A Retro Design

 

More than just a historic footnote, the heritage of horology and aviation dates back to the pioneering days of aeronautical exploration.  Sophisticated instrumentation on airplanes today takes the place of most of the functions that were once the dominant features of an aviation watch.  But that doesn't change the appeal of the B-Uhr.  There's a certain romance to the notion of the pilot's watch harkening to an earlier era when the skies offered unlimited possibilities. 

"The more digitized and highly technical our environment becomes, the greater the wish will be for something tangible and down to earth. That is embodied in a mechanical watch.  It represents a likeable contrast to our fully electronic environment."

-Sergio De Witt, Lufthansa Pilot

The basic design principles of the B-uhr watch were the 55mm diameter (the size of high-quality pocket watch movements of the era and basically wrist clocks), the use of Arabic numerals, central seconds hand that were capable of hacking to allow adjustments in time error, and large onion or diamond shaped crowns (to allow for easy adjustments using thick gloves). Central to the design was the essential triangle marker at 12 o’clock with two dots on both sides. The triangle marker was used for the upward orientation of the dial during night flight. It also allowed the use of the watch as a primitive solar compass.  Another core feature was luminosity which allowed pilots and navigators to read the dial in low-light conditions.

Our modern interpretation of the Flieger is obviously much smaller than its historical counterparts.  Subdued in it's sizing, 42mm, it is a perfect complement to the aesthetics of the bead-blasted case, which suggest a much more subtle design presence than what the original fliegers were known for and is comfortable to wear for even those with smaller wrists. The moderately sized conical crown is not so large that it will dig into the back of your hand like the original sized onion-shaped crowns.   Like the original, each case is stamped FL23883 stamped on the left side. FL designated Fliegnummer (flying number) and 23 identified the watch as a navigation tool or aircraft equipment. The final '883' digits were actually assigned by the German Testing Office for Aeronautics (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt).

Unlike the original our Flieger features a domed sapphire crystal. The dome, though slight, adds an attractive finishing touch to the overall feel of the watch.  Our interpretation of the Flieger dial is a blend of the Baumuster type A and B dial specifications.  The printing of the dial is precisely done against a beautiful matte black base, and the lume is meticulously and generously applied (the C3 Superluminova means your Flieger can double for a night light).  The luminous indices and lumed bezel push the boundaries of visibility in dark environments. The green glow lasts up to eight hours with a uniform luminosity throughout, assuring time can be easily read. 

A genuine leather 22mm zulu strap (12" long) made by Eakin Street Studios in Alexandria, VA accompanies this fantastic timepiece.