IWC - Geneva Watch Auction: TWO Geneva Saturday, November 7, 2015 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Manufacturer: IWC
    Year: 1940
    Reference No: 431
    Movement No: 1'014'569
    Case No: 1'033'742
    Model Name: B-UHR
    Material: Stainless Steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 52, 20 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Steel
    Dimensions: 55mm. Diameter
    Accessories: Accompanied by IWC ledger and service warranty card

  • Catalogue Essay

    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. 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 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, as in this example, while the later Type B dials had an inner hour track and outer minute track.

    The watch cases were engraved on the left side "FL23883" 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 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.

    The present watch is a rare example of a B-Uhr model produced by IWC, and features their large calibre 52. 
The IWC utilised a different case to those of other manufacturers, as it has an inner, extra anti-magnetic case and spring mounted lugs. Only 1'000 pieces of this model were produced, and this example is in excellent overall condition, benefiting from a recent service from IWC.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1868

    With a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world's leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining high precision with masculine design. Vintage wristwatches such as the oversized Portugieser, Aquatimer, Ingenieur and the B-UHR pilots watch are especially desirable for collectors.

    View More Works


Ref. 431
A rare and oversized pilot's wristwatch with indirect centre seconds and hack-feature

55mm. Diameter

CHF15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for CHF18,750

Contact Specialist
Nathalie Monbaron
+41 22 317 81 83

Geneva Watch Auction: TWO

Geneva Auction 7 & 8 November 2015 6:30pm