Lemania cal.5100 1980s West German Air Force & NATO Military Chronograph

Even if the exterior of a vintage watch is from a famous brand, the movement inside does not necessarily belong to that brand.

The watches used by the West German Air Force and NATO forces that I will be talking about today also fall into this category.

After all, the exterior of the watch and the movement are separate.

And as expected, Lemania is the brand used in military movements of this era.

Many people may know the watch brand Sinn, but not the brand Lemania.

Today, we will introduce you to the Lemania movement and five brands that use it.

The article is divided into five parts

1. Characteristics of Lemania movements

2. About Orfina/Porsche Design

3. Features of the Sinn 156 Chronograph

4. Features of the Tutima 798 Chronograph

5. Features of Arctus/Tengler Chronographs

6. What are NATO military watches?

It is as follows.

All five of these watches are military-grade, meaning that their technical parts (movements) are essentially the same.

The back cover is engraved with "BUND" representing the German Air Force.

Both brands have "BUND" written on the back, which is an abbreviation of the German word "Bundeswehr" (Bondeswear), which means the German Federal Armed Forces.

Some of these watches were supplied to the West German Air Force, and some were marked NATO to NATO forces (military forces of countries other than Germany).

First, let me explain about Lemania, which is not a watch exterior manufacturer, but whose movements are used in all of the watches introduced here.


The Swiss company Lemania was founded in 1884 by Alfred Lugrin.

Lemania has become extremely famous worldwide for producing stopwatches, repeating watches and chronographs.

One iconic watch is the Omega Speedmaster, equipped with a Lemania movement, which was the first watch to fly to the moon.

Lemania cal.5100

Lemania cal.5100

The Lemania cal. 5100 movement was produced from the early 1970s until late 2002.

The exact number of units produced is unknown, but the main

1. Omega

2. Orfina

3. Heuer

4. Gin

5. Chutima

6. Fortis

Used by major brands such as

Lemania has always been a manufacturer of military watch movements, and has had a long history of doing business with the Royal Air Force.

For more details, please see here:

For these reasons, the robustness, accuracy, readability, and long life that have become evident over the years meet the standards required by the military, and the watch has been loved as a military watch in many countries.

Although it was not for military use, it is well known that Professor Reinhard Furrer, who successfully carried out Germany's first Spacelab mission in the harsh environment of outer space, wore a Sinn 142 equipped with the Lemania cal. 5100 in 1985.

Today, watches equipped with the Lemania caliber 5100 have become highly sought-after collector's items.

Lemania has now changed its name to "Manufacture Breguet" and is Breguet's exclusive movement manufacturer, conducting research and development of movements.

Now let's take a look at the watches adopted by the West German Air Force and NATO forces.

Orfina Porsche Design Chronograph

Porsche Design by Orfina Lemania cal.5100 chronograph

Orfina SA was founded in Grenchen, Switzerland in 1922, but was still a relatively unknown watch brand at the time.

However, its popularity increased dramatically when it received an order to produce Porsche Design's first watch.

Porsche Design is only responsible for the design, and the manufacturing is outsourced to another company.

Porsche Design by Orfina Lemania cal.5100 chronograph catalog

From 1979, the company began manufacturing and supplying watches to the German Allied forces, particularly to air force pilots.

orfina porsche design

All versions of the Porsche Design chronographs issued to the German Allied forces had the word Military on the dial.

Additionally, below the date display is the inscription " Porsche Design ."

Generally, it just says "Porsche Design," but in rare cases, you'll also see the words " Porsche Design by Orfina" or "Chronograph."

In addition, those issued to the German Allied forces had a 3H mark circled in red.

This means that tritium is used in the luminous paint.

However, just because it has the word "Military" and the "3H" marking does not mean that it is a 100% military chronograph.

Although it was only for a short period of time, these two characteristics were also seen in products sold to the general public.

The case back has the letter BUND and the reference number 6645-12-182-1763, proving it was issued to the German Allied forces.

We will explain the meaning of each number.

The first "6645" in the NATO code represents measuring and testing equipment, with clocks designated as "45." The next "12" is the country code for Germany.

The next three or four digits are numbers issued by the supply department when the military procures supplies, and the lower the numbers, the older the item.

12=German Bundeswehr

It means that · · ·

・Case = Stainless steel / 41mm

・Windshield = Sapphire glass

・Water resistance: 10atm

Arctos Military Chronograph

Arktos Military Chronograph

Arktos is a Swiss watch company.
Although not much information remains, the company's advanced technology was recognised and it was asked by the German Ministry of Defense to manufacture watches for pilots.

Arktos military chronographs were issued to German Allied forces and pilots from 1982 onwards.

・Case = Stainless steel / Width 40mm, Height 15mm

・Windshield = Sapphire glass

Tutima Military Chronograph 798

Tutima Military Chronograph 798

"When pilots are faced with a life-or-death decision in the air, we want them to make the most of their one chance to make the right choice."

This was the ambition that Tutima had in mind when they created the Military Chronograph 798.

The predecessor of Tutima, Glashütte Tutima, has a history of supplying chronographs to the German Air Force during World War II.

For more information about Tutima, please watch this video:

Therefore, the company possessed watchmaking skills and was again adopted by the German Federal Armed Forces in 1983.

What is distinctive about this watch is that the maker's kindness is embodied in the rounded case shape.

It seems that the case was designed like this on purpose, to prevent it from getting caught and breaking during vigorous movements in the narrow cockpit, and thereby causing injury.

・Case = Stainless steel / Width 43mm, Height 15mm

・Windshield = Sapphire glass

・Water resistance: 10atm

Sinn 156

Sinn 156

The Sinn 156 was built in 1987 by company president Sinn Helmut for supply to the German Air Force.

Jin Helmut

By the way, Sinn is still a relatively new company in the watch industry, having been founded in 1961, and Helmut was alive until 2018.

He made full use of his accumulated knowledge (he had been overhauling German Air Force watches such as Heuer for several years) and connections to create the Sinn 156.

Combining the best of the legendary Heuer 1550SG BUND, Leonidas and Zenith, the Sinn 156 was born, combining the latest movement with classic design.

However, at this time, supplies to the German Air Force were not forthcoming.

・Case = Stainless steel / Width 43mm, height 15.5mm

・Waterproof up to 10atm

・Windshield = Plexiglas

Tengler 5100 Chrono


Approximately 550 were issued to the German Allied Forces since 1990.

Of these 550, 513 are numbered and the remaining 37 are said to be unnumbered.

What makes Tengler different from the other four companies is that its watches were not made for the Air Force, but for the artillery corps.

・Case = Stainless steel / Width 40mm

What are NATO military watches?

After researching various information, I found out that NATO military watches were basically sourced from Swiss watch brands, and when necessary, they also commissioned German brands to manufacture them.

However, France is a NATO member state and has companies such as Dodanne and Auricost, which have deep ties with the military and advanced watchmaking techniques, so I didn't understand why they didn't ask them to also manufacture the watches.

NATO forces is the collective name for the armed forces of each country.

That is, the military forces of NATO member states.

NATO military relationship diagram

Among them, there are the German army, the French army, and the Swedish army.

When necessary, NATO can issue commands to the military forces of its member countries.

It may not only be issued to one country, but to several countries at the same time.

In other words, when an order comes from NATO, a new NATO watch is needed.

Therefore , the items issued at that time had NATO codes on them.


Today, I explained about an automatic chronograph equipped with a Lemania movement from the 1980s that was issued to the West German Air Force and NATO forces.

I also made a video about Heuer and realized that the oval shape was the cutting edge of design at that time!

Both antique and vintage have connotations of the past, but to put it mildly, this watch doesn't feel like an old watch, and I feel that it is still a cutting-edge design.

Manual-winding chronographs are nice, but automatic chronographs also have a coolness that evokes the era.