Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces

Geneva, May 11, 2019

LOT 77


CHF 15,000 - 25,000

HKD 120,000 - 200,000 / USD 15,000 - 25,000

Sold: CHF 31,250

A fine, extremely rare, large, manual wind, World War II pilot’s wristwatch with center-seconds, formerly property of Konrad Knirim.

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Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3-8


Slightly scratched

Movement: 2*

Very good

Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 2-01

Very good

HANDS Original

Brand IWC

Model Grosse Fliegeruhr

Year Sold to Siegfried Heindorf in November 1940

Movement No. 1014295

Calibre  52T

Case No. FL 23883, 1033695

Dimensions 55 mm

Signature  Dial, Case and Movement.

Accessories IWC extract from the archives, letter of authenticity and provenance from Konrad Knirim, wrist compass


Die Grosse Fliegeruhr: this model is one of the watches delivered to the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, who supplied their pilots with a wristwatch that was accurate, robust, and easy to read during missions. A good example of their first use is the Battle of Britain or operation SeaLion (August 1940-May 1941). Only movement numbers between 1.013.801 and 1.015.000 and case numbers between 1.033.201 and 1.034.200 are considered correct for the 1940 Grosse Fliegeruhr. The inside case back is engraved: - B-Uhr: Beobachtungs-Uhr (German for Navigation Watch) - Bauart, (German for Manufacture): IWC - Werk Nr, (German for Movement No.): 1014295 - (Anforderz, German for Classification Number): FL 23883. The FL 23883 number indicates the watch’s assignation. FL stands for flight qualified; the first two numbers indicate the department the watch was assigned to. 22 was the flight control department, 25 was radio surveillance, and 23 was the code number for the navigation department. The following numbers were given by the D.V.L. (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt Luftfahart), the German Aviation Research Institute. Cal. 52: produced in 1,200 examples in 19, (height 6 mm), the caliber was designed in keeping with Observatory watch quality and accuracy. Only 1,000 examples were delivered to the German Air Force. The remaining 200 were used for English deck watches. This caliber is considered to be the largest caliber made by IWC. Bought at the Antiquorum sale in June 2011 (lot 302), this watch was part of Dr Knirim’s private collection as confirmed in the accompanying letter.