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Lemania is a name that's often heard in vintage chronograph collectors' circles, and for very good reason. In 1932, Lemania joined Omega and Tissot to form SSIH (Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogére SA). It was this relationship--particularly with Omega--that would result in the creation of some of the most iconic calibers in horological history, like the Lemania 1873 (or Omega Caliber .861) found in the legendary Omega Speedmaster.
Like many manufacturers, Lemania also equipped watches to the world's militaries, including those of Sweden and the United Kingdom. For many collectors, they encapsulate the essence of "tool watch" in their most elemental form--if for no other reason than that they were built to be issued to sailors, soldiers, and airmen and brought into some of the harshest environments possible. Their stark, no-frills designs were universally practical and rugged, intended for maximum utility.
Within the range of military-issued timepieces, aviator's chronographs are among the most desirable. Some--like the Zenith A. Cairelli issued to the Italian Air Force--have become nothing short of legendary. Unfortunately, with notoriety often comes a legendary price tag, so it's fortunate that there are less expensive options with sterling military pedigrees and the same mechanicals to choose from.
This piece, issued to the South African Air Force in the 1970s, uses the Calibre 1872, a two register manual winding version of the Calibre 1873. Keeping with the stark, function-first designs commonly associated with military timekeepers, this pieces uses Bund-style Arabic hour markers and a handset very similar to everyone's favorite Moonwatch. Showing signs (in the form of contract-replacement components) of a long and distinguished service in the SAAF, this timepiece offers a tremendous value for a legitimate military-issued chronograph. Don't miss it!
Steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown and pushers). Lemania Caliber 1872 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with no glaring marks or signs of over-polishing. Case does show light wear consistent with its age and military use. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing and light even patination to the luminescent hour plots. Mild signs of age and discoloration are visible in the 9:00 subsidiary register and near the 6:00 position. Central chronograph hand and case back (engraved AF 97 44), are likely service replacement items installed under contract. Bezel is in excellent condition. Barrel pushers and hatched crown.
Includes one green leather handcrafted strap.