Flieger: The Original Pilot Watch

During the 1930’s the German government commissioned the development of a timepiece, specifically for aviators. These timekeepers known as B-Uhr watches (short for Beobachtungs-Uhren) were initially huge at 55mm, utilising pocket watch movements. They featured the all-important hacking feature (the ability to stop and synchronise the second hand) and had a soft iron Faraday cage, protecting them from magnetism, a common problem in cockpits.

The word Flieger was adopted by the watch enthusiast community, and referred to the style of watch first defined by the B-Uhr watches. Characteristics of these watches are an ultra-readable dial with white Arabic numerals, a black dial and sword hands. A large ‘onion’ shaped crown aided the aviator while wearing heavy flight gloves, and a thick rivetted strap kept the watch secure over said gloves.

These distinct military watches now share the same collectability as the Dirty Dozen watches from the same era. Only 5 watch companies were contracted to produce these timepieces. These were Stowa, Wempe, Laco, A. Lange & Söhne and IWC. IWC was the only Swiss company of these, having neutral status during the war.

The first B-Uhren specified watch was labeled ‘Type-A’, and had a triangle with two dots at 12h, 1-11 hour numerals, and minute/second track.

In 1941 ‘Type-B’ was developed, with a more technical dial design. The minutes/seconds were called out in increments of 5 while the shorter hour hand pointed to an inner track with numerals 1 to 12.

On the side of the watch case was an identification number beginning with FL for ‘Flieger’ which thus became the name defining the genre.

in 2023 Draken created a Flieger ‘Type-A’ inspired watch under the Aoraki series. You could say that this was a mash-up between ‘Flieger’ and ‘Dirty-Dozen‘ as the watch featured a small seconds sub-dial at 6h. Coincidentally the Aoraki also features an anti-magnetic Faraday cage and is a much more werable size at 39mm.

This March we will be releasing the Peregrine, Draken’s original pilot-style watch. Our original Peregrine dial design will be back, with adjusted proportions and the new power reserve indicator moved to the bottom.

We have also added a second dial design, in the style of a Flieger ‘Type-B’. Both dial versions will be available in black and full-lume, the latter glowing blue thanks to a thick application of Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9.

You’ll notice that the crown on the Peregrine is on the left. This was a result of rotating the movement 180° to bring the power reserve indicator down to the 6h position. Wear it on the left for a completely unobstructed wrist, or on the right to free up your dominant hand (for us leftys).



  1. Nico Labuschagne

    Awesome blog, thanks for the easily digestible content. Eagerly awaiting the Peregrine release!

    1. Thanks for the feedback Nico!

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