July 8, 2010
A. Lange & Söhne, which is a German watch company, is one of my favorite watch brands due their strong design and incredible quality. Today I am featuring the original A. Lange & Söhne pilots watch from the 1940s made for the German Air force. The massive watch is 55 millimeters and was made this size to fit over the pilots suit. There were other brands such as Laco and Stowe that made similar watches but the quality of the A. Lange & Söhne was the best.
This particular A. Lange and Söhne pilots watch has a black original dial with large Arabic luminescent numerals and seconds track so the pilots could easily see the dial for timing different things. The watch also has a hack feature which means that when you pull the stem out the watch stops which was ideal for the pilots to synchronize their watches. It is a manual watch with a gilt movement and the case is made out of a special non-magnetic alloy of nickel silver.
The A. Lange and Söhne Pilots watch was under strict timing requirements and were primarily tested by the German Aviation Research Institute. The watches were given an FL. number which stands for flight and the first two digits, 22, for flight control: 23 stands for navigation and 25 for radio surveillance, followed by the three digits serial number given by the institute. This particular watch is a 23. The FL number is typically stamped on the outside of the case opposite of the crown and in the inside of the case with other equipment and serial numbers.
I have seen these watches trade anywhere from 4k up to 15k depending upon the condition and variation.
It is a shame that the A. Lange and Söhne company was destroyed during World War II and they did not make watches again until 1980s. There probably would have been many very valuable vintage A. Lange and Söhne watch today if this did not happen. The modern A. Lange and Söhne watches made today are great quality with top-notch mechanical movements and cases made of precious metals. They are most known for the Lange1 which is pictured below.
Get more information about this vintage A. Lange & Sohne watch for sale.