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POCKET WATCHES – “CORPUL GRANICERILOR”(THE BORDER GUARDS)

The history of the border guards from the Romanian Principalities has begun in the first decades of the XIX century, but in Transylvania even earlier, in the XVIII century.
The “Corp al Granicerilor” (engl. Border Guards) was initiated in 1834, during the “Regulament Organic” (engl. Organic Regulation) when it appeared in Muntenia based on a “Proect asupra pazei Dunarei si a granitei dinspre Austria si Moldova" (engl. Project about the Danube and the Austrian and Moldavian border).
After the Principalities Union in 1859, Alexandru Ioan Cuza decided the unification of the two border guards, following the model of the “Corpul Granicerilor” (engl. Border Guards) from Muntenia that existed during that period.

tinute graniceri | 1850 tinute graniceri | 1868
photo source:
www.politiadefrontiera.ro

Several reorganizations took place, many of them especially after the War of Independence – 1877, when the border guards activated either as autonomic structures either as structures included in other guards (such as the “Dorobanti” Guards).
The first important law regarding the establishing of the “Corpul de Graniceri” (engl. Border Guards) appeared in
March.1904 when these troops were assigned with customs and police duties, beside the mission of guarding and surveillance of borders.
A new Border Guards’ Law is promulgated at 26.February.1915 where the “Dispozitiunile Generale” (engl. General Dispositions), art.1 was stating: “Pentru paza si supravegherea frontierei Regatului se instituie Corpul Granicerilor ..." (engl. For the guarding and surveillance of Kingdom’s borders, the Border Guards are instituted).

decret Corpul Granicerilor | 1904 tinute graniceri | 1912 tinute graniceri | 1923
photo source: www.politiadefrontiera.ro

The ”Corpul Granicerilor” (engl. Border Guards) functioned in this structure (as a subordinate to the Ministry of National Defense) until 1946, when it was reorganized as “Comandamentul Trupelor de Graniceri” (engl. Border Guards Commandment) and then, in 1947, became a subordinate of the Ministry of Interior.

* * *
The "Corpul Granicerilor" (engl. Border Guards) equipped its troops with pocket watches acquired during 1930-1941, so:
- OPTIMA [1930]| movement marked Optima, lid markings "Corpul Granicerilor 1930 Apartine Granicerului" (engl. Border Guards 1930 Belongs to the Border Guard);
- TELLUS "Chronometre" [1931]| dial markings "CHRONOMETRE", Cortebert 540(526) A movement, 16 rubies, ’rocket’ type micro-regulator, hard bronze main wheels, lid markings "Corpul Granicerilor 1931 Apartine Granicerului" (engl. Border Guards 1931 Belongs to the Border Guard);
- TELLUS "Granicer" [1931]| dial markings "GRANICER", 15 rubies Cortebert 548 movement, lid markings "Corpul Granicerilor 1931 Apartine Granicerului" (engl. Border Guards 1931 Belongs to the Border Guard);
- TAVANNES "Trupa" [1941]| dial markings "CORPUL GRANICERILOR", 15 rubies movement, ’Staybrite’ antimagnetic steel spiral and balance, Tavannes "REF. 919" marked, lid markings "C. GR. 1941" beneath which is a number [xxx];
- TAVANNES "Ofiter" [1941]| dial markings "CORPUL GRANICERILOR", 15 rubies movement, Tavannes cal. 971 [Cyma] marked, "Cote de Geneve", lid markings "C. GR. 1941" beneath which is a number [xxxx];

Note: the only variants that were designated with internal serial numbers of the "Corpului Granicerilor" (engl. Border Guards) were the Tavannes variants. The models for "trupa" (engl. troop) have until now identified series with maximum 3 figures and for “ofiteri” (engl. officers) with 4 figures, the possibility exists that these should be in the continuance of the firsts.

OPTIMA 1930 "Corpul Granicerilor"
| unidentified caliber without series (see photo [1]-[3]):
- an exemplar (Arabian Dial)| Watches for Romania
collection;

- an exemplar (Arabian Dial)| Bogdan Manolache collection;
- an exemplar (Roman dial) | Watches for Romania collection;

- an exemplar (Roman dial) | amedeus on ceasornicar.ro

TELLUS 1931 "Corpul Granicerilor [Chronometre]"|
cal. Cortebert 540 A (see photo [4]-[6]):
- movement: 520, case series: 1219264 | Watches for Romania collection

(exterior lid markings “Sold. Garleanu C.”);

TELLUS 1931 "Corpul Granicerilor [Granicer]"
|
cal. Cortebert 548 (see photo [7]-[9]):
- case series: 1217722 | Watches for Romania collection
(interior lid markings “Petre Savoiu 3 februarie 1931 Bucuresti”);
- case series: 1217737 | Istvan Szongott collection

- case series: 1218907 | Nicolae Gherghin collection
(exterior lid markings “Sold. Vagaun N.”);
- case series: 1220029 | Nicolae Gherghin collection;

- case series: 1221709 | amedeus on ceasornicar.ro

- case series: 1222101*) | Bogdan Manolache collection;

- case series: 1222844 | Bogdan Manolache collection.
note: *) dial marking Tellus Antimagnetique


TAVANNES 1941 "Corpul Granicerilor [Trupa]"
| cal. 919 [Cyma] (see photo [10]-[12]):
-
number: 60 | lid series: 1888/8513 | Constantin Bejan collection

TAVANNES 1941 "Corpul Granicerilor [Ofiter]"
| cal. 971 [Cyma] (see photo [13]-[15]):
- number: 18 | lid series: 1902/8515 | Tom Caian collection
- number: 79 | lid series: 1902/8515 | Leonard Habina collection

- number: 469 | lid series: 1902/8515 | amadeus collection
- number: 535 | lid series: 1902/8515 |
Watches for Romania collection

- number: 1004 | lid series: 1902/8515 | Istvan Szongott collection
- number: 1623 | lid series: 1902/8515 | Constantin Bejan collection

- number: 2940 | lid series: 1902/8515 | Robert Casapu collection
- number: 3122 | lid series: 1902/8515 | Bogdan Manolache collection

* * *
In 2008 I have found in the Military Archives from Pitesti some information about the Tellus watches. The found documentation is from 1938 and related to another pocket watches acquisition, which was done by the Ministry of Air and Marine through the Materials and Orders Department for a number of 592 pocket watches necessary to the “watching posts” of the military aviation.
The Tellus supplier from that era – STANDARD Bucuresti presented in its offer 4 variants that include the two offered in 1931 to the “Corpul Granicerilor” (engl. Boarder Guards) – “TELLUS Chronometre” and “TELLUS Granicer” specifying at the end of the offer – “…Spre orientarea dvs. tinem sa mentionam ca, in 1931 am furnizat Comandamentului Corpului de Graniceri 6000 (sasemii) bucati ceasornice tip Tellus Granicer spre deplina multumire a cumparatorilor, iar de la 1933 furnizam neintrerupt ceasornice pentru personalul C.F.R" (Engl. "...To your information, we must menation that, in 1931 we supplied to the Border Guards Commandment 6000 (six thousands) pieces of Tellus Granicer pocket watches to the full satisfaction of the buyers, and since 1933, we have been continuously supplying pocket watches for the C.F.R. personnel.) – see the attached scanned documents.

document Standard 1938 | 1 document Standard 1938 | 2
document’s source: Military Archives from Pitesti - Fund M.A.M. 2920

Very interesting are also the user instructions, presented in the right column, that were attached to the tender documentation where there exist some details written in Romanian language, about these Tellus particular models (see ’Tellus instructiuni - 1938’ | 1-4).

* * *
Any questions, completions, corrections are welcomed and they help a lot to reconstitute the history of these watches.
Thanks for support to the
Military Archives from Pitesti team – The Documentation Center.

[up-date: October.2010]
Brasov, March.2009

[1] Optima | 1930
[1] Optima | 1930

[2] Optima | 1930
[2] Optima | 1930

[3] Optima | 1930
[3] Optima | 1930

[4] Tellus Chronometer | 1931
[4] Tellus Chronometer | 1931

[5] Tellus Chronometer | 1931
[5] Tellus Chronometer | 1931

[6] Tellus Chronometer | 1931
[6] Tellus Chronometer | 1931

[7] Tellus Granicer | 1931
[7] Tellus Granicer | 1931

[8] Tellus Granicer | 1931
[8] Tellus Granicer | 1931

[9] Tellus Granicer | 1931
[9] Tellus Granicer | 1931

[10] Tavannes ’trupa’ | 1941
[10] Tavannes ’trupa’ | 1941

[11] Tavannes ’trupa’ | 1941
[11] Tavannes ’trupa’ | 1941

[12] Tavannes ’trupa’ | 1941
[12] Tavannes ’trupa’ | 1941

[13] Tavannes ’ofiter’ | 1941
[13] Tavannes ’ofiter’ | 1941

[14] Tavannes ’ofiter’ | 1941
[14] Tavannes ’ofiter’ | 1941

[15] Tavannes ’ofiter’ | 1941
[15] Tavannes ’ofiter’ | 1941

Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 1
Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 1

Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 2
Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 2

Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 3
Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 3

Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 4
Tellus instructiuni [1938] | 4





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