Early WWII British RAE Sextant Mk V by E R Watts & Son


A rare pre WWII and early War bubble sextant as designed by the Royal Aircraft Establishment and made by E.R. Watts & Son of London, complete with its carrying and storage case.
The sextant is very similar in the layout to the later British Hughes Mk VII and the German Plath bubble sextants. It has the viewer and the graduated wheel for measuring. It features an ivory coloured centre which is marked Time and Altitude with columns for Minutes, Seconds, Degrees and Minutes, allowing the user to pencil the information on it. Although it was officially patented in 1923 and sold from 1926 until 1939, this example is very early, as it is numbered both 15 on the sextant and the box. It is also designated Pattern: No. 26291/19 denoting that it was already in use in 1919. Unfortunately there is little information about this sextant and it seems to be quite rare. The sextant is housed in an incredibly overengineered case, which is lined on the inside in cushioned tan leather and has leather ‘handbag’ handles. Even the hinge on the box is a piece of leather held in place by brass bars and numerous small screws. The case has a brass plate which is marked REF No.6B/73 – R.A.E. SEXTANT Mk. V – E.R. WATTS & SON LONDON – No.15. There are also the electrical cables to power the sextant. Condition appears to be extremely good with just a broken catch on the box.
The Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) was a British research establishment, known by several different names during its history, that eventually came under the aegis of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). It had been known as the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF), but was renamed in 1918 the Royal Aircraft Establishment to prevent confusion with the newly created Royal Air Force (RAF).