Before getting to the dials, the case of the 1939 is visually similar to that of the 1947 model that I took an in-depth look at here, coming in slightly larger at 41 x 49 x 13mm, and with a different crystal shape, which is domed rather than boxed. That said, the general form is still the same, and emphasizes the high quality machining and finishing that makes these watches much feel costlier than $220. Obviously, you then have wide-topped pushers at two and four, which supply a great surface for pushing, and a flat onion crown. Rather than the more dramatic stamped case backs found on the original models, the 39 features temperature, fuel consumption, pressure and speed conversions tables, emphasizing the history of the chronograph as a tool for pilots.
The black dial version is really something to behold, with an enamel-like sheen and highly detailed mix of colors, applied markers and over prints. It’s based closely on an Omega and like the dials of the 1947, just has a quality you don’t typically find at the price point. The use of color brilliantly divides up the information. The tachymeter is both on the outside edge of the dial and in the center of the dial, presented in a dark red that somehow stands out against the black surface. Then you have metallic gold print for the chronograph functions and telemeter. Playing off of this, the hour index is then a series of applied markers in gold, adding some depth to the dial. Lastly, you have the pulsations index printed on a wide ivory white layer that is clearly overprinted on the black, standing off the surface. This sudden break divides the dial between time and chronograph functions, and is simply very cool looking. The printing all around is crisp and clear, which is all the more impressive considering the small size of some of the type.
The silver dial is more straightforward, but equally impressive in its execution. As mentioned, its actually a totally different design, not just a different color. It’s a bit simpler, with just black print on the steely-silver dial, and only two scales, a telemeter on the outer edge and a spiral-tachymeter in the center. The primary index is then a bolder, more pilot/military style with large arabic numerals alternating with fence-post shaped markers. Perhaps the detail that impressed me the most on this version was the blued hands. At the price, it’s very unlikely these are heat-tempered blue, but they really look it. Often faux-heat blue hands are too blue, almost sapphire colored. Real heat-blue often appears black in some light, blue in others, which these hands get very close to.