Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


This watch has just broken an auction record by selling for over £6,000 at a Collectors’ Auction.

Luftwaffe WristwatchIt is a WWII German pilot’s Navigator or Observer’s wristwatch made for the Luftwaffe in c.1939 and used throughout the war. Measuring 5cm in diameter it needed to be large in size to allow for clear vision and to fit over the Navigator’s flying suit. The large crown enabled easy adjustment with flying gloves. The dial numerals and hands are illuminous and the movement of high quality made by IWC (International Watch Co). The side of the nickel case is stamped ‘FL23883’. ‘FL’ stood for Fliegnummer/Flying Number and ‘23’ meaning a device for flight monitoring. The final digits relate to the German testing office for Aeronautics. These watches were issued to the Observers prior to the flight, set to the second and returned after the mission.

How did it come to be discovered amongst a vast collection of fine watches in a Lichfield property is shrouded in mystery but if objects could talk… It is thought that these were brought back by serving personnel as ‘war souvenirs’.

Why is it so valuable one might ask despite one of the strap lugs being filed off? Experts regard this as the earlier and rarer model of Observer’s watch with a basic dial and desirable IWC movement. Later models had a 5 minute interval dial and inner 12 hour ring. Only a handful is known to survive making this an extremely rare piece of horology and military history.

Offered as Lot 23 at Richard Winterton’s Lichfield City Centre Salerooms on 22nd May, it received much pre-sale interest largely thanks to worldwide internet coverage. A fierce bidding battle broke out between phone, room and internet bidders with a UK based internet bidder triumphing to secure it at a total of over £6,000.

In recognition of the sale, a series of specialist free valuation days for all kinds of watches, militaria, military medals are being held at various locations throughout the midlands.

Contact Richard Winterton Auctioneers for further details on 01543 251081 or visit