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  • Writer's pictureHelvetia History

Named Helvetia Pilot's Watch

This watch, though very different to the pocket watch posted below, also has a name inscribed inside and again I thought I would attempt to research who the owner may have been.


The watch is the smaller 37mm version version of Helvetia's Pilot Watch with the Helvetia 81-24 movement.



The watch was in pretty rough condition but the inscription was intriguing.


30.6.39

A.S.

Hilscher. V.

Zlin


The serial number of the watch dates it to 1939 so that ties in well with the inscription.


Zlin is a city in the Czech republic and we know Helvetia Pilots watches were sold in 1930s Czecholslovakia. Here is a still from the 1939 Czech film 'The Magic House' showing one being worn by a motorcycle rider.



The name Hilscher however is apparently German in origin and as the date of the watch is following the German occupation I though I would also have a look for a German connection.


Searching for the name on the internet the only contemporary Hilscher I found was the following:


Unteroffizier Viktor Hilscher a BF109 pilot born in 1921 and killed in 1944.


I decided to research the town of Zlin to understand why it might be that a young Luftwaffe pilot may have been there in 1939 and found that the Zlin Aircraft Company produced gliders in the 1930s and devloped a ligh aircraft for training. There was an interesting note on the company's website -


"The airport became the place where German trained new crews for the Luftwaffe and because they needed training aircraft for primary training, the documentation of klemm Kl35B was provided for the production under licence."


Viktor Hilscher would have been 18 in June 1939 perhaps just the right age to be one of the first Luftwaffe crews trained at Zlin.


One thing that puzzles me is the A.S. under the date. Initially I though these were his initials but there is definitely a V after the surname. Perhaps they stand for a rank or appointment or maybe they relate to the date (they seem to be positioned a bit nearer to the date than the name) perhaps a first solo or passing out? If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

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