Jardur Chronograph

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Thread: Jardur Chronograph

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    Oct 2008
    Bristol, UK
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    Default Jardur Chronograph

    The Jardur Company of 874 Broadway, New York were a manufacture of 'Navigation Instruments’ as well as importers of the Jardur Bezelmeter and Super Flightmaster aviation wrist watches and chronographs.

    In the early days of commercial flight someone had to provide the navigational instruments, log books, charts, navigational aids and elapsed time recorders to make long distance flight possible and Jardur were one of those companies. I contacted AOAPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) to find out about Jardur as I had seen them referenced by pilots as their ‘flight watch of choice’ including B-29 Pilots during WWII as well as amateur pilots of the period.

    I first came across the Jardur chronographs about 7 years ago when I was reading a book about the 'Bush pilots' of the first half of the last century, this was a hardy bunch of people who pioneered postal mail networks in South America, delivered provisions to miners in Australia’s outback and who lost their lives crashing in the arctic while trying to rendezvous with an ice bound schooner carrying furs from Siberia.

    Pilots like Harold Gillham one of Alaska's first bush pilots who had a rhyme written about travelling in his open cockpit of his Curtiss HS-SL 1919.

    " He Thrill em, Chill em, Spill em, But no Killem Gillham."
    Killem Gillham

    jardur box.JPG

    I have seen them sold from Australia to Canada and from Africa to the USA. Always from an out of the way address, way North Canada, North Africa, Outback Australia and the Midwest USA. Places were this kind of aviation 'tool' would have been used and then left in a draw. It is difficult in Britain to capture the importance of correct timing as a navigational aid at a time when if you ran out of fuel in Montana you may be over 200 miles in any direction from the nearest person.

    I have also seen these watches sold having come from the estates of US Flying Fortress Pilots based over here in the UK during WWII and one date engraved from 1945 belonging to a Mustang P51 pilot. SEE a letter from a satisfied customer here:


    Essentially I believe that this is the watch that was used by pilots everywhere at that time as their log books, flight computers and Navigational Plotters were often from Jardur or Jardur - Warner as they became...........

    This watch is a real piece of Aviation History as well as being a very beautiful object!

    This is a large watch particularly for one that is 60 + years old, watches just weren't made this big then but now it is just right.

    The case is a very sturdy and solid stainless steel design, flat industrial brushed sides with diving polished lugs underside of which one lug has the case number 844, something you don't see very much but a feature of several pre War military watches including the Czech Longines. The bezel has a sharp coin edge that is perfect and is brushed and engraved with Arabic 12 hour, filled in black with the aviation symbol triangle in red at 12 o'clock. The case back is the only one I have seen which is snap back but then the Super Flight Master watches I have seen normally have a val.72 movement and a large screw in case back. I think this is an early one as they moved from the sharper lugged 2 register 'Lemania' movement watches to the newer waterproof design.

    remember at this time notched screw down case backs were unusual as hardly any watches were deemed waterproof. When this watch was disassembled for servicing my watchmaker called me and asked me to pop in to see the watch stripped down. What amazed me was that the 3 areas were water could egress were the holes for the crown/stem and the chronograph pushers. Well on this watch there are tubed shoulders soldered into the holes made in the case by the extraneous function buttons. The tubes created for the pushers and crown stem are lined with ‘cork’!! Yes cork to keep them Waterproof.

    Hence the dial claim 'Waterproof', so yes that's right after 60 odd years the cork lining that was molded onto the interior of the protective shoulders is still there to this day.

    Dimensions: Width 38mm (without crown) Depth 14mm Length 45.5mm

    The watch has a beautiful movement, a yellow gilt valjoux 71 12 hour manual wind chronograph the forerunner of one of the best movements of all time. The movement is very clean and has never had any rust with just a slight discolouring of the gilt which is to be expected with a watch of this age. My watchmaker has serviced this watch and it is running fine.

    Now the dial of this watch is something else, to begin with you hardly ever see the dial in this condition, this watch is essentially a 12 hour recording chronograph with 30 minute elapsed time recorder on the right. It also can track a second time zone with the 24 hour bezel by setting an offset to the hour hand of the actual time. These things are essential to a pilot from that area for both calculating way points for fuel stops and setting the 2nd time zone for crossing from one to another.

    The dial is gloss black with the registers being both sunken and riven so as to show contrast at an angle making them stand out on the complicated dial. The light colour printing is in a pale gold guilt which includes a Tachymetre on the outside edge and 60 sec counter around the centre including the sub-dials. The Arabic numbers were made of solid lume and have aged into a mellow Khaki which looks fantastic against the guilt.

    The final amazing part of the dial is that it has a marked 180 degrees ring like a protractor which I can imagine would give you a heading while using the watch as a rough compass aimed at the sun. Just amazing!

    This watch also has the nicest hands of any watch from the mid century ear I have ever seen, reminiscent of the Smiths aircraft clocks these hands are known as Cathedral hands with a tear drop nose on the hour hand. Easy to see and in incredible condition.

    This is a fantastic watch for both the horological and the aviation enthusiast.
    Last edited by ATG; 06-03-2014 at 11:50.
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