Geneva Watch Auction: TWO Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2015 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: NoArtist
    Year: circa 1940
    Movement No: Longines 5'575'363
    Case No: Longines 20'590
    Model Name: Longines: Lindbergh Hour Angle
    Eberhard: Sistema Magini

    Material: Stainless steel
    Stainless steel

    Calibre: Longines Manual, cal.18.69N, 15 jewels
    Eberhard Manual, 1109

    Bracelet/Strap: Longines leather strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel buckle
    Dimensions: Longines 47mm. Diameter
    Eberhard 50mm. Diameter

    Signed: Longines Case, dial and movement signed
    Eberhard Case and dial signed

    Accessories: Accompanied by two letters from Eberhard dated 1943, photocopies of a historical book, newspaper article dated 1944, a book from Publio Magini, 2 CD's and Longines Extract form the Archives

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Longines Lindberg and the Eberhard split second chronograph watches offered in the present lot are linked to what is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting stories of World War II. To really understand their strong appeal for collectors, we have to go back to an exceptional and historical secret mission.

    In the beginning of 1942, the Italians began suspecting that the British and the Americans had deciphered the secret radio codes they used to communicate with the Japanese. The Regia Aeronautica Italiana (Italian Royal Air Force) received an order to study the possibility of creating an air link between Rome and Tokyo to route new secret communication codes.

    The flight route had two major challenges: the first was the long distance between the two cities, and the second was to be able to complete the flight without being intercepted. On June 29, 1942, a team of five of Italy’s best aviators, including Publio Magini - one of the most important pilots and navigators of the era, embarked on a top secret journey to deliver the new codes, which successfully ended six days later in Tokyo on July 3, 1942.

    To minimize the risk of being intercepted during their flight, Magini charted an elaborate flight plan, requiring a very precise system of astronomical navigation.

    To enable the team to perform their mission, he chose the state-of-the-art aviator’s watch of the time: the Longines Hour Angle wristwatch.

    He also chose a second watch often used by aviators at the time - a split second chronograph pocket watch manufactured by Eberhard that allowed pilots to measure intermediate times without interrupting the timekeeping of the entire mission.

    In addition to their historical importance, both watches have particularities that render them exceptional timepieces for any watch collector.

    The Longines Hour Angle was the only watch capable of meeting the requirements of pilots during long distance flights. Designed by the famous American aviator, Charles Lindbergh, the dial permits the direct reading of the hour angle of Greenwich. Furthermore, it is part of a very limited edition of pieces produced for A. Cairelli in Rome - the official supplier of the Italian Royal Air Force - indicated in red on the lower edge of the dial at 6 o'clock.

    The 24-hour split-second chronograph by Eberhard & Co., specially designed for this mission, has a push button coaxial to the crown, a rectangular push button at the 4 o’clock position for the chronograph functions, and a corrector push button at 16 and 24 hours for the quick setting of the month and date.

    The words “Sistema Magini” – Italian for “Magini System” - are featured on the dial, which is rotated by 90°. Silver-coloured, it is calibrated for 24 hours and divided into 60 minutes/seconds in enameled print, with apertures indicating the month at 12 hours and the date at 24 hours.

    The watch is accompanied by an original document from Eberhard dating from 1943, confirming an order one year later by the Italian Air Force for 10 simple chronographs and 10 split seconds chronographs bearing the inscription “Sistema Magini” on the dial.

    The watches were never delivered due to the end of the War, consequently rendering the present watch a unique piece.

    Publio Magini narrated the details of this adventure in the book "L’uomo che volò a Tokyo”, Mursia Edition, published after the War, when Magini served as an engineering advisor to Boeing. He passed away in 2002.


A set of two historically important watches, one oversized stainless steel aviator hour angle wristwatch and one keyless lever open face split seconds watch with day and date

circa 1940
Longines 47mm. Diameter
Eberhard 50mm. Diameter

Longines Case, dial and movement signed
Eberhard Case and dial signed

CHF60,000 - 120,000 

Sold for CHF112,500

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

Geneva Watch Auction: TWO

Geneva Auction 7 & 8 November 2015 6:30pm