Heuer Bundeswehr 3H
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
From the First World War to the present day, manufacturers from Heuer to Excelsior Park have produced timepieces for the armed forces. Much has been made of the "WWW" produced by twelve manufacturers during World War II (the Dirty Dozen), or of the Mark XI watches produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. But in the realm of pilots' watches, there's another Fliegeruhr that has attained a kind of cult-like status among collectors: the Heuer Bundeswehr.
Like the IWC/JLC Mark XI, the Heuer Bundeswehr was designed for the sole purpose of use in military aviation. It was General Issue for pilots in the air forces of many nations (including the Italian Air Force, under the brand Leonidas, which Heuer acquired in the 60s) but is best-known for its use by the Luftwaffe of West Germany. From the 1960s to the 1970s, the "Bund" (as it's affectionately known) saw a range of dial configurations that baffle those not in the know; fortunately, the Heuer experts over at On The Dash have complied a comprehensive overview of these variations, which we'll summarize here.
There's one tell-tale sign that a Bund might have seen military service (or, to put less fine of a point on it, is from the period in which the Bund was issued to the Luftwaffe). It's one little symbol, in bright red above 6 o'clock on the dial: the letters "3H" surrounded by a circle. This indicates that the luminescent material on the numerals is tritium (Hydrogen-3). As one can tell from OnTheDash's breakdown, the 3H symbol came in four different variations, with the characters in varying sizes. However, no matter the size of the 3H symbol, it meant one thing: the watch can be dated (most likely) to the 1960s to 1970s.
The Bund that we offer here, with the requisite 3H symbol, is echt Bund--in short, echt everything you want a pilot's watch to be. The dual subregister layout of the dial is highly legible, in the way that the most iconic pilot's watches are: the chronograph registers are symmetrically-arranged on a horizontal axis, offset by the Heuer logo at 12 o'clock and the 3H symbol at 6. The numerals are big and bold, encircled by a 60-minute chapter ring.
And the matte case is, as you'd expect, nothing short of hefty. At roughly 43mm it dominates the wrist, at home on nylon or on the more traditional leather Bund strap, which we've gone for here. Like the Heuer Autavias of the period, the case is crowned by a rotating 60-minute bezel.
As with many military watches, the Bund is a front-loader, with the movement being secured by the screw-mounted case back that is attached to the bezel. The Bund, being a manually-wound flyback chrono, used a host of Valjoux movements, from the Valjoux 22 to the Caliber 220 to the Caliber 230. Sturdy, dependable, it's the sort of watch you want strapped to your wrist whether you're dodging enemy fighters at 35,000 feet or engaged in more terrestrial pursuits.
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Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
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Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Heuer Bundeswehr 3H