Exclusive Timepieces & Jewels 17 July 2019 | Monaco LOT 77
Longines An unusual oversized and historically important Longines Wittnauer reference 4356 in stainless steel pilot's wristwatch with sweep centre seconds and Weems Second Setting System
Estimate € 15,000 – 30,000
Material: stainless steel
Reference N°: 4356
Case N°: 21123-15
Movement N°: 5942315
Bracelet: leather strap
Lieutenant Philip Van Horn Weems was a U.S. Navy commander born in Tennessee in 1889 and during his career serving his country at sea, he was the inventor of several navigational innovations. One of its best-known inventions is the Second Setting System, designed to help aviators plot their courses more accurately. Thanks to him it can be said that a new kind of watchmaking was born: Weems deducted that the difficulty in setting the watch came from the fact that, at the time, it was almost impossible to set the second hand exactly. The present model features Weems’ second setting system, with an inner rotating dial to improve accuracy in timing and synchronicity, vital for aviation and on seafaring expeditions which was subsequently patented by Longines in 1935.
This oversized watch in stainless steel might be a bit uncomfortable nowadays given the 47 mm of diameter but has to be considered that this watch has to be worn over an aviator suit and handled with very bulky gloves. Givign this, there's another important and distinctive characteristic of the “Weems” and is the large ball-sized winding crown, allowing a pilot to rewind the movement without taking off the gloves. The present watch is really well-preserved silver hinged cuvette still very clean and reflective. The two-tone dial with white enamel chapter ring and silvered rotating inner disc to set the time in seconds shows Breguet numerals blued steel moon hands. A true “time capsule” piece, its pristine state of preservation makes it a trophy watch for the connoisseur.