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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm looking to start collecting vintage, preferably WWII era pilot and military watches. However, I'm relatively ignorant when it comes to manufacturers, and what I should be searching for. Obviously Waltham, Longines, Poljot, Zenith, and Hamilton come to mind. I know there are TONS of manufacturers, I just want to wade through the garbage/fakes, etc.

Upon doing an ebay search of "vintage pilot watch", I'm bombarded by numerous auctions from all sorts of makers. German, Russian, American, etc makers and I cannot decipher from real or fake, quality or junk.

I would like to know of some reputable manufacturers of WWII era watches. I'm looking for quality, function, and looks. I'm somewhat partial to watches that may have been issued to Luftwaffe and USAAF pilots.

Thanks!
 

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Upon doing an ebay search of "vintage pilot watch", I'm bombarded by numerous auctions from all sorts of makers. German, Russian, American, etc makers and I cannot decipher from real or fake, quality or junk.

I would like to know of some reputable manufacturers of WWII era watches. I'm looking for quality, function, and looks. I'm somewhat partial to watches that may have been issued to Luftwaffe and USAAF pilots.
As for USAAF watches during WWII and their makers, you need look no further than the sticky threads in this very forum. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks crusader, I'm familiar with the Elgin and Waltham's. I'm more trying to sift through all the "German" vintage watches on Ebay. I see soooooo many of them, and have no idea if they're fake/real and legit.
 

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B-Uhren (navigational watches) were made by IWC, Wempe, Lange&Söhne, Stowa and Laco.

Chronographs (pilots' watches) were made by Tutima and Hanhart.

There were other German Luftwaffe related watches (equivalent to the army watches), but they were not intended for pilots or navigators.

Fakes abound, alas. :-(
 

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To add to Crusaders well written post, I would like to add than the Navigators watches (B-uhren) by the "5" are 55mm in diameter, and have always sterile dials.

Internet is filled with horrible fakes, mainly Made in Ukraine.
If you are unsure about a watch, feel free to post a link and ask.
But as I said, I would steer wide of a watch if the seller is in Ukraine or similar.
 

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As you've discovered, one can't really search eBay with general terms. Try searching the watch forums using those terms, find the watches you might be interested in and read about them. You can proceed from there, but I really recommend buying from a dealer or fellow WIS. Buying vintage military watches on eBay is a minefield.
 

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Hi -

What the others say, of course. :)

Add to that this: German military watches were issued to individual soldiers and this additional piece of kit was added to their paybook (Soldbuch). The watches were identified with an issue number that started with D and ended with H, so that a stamped (not engraved!) number along the lines of "D 123456 H" would appear on the back of the watch. Soldiers had to pay for their watches if they were stolen or lost, and anyone found with a D...H watch that was NOT a soldier was considered to have stolen from the military at a time of war and the penalties were quite severe.

Hence: any watch that claims to be a WW2 German Army watch (as opposed to the flyer's watches as Martin pointed out) and does NOT have the D...H stamped - not engraved! - on the back is a fake. While obviously a thief could replace the back, back that actually fit were not for sale.

That helps weed out a LOT of fakes right there. Happy hunting!

JohnF
 

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Germanwatch is an excellent resource

I studied, planned and plotted for over 20 years to learn all I could about the various watches available which survived WW2. I watched the prices of the "sterling" (read best) examples slowly increase, with complete disregard for economic climate, the prices still go up. I now own 2 examples of the Hanhart Chronograph, a wartime Cal. 40 1P in great shape, newly serviced. Also a civilian version made somewhere in the late 50s to early 60s, which is currently in temporary residence at my watch makers being "reborn". Along with them I have a K.M. Berg, D.H. Recta, and a D.H. Silvana also sharing space in the display case is an SS Zenith, which I am researching as a possible Himmler timepiece award for a sniper. I know for sure and for certain there are many more to be found in sock drawers, and attics. Good Hunting.
 

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Re: Germanwatch is an excellent resource

Can you please post a pic of the Zenith, with the Insignia edited out?
Sounds like an interesting piece!
 

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Re: Germanwatch is an excellent resource

If you go over to germanwatch and search on my username "tudorman". I have posted pics of my Hanhart and SS Zenith, along with an extract from a letter wtritten by Himmler. To inspire better performance he was rewarding Snipers with a watch, a rifle, and a vacation, during the last few months of the war.
 
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