In recent years, I have been interested in Flieger watches. A bit of history. Flieger watches are pilot's or aviator's watches. There were 2 basic designs, Type A and Type B. More on this later. The watches were made by these 5 companies; IWC, STOWA, LACO, WEMPE and A. LANGE & Sohne. These watches were also known as Beobachtungsuhren or B-Uhren watches. They are also known as Observation watches.
From my readings, these watches must meet the specifications laid out by the RLM (the Imperial Air Ministry) or Reichs Luftfahrt Ministerium. The basic specifications are:
Case diameter of 55 mm
Equipped with a crown that can be operated while wearing gloves
Long straps so that it can be worn over the flight jacket, although I have read that some wear it on their thighs
Highly legible dial
Marked with FL 23883, FL for Flight, 23 for Navigation
There were 2 designs, basically the same watch but 2 dial design. The first is the Type A (Baumuster A) which was issued between 1940 to 1941 and Type B (Baumuster B) which was issued from 1941. I believe the type B replaced the Type A.
Anyway on to my watches. Well I wish I could collect the original watches that were produced by the companies mentioned above. However I did the next best thing.
The STOWA AIRMAN AUTOMATIC NO LOGO. This watch has the Type A design dial. It is a classic dial with Arabic numerals (1 to 11) and a triangle at the 12 o'clock position with 2 dots. This watch is 40 mm in diameter and is powered with a COSC certified ETA 2824-2 movement.
The LACO PILOT B AUTOMATIC. This watch has the Type B design dial. It is a classic dial with the minute index (5 to 55) on the outer side of the dial and the hour index on a inner circle. The 12 o'clock position is marked with a triangle with a line on top of it. The watch is 42 mm in diameter and is powered by the Miyota 8215 movement.
That basically covers the two dial design type. The last watch in this collection is a watch that I have long wanted but never got. I, somehow never got to getting this watch. However this changed in the past 2 weeks. I was presented with an option to get either the watch in its latest guise or the model just before. What is the watch? Well it is the IWC Pilot watch.
Like I said, I found both the Mark XVI and XV pre-loved. Both were selling at about the same price and both were in brilliant condition. Both came with leather straps but the XV came with the deployment buckle while the XVI came with the pin buckle. Both watches came complete with box and papers. The XV was from 2002 and the XVI from 2007. Both watches were from the early edition of the respective issue date. The XV came out in 1999 while the XVI in 2006. Mind you there were also the Mk. XI and XII on offer but they were double the price of the XV and XVI (out of my budget).
It took me a long time to decide between the two. The XVI was newer and has the streamline look of the current IWC Pilot series. The XV was 'closer' to the original but older. Both looked like they have never been worn. Decisions decisions.....
Anyway, I finally took the dive and got the watch. I finally had an IWC, a watch that I have always wanted. But which one did I get?
The IWC PILOT Mk. XV. Why? Well to tell the truth I liked the hands and dial of the XV better. The watch is 38 mm in diameter and powered by the IWC modified ETA 2892 movement, the IWC C 37524 calibre.
The boys together. 3 out of 5 company that issued the B-Uhren is not all that bad I guess.