Laco B-Uhr (Beobachtungsuhr) WW2 Luftwaffe Observers Wristwatch Type B dial c.1942
In 1935, with the storm clouds of war gathering over Europe, Adolf Hitler announced his plans to reconstitute Germany’s Air Force and officially created the Luftwaffe.
The German Air Ministry (Reichs-Luftfahrtministerium), who were responsible for aircraft production, began to design a suitable timepiece for its bomber navigators. Pilots required extremely accurate watches for navigational purposes. The watches needed to be precise, robust and easily read. This led to the iconic B-Uhr design being conceived.
The B-Uhr watches were very large in size (55mm) and were made to a standard specification. The movements were uniformly cased in a grey varnished, brass or steel housing with a snap on back cover. The dial faces were black with large luminous Arabic numerals and minute and second indicators. The hands were coated with radium so the watch would glow in the dark. The outer casing had FL23883 engraved on the left hand side. FL designated flieger, and 23 identified the watch as a navigation watch.
There were five manufacturers who supplied the B-Uhren. These were A.Lange & Sohne, Wempe, IWC, Stowa and Laco (Lacher & Co).
The B-Uhr watches were not actually issued personally to aircrew in the usual sense. Instead one was supplied to the navigator of the bomber crew before every mission or raid. It would then be returned to the stores following their return.
The beautiful Laco B-Uhr example for sale features the more elaborate Type B dial with outer ring for minutes/seconds and an inner ring for hours, which began being designed and manufactured in 1942.