A Cold War U.S. Navy Sailor's Watch - A 1940s Seeland Mechanical

Seeland Watch Company (SWC), formed in 1873, has a rather unique and controversial past.  Although its start was one of pocket watches, it evolved to wristwatches during the 20th century - such as this fully serviced example here.


Seeland made both inexpensive and expensive complicated watches for many years, winning a gold medal at the Swiss National Exhibition in Berne in 1914.

The Seeland Watch Company was a brand name for the Swiss company Les Fils de R. Picard, better known as the Invicta Watch Company – or IWC – founded in 1837.


IWC was declared bankrupt albeit commercially viable in 1877 when Frederic Seeland assumed management of the factory.


"Eldon D. Olson, U.S.N."


Per the caseback inscription, this Seeland was owned by United States Navy sailor Eldon Olsen (1940 – 2018) of Corvallis, Oregon, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Cold War.


Olsen was fond of the outdoors, financial frugality, and generosity. He lived in Sweden and numerous U.S. states (including the DC area and San Diego!), per interwebs research.


Alas, Seeland’s reign at IWC was short, ending in 1879 when he was accused of commercial crimes in Switzerland and fled the country during an inventory that determined the company had been overstating results and was again bankrupt.


Where did Frederick Seeland flee to?


Well…the United States. But that’s another story. Invicta would be reestablished in the early 1990s, becoming the rather polarizing watch company it is today. 


But we won’t go there, as this watch has another tale to tell...


During his career, he worked as an industrial engineer and engineering professor at Oregon State University.


He also volunteered as a Dial-A-Bus driver and a district commissioner for Boy Scouts of America.


Olsen lived a full life – and now its time for his watch to begin another chapter.

Find it, here