Internet Horology Club 185
A German Message Center Clock Circa 1943
February 15, 2005, 21:03Greg Crockett
A German Message Center Clock Circa 1943
The above is a common German Message Center Clock of WWII. Early examples have varnished blond wood cases, late war cases were painted feild gray.
February 15, 2005, 21:07Greg Crockett
Less common is the outer case. Early examples are black leather. This one came with the 1943 dated clock and it is made of erzats material. A replacement leather-like material in combination with some leather parts such as the strap. A cloth strip is mounted in the case to pull the clock out if it should get stuck.
February 15, 2005, 21:12Greg Crockett
The movement swings out exposing a large knob to wind the 8 day spring and a smaller knob to set the hands. "HEERESEIGENTUM" translates as "Army Property". Inkstamped inside the zink clock case is an army inspection eagle.
February 15, 2005, 21:20Greg Crockett
The functional case has a hole in the back for hanging from a nail,
and folding legs to keep it up-right on a table. In the above image, an additional inspection mark called a waffenampt can be seen.
In a radio truck a special place was made for the clock which had a strap to hold it in place.
February 16, 2005, 02:00Kevin Pestor
Thanks Greg, very interesting clock, and the history behind it.I had wondered what the communications branch used for a time piece.
February 16, 2005, 14:22Greg Crockett
I forgot to mention that the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) and Navy (Kreigsmarine) all had ground forces in WWII which used the same type of clock. This can be rather confusing, but due in large part to the inflated ego of their leader, the Luftwaffe had a tank division in addition to extensive ground forces. Naval forces were more and more often used as infantry as the bitter end grew near and they used infantry type equipment.
Confusion often ensues with these clocks. Collectors assume a Kreigsmarine marked message center clock was used on a ship and one with Luftwaffe marks must have been used in aircraft. However, these clocks were not intended for ships nor aircraft. There is some evidence to suggest that some of them may have been used in tanks and other ground vehicles as needed.
The difference between the message center clocks of these various service branches are slightly different shades of field gray paint and, of course, different property markings.
After WWII, the new German Army continued to use this style of message center clock. However, post-war clocks have modern German military and NATO code markings.
February 17, 2005, 13:23Mark Cross
Very interesting time piece. Though it was DECADES later, the importance of a correct and regulated timepiece was still important when I was a crypto operator at the uranium enrichment plant I worked at in Ohio in the 70's. I had to call the Colorado Naval observatory every morning to make sure our operations clock was set exactly to their time, as we sent all our messages to 'zulu' time, or GMT, and the clock had to be to the second.
It's funny, I STILL remember that phone number to this day, and it's still a good one....303-499-7111. Regards. Mark
February 18, 2005, 12:52Oliver Wulff
These so called Funkuhren (radio operator clocks) were indeed used by all three arms of the forces and if my collection is anything to go by the naval ones are most scarce. Colouring is from dark to light gray or natural wood and the one leathercase I have is brown and has some red painted markings. I have seen pictures of one of these mounted in radiorooms as well as in an SDKFZ 250 radio halftrack where there was a specific bracket attached to the four radio rack. Interestingly one freequently finds the clocks minus the wooden housing on offer as instrumentpanel clocks which is incorrect. Replacements seem to have been delivered minus the wooden case as I have an originally cardboard boxed version.
February 18, 2005, 12:54Oliver Wulff
sory, was a bit to frequent with the e's in frequently
February 19, 2005, 20:59Greg Crockett
Great collection Oliver.
What brand names have you found on message center clocks so far?
February 21, 2005, 11:34Oliver Wulff
I will check this tonight