An extremely large, very rare and flawlessly preserved stainless steel pilot's wristwatch with center seconds, black luminous dial and box

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  • Condition Report

  • Manufacturer: Lacher & Co
    Year: Circa 1940
    Movement No: 3162
    Case No: 217-560B, caseback stamped H3162 to the outside
    Model Name: Beobachtungsuhr
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, 22 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 55mm Diameter
    Signed: Case and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Lacher box

  • Catalogue Essay

    An exceptional war-time relic, the present timepiece can arguably be counted amongst the ultimate examples of military pilot timepiece.

    In the 1940s, the German Air Force, or Luftwaffe, commissioned watches for their pilots from manufacturers such as IWC, Laco, Stowa, Wempe, and A. Lange & Söhne.

    Produced to the Luftwaffe's specifications, the watches would all have a mechanical movement with centre seconds, and cases measuring 55mm to accommodate the large movements, which were typically used in pocket watches, and to allow for maximum legibility. The watches would all be fitted on an extra-long leather strap so they could be worn over a flight jacket. The oversized crown could be operated with gloves on, and one would be able to stop the central seconds for precise time-setting. The movement would be surrounded by an iron core, to protect against magnetism.

    These watches became known as the B-Uhr style, abbreviated for Beobachtungs-uhren, or "Observation" watch. The B-Uhr had two dial variations - Type A dials featured a standard outer minute track and large triangle at 12 o’clock, and Type B - exemplified by the present watch - with an inner hour track and outer minute track.


    "FL23883" was graved on the left side of the band to identify the watch as one designed for navigation. On the inside of the case back, it contained further identifying numbers and information: type (Bauart), production number (Werk-Bez.), and order number (Anforderz). As the watches were the property of the Luftwaffe, and not of the individual navigators, the pilots had to return their watches after completing their service, thus enhancing their collectability today. Finding a new-old-stock example such as the present one is unimaginably difficult as these pieces were intensively used, making this example virtually unique.

210

An extremely large, very rare and flawlessly preserved stainless steel pilot's wristwatch with center seconds, black luminous dial and box

Circa 1940
55mm Diameter
Case and movement signed

Estimate
CHF5,000 - 7,000 
€4,500-6,200
$5,000-7,100

Place Advance Bid

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+ 41 79 637 1724
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: NINE

Geneva Auction 11-12 May 2019