by Otto v. Bertele, Horological Journal (of the British Horological Institute), January 1999
MilitaruhrenDie Uhren der deutschen Streitkräfte 1870 bis 1990
(Military Watches and Clocks of the German Armed Forces 1870 to 1990)
published by the author, 444 pages, German with English abstracts, 1400 illustrations (most in colour),
A fascinating account and history of various watches and clocks used by German armed forces. Adverts reproduced show that in the world war soldiers were expected to buy their own watches specially made - or cased? - for them. Specifications for watches and clocks came later. Some of them are reproduced. They show that the EEC has long been anticipated in Germany. The number of different classifications is mind boggling. The Luftwaffe, for example had seven different categories of watches and chronometers, the Navy, twelve, without counting special types. Even the design of straps was standardised.
Of particular charm are the many anecdotes that are told about the history of watches and clocks, illustrated with relevant documentation. The story of a pilot who, after crashing his plane full of bombs, removed the dashboard clock, to keep as a souvenir, is an example of wide range of subjects covered in this book. More morbid is that some chronometers used on U-boats were specified to be waterproof. Flooding up to eye level was obviously expected!
The numerous illustrations, not only of the external appearance, inscriptions and dedications, but also pictures giving details of the movements used, add to the fascination. Some of the photos of watches taken by the author could have been clearer, though the poor quality of a few of the many snapshots included is unavoidable.
The book is a must for anybody who is interested in, or collects, German military watches, clocks and chronometers. However to enjoy it to the full a good understanding of the German is necessary. Of special interest to collectors in the English speaking world is that many of the wrist and deck watches supplied from Switzerland are identical to those used by the allies, but for the dial and wording inscribed on the back. The book is a treasure and hopefully Dr. Knirim will one day write a similar book about the clocks used by the Western powers.
by Kevin Czrncich, Lake Geneva, USA WI 53147 Dec. 1998
Published by the 'NAWCC Bulletin'
Militäruhren 'Die Uhren der deutschen Streitkräfte 1870 bis 1990'
('Military Timepieces: The Timepieces of the German Forces from 1870 to 1990')
Konrad Knirim author of three Bulletin articles on the subject of German military timepieces must be congratulated on his new book, 'Militäruhren', which will be considered the authorative guide on this subject. North American collectors have long overlooked these timepieces due to the paucity of information on this subject; however, since Mr. Knirim's articles were published, the interest and value ot these timepieces has steadily increased.
Militäruhren is a large, beautifully bound book, 444 pages, with over 1400 pictures and figures. It details extensively the history and background of the many different timepieces that were used by the German military from the years 1870 to 1990 and discusses everything from ship's Chronometer to torpedo timers: from pilots chronographs to the common soldier's wristwatches. Although the text is in German, when it is used in conjunction with Bulletin articles it becomes readily understandable. I found that my lack of fluency in German detracted not at all from the many enjoyable hours I spent with this book. lt has enabled me to buy and sell a number of watches, by referencing the pictures on various pages to people around the world.
This is a book for any serious student of horology or history. Well done, Konrad!