Author Topic: German WW-II Kriegsmarine Schiffswanduhr (Ship’s Wall Clock).  (Read 488 times)

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Offline W1RC

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German WW-II Kriegsmarine Schiffswanduhr (Ship’s Wall Clock).
« on: December 09, 2017, 12:12:36 PM »
The standard “Schiffswanduhr” (ship’s wall clock) or simply “Wanduhr” of the German Kriegsmarine (Navy) was made by Kieninger & Obergfell (today Kundo) of St. Georgen in the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) region of Germany.  There were some Kriegsmarine clocks manufactured by Junghans but differ significantly and are beyond the scope of this discussion.

The clock features an eight-day key-wound movement that drives the hour, minute and second hands.  The silvered dial also features the Kriegsmarine “Hoheitszeichen” (eagle and swastika German national emblem) with the letter “M" that stands for “Marine” (Navy) on the left side of the face.  The right side is usually serial numbered "3911" with a letter under the number; most commonly “N” for “Nordsee” that was based in Wilhelmshaven.   Other clocks may show “O” for “Ostsee” (Baltic), based in Kiel, or “N/G “ for Nordgruppe. 

Please note that the number on the dial is not the serial number of the movement or the case.  The movement number is normally found stamped in the back plate and on the back of the case.  The last two digits of this number is usually stamped into the case hinge and the front bezel lock as well.

Some of these clocks were also used by the Luftwaffe.  They were identical except for the dial which bore the Luftwaffe eagle instead of the Hoheitszeichen.  I do not know of any examples that were used by the German “HEER” (Army) or the SS.

Cases are usually painted black or natural brass.  It is said that the clocks were delivered from the factory with the cases painted semi-flat black but some were stripped and kept highly polished by the crews.  Clocks painted beige have been reported, most likely from U-boats, having been painted by the crew.

Outside diameter of the bezel cover is roughly 6-5/8" (16cm) while the diameter of the base is 8" (20cm); depth is about 3-11/16" (10cm).

This clock is often called a “U-boat Clock” but in fact this type was used on all surface ships, shore-based installations as well as submarines.  A battleship could be equipped with up to 64 clocks of this type but U-boats were issued 8.

This one was probably manufactured between 1938 and 1942.  Unfortunately all records relative to these clocks were destroyed in an air raid on Bremerhaven and so it is not possible to know which clocks were assigned to which vessels or duty station.

Kriegsmarine clocks are quite rare in the United States.  They are more easily found in the United Kingdom.  After the German surrender in May 1945 large number of captured U-boats were towed to Northern Ireland and Scotland and stored there  while the authorities decided what to do with them.  Many of the sailors whose job was to guard the U-Boats were able to strip them of their clocks and other souvenirs with impunity.  Most were sold at the local pub for as little as £5 which paid for the round of drinks that night.  Eventually it was decided to scuttle the U-boats or use them for target practice but by that time most of the clocks and other removable items had been stripped and were long gone.

Values range from $500 to $3500 with many being sold at auction.  Although technically banned from eBay some do show up on the site from time to time.  I bought a very nice example for around $900.   Fakes exist but they are easy to spot if you know what to look for.

Offline W1RC

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German WW-II Kriegsmarine Schiffswanduhr Movement Removal
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 07:23:57 PM »
Removing the movement from the case is a bit tricky. Great care must be taken when removing the hands.  First off very carefully pull the second hand straight up with your fingernails. If it is too tight stop right here and either use the correct hand puller tool or take it to a clockmaker.  If you break it or any of the hands you are screwed.  Then gently remove the 6mm nut, preferably with a socket wrench that secures the minute hand and the hour hand.  They should now lift off easily.  Do not lose the 6mm nut; it is tiny and you will have a very hard time replacing it. 

Once the hands are off remove the four very small screws that secure the dial.  Lift off the dial and lay it aside.  Again, do not lose the screws.  Finally remove the four larger screws that hold the dial plate and movement in the case.  Once these screws have been removed the entire assembly will lift out easily.

Re-assemble in reverse order.  Do not overtighten the 6mm nut.