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What is a Type-A Pilots Watch?

Category: Articles | Date: November 8, 2017

Our K-01 pilots watch continues to be a best seller so we take brief look at the history of the A type B-Uhren Pilots watch, and how it inspired us to develop our own.

Our K-01 pilots watch continues to be a best seller for us, and in this article, I hope to explain why.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Actually, that’s not the point… These watches were originally designed for a simple purpose, to serve as a tool for the German Pilots in World War II.

You would find that the earliest examples were around 55mm in diameter, on ultra long riveted buffalo leather straps. I know what you are thinking… ‘German pilots had some big wrists!!’ …Although maybe true, these watches were actually designed to be worn over the top of a thick pilots jacket. Since that is no longer the case, we designed our pilots watches to come in more manageable sizes of 40 and 44mm.

These watches also had some other strict design cues, mostly specified by the “Reichsluftfahrtministerium” (RLM) – Imperial Air Ministry, they include (but not limited to):

  • Must be equipped with a large crown for ease of use with gloves on.
  • Hacking movement, for precise time setting.
  • Regulated and tested as chronometers.
  • All watches marked with FL23883 on the case back: FL = Flying number, 23 meaning a device for flight monitoring and the 883 was assigned by the German Testing Office for Aeronautics.

Another interesting design point was the use of the triangle for the 12 marker, this was used to show the upward orientation of the watch during a night flight, something that we have kept in our A & B type pilots watches.

The original pilot’s watches were made for the German Luftwaffe by only 5 manufacturers:

  • A. Lange & Söhne
  • Laco (Lacher & Co)
  • Stowa (Walter Storz)
  • Wempe (Chronometerwerke Hamburg)
  • IWC

…and are now all very rare, expensive, and slightly too big to wear. If you like the look of our modern homage or have a wrist size of less than 12 inches, be sure to check out our K-01 Pilots watches!

Click here to find out more about our range of pilots watches!

If you are interested to learn more about German Pilots watches, we have another article which goes into more detail, and looks at the other original dial version:

Click here to learn more about German pilots watches!

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