Vintage British Military Lemania Series 2 Monopusher Chronograph Cal. 15 CHT
Lemania is one of the most recognizable names in vintage watches despite having few models of their own. Established in 1884, the company's expertise was in developing movements, particularly chronographs, for other manufacturers to use in their watches. Lemania has worked for or partnered with most major and iconic watch brands over the course of its life, including developing the base movements for Omega's legendary Speedmaster. Lemania also made complete watches as contract work, developing wristwatches and chronographs for a number of military groups starting in the 1940s and through the 70s, which brings us to the watch pictured here.
This Lemania Series 2 Monopusher Chronograph is a classic British military watch. Issued to the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, these timekeepers defined the term "tool watch" - built to be issued to sailors, pilots and navigators for use harsh environments. They maximize practicality, keeping only what's needed and stripping away anything that isn't. It's one of the reasons vintage military watches have become one of the most interesting watch niches to collect, these watches were made for a specific purpose and be used out in the field, not to sit in a jewelry store showcase.
These Lemania chronographs had a handful of iterations over the years and the Series III may look more familiar with its chunky asymmetrical case. The Series II variant you see here is a more seldom seen and earlier variant of the Series 3 that was issued to the British military. It's powered by the monopusher, column wheel operated caliber 15 CHT, a high quality robust and accurate movement that featured gilded plates and 17 jewels. While many of Lemania's contract watches were delivered "sterile" without any markings, this one has a signed bridge. The caseback bears military markings and was originally issued to the Hydrographic Survey of the Admiralty, with the part number HS9 designating a chronograph. The watch was then reissued using the NATO part number 0552/924-3305 to the British Royal Navy.
At 38mm, the stainless steel, stepped case wears large for its size and blends very well with modern watch sizing - as a tool watch legibility was the key and a large size (for the time) certainly helped in that department.
This Lemania has been well preserved and is in excellent condition. Take a look at the photos and condition description below:
Case: 38mm stainless steel stepped case with fixed spring bars in excellent vintage condition as pictured. The case is free from any major blemishes but shows some minor nicks commensurate with use. Lugs still have crisp edges as pictured.
Dial/Hands: Original dial and hands in very good condition as pictured with an even attractive yellow patina on the hour markers and some patina on the dial surface. The dial features the signature British military "Fat Arrow" and encircled "T" tritium designator along with Lemania branding. The hands are original, syringe style and also have intact tritium that has faded to a creamy patina with darker edges.
Caseback: Original steel caseback in good condition as shown. The military markings are still present as shown in the photos.
Crystal: Acrylic crystal in very good condition as pictured with no major scratching, chips or cracks.
Movement: Lemania Caliber 15 CHT monopusher column wheel operated chronograph movement. The movement is in excellent condition as seen it he photographs and all functions including chronograph start, stop, and reset are working correctly.
Bracelet/Strap: New brown leather NATO style strap.
Box/Papers/Accessories: None, sold as watch only.