Lemania Tuxedo Dial Chronograph
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Lemania Tuxedo Dial Chronograph

Although the 1930s and 1940s were a time of great financial turmoil, they were also a time of horological breakthroughs, particularly in the area of chronographs. Many of the greatest advances in chronograph production were achieved during that timespan. For example, Breitling added a second pusher to its chronographs in 1934, and noted chronograph manufacturer, Martel, was blazing trails with its revolutionary Compax design, retailed by Universal Genève and Zenith.

But this was also the glory days for Lemania, one of the greatest chronograph manufacturers of all time.

Lemania was founded in 1918 by Alfred Lugrin, who had set up his factory using the principles of the American system of watch manufacturing. By the time Lugrin retired and his son Marius Meylan took over in 1920, Lemania was one of the leading chronograph manufactures in Switzerland. Meylan would purchase the company in 1932; shortly thereafter, Lemania would be purchased by SSIH, a joint venture formed by Omega and Tissot.

Although economic strictures forced these two former competitors to join forces, Omega was healthy enough to infuse Lemania with some much-needed funds.

The Calibre 15TL, the movement that powers this particular watch, was just one of the fruits that resulted from that marriage.

Adapted from a pocket watch movement, the Calibre 15TL is large for the time—33.3mm on its own. Serviceable and yet still elegant, the Calibre 15TL would form the basis for the legendary CH27. History would know it as the Omega Calibre .321 that Buzz Aldrin would take to the moon in Apollo 11.

Even though its successor, the aforementioned Calibre .321, ranks as one of the most important chronograph movements of all time, its predecessor the 15TL is no less worthy of attention. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s it was found most often in watches issued to the world’s air forces. Judging by the handsome dial of this particular variant, it was most likely not destined for military service, and yet its large size and clean good looks make it the perfect candidate for a sporty dress watch with a fascinating lineage.

Details

SKU: AS02445

Stainless steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown and pushers). Manually wound Lemania 15TL chronograph movement. Circa 1950s.

Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in superb condition with only the faintest signs of wear and some signs of past polishing. Two-tone dial is in equally superb condition with one mark under the "Lemania" logo. Unsigned crown and caseback.

Includes one 20mm black leather strap.

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