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IWC. An Extremely Rare Stainless Steel Oversized Pilot's Wristwatch with Black Dial, Indirect Center Seconds, and Hack Feature, Made for the German Air Force, Accompanied with a Wrist Compass
IWC. An Extremely Rare Stainless Steel Oversized Pilot's Wristwatch with Black Dial, Indirect Center Seconds, and Hack Feature, Made for the German Air Force, Accompanied with a Wrist Compass

SIGNED IWC, BIG PILOT MODEL, BEOBACHTUNGSUHR, REF. 431, MOVEMENT NO. 1'013'984, CASE NO. 1'033'574 AND 1'033'294, MANUFACTURED IN 1940

Details
IWC. An Extremely Rare Stainless Steel Oversized Pilot's Wristwatch with Black Dial, Indirect Center Seconds, and Hack Feature, Made for the German Air Force, Accompanied with a Wrist Compass
Signed IWC, Big Pilot Model, Beobachtungsuhr, Ref. 431, Movement No. 1'013'984, Case No. 1'033'574 and 1'033'294, Manufactured in 1940
Mechanical jewelled gilt-finished lever movement, bimetallic compensation balance, micrometer regulator, inner antimagnetic case with antimagnetic stainless steel cover, black dial with luminous baton and Arabic numerals, green luminous hands, luminous center seconds, oversized circular case with engraved FL 23883 to the band, snap on back, large crown, case and movement signed
55mm diam.
Sale room notice
Please note the IWC archive confirms the case and movement numbers for this watch, however can not confirm if they left the factory together and therefore will not issue an Extract from the Archive for the watch.

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Lot Essay

Accompanied by a large compass with wrist strap.

An example of the Big Pilot's watch is on permanent exhibition at the prestigious IWC Museum in Schaffhausen. The biggest IWC pilot's watch was supplied to the German Luftwaffe in 1940 in an edition of 1,000 examples. The big device constructed according to the criteria for observer's watches with the pocket watch caliber 52 T.S.C. is the biggest wristwatch ever built by IWC, with a case diameter of 55 mm., a height of 16.5 mm. and a weight of 183 grams. The extra long wrist strap with double bow and clasp clip makes it possible to wear the watch over a flying suit.

This movement was fitted with an indirect sweep center mechanism with hacking feature thanks to which the balance is stopped while the crown is pulled out, thus allowing setting of the time to the split second. The large size of the crown allows winding and setting even when wearing gloves.

The inside of the case backs were engraved with the following military markings:

B-Uhr (for Beobachtungs-Uhr or Navigation Watch)
Bauart (manufacturer): I.W.C.
Werk Nr. 1013894
Anforderz. FL 23883 (classification number)

As of around 1937, watches used by the German Air Force were fitted with such a panel indicating manufacturer, serial number and a Fl number. In order to disguise information regarding manufacturer and quantities produced, these indications were coded from 1941 onwards.

The watches were primary tested by the Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt DVL (German Aviation Research Institute) and classified with a so-called Fl.-Number. The Fl stands for flight and the first two digits, 22, for flight control; 23 stands for navigation and 25 for radio surveillance, followed by the three digits serial number given by the DVL.

For a description and illustration of the model supplied by IWC see Military Timepieces by Konrad Knirim, pp. 351 - 352 and Die Fliegeruhren von IWC by Rüdiger Bucher and Christian Pfeiffer-Belli, pp. 73 - 81.


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