Vintage KIENZLE ‘Cosmopolitan’ diving watch in amazing condition, with a fascinating history. The watch features a 70’s style tonneau shaped case with rotating bezel, and a dial with original lume.
The history of this timepiece runs alongside Warrant Officer R. V. Cray, who can be found first mentioned in the 17th February 1981 issue of the London Gazette, under number 23674701 in the Royal Armoured Corps section. The section announces that Roger Valentine Cray, the owner the this timepiece, had ascended to the ranking of Warrant Officer I (W.O.I) from his previous rankings of 2nd Lieutenant with seniority (1976) and Lieutenant with seniority (1978). In the British Army, there are two warrant ranks, warrant officer class 2 (WO2) and warrant officer class 1 (WO1), the latter being the senior of the two. A warrant officer (WO) in the British Armed Forces is a member of the highest group of non-commissioned ranks, holding the Queen’s (or King’s) warrant, which is signed by the Secretary of State for Defence. The section also lists his personal number as 511441, from which more records can be found, unveiling further information about this man.
Cray is next mentioned in the 6th October 1987 issue of the London Gazette, under the Royal Armoured Corps section where his name is listed along with his personal number and the initials “R.H” – a ranking indication perhaps? Again, his name and number appear in the 5th July 1988 issue, this time with “Major” next to his initials. Finally, the last mention of R.V Cray appears in the London Gazette in the 6th October 1992 issue, where it is announced that “Major R. V. Cray (511441) R. H. retires on retired pay, 1st October 1992.” These titbits of information indicate to us that this man, a high ranking and highly respected military officer, lived a full life in service to Great Britain. Perhaps his watch, which has survived him by many years, was given as a gift upon his retirement.
Here, we have a fabulous German-Swiss diver in a compressible stainless steel case, with a beautiful black-blue-fade rotating bezel, perfect dial, and robust automatic movement. Despite its age, it is 3 ATM waterproof, and in top condition. This timepiece comes with its original strap, which has been cleaned. The strap in itself is a valuable collectors item, as it corresponds to the colours of the Warrant Officer uniform. Thus, keep this accessory for your collection, and we will provide a new, high-quality strap for free in case you wish to wear the watch daily. What more could you want from such an interesting piece? All that’s missing is some interesting history… Oh wait, we have that too!
The watch is all original, fully corresponding the vintage advertising poster.
About Kienzle Uhrenfabriken
Kienzle is a fairly popular clock brand from Germany, and this watch is produced by its Swiss luxury division. Since the 1920’s Kienzle has avoided classical clock designs and instead created a number of new and futuristic clocks based on the Bauhaus and modernist styles. Kienzle even had a mobile boutique in the 1930’s – a truck with a real shop and showroom mounted on it!
Kienzle Uhren GmbH was Germany’s oldest watchmakers, founded in 1822 in Schwenningen, Germany by master watchmaker Johannes Schlenker. Schlenker’s business was initially in creating handmade cuckoo clocks (black forest clocks), until 1883 when Jakob Kienzle married into the family and expanded the company.
From 1894, with the help of industrialised mass-production, pre-made, standardised individual parts and openwork circuit boards were used to reduce the amount of material used and thus limit the cost of alarm and wall clocks. Then, in 1897 Jakob Kienzle became the sole owner of the company, and in 1919 changed the name of the firm from Schlenker & Kienzle to ‘Kienzle Uhrenfabriken’.
Heinrich Möller, a designer at Kienzle, created timeless designs with mechanical clockwork and manual winding which are still very popular items at auctions today, and in the late 1920’s after the merger, Möller was appointed head of the architecture and design office. He designed clocks, such as the famous Kienzle World Clock, Glass Pane Clock, and the Zodiac Clock. Due to his famous designs, Kienzle in Schwenningen became an absolute trendsetter for watch designs of the time. He retired in 1970.
In the 1970’s Kienzle became the official car clock (in dash) for Rolls Royce Corniche cars, convertible and hard top coupes, and Bentley’s. As well as the first ‘Heliomat’ solar watch, and the first quartz movements in 1972.
From the late 1990’s Kienzle has moved groups and headquarters multiple times. In 1997 Kienzle was taken over by the Highway Holdings Group. But only five years later in 2002, Kienzle returned to Germany with the establishment of Kienzle AG. With their headquarters located in Hamburg, Kienzle began to return to their former levels of success.
However, Kienzle had to file for bankruptcy again in 2010, and since 2011, the worldwide trademark rights have belonged to Premier Trademarks AG in Switzerland. An attempt to restart in 2014 resulted in another bankruptcy. There are still around, however, and continue to sell watches under the name Kienzle. However, it is an open question as to whether Kienzle will ever return to being a German brand again.
Servicing and Guarantee
This timepiece has been serviced with full disassembly. There is a 12-month guarantee, subject to the usage and care guidelines. The watch comes with its original strap, which has been cleaned. A new, free strap will also be provided for daily wear.
Case and Strap
- Original, tonneau shaped case.
- Blue rotating bezel.
- Stainless steel case body.
- Acrylic crystal.
- Stainless steel press caseback with military number and “R.V Cray” initials engraving.
- 3 ATM waterproof.
- Original military strap (new strap also provided).
- Width w/o crown 36 mm.
- Width w/ crown 39 mm.
- Full height 44 mm.
- Thickness 11 mm.
- Strap width 18/19 mm.
Dial and Hands
- Original silver-tone dial.
- Thick block style indices with original glowing lume.
- “KIENZLE Swiss” signature below 12 position.
- “Cosmopolitan” signature above 6 position.
- Square date window with border over 3 position.
- Original silver-tone block style hands with original glowing lume.
- Long silver-tone centre seconds hand with yellow lumed arrow shaped tip.
- Swiss-made movement.
- ETA 2472 caliber.
- 21 jewels.
- Date wheel.
- Incabloc shockproof.
- Sunburst finishing of plates and bridges.
- Polished wheels and screws.
- Testing duration: 2 weeks cyclic test.
- Average timekeeping range: 10-30 sec/day.
Servicing and Guarantee
- Fully serviced with disassembly in our Bristol shop.
- Mechanics in full working order.
- Original strap in Warrant Officer uniform colours (cleaned).
- New, free high-quality strap for daily wear.
- 12-month guarantee.
- Guarantee Terms and Conditions.
Links and Resources:
Information about R.V. Cray in The London Gazette (links in chronological order):