The past you don’t expect: WW2 pilot watches from A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne, the main Saxon watch manufacture, at the beginning of XX Century was well known for the exceptional quality of its pocket watches.
Belonging to Germany changed its destiny during the III Reich years and during World War II. As many other German companies, A. Lange & Söhne became part of the war industry. A war fought from the sky, on the fighter-bombers.
In the massive military watch production, a high percentage was composed of Pilot watches, made with a big dial, luminescent in the night, and a thick strap to tight them at the wrist while flying.
Even though many German watchmakers were involved in war production, including the prestigious A. Lange & Söhne, none of them pretended to sign the watches with their name on the dial: it was not required for military instruments, and above all the secret on the manufacturer could prevent the strategic production sites from bombing. This caution was not sufficient for A. Lange & Söhne, that was bombed and totally destroyed in the last days of war .
In memory of that part of German history, in the A. Lange & Söhne museum some rare pilot watches signed by the Saxon manufacture are still exposed. Nothing of the pilot watches’ style is instead represented in the current collection by A. Lange & Söhne: the thick and rough straps, the big hands and minutery of the dials left the place to basic and elegant dials, with refined and high quality finishing for both the external and internal components.