Antique chromium plated brass French aircraft altimeter, 3¾” struck silvered brass dial with twin concentric scales, the rotating outer with a range from 0–5000 metres with thousand metre stations in red divided to 200 metre intervals and a resolution of 20 metres, 0 and 5,000 metres marked in red. The inner scale graduated from 44-78 cm of mercury. The upper centre dial marked “Compensé.” Broad blued-steel pointer set beneath bevelled glass. Unusual well-constructed high quality rack type movement driven by a deep 2” diameter compensated capsule, constructed in lacquered brass of “pyramid” form, the top “A” plate or cock raised on three pillars with bushes supporting both the rack and arbour, the mid frame with corresponding bushing having primary lever to its underside and supported to one end on twin pillars, the other free floating, tensioned on a coil spring adjuster and secured laterally on twin guides. The whole raised on a substantial circular spun chassis, stamped with number ‘5000.’ Solid drum pattern case having engine turned decoration with stem and altitude setting crown positioned at 3 o’clock, the rear with compensation screw.
Contained in its original brown leather sandwich type case having four circumferentially spaced “D” rings for spring suspension, twin closing straps on press studs, and replacement leather tether (hinge) strap.
The dial with minor marks and oxidation, the glass with minor abrasions, the brass case with some losses to chromium finish. The leather case sound with good colour, lacking its lining and with signs of shrinkage, some marks and discoloration. The instrument, which has been inspected and serviced, is in good working order.
Although the instrument is unsigned, the dial is identical to, and the case pattern very similar to, those produced by Naudet (see WWI FRENCH MILITARY AVIATION ALTIMETER BY NAUDET c1915), whilst the movement bears many close similarities to the special rack-type movements produced by Richard Frères. Bearing in mind that this instrument was produced during WWI, this is not surprising and may be the reason for its anonymity.
A very rare and most attractive collector’s piece.
Dimensions: 4″ diameter x 1¾” deep
Stock No: BA0443