1973 LEMANIA Cal. 1872 Military Pilots Chronograph (South African Air Force)

In the early to mid 1970s, Lemania produced this specific timepiece for the Swedish Air Force as well as the the South African Air Force. There are very few examples of this specific timepieces available as between the years of 1971-1976 approximately 630 examples of this specific reference were ever produced based on our extensive research. Half of the watches produced were issued to the Swedish Air Force, and the other half to the South African Air Force. 

rbassson: provides the full history of South African Air Force Watches on his site which is packed full of information about the history and usage of watches by the South African Air Force : http://rbasson.wix.com/saafwatches#!lemania-cal-1872

This model came in two different dial patterns and bezel patterns. The earlier examples had fine and small font used for the numbers except for the 12 and 6 on the dial, and also had lume dots outside of each number around the dial, the earlier version of the dial also possessed a broad arrow just above the 6 o'clock position with a circled T just below the 12 o'clock position denoting the use of Tritium lume on the dial, also present was SWISS MADE which was placed on the dial under the outside of the minute track at the 6 o'clock position. The tritium lume was only used on the lume dots next to each number but fully filled the 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock numbers only.

The later dial variant had a bold font and did not have the broad arrow above the 6 o'clock position on the dial. The numbers are much larger and the sub dials at the 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions "cover" the 3 and 9 so that they are only partially visible. The large numbers on the dial are fully lumed and the minute track has been updated to show the minutes at all marked positions increasing the functionality of the watch when using the chronograph function. The earlier versions were far more sterile in look and in over all design and did not possess the gauge like look and feel like the later model such as the one we have featured here at Craft and Tailored. The later dial variant also denotes the use of tritium lume at 6 o'clock position outside the minute track with T SWISS MADE T

The main difference between the Swedish (SWAF) and the South African Variants (SAAF) is the rotating bezel the SWAF version had a bakelite type bezel similar to what would be found on early Omega Seamaster references, And the SAAF version had an anodized aluminum bezel as seen in the pictures below
(Photo Credit: http://www.thewatchspot.co.uk)

(Photo: Showing SAAF & SWAF Bezel Variance)

The one thing that both variants have in common is the crosshatched winding crown more commonly found on the super compressor dive watches of the late 60's and early 70's. The crosshatched crown is specific to the 1872 as well as the Lamina 817 case reference itself.

Although Lemania did produce a few similar timepieces that were ultimately rebranded by other companies and used similar Lemania movements like the  Wakmann ref. 817, the Selectron Chronograph Swiss, and the 1970's Tissot Navigator. The 1872 reference has a direct line to the Swedish Air Force and South African Air Force. As research shows no civilian models of the Lemania Cal. 1872 was commercially available to the civilian market. 

Stock # LMPC1970
Brand Lemania
Style 1872 Military Pilots Chronograph
Model Ref. 1872
Size Men's
Material SS
Dial Black
Millimeters 41mm
Bracelet O.D. Green Premium NATO Strap



The case is in original and unpolished condition showing original geometric chamfers on the thick lugs that are specific to this Lemania produced case. The aluminum bezel has faded evenly from black to a wonderful grey and posses the rare and highly sought after the ghost look. The military serial numbers have unfortunately faded from the back of the case as the SAAF engravings were light surface engravings. The watch will be supplied on a Craft & Tailored premium NATO strap in olive drab green.



This specific Lemania 1872 possesses the later dial variant which has a stunning matte black base and a bold tritium lumed font. The lume on the dial and hands is matching and has aged to a charming custard like creamy yellow. The dial is in original condition and has gained a wonderful and light patina.  The white minute track shows the minutes at all marked positions unlike the earlier dial variants and at the 6 o'clock position outside the minute track with the dial is signed with T SWISS MADE T  noting the use of tritium in the lume.


None. Watch was recently serviced and is running at COSC spec. This watch comes with a 1 year warranty on movement service.