|
|Reference Number||CK2777-1 SC|
|Movement||Manual, Omega Calibre 283|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Nato Strap|