According to the Archives of Montres Longines, both watches were sold to Longines-Wittnauer Watch Co., New York, at the time their agent in the US: the silver wristwatch with calibre 18.69N movement on 23 July 1935, the openface chronograph in silver with calibre 19.73N movement on 27 May 1927.
The historically important timepieces offered here for sale were consigned by a friend of Italo Balbo's family who kindly provided the original documents such as Balbo's Diplomatic Passport and the "Tessera Permanente" and "Tessera Personale", authorisations for the free use of all public transports, to support the authenticity of the provenance. These documents will however not be sold with the watches but will remain with the consignor to perpetuate Italo Balbo's memory.
The two watches are significant mementos of the legendary Air Marshal Italo Balbo on the one hand but on the other hand also of their not less famous presenters with whom Balbo maintained amicable relationships: the aviators Charles Lindbergh, Roger Q. Williams and Lewis A. Yancey.
In 1929, the American aviators Roger Quincy Williams (1894-1976) and Lewis Alonzo Yancey (1895-1940) broke the over-water flying record by making their historic non-stop flight from Old Orchard Beach, Maine, to Rome, a 3,400 mile flight which took 31 hours and 30 minutes. En route, their Bellanca monoplane "The Pathfinder" hit fog and was forced to fly blind for most of the day. Thanks to Yancey's navigational calculations however the team found themselves still exactly on course once able to see their way again. After an emergency stop in Santander, Spain, Yancey and Williams arrived in Rome were they were met by crowds "almost as fervent as those greeting Lindbergh in Paris". According to the engraved inscription, the present silver chronograph watch was used by the two aviators during their historic flight and then presented to Italo Balbo as a token of esteem.
In 1937, Italo Balbo welcomed Charles and Anne Lindbergh in Tripoli, Libya, when he presumably received the present "Lindbergh" model from the famous aviator as a token of esteem and to thank him for his guidance. The two aviation pioneers knew themselves very well and had great regards for each other.
The meeting is documented by the black and white image taken on 25 February 1937, the original caption reading: Lindberghs Receive Guidance from General Balbo. Tripoli, Libya: General Italo Balbo, left, governor general of Libya, is shown as he gave instructions and advice concerning their flight to Baghdad, Persia [sic], to Mrs. Charles Lindbergh, who navigates for her husband, Col. Lindbergh, both shown in white flying helmets when the couple stopped at Tripoli, Libya on their current air trip.
Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902-1974)
Nicknamed "Slim", "Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle", Charles Lindbergh was a famous American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist who made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927.
He is also credited with the invention of the hour angle watch which was introduced to the market in 1932. As the accuracy of mechanical watches can be affected by conditions aboard ships and airplanes, the hour angle watch provided a means by which this variation could be readily calculated when used in conjunction with radio time signals.
For an illustration of the original drawing and explanation of the mechanism see Longines by Daria Marozzi & Gianluigi Toselli, pp. 75-79.
Similar watches are also illustrated in Ore d'Oro 2 by Jader Barracca, Giampiero Negretti, Franco Nencini, p. 200, and in Armbanduhren - 100 Jahre Entwicklungsgeschichte by Kahlert, Mühe, Brunner, fifth edition, p. 302.