Lemania was founded by watchmaker Alfred Lugrin in 1883. Specialising in high-quality chronographs, stopwatches, and repeaters. Companies like Omega and Patek Philippe have used Lemania based movements among many others. In 1932 they became members of the SSIH Group. In 1946 Albert Piquet developed the movement that became the Omega 321 which powered the first Speedmaster in 1957. Lemania's name comes from the French for Lake Geneva ”Lac Leman”. During the 1970s they developed the Cal. 5100 which was used by Heuer. They broke away from the SSIH Group in 1981 and changed its name to Nouvelle Lemania. In 1992 Lemania was bought by Breguet, who later in 1999 was acquired by the Swatch Group.
Our Lemania HS9 was a UK Government issue to the Royal Naval Fleet Air Arm. HS stood for Hydrographic Survey, which was essentially mapping harbours and waterways, which you can imagine the importance of during 1945. The 9 was its watch specification number which stood for Chronograph. Its 38mm stainless steel case has brushed finishing leading lines to the tapering lugs with fixed spring bars. A 46mm lug to lug length ensures a comfortable fit on the wrist. On the right side, we have a single pusher and a large crown for adjustment and winding. A stepped bezel holds a domed crystal. An outer minute track with lume pips and Arabic numerals mark the hours. At 3 o'clock a 30 min register alongside at 9 o’clock a continuous 60-second register. Heat blued Syringe hands are complimented with a heat blued chronograph seconds hand that accurately hits its mark. Many of these contract watches were delivered sterile without any markings as is this one. On the reverse a screw-down case back with “H.S.9 1843” and a Broad Arrow “pheon” signifying British Government property. Inside a Manually Wound Lemania 15 CHT, 17 Jewels, 18,000 beats per hour. A robust and accurate column-wheel chronograph. Fitted on a 20mm green nato strap.
Points of Mention
This watch is sold as "Watch Only" and therefore comes with no original Lemania box or Lemania paperwork. The watch comes paired on an aftermarket khaki green NATO strap which suits the watch perfectly. The dial has developed an even patina throughout, original lume is present on the dial, the hands are original but missing their lume. The case is in original condition and looks fantastic for the age and use this watch likely saw, the case back and engraving is sharp. The movement does come with the KibbleWatches 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, military watches are some of the coolest vintage watches out there regardless of price! This HS9 packs so much history that if it could speak it would have us all enamoured for days and weeks without pause. The condition and even age of this piece is perfect, when I saw it in the flesh I just knew it was a special piece and would make a collector very happy. If you are near Clerkenwell, send me a message and come view this beauty!