Accompanied by a first edition signed book entitled 'We', written by Charles Lindbergh, 1927, which documents the famed aviator's life with details on his first record-breaking solo flight across the Atlantic, and his views on the future of aviation.
A young aviator, at the time of his most heralded life's success, was just 25 years of age. When this enthusiastic US Air Mail pilot decided he would attempt a journey that would change his life, it is likely he wasn't sure of the tremendous impact it would have on aviation history, and indeed the entire history of the United States of America. What was sure, however, was his strong sense of duty to both.
On May 20th 1927, an impressive amount of people gathered at the Roosevelt field, an airfield that was based near Long Island in New York, to watch the determined Charles Lindbergh take off on his solo journey to Paris. In today's fast paced world, it is hard to imagine not being able to jet from city to city in a matter of hours, but in the early 20th century this was an experiment in hopes of changing the way passengers travelled forevermore. It took Mr. Lindbergh only 33.5 hours to complete the journey, a very significant improvement on previous aviators who had in the beginning stages of this competitive milestone taken over 20 days to complete a single transatlantic journey. But Lindbergh was aware of the necessary improvements to complete this journey in far less time, one being to fly solo, allowing for less weight in the aircraft. Lindbergh was the first person in history to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the first to be in New York one day and Paris the very next; a luxury that is all too easily taken for granted nowadays.
The aircraft itself was named The Spirit of St. Louis, clearly visible on the present model. In fact the present lot was modeled so closely on the original that even its wheels and propeller spin. The bright young Lindbergh had persuaded St. Louis craftsmen to construct the aircraft in hopes of winning a substantial monetary prize of $25,000 that businessman Raymond Orteig had offered to the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Although it wasn't only the monetary prize that interested Lindbergh. He was intent on making history and was very much a part of the plane's construction, making sure it achieved all the necessary components to break records at a time where aviation and timing were synonymous.
The prize would not come easily and he knew it. The plane was powered by a single engine, there was a single pilot, and the weather can only be described as challenging. Lindbergh's unwavering perseverance allowed him emerge on the other side of the Atlantic as a deserving winner of the prize and of the American people's hearts.
Milos and Diel Watch Case Co.
Swiss watchmaker Milos was first registered in 1924 and manufactured by Jules Gruber of La Chaux-de Fonds, Switzerland. A few years later the company relocated to the United States and was then manufactured by Savoy Watch Co., which can be clearly seen stamped on the watch movement.
It can be suggested that soon after the company moved to the United States they decided to produce this timepiece alongside a New York based case maker, Diel Watch Case Co. The impact this successful event had on the public was paramount, with manufacturers of all kinds paying tribute to Mr. Lindbergh and his family. The inscriptions on the present lot allow us to determine this timepiece was made specifically for the new American hero:
Inscribed on the wing: To Commemorate Your Son's Non-Stop Flight from N. Y. to Paris, May 20-21, 1927.
Inscribed on the underside of the model aircraft: Compliments of Diel Watch Case Co., N. Y. C.
Today this timepiece offers us an insight into the watchmaker's and casemaker's ability to record such precise American history in the 1920s, but also an insight into their devotion to watchmaking with this exquisite model. Not only can we literally hold a piece of American history in our hands, but this example offers a beautifully executed art deco illustration-a movement that was in its prime at the time of the solo flight. The watch dial is concealed under the hinged wing of the model plane and when uncovered it was surprising and thrilling to see such intricate art-deco style gilt detailing on either end of the oval-shaped silvered dial. The more one examines at this treasure, the more detail they can see in the subtle but sophisticated engraving on the craft's wing, sides and nose. Even the pearlage on the underside of the wing is masterfully realized. To see such precision on a palm-sized example is extremely rare and the present lot should hold the same value for its next owner as it did for the original owners, the proud family of Mr. Charles Lindbergh.
The first edition signed book to accompany this lot is not only signed by Mr. Lindbergh and dated March, 1934, but it was primarily dedicated to his mother as seen on the first page. This offers a clear understanding of the very close relationship they had which is also highlighted on the wing of the model plane which identifies this was originally a gift to his mother to commemorate her son's incredible feat.