Hamilton USN BU Ships Military Wrist Watch
Are there any specific things I should look out for when looking to buy one of these to avoid buying a reproduction ? Also how much do they generally sell for ?
You mean a BUSHIPS dive watch (aka a 'canteen')? The basics are easy enough to relate. For starters:
Chromed case of 2-piece design by Wadsworth (inverted 'W' between 11 and 1 lugs), with USN BUSHIPS and H2 to stainless steel case back; stepped bezel, and a screw down cap (attached to the case by two hooks connected by one solid link), which covers a 12 pointed winding crown. If original, the thick domed glass should be attached with lead solder. The watch should measure c 31mm in diameter and c 38mm lug to lug, taking a 16mm strap (removable spring bars).
The matt black dial should be luminised USN spec, with luminous leaf hands, edged in bare metal (not blued). 'Hamilton' should be blind-stamped above the 6 o clock, and USN BUSHIPS printed in white below the 12.
The movement is the Hamilton 978S (centre seconds, hacking) with its number falling in the 1944-45 serial range of SS43001 – SS61500. (Whitney for instance shows SS51823 but says little about the watch).
This is the starting point: take care and still look and compare.
Last year I paid over GBP 1500 (but under GBP 2000) for an example that was unimpeachable so I thought it was worth stretching. I have no idea what any military watch fetches in today's market however.
Hope this helps. Take other advice before purchasing - I'm not a US military watch expert, by any means.
Thanks for taking the time and your comprehensive description , which is a great help 👍