There was a time when zeppelin pilots were as admired as astronauts were years later. The interwar period was when the first quick and comfortable air journeys took place, and Hans von Schiller was one of the pilots navigating the airships.
Hans von Schiller was a zeppelin captain at a time when simply mentioning the profession filled people with awe. A pioneer in air tourism, he flew over the Arctic and crossed the Atlantic to the United States and South America countless times.
In 1929, Hans von Schiller was aboard the famous German airship, the LZ 127, named Graf Zeppelin. The 236-metre-long airship travelled around the world in 12 and a half days. Accompanying him in the cockpit were two Longines instruments. At the end of this extraordinary voyage, the captain congratulated Longines by telegram for the accuracy and reliability of the chronometers and donated the historic pieces to what would later become the Longines Museum.
Longines also equipped the largest commercial airship ever made which was assigned a regular route between the United States and Europe: the famous LZ 129 Hindenburg. The zeppelin offered dozens of passengers the comfort of an ocean liner at a cruising speed of 80 mph (130 km/h). The main room even had a piano. The cockpit was equipped with three Longines chronometers, displaying legal time, Greenwich time and Greenwich sidereal time. Unfortunately, this zeppelin had a fatal accident in 1937. Hans von Schiller managed to survive as he missed the departure, due to a delay in his previous trip…
The Graf Zeppelin
cockpit was equipped with
Longines instruments featuring the
24.41 calibre. They showed local and Greenwich sidereal time respectively
on 24-hour dials
with an 8-day power reserve. Modified versions of the calibre flew in the
LZ 129 Hindenburg.