Stowa B-Uhr (Beobachtungsuhr) WW2 Luftwaffe Observers Wristwatch Type A dial c.1940.
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, Laco (Lacher & Co) and Stowa.
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 Stowa is generally considered to be second only to the IWC in terms of rarity of all the B-Uhren although no accurate figures exist of how many were produced. However, due to the heavy losses sustained by the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain, it is assumed that very few Stowa B-Uhr survived the war.
The beautiful Stowa B-Uhr for sale is in fabulous original condition with matching movement and case back numbers. The watch features the 1st pattern dial which indicates that it was produced prior to June 1942.
The Stowa B-Uhr is a true rarity with huge significance to both watch collectors and military enthusiasts alike. As such, the watch for sale represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a superb piece of WW2 aviation history.