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Wakmann 24h – American from Saigon (AWW 39)

Specifications

Name: Wakmann 24h
Movement: Lorsa P 75, manual wind, sweep second, shock resistant, antimagnetic, 18000 bph
Time display: 24 hour (24 on top), minute, seconds,
Date: no date
Case: all stainless steel with screw on back
Size: 34 mm diameter without crown, 37 mm with crown, 43 mm lug to lug
Height: 12 mm
Face: glossy lacquered dial with black hour numbers 1..24, minute markers and 5 min lumed dots
Text on dial: WAKMANN 17 JEWELS SHOCKABSORBER
Text on back: CASE MADE IN FRANCE ALL STAINLESS STEEL
Hands and markers: lumed hour and minute hands, narrow central seconds hand
Water-resistance: waterproof
Crown: unsigned main crown at 3
Crystal: domed acrylic crystal
Lug: 17 mm
Bracelet: leather strap (not original)



Foreword

My first watch bought from Vietnam. I can say that my experiences with so called 3rd world countries are very positive. I haven’t had any problems with Ukraine, Philippines, Peru, Hong Kong, India, what else. All the people are very nice and try to be responsive, communication with sellers is excellent. If there really is a (rare) problem you most probably get quick correction or refund.

The main drawback when buying from 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] world countries is that shipping lasts longer. But today’s international postal services are everywhere good, traceable, and never was my package lost.

Yes, you can see refurbished and fake watches offered there. But more and more I see that these “features” are correctly described.

This watch was accurately described; every aftermarket detail was correctly noted. The price was also OK I think - USD 160 (EUR 120) plus shipping USD 15.

Comments

This is my first Wakmann watch and of course I would like to know what a brand Wakmann actually was. Most WUS people know that Breitling and Wakmann are somehow related. Many people believe that Wakmann was Swiss (or at least German) brand. After browsing several watch forums I would say that the most correct short summary on Wakmann came from Breitling Source (The Breitling Watch Source Forums • View topic - Gigandet/Vulcain/Wakmann and Breitling ??? Valjoux 730s)

Icko Wakmann founded Wakmann in about 1943 in New York. Wakmann, the son of a watchmaker and the grandson of a watchmaker, was born in Poland in the 19th century. He traveled to Switzerland which was becoming the world’s center for watchmaking. From there, he left for Lisbon in the early 30s. He established a Breitling and a "Brightman" distributorship there. After the Spanish civil War (or perhaps during it) he left for North America landing first in Canada. He spent about three years in Canada before coming to New York in the 40s. In 1943, he founded Wakmann. The company prospered through the late 60s and into the 70s, but was knocked down by the emergence of quartz watches. Wakmann filed for bankruptcy in the 70s, and died in New York in the 80s.
Wakmann, and many other American brands in the 50s and 60s (like Belair, Pierre Marquette, Gruen, Bulova etc.) assembled watches from European (mainly Swiss and French origin) components because in these years US had protectionist laws prevented the import of finished watches from Europe.

Recently only some years ago Boris Schäfer tried to restart Wakmann brand in Germany as “Wakmann Germany”, but without success. Their website wakmann.de was active 2009-2013. Interesting remnants from this website are original vintage Wakmann catalogs:
Wakmann 1959 - http://www.timekeeper.de/uploads/media/wakmann_katalog_1959_01.pdf
Wakmann 1966-67 - http://www.timekeeper.de/uploads/media/wakmann_katalog_1966.pdf

The model palette in these catalogs is very similar. You can see only one 24h wristwatch, different from my watch. And there are plenty of nice 24h cockpit board clocks made by Wakmann. Wakmann was official supplier for US Air Force.

I don’t know how popular Wakmann’s 24h wristwatches in US Army were. Many brands offered similar watches. But my watch is coming directly from Saigon and most probably was left there during the Vietnam War.

In André Stikkers website three versions of 24h wristwatches from Wakmann are presented:
24 hour watch

Actually the 2nd and 3rd are absolutely different watches with different movements; I have no data on the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] watch.

My watch is very similar to the 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] one, with another (I would say nicer) hands. The watch is based on Lorsa P 75 movement. (Everything here is very similar to Belair 24h watch I described in AWW xx – Belair. )

The movement is signed as Wakmann movement made in France. The stainless steel case is also coming from France.
My watch is in a good condition, the dial is almost perfect, and only three lumed dots are missing (a good proof that the dial wasn’t repainted). What is not original is unsigned crown. I think that the original one should be signed.

The leather bracelet too is not original. However a very nice and appropriate choose by the seller. The lugs here are 17 mm, what was common in the 50s and 60s, but not anymore.

The movement is still running good and keeping time. I had this watch some days in my office and everything was fine. The dial legibility is OK, even when you see that all numbers from 1 to 24 are displayed (and have the same size), what is not so common with 24h wristwatches. I would say that this watch is almost a dress watch when you compare it to other more “military” looking 24h watches from this era.

Summary

I think that my watch was produced in 70s, for sure after the Wakmann 1966-67 catalog. Nice, one of the most wearable 24h watches from this era I have. Also good as a dress watch.

 

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Re: Wakmann 24h – American from Saigon (AWW 39)

Nice. I like the style and clarity. The hands look nice, but are too similar in style and length to each other. I usually prefer the hour hand tip being differentiated somehow, like a Mercedes ball or triangle or arrow.
 

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Re: Wakmann 24h – American from Saigon (AWW 39)

Nice. I like the style and clarity. The hands look nice, but are too similar in style and length to each other. I usually prefer the hour hand tip being differentiated somehow, like a Mercedes ball or triangle or arrow.
Sure.. be practical :)
 
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