Title: Luftwaffe B-Uhr Observation Navigation Pilot's Watch Wempe Type 2 Dial
Description: The authentic World War II Nazi Luftwaffe B-Uhr Pilot's Watch was made by the Hamburg watch making firm of Wempe.
The watch is in working condition, runs, sets, winds - we have not timed checked for accuracy.
All distinguishing marks are visible including the ordinance and manufacturing numbers on both the inside and the outside of the back cover. The inner case was a little difficult to photograph due to the reflection, if there is anything you cannot make out just drop us a line and we will be happy to answer.
On close inspection one of the lugs has become disconnected (it is not hanging just moved) please see close up picture.
This will need attention - we did not do it as some collectors like to keep things original.
The band is a later replacement.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us,
Serial number: B.L.T. 453
Reference #: 127-560A1
Diameter: 55 mm
Lug tip to lug tip: 64 mm
Thickness: 17 mm
Dial condition:Please see photographs - original
Dial Color : black
All the words on dial: none
Bezel condition: good
Movement Type: mechanical hand winding
Movement Condition: good
Case condition: damaged-1 lug is detached
Watch running: yes
Jewel count: 17
Total length of watch: 9 inches
Total watch weight: 133.2 grams
Band material: leather - assume not original
Clasp or buckle band: buckle
History: To better understand these important, collectible watches; we found an article by Max E. Reddick written in 2013 that tells the story ...
"There are some watch designs that not only stand the test of time, but in the case of war, also transcend their original context to become a classic. Such a watch, the B-Uhr, the offspring of Germany and Switzerland’s leading watchmakers, has a noted history of design and production, but was employed for an infamous cause. The B-Uhren watches guided German pilots in their terrible campaigns of World War II .
These watches were big. 55mm big. The size accommodated large hand-wound movements typically used in pocket watches, but the B-Uhr was always to be a watch for the wrist. Each one used a Breguet balance spring. Inside, the movement was surrounded by an iron core, making the B-Uhr anti-magnetic – a must for aviation. To correct for time discrepancies, the movements were capable of stopping the central seconds hand by pulling the crown, or hacking, and the oversized diamond or onion crown could be operated with gloves on the hand. A very long, double-riveted leather strap, long enough to go over the leather flight jacket, held the B-Uhr in place.
The large size made them unambiguously legible and their black dials with white Arabic numerals further aided the task of precise reading. The flame-blued sword hands were covered in luminous material as was the distinguishing upwards-orientation triangle or arrow at the twelve o’clock position, accompanied by two dots on the Type A models. The initial Type A model had only an outer chapter ring, but the later type B (starting in 1941) had an outer ring for minutes/seconds and an inner ring for hours. Each case had FL23883 engraved on the left side. FL designated flieger, and 23 identified the watch as a navigation watch. The snap-off case back had the following identifying information on its inside: type (Bauart), production number (Gerät-Nr.), movement (Werk-Bez.), order number (Anforderz), and manufacturer (Hersteller). The RLM and its partner watch manufacturers produced a novel design, which would attain cult status.
Five manufacturers – four German and one Swiss – supplied the B-Uhren. In Germany, A. Lange & Söhne, Wempe, Lacher & Company/Durowe (Laco), and Walter Storz (Stowa) produced the watch. Wempe and Stowa used Swiss movements; Wempe settled on the Thommen cal. 31, and Stowa used the Unitas cal. 2812. Lange used its big cal. 48 and then its cal. 48.1, and Laco used its (Durowe) cal. 5 – the only two companies to use in-house German movements. When Wempe purchased the Chronometerwerk in Hamburg in 1938, it gained a significant increase in production capacity, and to assist the limited production faced by Lange and Laco, Wempe assembled watches for them. To meet demand, Lange also sent ébauches and cases to a variety of other manufacturers for assembly and regulation. In smaller numbers, the Swiss International Watch Company IWC who supplied watches to both Axis and Allied forces, manufactured the B-Uhr (cal. 52T S.C.) for the Luftwaffe. These five companies were the only ones to make the B-Uhr."
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