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AUREL VLAICU’s Watch

The Aviation Museum
from Bucharest has in its patrimony the pocket watch that belonged to Aurel Vlaicu. A piece that is even more interesting as, from the narrations of his niece, Valeria Vlaicu,  who also offered it to the Museum, at the time of the unfortunate accident, the watch was in the pocket of the famous aviator.

The pocket watch is made by a well-known Swiss manufacturer at the beginning of the
XXth century – Tavannes Watch Company, functioned in different structure during 1890-1966. Founded by Henri Sandoz, an important name in the history of horology, the company becomes the biggest manufacturer of that epoch after the merging with Cyma.

The model that belonged to Aurel Vlaicu is probably made sometime during 1900-1905 and considering the “note” that can be seen engraved on the movement “1907 VA” (1907 Vlaicu Aurel), the possibility of being even from 1907 is not excluded!

ceas Aurel Vlaicu | 1

The watch’s case, “open-face” type, is made of 0.800 silver and has inside the specific Swiss marking “coq de bruyere/wood grouse” (Rom. cocosul de munte) and also the series - 275301. Very interesting is the fact that on the back cover, the monogram of the famous aviator was engraved, in its center can be distinguished the letters A and V “superimposed”! Surely this engraving was made ulterior to the watch’s acquisition. As in 1907 Aurel Vlaicu was ending its studies at the University of Munich – Germany, it is highly probable that the acquisition was made in this period.

The dial of this watch is made of porcelain, the hours are marked with Roman figures and at the exterior the minutes are marked with Arabic figures. Central on the dial, under 12:00 hours, the manufacturer Tavannes Watch Co. is marked.

ceas Aurel Vlaicu | 2

The watch’s movement that is twice marked Tavannes Watch Co., has been preserved in a better condition than the case. On the movement is marked its series – 575344, also personalized by the mention of
„1907 VA”. Unfortunately, there are no records kept in the archives about the manufacturing years of the Tavannes movements that could have helped to a more precise dating of its manufacturing.
An important detail is also the mentioning on the movement of a Swiss patent certificate – 12019, which was laid-down by the founder of the company – Henri Sandoz on 4th.august.1896 and which was referring to an own reinforcement / adjustment solution with the aid of an assembly driven by the watch’s crown.
The movement is one with 15 rubies, bimetallic balance with compensatory screws and micro-regulator for a fine adjustment of its functioning and chatons fixed in screws to the central wheel and to the hairspring arbor. These details usually accompany (but even more during those times) the watches to which the precise functioning is given by a quality movement.

Despite the condition in which the watch presents itself nowadays, but considering the personality of its owner, Aurel Vlaicu’s watch is even more remarkable since it represents a “document”, a “recorder” of an important moment in the history of Romanian aviation.

Sources:

1. Aurel Vlaicu’s portrait: picture through the amiability of aviation historian Dan Antoniu 
2. Copy of the patent certificate no. 12019: Horology International Museum | “Human and Time” Institute Research Center | La Chaux-du-Fond, Switzerland.

With thanks for their support to the aviation historian - Dan Antoniu, to the Romanian Aviation Museum from Bucharest, director - commander Paul George Sandachi and professor - Sorin Turturica, but also to my colleague from ceasornicar.ro – Ciprian Ganea.

Aurel Vlaicu | 1882-1913
Aurel Vlaicu | 1882-1913

[1] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[1] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[2] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[2] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[3] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[3] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[4] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[4] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[5] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[5] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[6] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[6] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[7] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[7] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[8] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[8] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[9] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[9] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

[10] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch
[10] Aurel Vlaicu’s watch

brevet no. 12019 | pag.1
brevet no. 12019 | pag.1

brevet no. 12019 | pag.2
brevet no. 12019 | pag.2

brevet no. 12019 | pag.3
brevet no. 12019 | pag.3






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