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 AIRCRAFT CLOCKS | ROMANIAN AERONAUTIC INDUSTRY (I.A.R.) BRASOV
1934 - 1946
 
In December 2007, ALIS Auction Hose set for selling an “interesting” Longines [1] watch describing it as “aircraft clock”. This was the starting point in my researches because at that moment there were not known among the collectors any information about such watches that equipped Romanian military aircraft from around and during WW2.


At almost one year after this first information I am able to offer an overview of these types of Longines watches that equipped I.A.R. aircrafts from that period, of several lists with movement serials that were delivered in Romania (invoiced to I.A.R. Brasov) but also some identification of such watches placed in private collections.


Industria Aeronautica Romana (I.A.R.) - Brasov (engl. Romanian Aeronautics Industry) represented during 1925-1946 the most important Romanian company for aircrafts manufacturing, especially military. The state of the arts of its activity was of course the development of IAR-80|81 aircraft model but also the obtaining of manufacturing license for Messerschmitt Bf-109G at the end of WW2. In 1946 under sovietic occupation the factory was transformed into a tractor manufacturer.

First of all a summarizing of the most important aircrafts produced by I.A.R. Brasov during 1927-1946:


Aircraft type | manufacturing year | no. of aircrafts | type of aircraft board clock
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
* MORANE-SAUNIER MS-35 | 1927-1931 | 42 | unavailable information
* POTEZ XXV | 1927-1934 | 207 | ("French") - 2 x "Aera" clocks | ("American" - 1 x "Longines B type" clock
* IAR-14 | 1934 | 20 | "Longines clock no. 6036"
* FLEET - 10G | 1936-1937 | 95 + 290 ICAR/SET| “a clock was not considered (report 07979|26.03.1937)”; after 1937 equipped with "Longines type 6550"
* PZL-11F | 1936-1937 | 95 | "Longines clock type 6036"
 

 

* PZL-24E | 1937 | 25 | "Longines clock (type 6036)"
* IAR-37 | 1937-1939 | 50 | "Longines clock type 5036 6036"
* IAR-38 | 1938-1939 | 75 | "At. 5786-17 clock"
* IAR FN-305 | 1939 | 30 | "1 x Longines clock type 4330"
* SAVOIA-MARCHETTI S-79 | 1938-1944 | 91 | v1: "Longines clock type 6036" v2: "Longines clock type 4331"
* IAR-39 | 1938-1941 | 95 | "Longines clock type 6036"
* IAR-80/81 | 1940-1944 | 450 | "Longines clock type 4331"
* Messerschmitt Bf-109G | 1944-1946 | 75 | "clock type Fl. 23885" (Junghans) 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
list of aircrafts, manufacturing years, no. of aircrafts conform to: prof. Ioan DUMITRASCU - "Aircrafts produced at IAR Brasov (1925-1945)", January 2006, www.aviatori.ro

 


IAR-14

IAR-14 produced in 1934 in 20 pcs. is considered to be the first Romanian aircraft with serial production [2] 
By the amiability of Dan Melinte I received a drawing of this aircraft board [3] in which at the pos.3 appears the drawing of a board clock apparently being Longines with 5 clamping points in "elastic suspension". This document does not offer any details about the type of the clock.
(uo-date 2009): With the help of Horia Stoica (Brasov), I succeded to rceive a copy of an IAR document entitled "Technical Note of IAR-14 fighter aircraft". At the second chapter - "Air description", pct.16 (pag.20) - "Board Devices (drawing no.27" is specified:
"...A Longines clock no. 6036" (see scanned documents - [3.2], [3.3] and [3.4]).


PZL 11F and PZL-24E

About the existence on the PZL-24E aircrafts (made by IAR under Polish license) of a "Longines type aircraft board clock" I initial found out from Denes BERNAD at the beginning of my researches. Denes Bernad (referential historian for Romanian military aviation) has supported me in my researches all of these months and had the amiability to send me pictures and fundamental information.
PZL-24E [4] was manufactured in 25 exemplars during 1937 in the base of the Contract No. 17112 signed in 19.November.1936.

I had the chance to find this contract [5] in the IAR archives. In "Annex no.1" of this contract that underlines the "Complete List of Equipments of the P-24 aircraft withIAR-K.14 motor" [6] is specified at the pos.27 "a Longines clock" of type 6036, the clarifications about the Longines type I found later in the report 07979/1937 of the Aeronautic Construction Department from M.A.M.


IAR-37

During 1937-1939 were built 50 aircrafts IAR-37 [7], scouting and observation aircrafts. Their construction was based on the Contract 17113/19.November.1936 [8] between I.A.R. Brasov and the Ministry of Air and Marine (M.A.M), contract in which at Art.25 from the Job specification register [9] was specified: “1 Longines clock type 5036” [10].

The reference “Longines type 5036” I did not find it in any other document from the studied archives. More than this, in the Report 07979 from 26.March.1937 was specified: “Longines clock type 6036 equips in the present most of the aircrafts | PZL-11F, SET-7Kb, PZL-24a, IAR-37 and are presently replaced at the Potez 54 aircrafts and are considered for Savoia 79B aircrafts”, consequently I consider the mention “type 5036” an error of typing (there was only one contract) correct being “type 6036”.

IAR-38

With small improvements towards the IAR-37 during 1938-1939 were manufactured 75 IAR-38 aircrafts [11]. I did not find too many information in the IAR archives but through the amiability of a colleague on the forum, passionate about the aviation history, I can present a drawing of this aircraft board [12]. In a singular codification among the things found until now it is specified: “At. 5786-17 Clock”.


IAR FN-305
In 1939 M.A.M. acquired the license for the Nardi FN-305 aircraft (Fratteli Nardi), teaching aircraft for fighter pilots. At first, at IAR Brasov were produced 30 aircrafts, after that, the production being transferred to SET Bucharest in order to make room for IAR-80 production.
The board clock that equipped this aircraft was "Longines type 4330" (with 4 clamping point in elastic suspension) detailed presented in the section "Aircraft clocks at SET Bucharest" were produced 210 aircrafts.
 

SAVOIA-MARCHETTI SM-79

Was produced [13] during 1939-1944 in 91 pcs. sum about which still exist some vagueness because in 1946 the aircraft was still appearing in the production and repairing planning of I.A.R. factory.

There existed at least 3 contracts in whose base were manufactured the 91 SM-79 aircrafts. For two of them I found documents to which I will refer next. So, for the first variants (contract 1938) [14] existed a “Longines type 6036” and for the contract no. 1940 the model “Longines type 4331”. The most interesting aspect I find to be the fact that this bomber aircraft had 3 (three) aircraft board clocks, one for each of the two pilots and one for the observatory board [15], [16], [17]. From a simple calculus results that in the interval 1939-1944 Longines has delivered around 1000 “clocks” for SM-79 aircrafts and IAR 80|81 presented below.

 

IAR-39

At 17.May.1939 was signed the first contract between M.A.M. and IAR Brasov for making 50 pcs. of IAR-39 aircrafts [18]. This type of aircraft, a biplane with wooden + metal structure and the coating from plywood and cloth, scouting and bomber aircraft had a crew formed by pilot, observatory and shooter. It was produced during 1939-1941 (in two contracts = 95 pcs.) but the same aircraft was also produced by SET Bucharest (around 160 pcs.).

Through the amiability of aviation historic collaborators I have received some drawings/pictures of the IAR-39 [19] board. As it can be easily seen in these drawings, at the pos.29 it is specified – “Junghans Clock” but when analyzing the picture, for the triangular clamping system for the aircraft board clock, I consider the note (29) an error (I have never seen any aviation Junghans that weren’t clamped in 4 points) [20]!

Anyway the contract 35/17.May.1939 [21] for the first lot of IAR-39 aircrafts, explicit specifies, in [22] Anexa II (Job Specification Register) at art.24: Board Instruments – “Longines clock type 6036 with elastic suspension, anti-vibratory, of last model taken by the M.A.M. and which will be communicated to IAR factory after 2 months from signing the contract”.

The contract paragraph quoted above I consider being very important for what the WW2 Romanian military aircraft board clocks meant. M.A.M. was concretely establishing what kind of aircraft board clocks were about to be acquired, thing that I could later confirm by documents after I succeeded in consulting the Historic Military Archives from Pitesti.

 

IAR-80|81

So, once arrived to the aircraft [23] symbol of the Romanian military aeronautic, point where I started my researches, all things became simple and clear. Copies of the technical documentation that exist also on the internet [24], but also in the Contract 2072 from  December.1939 also clarified in the Technical Job Specification Register Part II – specifies: “A Longines clock type 4331 with elastic suspension” [25], [26].

Made during 1940-1944 in more than 450 units, the pride of Romanian Royal Aviation (A.R.R.), IAR-80|81, I consider that it worth a special place in Longines Museum next to one of its aircraft board clocks.

 

MESSERSCHMITT Bf-109G

The exception of such exclusivity of Longines at I.A.R. Brasov was called Bf-109”Gustav” [27] whose board was equipped with a Junghans model under German military specification Fl. 23885. Natural thing considering that the production of this aircraft, in around 75 pcs., was made under German license, the clock type being also mentioned by Konrad Knirim, the “guru” of German military watches collectors, in his extraordinary paper launched in 2002 “Militaruhren -Military Timepieces | 150 years Watches and Clocks of German Forces", Verlag POMP, Achen – Germania.

I also found Romanian documents that certify this. The Contract 22986 from 15.X.1945 at Annex no.2, art. 6, point. b, pos. 13 specifies: “Near the pilot board, in the right side, is mounted a Fl. 23885 clock” [28], [29]. Fl. 23885 an exclusive specification Junghans/Schramberg for aircraft board clocks: Bo-UK1, 36 hours, chronograph, in six variants of bezel and second’s hand.

 

Regarding the Fleet – 10G aircraft (pos. 4 in list), produced under the American license I want to specify that even if it was mentioned (report 07979 from 26.March.1937) [47]-[48], that “for economic reasons, at the Fleet Standard aircrafts, the Aeronautic Construction Department, did not consider any clock” at the Fleet aircraft for air raid and no visibility flight, but which weren’t produced by I.A.R. Brasov, the request of equipping with (50) “Longines clocks type 6550” was made.


Concluding the information gathered so far, in all of these documents it is made a reference to the following models of Longines and Junghans | aircraft clocks used by I.A.R. Brasov for equipping its military aircrafts:

 

1. Longines type 6036

2. Longines type 6550

3. Longines type 4330
4. Longines type 4331
5. Junghans Bo-UK 1 Fl. 23885

During 2008 I have asked more information to Longines Museum about these types of clocks and unfortunately their answer was that they no longer have these dates in their archives. These 4 types of Longines clocks were differentiated by the number of clamping holes and the types of springs of the elastic suspension; this area has generated problems, several discussions and researches for the optimum solution [50]. 


In the consulting of different documents from the Archives of Brasov District (fund I.A.R. – IV 4) I had the chance to find a number of 7 Longines [30] invoices, invoices where are given explicitly the movements serials that were delivered during 1941-1943, as follows:


LIST OF SERIALS - LONGINES 19.71N / TYPE 4331 / partial invoiced IAR BRASOV
- - - - - - - - - - -
* 5827830-5827833 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 25.January.1941 (3)
* 5927207-5927208 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 5.July.1941 (2)
* 5927211-5927234 |type 4364 / invoice IAR - 25.January.1941 (24)
* 5927234-5927252 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 25.January.1941 (18)
* 6035787-6035948 | (162) (series confirmed by the Longines Museum to be sent in Romania in 1941 but for which documents weren’t found)
* 6035949-6036074 |type 4331 / invoices IAR - 11.March.1941 (54), 24.April.1941 (66) and 5.July.1941 (6)
* 6069979-6069990 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 5.July.1941 (12) (for these series exists a non-concordance between the IAR invoice and Longines Museum recordings)
* 6374565-6374588 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 6.March.1943 (24)
* 6458619-6458639 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 6.March.1943 (21)
* 6511515-6511564 |type 4331 / invoice IAR - 22.July.1943 (50)
* movements delivered to IAR with inexplicit series (5)

Note: between parentheses () no. of pieces.

- - - - - - - - - - -
TOTAL movements 19.71N aviation = 447 pcs.


The next step in my researches was the attempt to physically find these kinds of watches in different private collections or in sale offers from markets or on-line on the net.

After one year of researches the list of physical found watches (from the interval of production Longines: 1933-1943) and for which Longines Museum had the amiability to offer the identifications is:


LIST OF IDENTIFIED MOVEMENTS - LONGINES AIRCRAFT BOARD CLOCK / CAL 19.71N:
- - - - - - - - - -

1. 5114380 / 1.June.1933 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: [private collection JBE], October 2008

2. 5378879 / 29.October.1936 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, November 2009 (only the marked lid was kept)
3. 5378891 / 15.October.1936 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, November 2009 (only the marked case was kept)
4. 5412166 / 17.July.1937 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: [private collection JBE], October 2008

4. 5759915 / 25.March.1939 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Auktionshaus Rheine (Germania)
6. 5827789 / 22.December.1939 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: dan on ceasornicar.ro, April 2007
7. 5827793 / 22. December.1939 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: mihai33 on ceasornicar.ro, March 2008
8. 5927248* / 29.January.1941 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, November 2009 (only the marked movement was kept)
9. 5927272 / 15.November.1940 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, November 2009 (complete)
10. 6035818 / 28.December.1940 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, November 2009 (complete)
11. 6035824 / 28. December.1940 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, November 2009 (only the marked movement was kept)

12. 6035934 / 28. December.1940 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Watches for Romania, September 2008 (complete) - donated to Longines Museum in October.2009 - details here!  

13. 6035957* / 11.March.1941 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: alis.ro December.2007 (complete)
14. 6036039* / 11.March.1941 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: eBay.com February 2008 (complete)
15. 6374528 / 31.August.1942 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: okazii.ro December. 2007 (complete)

16. 6374559 / 31.august.1942 / Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest / source: Thiess Brasov, January.2008 (complete)
17. 6511493 / 23.June.1943 / Cochinescu, Longines agent (Balkans) / source: [private collection EBA], April 2008 (complete)

- - - - - - - - - -
Note: with * were marked the watches present in Longines invoices.
 

 

Longines aeronava 19.71N (1) Longines aeronava 19.71N | coroana Longines aeronava 19.71 | mecanism

photo: aircraft board clock Longines (6035934) type 4331, equipment for Savoia-Marchetti SM-79B [1940], personal collection.


I have to specify here some information about these watches movements.

Longines used for these the caliber 19.71N (of course we have an exception – the serial 6511493 with cal. 19.70N) a “popular” caliber, for pocket, launched in 1910, with the diameter of 41,90 mm and thickness of 6,50 mm. The movement is with 16 rubies, central second’s hand, uncut mono-metallic balancer, golden, compensatory screws, Breguet spiral. We will find this movement also in the C.F.R. Longines watches that are the object of another presentation.


In the end I make a short mention about
Weissblüht, Longines agent in Bucharest but also for the entire Balkans area, as it is specified in the Longines identification.

I have found in the Archives a rich correspondence between him and Romanian military authorities during 1936-1941. He had a sales company [49] in Bucharest, on Calea Victoriei no.30 and in the specified interval he won most of the biddings for the acquisition of watches necessary for the Army, either chronometers, aircraft board clocks, pocket watches or wristwatches for military pilots.


For more detailed and updated information please come back at www.ceasuripentruromania.ro !

 

I am thanking for support to: Archives of Brasov District (Mrs. Mihaela Popoi), Military Archives of Pitesti (Mrs. Cozmina Lazarescu), Longines Museum (Mr. Raymond Krebs) but especially to the collectors’ community anywhere is it – on the net, in the markets or discrete, beside its fabulous watches!

 

 

Brasov, October.2008

up-date: November.2013

[1] Longines aeronava - Alis | dec. 2007
[1] Longines aeronava - Alis | dec. 2007

IAR-14 | ref. Technical Note
IAR-14 | ref. Technical Note

[3.1] IAR-14 | Panou de bord
[3.1] IAR-14 | Panou de bord

[3.2] Notita Tehnica - IAR14
[3.2] Notita Tehnica - IAR14

[3.3] Notita Tehnica | IAR14
[3.3] Notita Tehnica | IAR14

[3.4] Notita Tehnica | IAR-14
[3.4] Notita Tehnica | IAR-14

[4] PZL-24E (1937)
[4] PZL-24E (1937)

[5] PZL-24E | Contract achizitie 1936
[5] PZL-24E | Contract achizitie 1936

[6] PZL-24E | Lista echipamente bord
[6] PZL-24E | Lista echipamente bord

[7] IAR-37 (1937-1939)
[7] IAR-37 (1937-1939)

[8] IAR-37 | Contract 1936
[8] IAR-37 | Contract 1936

[9] IAR-37 | Contract 1937 - caiet sarcini
[9] IAR-37 | Contract 1937 - caiet sarcini

[10] IAR-37 | Lista instrumente de bord
[10] IAR-37 | Lista instrumente de bord

[11] IAR-38 | 1938-1939
[11] IAR-38 | 1938-1939

[12] IAR-38 | Aparate de bord
[12] IAR-38 | Aparate de bord

[13] SM-79B (1938-1944)
[13] SM-79B (1938-1944)

[14] SM-79B | Contract 1938
[14] SM-79B | Contract 1938

[15] SM-79B | Caiet de sarcini
[15] SM-79B | Caiet de sarcini

[16] SM-79B | Lista echipamente bord
[16] SM-79B | Lista echipamente bord

[17] SM-79B | Lista echipamente bord
[17] SM-79B | Lista echipamente bord

[18] IAR-39 (1938-1941)
[18] IAR-39 (1938-1941)

[19] IAR-39 | Bord
[19] IAR-39 | Bord

[20] IAR-39 | Lista echip. bord
[20] IAR-39 | Lista echip. bord

[21] IAR-39 | Contract 1939
[21] IAR-39 | Contract 1939

[22] IAR-39 | Caiet sarcini 1939
[22] IAR-39 | Caiet sarcini 1939

[23] IAR-80|81 (1940-1944)
[23] IAR-80|81 (1940-1944)

[24] IAR-80 | Tablou de bord
[24] IAR-80 | Tablou de bord

[25] IAR-80 | Contract 1939
[25] IAR-80 | Contract 1939

[26] IAR-80 | Lista echip. bord
[26] IAR-80 | Lista echip. bord

[27] Bf-109G (1944-1946)
[27] Bf-109G (1944-1946)

[28] Bf-109G | Contract 1944
[28] Bf-109G | Contract 1944

[29] Bf-109G | Lista echip. bord
[29] Bf-109G | Lista echip. bord

[30] Longines | factura - 4331 I.A.R.
[30] Longines | factura - 4331 I.A.R.

[47] Referat 1-07979/1937 M.A.M. D.C.A.
[47] Referat 1-07979/1937 M.A.M. D.C.A.

[48] Referat 2-07979/1937 M.A.M. D.C.A.
[48] Referat 2-07979/1937 M.A.M. D.C.A.

[49] Document Max Weissbluth | 1936
[49] Document Max Weissbluth | 1936

[50] Longines aeronava | Konrad Knirim
[50] Longines aeronava | Konrad Knirim





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