1939 HELVETIA Flieger Jumbo Watch WWII Pilot Vintage Wristwatch Cal. 51S 3 ADJTS
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warrants that the merchandise shall be free from defects in material and workmanship under normal use for a period of one (1) year from the date of purchase by you (the “Warranty Period”). The Warranty Period is not extended if we repair or replace the merchandise. We may change the availability of this limited warranty at our discretion, but any changes will not be retroactive.
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With respect to any defective merchandise during the Warranty Period, we will, in our sole discretion repair or replace such merchandise (or the defective part) free of charge. We will also pay for shipping and handling fees to return the repaired or replacement merchandise to you if we elect to repair or replace the defective merchandise.
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Not covered by warranty:
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- Watches that are labeled as water resistant feature a screw down crown. The crown must be screwed down properly at all times to keep the watch casing watertight. Water damage is not covered under the warranty unless it is proven defective by the Secondhand Horology.
- Shipping cost to Secondhand Horology.
Secondhand Horology is determined to stand behind every part of your shopping experience. The Secondhand Horology warranty allows you to make a completely risk-free purchase. This has been our policy and our promise since we began nearly three decades ago serving customers on a local level. Now, we are standing by this policy as we serve online customers from around the world. We look forward to serving you and giving you the incredible value and experience you deserve.
From www.helvetiahistory.co.uk – “Helvetia’s history ranges from its beginnings alongside Omega at Louis Brandt & Frere to the Swiss “Quartz Crisis” of the 1970s & 80s and beyond.”
On the 14th of April 1892 the Swiss watch company Louis Brandt & Frere registered the name ‘Helvetia’ as one of the brand names for their watches. Two years later, in 1894 they also registered the name ‘Omega’ and applied it to a new range of high-quality lever movement pocket watches they had developed using cutting edge manufacturing technology.
So successful were the new Omega watches that the Brandt brothers decided to form a new company alongside Louis Brandt & Frere and move the production of some of their other watches to make extra room in their Bienne factory to allow increased production of Omega watches.
The start of the WWI in 1914 signalled some major changes to the Swiss watch industry. The need to be able to tell the time quickly and easily in the trenches without fumbling for a pocket watch meant that wristwatch use, and production rose rapidly and the poor conditions that a watch was liable to meet also meant that water and moisture resistance became more important.
La Générale appears to have started to specialise in watches to meet the need for WWI: timepieces able tell the time quickly and easily in the trenches without fumbling for a pocket watch. That meant the use of wristwatches. Also, water and moisture resistance became more important around this time.
Same time where La Générale had developed a screw case, swing ring, pocket watch with water resistant properties. By 1903 and during the war, a large percentage of their wristwatches were of the hunter or half hunter types that included a hinged lid to protect the face of the watch from damage. They also provided adapted pocket watches for use in German aircraft cockpits and sold watches under the brand names Kitchener and Les Poilus (a nickname for French troops) in allied countries.
During the 1920s, La Générale continued their specialism into so called protected watches; a report on the 1920 Swiss Watch fair mentions “Among other original creations we notice the miner's watch, of an exceptionally robust construction and completely impermeable.” By about 1924 they had also started to produce watches with shock protection, which was very unusual at the time and initially appears to have been a version of the Depollier/Brun shock protection system patented in 1921.
This was the time La Générale also began to use the English version of their company name, General Watch Co, prominently in their advertising and push the brand name Helvetia to the fore, almost all the watches they produced from the late 1920s bear the name Helvetia.
Helvetia continued to develop their water and shock protected watches throughout the 1930s; for instance, in 1931, they patented a waterproof crystal fitting. In 1933 an anti-shock movement mounting, also in 1935, the version with a center sweep-second was introduced. During this period, they are regularly mentioned in the UK Horological press as specialising in this area. The following example is from the April 1934 edition of Watch and Clock Maker:
"The 'Helvetia' makers differentiate between their 'shockproof' and 'unbreakable' models, where, perhaps, others confuse the two terms and consequently confuse the trade and their wearers ...The firm hold important patents on each type. The Helvetia waterproof is a very sound job and has stood up against tests that have sent many another watch to a watery grave.”
Perhaps the reason that the Helvetia brand is most widely known today is for their pilots’ watches. The General Watch Co. first introduced their version of the ‘1928 pattern’ pilots’ watch in 1932 and introduced their famous spinning propeller logo in January 1933 making thousands of these watches up to 1945.
WWII was another time of expansion for the company, they supplied pocket watches to the British Army, as well as pocket watches and wristwatches to the German Army and specials wrist timers to the Royal Navy. By the end of the war, they also supplied timepieces to the US Army.
It was until 1948 that they again decide to change their name this time to ‘Montres Helvetia Société d'Horlogerie La Générale’ and from this date onwards they are usually referred to as Montres Helvetia S.A. or the Helvetia Watch Company.
Waterproof Watches, Double-Dial and Pilots
HELVETIA FLIEGER JUMBO WRISTWATCH
During the 1930s and 1940s a variety of watch manufacturers produced pilot watches of a very similar pattern. They are usually larger than standard watches of the period at around 40mm and have large luminous hands and numerals to allow easy reading of the time even in low light and a large crown so that adjustments can be made with gloved hands.
Along with their range of ‘Sports’ watches Helvetia also made several variations of these pilot watches, and they are among the most popular among collectors today.
Mentioned in all publications of aviation watches and first introduced in 1932, during WWII, this is the legendary Helvetia military pilot wristwatch dated from 1939.
It is a manual wind watch powered by an original General Watch Co. movement signed Helvetia and caliber Helvetia 51S (hunter caliber), stem wind and set, sub second, 3 ADJTS, 15 jewels, 18,000 A/h and 32 hours power reserve. It also features shock protection on the balance wheel (one of the first shock proof watches in the world).
Helvetia fitted these first watches with a variant of their Depollier/Brun shock protection system that they had been using since the late 1920s in their sports watches. This is cased in a 41mm round chrome plated nickel case, double case back with a hinged inner and outer back cover. While the inner case back is in perfect condition, unfortunately, for this watch the outer case back hinged is broken, however it can be closed perfectly.
This watch also features large and fixed lugs for passing through a long, wide strap that could be fastened over flying clothing if required.
Still the original black dial with old luminescent paint on the Arabic Numerals and indices. White minute track and matching hands, the sub second is located at 6 o’clock. The dial is also signed with the Helvetia name and their famous spinning propeller logo.
It comes with a brand-new black nylon Nato bound one-piece strap. This watch is a perfect collector's item, it is in good condition! Runs very well, keeps good time!
Thank you for looking! Please feel free to contact us with any question, or respectful offers.
Cal. Helvetia 51S
Case Back Markings:
Case Diameter 41
Case Diameter w/Crown 43
Case Lug to Lug 47
Case Thickness 13
Lug Width 24
Band Width 22
Vintage watches are traditionally smaller than today's watches. Men’s watches typically measure between 29-36mm wide (some larger, some smaller) excluding the crown. In the listing details we typically try to do our best to list all pertinent dimensions of a watch. If you don't see it, or we failed to do so, please reach out to us. Women’s watches from the 1900s-1970s were also much smaller than today's offerings. Please also feel free to ask any questions you have pertaining to size.
We prefer to shoot photographs outside when weather is permitting. However, when we shoot indoors, please be aware that we shoot our photographs inside of lightboxes that are lit with 360 LED bulbs. This indeed magnifies any flaws. Usually, they are much less obvious to the naked eye. Having said that, we never photoshop any of our photography, remove blemishes, etc. We adjust lighting when necessary, but what you see is what you are getting, and we take pride in that.
The condition is pre-owned.
The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear but is fully operational and functions as intended.
Please review the photos and feel free to ask any questions you may have.
It will be carefully packed.
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Thank you for looking!