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Old 7th Apr 2017, 13:47   #1 (permalink)


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SAS Watches / Memorabilia

Hi guys

I hope you can help me on my hunt. I'm a vintage watch collector in search of the a Universal Geneve Polerouter watch officially-issued to SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) Pilots & Crews that had the SAS insignia / logo on the dial.

Those lucky enough to have found the watch got it from people related to SAS pilots and crew from the 1950s to 1960s.

Below are pictures of the said watch. Hoping for help and leads. Thanks!
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a616 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th Apr 2017, 20:23   #2 (permalink)
 
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Why would SAS give flight crews a watch ?

My former employer gave all employees (AFAIK) a watch at 20 years of service...a nice but rather ordinary Hamilton with no visible markings indicating the employer.

Would the watch you're looking for be the same idea perhaps ?
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Old 9th Apr 2017, 18:39   #3 (permalink)
 
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Some articles on the Polerouter (aka Polarouter in early models) and the SAS issued watches:

A Brief History of the Universal Geneve Polerouter

Polerouter - polerouter story

Old School- Universal Geneve Polerouter

Later Polerouters have a gorgeous calibre with the microrotor, Côtes de Genève and Incabloc shock protection. However, it looks like the original SAS issued watches had less adorned movements and a pendular mass instead of the microrotor:

http://www.polerouter.de/images/coll...uter66-big.jpg
http://www.polerouter.de/images/coll...uter60-big.jpg

You show two different models in the two pictures. One has a date and the enhanced crown. Were both actually given to SAS crews? Or is one a later retail homage model perhaps?

As you know, these collector's watches in high demand often turn out to be redials or frankenwatches made of parts from other models of the era.

SAS was a pioneer in polar air navigation in the 1950's:

https://scandinaviantraveler.com/en/...the-north-pole

Quote:
Originally Posted by a616 View Post
Those lucky enough to have found the watch got it from people related to SAS pilots and crew from the 1950s to 1960s.
This guy says his father was chief flight engineer on the 1954 SAS CPH-LAX (they made stops in Sondrestrom and Winnipeg) inaugural flight, looks like the watch is the one in your left picture:

https://omegaforums.net/threads/1954...larouter.3806/

I'm assuming you've already seen the Polerouter discussion thread linked above. It has publicity shots of the 1954 SAS polar crew with their newly issued watches. It also has a gold Polarouter De Luxe, possibly given to the VIP's on the inaugural flight.

Good luck on your quest, I'm sure some folks here can add more to the story.
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Old 10th Apr 2017, 02:56   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
Why would SAS give flight crews a watch ?
Several of the classic watch brands in the 1950's tied the marketing of their watches to aviation much like Breitling still does today.

Rene-Paul Jeanneret at Rolex is credited with coming up with the concept of the 'tool' watch for different activities although I would argue that sport watches, dress watches and military watches had been around long before that.

In 1954 Pan Am Captain Fred Libby and Jeanneret took a two-timezone Rolex called the Turn-O-Graph and modified it into a watch with an additional 24-hour hand for issue to Pan American flight crews. In 1955 Rolex offered the watch for sale to the public as the GMT-Master.

Now, this is no s**t. Or, should I say once upon a time...

Rolex periodically delivered the issued watches in production batches to Pan Am's headquarters in the Chrysler Building. Inevitably perhaps, some seemed to end up on the wrists of the guys wearing suits rather than uniforms. CEO Juan Trippe noticed and made these folks give the watches back to be worn by the cockpit Sky-Gods. Like Fred Smith in the pre-union FedEx days, Trippe considered his pioneering pilots to be the stars of the company and the executives to be in a supporting role.

To soothe executive egos after the timepieces were confiscated, Trippe had Rolex produce just over a hundred of the new watches with the same movement, case and hands but with a distinctive white dial for issue to the management. These became known as the 'Albino Pan Am GMT-Master' and are obviously extremely rare.

I've seen a recent estimate of $300,000 for one of these pieces in good condition.

I'm thinking that the Polerouter discussed above probably had some similar interesting variants produced after the original issue to the SAS polar pioneers.
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Old 12th Apr 2017, 20:19   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
Like Fred Smith in the pre-union FedEx days, Trippe considered his pioneering pilots to be the stars of the company and the executives to be in a supporting role.
Airbubba,

Well, that kind of thinking is just bizarre, dangerous and must be completely eradicated from the airline industry before it gets out of control...and it appears it has.

You're a really serious watch guy !
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 17:38   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
Airbubba,

Well, that kind of thinking is just bizarre, dangerous and must be completely eradicated from the airline industry before it gets out of control...
That’s a questionable comment, bafanguy.
Were you ever a military pilot ? During my career, watch companies would have arrangements with forces purchasing departments in order to provide reliable timepieces to crews, as well as the added bonus of maybe promoting their wares. Omega used to do it and Seiko still do. Quite legit. and nothing to do with promoting jealousy. Obviously the same applies to the past SAS deal.
Perhaps if you removed your union sunglasses for a moment ?
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 18:54   #7 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Sleeve Wing View Post
That’s a questionable comment, bafanguy.
Were you ever a military pilot ? During my career, watch companies would have arrangements with forces purchasing departments in order to provide reliable timepieces to crews, as well as the added bonus of maybe promoting their wares. Omega used to do it and Seiko still do. Quite legit. and nothing to do with promoting jealousy. Obviously the same applies to the past SAS deal.
Perhaps if you removed your union sunglasses for a moment ?
Uuum, ok. It was just a tongue-in-cheek comment about managements' historic attitudes toward pilots...not buying watches for pilots. I was just goofin' and bein' a wiseguy.

My employer gave us watches too...and the union was complicit in seeing to it I lost a huge chunk of my pension. So...
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 17:40   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bafanguy View Post
Uuum, ok. It was just a tongue-in-cheek comment about managements' historic attitudes toward pilots...not buying watches for pilots. I was just goofin' and bein' a wiseguy.

My employer gave us watches too...and the union was complicit in seeing to it I lost a huge chunk of my pension. So...
OK, pal. Understood.

My union did absolutely nothing too when our Company was sold but without our Pension scheme. There was such a “hole” that it was left in the hands of the Government to sort out. A lot of guys lost a lot of money too.

Ah, the business we would have sold our souls to get into when we started, ….. and ended up doing just that !
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