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Excerpt From The Bulova Watch Company's "Record of Firsts."
On Friday,May 20,1927 Charles A. Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field, NY, on history"s first trans-Atlantic solo flight-in The Spirit of St. Louis with a Bulova watch on his wrist. (It was the only timepiece aboard; Lindbergh had refused to install a clock, which weighed more than a watch,on the instrument panel or a radio.) As soon as word was flashed from Paris, France, that Lindbergh had landed there at 5.22 p.m. .Saturday May 21, New York time, Bulova rushed 5,000 Bulova "Lone Eagle" wristwatches to jewelers. More than 50,000 more were retailed later. (Henry B. Fried)
The statement above which claims that there was no clock aboard the Spirit is in fact no true.
On 4 April 1927 Capt Charles Lindbergh San Diego, Calif purchased a 8-Day Watham Clock and other instruments to be installed on the Spirit. The Waltham Airplane Clock Model XA was installed prior to the Atlantic flight on the instrument panel to the right of the Air Speed Indicator (Far right)
PS A letter I received from The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum states: The records show that the Waltham 8 Day Airplane Clock Model XA was installed on the instrument panel when the aircraft was received by the Smithsonian during April 1928
I have been unable to find out if Charles Lindbergh wore a wristwatch or what make during his historic flight.
|IHC Life Member
I vaguely seem to remember a Longines? I could have dreamt that but that's what my scrambled brain came up with.
Bulova is certainly interesting. In fact a Bulova timepiece was the first timepiece made by man that entered outer space. Apparently it was also the first to make a transcontinental solo flight.
Frank "407" Kusumoto
Thanks for sharing this fascinating information.
Like Frank Kusumoto, I find the Bulova connection very interesting. If true it does tie in neatly with their later Accutron involvement. We are told by the folks at NASA there is still an Accutron on the moon timing recorded data being sent back to earth.
A clock on the instrument panel would cause minimal additional weight and I'd have wanted it for simplicity as well as confirmation. Looks like the ad copy writers may have taken certain, let us call them "liberties" with the facts as they often do.
It would be interesting to check Colonel Lindbergh's book and for that matter the movie starring Jimmy Stewart for references to timekeeping devices. If memory serves Lindbergh had an at times harrowing flight. American Experience: "The Spirit of St. Louis"
Perhaps someone has a Bulova "Lone Eagle" image to share with the rest of us.
It would be great to see one of the ads if possible as well.
I believe Lindbergh wore a Longines WEEMS model wristwatch on his historic flight.
IHC Member 321
Lt Commander Philip Van Horn Weems. US Navy taught navugation at the Naval academy in Annapolis. Working with Longines, he devised a wristwatch that could be adjusted for time error. One of Weems' star pupils was, of course Charles Lindbergh, who took the idea of the Weems watch several steps further. Bt adding various other navigational info to th dial and the bezel. the wearer could calculate the hour angles of the sun or stars, and use that info to determine location.Lindbergh himself designed the dial and gradtion in the bezel and thus "The Lindbergh-Longines Hour Angle Watch" was born. This is the name longines used in a 1940s ad for the watch. It is also refererd as "The Lindbergh Watch" and"The Hour Angle Watch." Longines produced two series, the first which debuted in 1932, and the second in the 1940s. There were large and small versions
Large Lindberg Model 47MM
Movable Bezel and Center Dial
(Weems's Second Setting) Circa 1930s
Small Lindbergh Model 17 Jewels Circa 1930s
by Bruce Shawkey (WI)
|IHC Life Member
Wow, I'd certainly like to see that big "Weems" from the 1930's! I've collected wristwatches for years and only remember seeing a modern version (90's). Now I'll be keeping an eye out for the older version! Thanks!
Frank "407" Kusumoto
In Sept of 2003 at a Ch 111 meeting.There was a fellow there by the name of Dr Dan Oconner.He showed us a watch made by Longines which was the same type used by Charles in his trans atlantic flight.He mentioned it was acquired fom a collector in the U. S and he traded a great many of his pocket watches for theis watch. I have the article still and if any one is interested i could photo it and post it.
If any one has evidence that Charles Lindbergh wore a Longines or Bulova wristwatch , or any other watch during his historic flight across the Atlantic please post that information.
The Missouri Historical Society Publication
"Illustrations of Colonel Lindbergh"s Decorations and some of his Trophies" published in 1935 on Page 31 Item #4 is a pocket watch with the following notation: " Watch which belonged to Lindbergh"s Gradnfather, Dr Charles Land, and which was carried on all flights of the Spirit of St. Louis.
Note: This watch may have been a Waltham Pocket Watch.
A Longines watch was presented to Col Lindbergh by Mayor Walker of NYC after his historic flight
The current issue of Chronos has a article on the lindbergh watch, very interesting article, but wish there was more info.I am thinking by what i read he wore a Longines watch, for the flight.Or was the watch designed and mde after the flight, 1927.
what other time pieces were on the Spirit for the long voyage across the Atlantic ocean .
See all the above posts on this subject.
It is my belief at this time that Charles Lindbergh wore a Longines wristwatch after his Historic flight across the Atlantic. Without a doubt the evidence shows that the Spirit had a Waltham Model XA installed on the instrument panel during his flight across the Atlantic. Any further info would be appreciated.
|IHC Life Member
Long time no see, nor exchange any news. I appreciate that you came up with the Longines story.
I share your opinion that Lindbergh did not take any watch with him, relying on his on-board Waltham 8-Day clock, as evidenced by you.
All the rest is more or less clever marketing on part of Longines, whose Autrian-born American then head of their U.S.A. representation, Longines-Wittnauer Ltd, built up the whole story, later on, with Lindbergh's complicity ( Remember Lindbergh's love for the German/Austrian culture! Incidently he also had to make some money).
I have read through so many different announcements by Longines over the decades, which have finally been adjusted, upon various discreet intervention on part of some lovers of true facts.
The latest version says that Longines "timed" Lindbergh's record on his arrival in Le Bouget, and does not imply anymore that there was any Longines watch onboard.
In fact in some other adds, they had just distorted the truth in saying: upon his solo flight, having been disappointed by his American made timekeeping device, he decided to conceive his own watch (which became the Wheems, thanks to the assistance of the Comodore of the same name).
In my opinion, Whitney's mention of another watch in his interesting book History of Military Timepieces was inaccurate, perhaps biased by his close friendship with the Austrian guy.
Your true facts loving Swiss Watch Friend
Claude Girardin (ex Waltham)
P.S. Interesting is also that apparently Omega was not the only watch worne on the moon: there must have been a Waltham as well as another make. But this is yet another story.
Thanks for the information. When are you coming to the USA and visit the Charles River Museum of Industry ? It has been some time since your last visit.
At the museum we are in the process of expanding the Waltham collection of watches & clocks. Andy & Linda Dervan have donated a full size Waltham Banjo Clock to the CRMI. Several Early American Goddard family watches have been donated. I will give a description of the watches & the name of the donor at a later time.
|IHC Life Member
You are welcome. I am pleased to hear that apparently the new (for me as yet unkown) management is assisting you in expanding the Waltham Watch & Clock collection at the museum.
I also hope that finally you have been able to restore the "first" automatic screw making machine to function.
It would be interesting that you could report on today's exhibit here at Chapter 185 and possibly include some pictures, enticing people to go and visit the Museum as well as the old Waltham building and the cemetery on the other side of the Charles River, where some of the most important U.S. watch industry pioneers rest in peace.
Please extend my best regards to all our Waltham common friends at your next meeting at the Charles River Museum.
2002, for the famous 2002 Seminar, was the last time I came and visited. I do not know whether I shall be able to manage to come this year, as I have now firstly to find out what should my next job be.
In any case, let's keep in touch!
Your Swiss Watch & Waltham Friend
Here are some records from 1977 indicating that Lindbergh wore a Bulova during his historic flight and that he only endorsed items that were directly related to his flight.
Being a Bulova fan I'd like to think he wore a Bully, but there is simply no hard evidence that he wore any watch during the flight. There is speculation about Longines and about his grandfathers pocket watch but the reality is we may never know unless someone can find a photo with him wearing a watch either upon his departure from NY or his arrival in Paris.
Picture of the Bulova watch presented to CAL on June 11 1927 upon his return to the US.
ANY FINALLY THIS ONE
The Bulova Lone Eagle
Here can be found much clearer information concerning the Lone Eagle, along with newly found articles from a Bulova rep at a 1930 after-dinner speech, and many new adverts, including the first ones ever published.
It is very revealing, and uncovers several truths about myths that have been perpetuated elsewhere.
I found this pic on the web but darned if'n I can figure out how it works. It was designed by Lindy as a pilots navigation tool. Anyone know how to use it?
Here you are Jerry, hope you can read French!
(Google Translate should help).
Here is proof that Lindbergh did in fact have a clock onboard during his epic flight.
This image was posted in the June 1927 edition of "L'Aeronautique" during repairs to the SoSL before it's journey home.
A link to the publication, start at page 161 and click onwards, fascinating stuff as long as you can read French!
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