The Culling Collection of Military Watches

Date of Auction: 9th June 2020

Sold for £480

Estimate: £300 - £400

German military: A Kriegsmarine observation/deck watch, by Stowa, early 1940s, the luminous dial signed ‘KM, Stowa’ with black Arabic numerals, outer minute track, subsidiary seconds dial and blued steel hands, the 19 jewel manual wind movement signed ‘Stowa’ and numbered ‘615’, within nickel chrome plated case, the back bearing Wehrmacht issue marks of an Eagle over swastika, ‘MI’ and ‘II.K1’, watch diameter 59mm. £300-£400


The three branches of the Wehrmacht, or German armed forces (1933-1945) were the Heer (Army), the Kreigsmarine (Navy), and the Luftwaffe (Airforce).

In 1939, the Pforzheim based watch manufacturer STOWA started production of Marine observation watches. One feature of the central features of a good observation watch is its clear readability; thereto, the dial was made completely luminescent. The ‘II.K1’ mark classified the official rating of the movement.
Generally an observers watch was used as a secondary timepiece, to be wound and synchronised daily with the ship's official clock (which would have resided in the instrument room), the primary requirement being consistency of timekeeping hour-to-hour, day-to-day, over months and years. It was of less concern that it might be a few seconds fast or slow each day, than that the rate remain constant - a watch which required minimal daily attention to provide an accurate portable measure of the time for use on deck and on shore boats, etc.