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michelleu Edmitrievz
michelleu Edmitrievz

Tavannes Watch Co Serial Numbers


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The Langbourne watch has a screw back and bezel case similar to the Submarine watch also made by Tavannes and described in the next section. The Langbourne case is not waterproof; it does not have the gland in the stem tube or recesses for gaskets in the screw back and bezel that the Submarine case watch has. Langbourne cases all carry a reference number 3305910, only three digits short of the reference number seen in all Submarine watch cases, 3305913. This suggests that these numbers are Tavannes case design reference numbers, and that the fully waterproof case of the Submarine watch was a development of the Langbourne case.


All the Submarine wristwatch cases that I have seen carry the same number 3305913 and a shorter three of four digit number. The number 3305913 appears to be a case design reference number, the shorter number seems to be a serial number for the specific watch. The case measures a shade under 35mm diameter, about 34.8mm. This is a typical case size for a Great War era wristwatch with a 13 ligne Swiss movement.


During the Great War, Tavannes supplied watches to Birch & Gaydon who were one of the premier jewellers in London at the time, later acquired by Asprey. The Langbourne has a screw back and bezel case similar to the Submarine watch. The Langbourne case is not waterproof; it does not have the gland in the stem tube or recesses for waxed cotton gasket in the screw back and bezel that the Submarine case watch has. Langbourne cases all carry a reference number 3305910, only three digits short of the reference number 3305913 seen in all Submarine watch cases. This suggests that these numbers are Tavannes case design reference numbers, and that the fully waterproof case of the Submarine watch was a development of the Langbourne case.


It is interesting to note that someone has thought carefully about making the numbers on this dial as visible as possible in low light conditions, . Watches with black dials either have the numerals outlined in skeleton form on an overall black dial, relying on infill paint to make them visible, or blocked out in white as this watch. Block white numerals such as this give the greatest contrast to the black of the dial and are clearly visible even when the paint is missing. The white background of the numbers ensured that light emitted backwards from the luminous material was reflected forward, maximising the luminous effect, rather than being absorbed in the dial as it would be with a black background. The hands are skeletonised to carry luminous paint, and unusually for a watch dial of this period, the seconds hand is also skeletonised and carries luminous paint, as described in the Horological Journal article. It is usually only the hour and minute hand that carry luminous paint and the seconds hand is a simple unadorned baton.


The cases of some Tavannes watches appear to have a consistent series of reference numbers. For example, see the case in the image here. It has two numbers, 3305900 and 17548. The longer number appears to be a case design reference number, because it fits into the series shown below.


f. Watches where the serial number originally imprinted on the watch case is removed or not clearly legible, or where any part of the original watch back or any original number has been removed, changed, altered, replaced, erased or defaced.


Please use the following tables to help determine the approximate age of your watch. Remove or open the back cover from your watch and look for a number engraved into the movement; this is the serial number for your watch, and by using it, you can find the closest years it was made on these tables. Please note there is a difference between the number marked on the movement and the one marked on the case. These tables are only accurate for the movement serial numbers.


Tavannes Watch Co won the Grand Prix for daily production at the Exhibition Universal of Brussels: 2,500 watches per day. The numbers are there, revealing the tremend




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