1940s Helbros Rare Military style Wristwatch with original propaganda box Helvetia cal 82a
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A very attractive Military style wristwatch which we believe not to have been issued. possibly another watch company compeating for a military issue contract but what a stunning watch.
The 82A movement was manufactured from the late 1930s by Helvetia and was almost exclusively used in military style watches including those in the German Army. No specification was found but from the timepieces discovered marked DH in this period, they had 6 indentations in the caseback to allow opening with any tools, they had dials that were black with luminous hands and numerals, with a sub second at 6 and shock protected movements.
This began in 1942. This particular watch has a dial similar to the Helvetia Type 2 DH watch produced for the German army. The cases were chrome plated brass. Helbros watches did end up as DH watches, albeit very rare.
The first theory behind this is that Helbros watch company watches were ordered by and delivered to the German army, therefore marked with a DH number, with case movement etc, supplied by Helvetia, as Helbros were a retailer and did not produce their own cases or movements.
This seems VERY unlikely though as they were a US company and these watches were supplied after the US joined the war. This watch dates to approximately February to October of 1943 as it corresponds with the President of Helbros' very vocal campaign for the support of the war against Germany, with several pushes to sell war bonds including the "Time for victory" campaign.
He was also investigated by the FBI as Helbros had been used to funnel $10,000 from the Soviet embassy in Ottawa to finance a Russian spy ring in Switzerland. The combination of a detailed back and movement markings indicate that this watch was for commercial retail, which would be backed up by the box.
You've got all the classic military features on this watch. Black dial with applied Arabic numerals, painted luminous Arabic numerals , Broad and bold on the dial, screwback case back , military design in every way.
What we think
In addition to the fact that this is a gorgeous example of a vintage watch which could pass as a German Military issue DH piece The founders of Helbros, the Helbein brothers, were born in Russia to a Jewish family before immigrating to the US at a young age. The president of Helbros during the war, William Helbein, was a very vocal supporter of the war against Germany and headed several pushes to sell war bonds including the 'Time for Victory' campaign which look like it ran from February to October 1943. He was also investigated by the FBI as Helbros had been used to funnel $10,000 from the Soviet embassy in Ottawa to finance a Russian spy ring in Switzerland. I think it extremely unlikely that Helbros would be supplying watches to Nazi Germany. In addition, the watches are marked for import to the US which would be odd if they were to be supplied to Germany and if they are part of a contract with Helbros to supply watches to the German Army why have Helbros ignored what seem to be the requirements of that contract for most of these watches with regards to dials, movements etc.
Age : 1940/1950
Specific Age : 1944
Case Size : 33.5mm
Case Thickness : 11mm
Lug to Lug : 38mm
Lugs : 18mm
Condition : Pre-Owned
Box & Papers : original box
Case Material : chrome front Stainless Steel back
Service History : Our 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty
Brand : Helbros
SKU : AWCHE1318
Case Size : 33mm