Vintage: LEMANIA „KM” Chronograph – ultrarare find of Kriegsmarine (German WW2 marine) watch

Vintage: LEMANIA „KM” Chronograph – ultrarare find of Kriegsmarine (German WW2 marine) watch

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My love for watches has allowed me to meet many interesting collectors who sometimes own truly rare and precious timepieces from times long gone.  It is time for a mega rare find, at this point, only two such watches are known, with a rumour of a third one which I have not seen in person.

This watch type was detected by a military watch collector with over 20 years experience.  He has focused his efforts on finding rare military watches for decades.  While this may sound exciting which it truly is, it is all but easy and simple.

You cannot just go and buy anything you see on Ebay or elsewhere.  Military watches are no less a minefield than any other vintage watches have become by now.


About 10 years ago, this collector acquired one of the Lemania Chronographs with Caliber 15-TL.  The watch was in beautiful condition with stunning patina, original dial and lume on hands and dial.  While this may not sound like anything special, the watch had something he had never seen before.


The special thing about this timepiece is that you find the two letters “KM” printed underneath the Lemania company logo which is without doubt an expression for “German Kriegsmarine”, the world war 2 marine unit of the German military.


Considering that the watch does not have any military markings whatsoever, I think it is safe to date it just before 1939.  After 1939, these watches were regularly bought by the military and always had the markings to identify them.  So this watch was acquired by the military before they had regular transactions between the Swiss and Germans.
Watches from the “German Kriegsmarine” belong to the rarest collectible timepieces you can imagine.
Wristwatches of the military especially the marines belong to the rarest pieces.  While lower duty wore watches from brands like Selza, Siegerin, Zentra, Berg etc. there were also chronographs from Hanhart. The “Hanhart KM” single pusher chronograph with a bezel that turns and a telemeter dials is also quite rare.  It was most likely worn by high ranked marine officers.

In addition, Hanhart chronographs were used by the “Luftwaffe” as well.  Regular provision started around 1940/41 or later for these watches. Some pocket chronographs are also known.

The Lemania chronograph does not have any writing or engraving on the caseback as opposed to German made watches from Hanhart. The only sign indicating military provenance is the KM writing on the dial.  There are no signs of a military stock number anywhere to be found.  However, the printing method of the KM writing is exactly the same as the rest on the dial.  There is no doubt about it under a loupe or highresolution photograph.  This is further proof of authenticity of the KM writing.


Lemania chronographs were used by the German military, especially the marine and “Luftwaffe” before the later regular provision.  It is known, that the “Luftwaffe” used them before regular provision kicked in which led to the use of Hanhart and Tutima chronographs.  Diverse watchmanufacturers like Lemania, Minerva, Universal Geneve, Leonidas u.a. were used as well.  The movement and casenumber of the “Lemania KM” lead to believe that it was made and acquired in the late 1930s.


Not too long ago we detected a second example of the “Lemania KM”.  However, the other watch which is not pictured here has a casesize of “only” 36mm while this model here has a casesize around 37mm to 37.5mm.  Both watches have the flat caseback comparable to the “RLM” watches.  Both have flat pushers and cathedral hands which we know from Hanhart and others as well.


We are curious if there are more of these watches out there than the two we know?


We know that there are Lemania chronographs without the “KM” marking.  They are actually not too rare.


So I hope that this blogpost will help us find other collectors who may own a “KM” Lemania Chronograph?  Message us please if you do.




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