Unitas Movement 231:

In 1974 I was working in Bulawayo Rhodesia Africa. I found this tiny African food market; in a small closet at the back was a very old, slightly stooped, African watch repairman sitting at his bench. I noticed a box next to him filled with jumbled pocket watch cases and movements. We got to talking, and I asked how much he would charge to make me a pocket watch from the parts. I picked out this wonderful face plate. About a month later this watch was what I got. It keeps good time and I have always liked it.


The face is English ca 1870 made by an unknown English watch maker. It has gold lettering and a ring of raised gold leaves enclosing a center of six embossed silver colored leaves.

The case is gold plated, marked warranted 5 years, probably made by Illinois Watch Company ca 1915. There is a stamped "PB" hallmark inside the front cover. The watch bow on the stem was removed and a steel band replaced it.

The movement came from a WWII Leonidas British Military GSTP pocket watch ca 1940. It is similar to a Swiss Unitas Calibre 231 movement. The bridges in these movements varied. It's an unsigned 15J movement with a Breguet balance-spring; an overcoil spring which allows for near perfect timing. The balance wheel is compensated and slightly oversized. During WWII the British government issued may contracts for Military watches so the history of these movements is somewhat cloudy. The glass crystal is of modern origin and was recently remade and replaced in 2016