This is an extremely rare Royal Navy issued single-button Lemania chronograph. What makes this watch particularly rare and distinctive is that it was issued for use on board a nuclear submarine. For this reason the dial and handset features no luminous compound, which would have been radium based and so could have interfered with the radiation sensors on-board.
These Nuclear Submariner’s chronographs were produced in very small numbers and are one of the most highly sought after of all military watches.
The watch has it’s original dial, handset and movement and they’re in superb condition. The case is all stainless steel and is in very good order - a few scratches and marks from wear, to be expected from a tool-watch. As with all our vintage watches the case has been ultrasonically cleaned, but not polished.
The case back has the original military markings: 0552/924 is the stores code for a chronograph wristwatch, 3306 denotes a black, luminous dial. This is stuck out and re-engraved with 3312 which is the code for the Nuclear Submariner’s chronograph with no luminous compound and a white dial. The number below, 80022 is the unique identifier for this particular watch.
There are no records that I’ve seen for the total number of Nuclear Submariner’s chronographs issued, but the nuclear submarine fleet was small and so obviously the overall issue was small too. These watches would only have been issued to those whose job on-board involved making timing observations.
The single button operates the chronograph (stop-watch function) - the button in turn starts, stops and resets the chronograph. There is an elapsed minute counter, which allows for timing intervals up to 30 minutes.
Lemania supplied chronographs for the Royal Navy for use by pilots and navigators in the late 1940s and Lemania continued supplying them until the early 1960s. The watches evolved over the years. This watch is part of the third series style as it features the distinctive asymmetric case style, designed to protect the pusher and crown from accidental damage.
Lemania supplied many different armed forces around the world - their movements are very solidly constructed and keep excellent time, making them a good fit for a rugged life in the services. Lemania are something of a cult brand - no longer in existence today, but much cherished by aficionados. The company specialised in the production of chronographs (that is watches with a stop-watch function built in). Chronographs are inherently complicated things to manufacture and for this reason many watch companies brought-in movements from specialists like Lemania. They supplied amongst others Omega (the movement that powered the first watch on the moon was made by Lemania), and luxury brands Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe. Because Lemania often supplied movements to other brands (for which they were uncredited), watches which are signed by Lemania are especially prized.
The watch has been fully serviced and regulated, the chronograph functions perfectly and the time keeping is of the highest order. It is supplied with a NATO fabric strap. This is an expensive watch for sure, but an investment that can be worn and enjoyed. Prices of these have been increasing year on year as they are simply not available to buy very often.
You are welcome to come and view this watch at our Oxo Tower shop, however you will need to call ahead as the watch is not stored on site.
Case diameter (excluding winding crown): 40mm
Case material: stainless steel
strap width: 20mm
time keeping: grade A+