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Stock No. 2491

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Junghan's Radio Room Clock WWII - Click for the bigger picture

Junghan's Radio Room Clock WWII

Another interesting ships clock we are listing today. This pattern was in use from 1939-1945 and served with both Kriegsmarine and Civilian vessels of the period. We have also seen similar examples issued to and used by the Bundeswehr post WWII but our understanding is these tended to be chrome plated whilst this example carries a brass case. We have found an identical example detailed in Ziggy Wesolowdki's excellent reference book on Military Timepieces and also in volume 3 of the book 'Kriegsmarine Uniforms and Traditions'.

Whilst we have not looked inside the case we are told the movement is a Junghan's W146. The silvered dial is not in the best condition but we can decipher the Junghan's star logo below the 12 o'clock position. In addition we can just make out the remains of the green and red diagonal radio silence bars that would have originally have run in the vertical and horizontal positions signifying 3 minute zones when the radio operator would have observed radio silence in case any May Day calls were being broadcasted. The numerals have also become worn and have been touched in by a previous owner. We can find no evidence of a Kriegsmaine property mark being added and whilst this may have been rubbed out we believe this clock was issued to a Civilian vessel in which case this would have been omitted.

When purchased the seller made no mention of any provenance with this clock. However on close inspection we discovered scratched on the back some old and quite crude letter reading 'Franken'. Whilst our research has located a U boat commander, Wilhelm Franken of U- 565 we believe it more likely this clock served on an auxiliary ship of the Kriegsmarine known as a Troßschiffverb. Since Germany in WWII did not have any overseas bases, naval operations in the North Atlantic required supply ships and tankers called "Troßschiffe". In addition to using former civilian tankers five supply ships, the Dithmarschen class, were built to service warships with fuel, ammunition, general supplies and spare parts. The 'Franken' was one of these and was commissioned in March 1943 and operated in the Baltic Sea, where it supplied the Prinz Eugen and other smaller ships of the German Navy in the last months of the war. She was blown apart and sunk near Hela in April 1945 by the Russian Airforce.

If our clock served on the 'Franken' it had clearly been removed, perhaps for repair, before she was lost. Certainly the age and model of this timepiece all lines up exactly although we have found the same specification also being used in the radio room of U boats, as confirmed by that on the U- 995 which still exists. Whatever the provenance it is a fine and increasingly scarce example of the type that could perhaps be improved if a donor dial could be located or the existing one tidied up a little. It is ticking away happily in our office but as we have no idea when the movement was last checked a service would probably not go amiss. As with all our stock more detailed pictures are available on request. Measured on the back plate the diameter is 7.9" (20.0 cm) and is 3.4" deep (8.5 cm). The brass case has three strong brass lugs for bulkhead mounting.

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