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 just 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. 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.
Per the caseback inscription, it was owned by United States Navy sailor Eldon Olsen (1940 – 2018) of Corvallis, Oregon, who served in the US 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.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.
This Seeland comes with a leather strap, nylon NATO strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.
1940s Seeland Manual Wind Watch
DIAL: Detailed Seeland-signed dial, with original hands. Lume rather surprisingly continues to shine nicely.
CASE: Stainless-steel case measures in at 33mm x 38mm, altogether typical for the 1950s era, and has its original caseback. Caseback is inscribed with the name of a pervious owner, as well as their United States Navy serial number. Wear on case commensurate with age.
CRYSTAL: New and correct domed acrylic crystal, no scratches or imperfections.
BAND: This Seeland comes with its seemingly original and well-used leather strap, updated with new stainless-steel hardware; it also comes with a black nylon NATO strap.
MOVEMENT: Original Seeland manual-wind movement. This watch received a full service in May 2020.