Prussia – Pocket Watch – Commemerating Kaiser Wilhelm II – Awarded to Lieutenant Max Nather
This is an incredible pocket watch and fob chain which was awarded by Kaiser Wilhelm II to an Air Service pilot Leutnant Max Näther (1899-1919).
Näther saw service earlier on the ground where he won both the !914 Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class and was wounded. He joined the army in 1914 at the age of fifteen. Due to his heroism he was promoted to Leutnant der Reserve at the age of seventeen. He then volunteered for the Air Service. He was posted to Jasta 62 and would remain with that squadron until the end of the war. During his service he was wounded and would become the Jasta commander.
He would achieve a total of twenty-six aerial victories. Sixteen against airplanes and ten balloons. He was one of the leading German pilots in the shooting down of balloons. In early October he had achieved twenty victories and was nominated for the Orden Pour le Mérite. This was not acted on due to the closing weeks of the war. He did however receive the Knights Cross with Swords of the Hohenzollern House Order (KCHHO). Interestingly on 29 October 1918 he shot down three airplanes to conclude with twenty-six victories. He was killed shortly after the end of the war while fighting in the post war political turmoil.
The watch has a scalloped case as opposed to more traditional case It was produced by the noted German watch making firm of Glashütte which made the finest watches in Germany and easily rivaled the best of the Swiss watch makers. The outside of the watch has an impressive enameled image of Kaiser Wilhelm II in the uniform of a Generalfeldmarschall. As you open this outer lid you see the face of the watch which has the name of the watch maker on it. There is also a small dial with a second sweep hand. The watch does run but I cannot speak to its accuracy.
This is an amazing time piece which was presented to a pilot who had an impressive record and was on the cusp of being awarded the Orden Pour le Mérite and would most likely have been awarded the coveted decoration had his nomination been made earlier or had the war lasted longer.
It is in mint condition and would make a superb addition to any collection.