A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte i/SA, Deutsche Uhrenfabrikation, Movement No. 92653, Case No. 92303, 63 mm, 187 g, circa 1935
A unique navigation deck watch of the German Experimental Institute for Aviation socalled "new degrees watch", the prototype of a navigation watch relying on a decimal 400 degree circle - delivered on Januar 24, 1935 to the German Experimental Institute for Aviation in person to Captain Wilhelm Niemann for the sum of 250 RM - with Lange & Söhne certificate of the watch museum Glashuette Case: nickel. Dial: silvered. Movm.: 3/4 plate movement, gold screw compensation balance.
The cycles of the three hands on this unique piece cannot be compared with any conventional clock. The large "seconds hand" completes a rotation in 3 minutes and 37.1 seconds; the upper small dial is counting these cycles while its own cycles are in turn counted by another small dial further below. Lange & Söhne received these exact specifications from Captain Wilhelm Niemann, who was at the time director of the navigation department at the DVL in Berlin-Adlersdorf; he initiated the introduction of the decimal 400° circle for navigational purposes. This concept of navigation divides a circle in 400 degrees and most likely goes back to revolutionary France in the late 18th century, when efforts were made to introduce a decimal time system (resulting in the creation of clocks and watches with decimal dials). However, the 400 degree method was not followed up any further because Niemann lost his life during a training flight on March 21, 1935 and his plans were put aside – only a few months after he had received the watch.
Wilhelm Niemann (* August 25, 1892 in Ellingstedt/Schleswig; † March 21, 1935 in Beeskow) Wilhelm Niemann was First Officer and Navigation Officer for the company "Dornier-Metallbauten GmbH" and the Ministry of Transport on the flying boat Dornier Do X. He was actually still employed as an officer by the Hamburg-America shipping company HAPAG and was only "on loan". During the trial and transport flight of Do X towards America starting on November 5, 1930, he was responsible for navigation as well as for the correspondence on the flying boat. After taking the oath as the first post master on a flying boat on October 29, 1930 at the post office in Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance, he attended to all postal issues on board until June 1932. During the promotional Atlantic flight of the flying boat – which was at the time the largest passenger plane in the world – letters and postcards were also carried on the plane. When he left the crew of the flying boat as well as his position as a HAPAG captain in September 1932, Niemann became director of the navigation department at the DVL in Berlin-Adlershof. He died on March 21, 1935 near Beeskow during a practice session for a flight around the world. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_Niemann_(Offizier), as of 09/22/2016
Estimate 36,000 - 45,000 €
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