Up for grabs is an exceedingly rare Minerva chronograph, circa 1930s, designed for military/pilot use. Utilizing a pocket watch movement, Minerva designed these watches as tool watches, housing them in a large case for easy legibility in the field for pilots, and added a multi-scale dial for the timing of simultaneous events. The watch features a black “gilt” dial with luminous numerals and hands, a configuration adorned by collectors. These watches rarely appear for sale on the market, and only a handful have appeared for sale as of recent in auction. In addition, this watch has fantastic provenance, having originally been consigned to auction by the family of the original owner, who found discovered it in the owner’s U.S. Army trunk, along with his other items leftover from WWII, after his passing. The family remarks that the owner, SSgt Otis Nelson (1907-1985) was in the US Army Air Corp during WWII, where he was stationed as a B-29 rear gunner, and presumably had acquired the watch while stationed overseas. Included in the sale is a note from the family of Sgt. Nelson, a couple photographs of him, and the original, yellowed crystal.
The condition of this early Minerva monopusher is excellent. The case remains untouched and unpolished, with normal wear from use throughout. The dial is very attractive, with no major wear or damage, and an even patina throughout. The watch retains its original radium lume on both dial and hands (with the exception of the minute hand, which had previously been relumed, and has since been professionally color-matched).