Books & Gear
Christopher Ward C9 Me 109 Single Pusher Chronograph LE (Limited Edition – 100 pieces) www. christopherward.co.uk £2,950
A pilot’s watch with a WWII heritage, 737 simulator flights, and aero models
Pilot magazine has an involvement in Christopher Ward’s latest limited-edition pilot watch, in that its design is based on an original WWII Junghans Bouk1 Fl 23885 blindfluguhr (blind-flying clock) belonging to the Editor.
The Bouk1 (illustrated below with its bayonet-fitting cast alloy back removed) was standard equipment for German fighters – Me 109G ‘Black Six’, now in the RAF Museum, is fitted with one - and other Luftwaffe aircraft of the 1940s. The clock has a rotating Bakelite bezel, which allows start/departure time to be indexed quickly and simply with a gloved hand. The stopwatch second hand and indicator on the fifteen-minute totaliser dial are activated by a chromed push button below the winding crown. The movement is Junghans J30BZ that runs for 36 hours on a single wind.
The C9 Me109 takes not just its visual design cues from the clock, but operates in the same way, a single button in the crown starting, stopping and resetting the thirty-minute chronograph function. Indeed, the mechanism — which can be seen working through the exhibition back — is very similar. Based on a Swiss-made Unitas 6497 calibre modified by Christopher Ward’s watchmaker Johannes Jahnke, the hand-wound JJ02 movement also runs for very nearly the same number of hours — forty, to be precise — as the wartime original. Of course, the C9 is a watch, rather than a panel clock — but even here there is a historical link: when supplies of suitably accurate watch movements became hard to obtain late in the war, the Bouk1 was adapted for use as a rather oversized navigator’s watch by adding a strap that allowed it to be worn on the arm or leg of a flying suit. Finished in durable black PVD and supplied with an ‘antiqued’ leather strap, the C9 Me 109 is beautifully made. While there are many other excellent pilots’ watches out there, the thing that really distinguishes this one is that it is so closely based on a genuine, historical pilot’s instrument. PW