A very rare and well-preserved stainless steel military wristwatch with center seconds, radial numerals, and “US Army” engraving on caseback

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: 1945
    Reference No: 2179/2
    Movement No: 10’095’349
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 30 T2 SC, 16 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 34.5mm Diameter
    Accessories: Case, dial, movement, and buckle signed.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Timepieces worn on the wrist became critically necessary first during the Second Boer War (1899 – 1902). The use of wristwatches became widespread during World War I, as militaries realized the wrist was more convenient than the pocket and the production of wristwatches by manufacturers increased accordingly. By World War II, military wristwatches became increasingly specialized, as combat methods became more intense and diverse. Divers, airmen, infantrymen, and special operations offers had very different needs for their watches, as the environments they operated in differed. Most military watches shared some basic similarities: luminous dials in black or white, non-reflective, anti-corrosive cases to not catch light, easily serviceable parts, and some semblance of waterproofness.

    Omega’s reference 2179 was produced for both civilian and military purposes in the early 1940s, and its overall design upholds those basic tenets of early military watch specifications. Designed with an elegantly simple and legible luminous dial with sweeping center seconds to avoid clutter, a screw-down caseback, and a brushed steel case rather than polished steel. The syringe hands are seen on other military wristwatches of the era; however, the radial numerals are quite unusual. Within the watch beats the calibre 30T2, also used in the “Dirty Dozen” military watches issued to U.K. armed forces. The present watch is the best-preserved example to have appeared on the market in recent memory, with the dial having aged beautifully over time and the case remaining sharp and unpolished. As confirmed by Omega, the current reference 2179/2 was produced in 1945 and delivered to the U.S. Army – in accordance with the crisp “U.S. Army” engraving found on its caseback. To have survived seven decades in such a state of preservation is a rare treat for the discerning collector of military watches.

  • Maker Bio

    Omega

    Swiss • 1848

    Omega's rich history begins with its founder, Louis Brandt, who established the firm in 1848 in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1903, the company changed its name to Omega, becoming the only watch brand in history to have been named after one its own movements. A full-fledged manufacturer of highly accurate, affordable and reliable watches, its sterling reputation enabled them to be chosen as the first watch company to time the Olympic Games beginning in 1932. Its continued focus on precision and reliability ultimately led their Speedmaster chronograph wristwatch to be chosen by NASA in 1965 — the first watch worn on the moon.

    Key models sought-after by collectors include their first, oversized water-resistant chronograph — the reference 2077, early Speedmaster models such as the CK 2915 and 2998, military-issued versions of the Seamaster and oversized chronometer models such as those fitted with their prestigious caliber 30T2Rg.

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Σ52

Omega

Ref. 2179/2
A very rare and well-preserved stainless steel military wristwatch with center seconds, radial numerals, and “US Army” engraving on caseback

1945
34.5mm Diameter

Estimate
$10,000 - 20,000 
CHF10,000-19,900
€9,100-18,100
HK$78,300-157,000

sold for $21,250

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

GAME CHANGERS

New York Auction 10 December 2019