• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1353

    Important Pocketwatches and Wristwatches

    12 May 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 71

    Longines. A fine and rare oversized silver pilot's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and Weems second setting system

    SIGNED LONGINES, WEEMS ANGLE HOUR MODEL, NO. 5'044'077, MANUFACTURED IN 1931

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Longines. A fine and rare oversized silver pilot's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and Weems second setting system
    Signed Longines, Weems Angle Hour model, no. 5'044'077, manufactured in 1931
    Cal. 18.69 N nickel-finished lever movement, 15 jewels, bimetallic compensation balance, hinged silver cuvette, the dial with Breguet numerals on white enamel chapter ring, centred by a silvered matte disc calibrated for the seconds, rotated while depressing the button in the band and simultaneously turning the crown, blued steel moon-style hands, sweep centre seconds, in large circular case with hinged back, fixed bars, oversized ball-shaped crown, downturned lugs, case, dial and movement signed
    47 mm. diam.


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    According to the Archives of Montres Longines Francillon SA, the present watch was sold to Longines Wittnauer Watch Co. in New York, at the time Longines' agent for the US, on 10 April 1931.

    The precise measurement of time has been vital to the progress of navigation throughout history. With the 1930s started a period of revolutionary changes in navigation and foremost among those responsible for some of the improvements was Captain Philip Van Horn Weems, U.S. Navy, who also trained the famous aviator Charles A. Lindbergh.

    One of Weems' inventions was the Second Setting Watch, designed to help aviators plot their courses more accurately. At sea, celestial sights had to be taken with the help of a hack watch, which was set to the ship's chronometer. It was difficult, however, to set the watch exactly, meaning that it differed slightly from the chronometer, which in turn differed from Greenwich Mean Time.

    Weems deducted that the difficulty in setting the watch came from the fact that, at the time, it was almost impossible to set the second hand exactly. However, as the second hand could not be set to match the dial perfectly, the solution was to make the dial movable, so that the dial and the second hand could be synchronized at the right time.

    Another characteristic of the "Weems" watch is its large ball-sized winding crown, allowing a pilot to rewind the movement while wearing gloves.

    The model is illustrated in Longines Watches by John Goldberger, pp. 78 & 79.