Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?
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    Member Redrum's Avatar
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    Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Hi

    Just wondering if the popular "flieger" (Stowa, Laco, IWC, etc) is based off an actual watch worn by Axis pilots in WWII. If so, what type of watch were Allied pilots wearing?

    Thanks
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    Ita
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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redrum View Post
    Hi

    Just wondering if the popular "flieger" (Stowa, Laco, IWC, etc) is based off an actual watch worn by Axis pilots in WWII. If so, what type of watch were Allied pilots wearing?

    Thanks
    I might be wrong (usually am) but I think Stowa actually made them and that their factory was destroyed or extensively damaged during the war...

    Ita

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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ita View Post
    I might be wrong (usually am) but I think Stowa actually made them and that their factory was destroyed or extensively damaged during the war...

    Ita
    I may also be wrong, but I have heard something along these lines. Fairly sure Stowa has military roots so if they were producing during the war then I expect they were issued.
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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Search on A11 an american icon on this site, it was a combination of some US based manufacturers like Bulova, Elgin, Hamilton


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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielW View Post
    Search on A11 an american icon on this site, it was a combination of some US based manufacturers like Bulova, Elgin, Hamilton


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    Waltham and Omega were also in the mix. JLC later on.

    Lange serviced the Axis forces (lucky buggers).
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    Moderator at Large stuffler,mike's Avatar
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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    From a former post (more info on Laco Forum, PILMIL Forum)

    The German term "Beobachtungsuhr" dates back to navigator's watches of WW II. Strictly translated it means "Observation watch", but on most watch related fora you'll read either "pilot's watch“, „B-watch“ or even „Flieger“, which is the expression I like most.

    These B-watches have been made for the German Luftwaffe by only 5 manufacturers

    A. Lange & Söhne
    Laco (Lacher & Co)
    Stowa (Walter Storz)
    Wempe (Chronometerwerke Hamburg)
    IWC

    and contained high quality pocket watch movements:

    Lange & Söhne: cal. 48/1
    (due to limited capacities watches have been assembled by Huber/Munich, Felsing/Berlin, Schieron/Stuttgart, Schätzle & Tschudin/Pforzheim, Wempe/Hamburg).
    Laco: Durowe cal. D 5
    Stowa: Unitas cal. 2812
    Wempe: Thommen cal. 31
    IWC: cal. 52 SC (SC= „seconde central“)

    The specifications of these watches had been defined by the „Reichsluftfahrtministerium“ (RLM) – Imperial Air Ministry (see attached file)



    Due to those specifications all B-watches had the following features in common:

    - A case diameter of 55 mm
    - Marked on the back with FL 23883 (FL = flight, 23 = navigation)
    - Equipped with large crowns in order to be used with gloves
    - Hacking movement (the second hand stops when pulling out the crown / essential for a precise time setting)
    - Breguet balance spring
    - Regulated and tested as chronometers
    - Long leather strap (to be worn on the sleeve of a flight jacket).


    If your are interested in watches of WW II and their history I recommend to visit the hompage of Konrad Knirim (www.knirim.de) . From time to time Konrad shows up on WatchUseek.


    The Laco B-Uhr:



    Last edited by stuffler,mike; January 8th, 2014 at 17:42.
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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Five companies had the German government contract for the B-Uhr: IWC, Laco, Lange, Stowa, and Wempe.

    It was IWC who introduced the first modern "commemorative" version, the Big Pilot.

    (If Seiko made a special model for the Imperial Navy pilots, they're keeping quiet about it.)
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    Moderator Public Forum GlennO's Avatar
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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelhead View Post
    If Seiko made a special model for the Imperial Navy pilots, they're keeping quiet about it.
    This is a Seikosha WWII Japanese Imperial Navy pilot's watch.

    Last edited by GlennO; January 8th, 2014 at 14:54.

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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    @stuffler Mike great story, love the history to bad there isnt such a story about alliance watches to be found


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    Re: Did Luftwaffe pilots wear "flieger" type watches back in the day?

    There were also many non B-Uhr style watches made under contract for the Luftwaffe. Alpina was one of those contractors, producing watches such as this one for the Luftwaffe. They also provided movements to Laco in the early years, according to what I've read. There are some excellent books on the subject, available from Amazon, such as "German Military Timepieces of World War II", Vols. 1,2 & 3.

    My father flew bombers (navigator & bomb aimer), and several Rolex watches were available for purchase to members of the RCAF as well as the other branches of the Canadian military, but were not officially issued. I still have my father's, and recently had it completely restored. Here's a pic against his flight head gear and gloves (gloves dated 1943).

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    Last edited by BrentYYC; January 8th, 2014 at 18:17.
    THS, shameless, hayday and 6 others like this.

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