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Trench watches

novicetimekeeper

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A student at school asked the other day when wrist watches came about. When the question got to me I said I knew Queen Elizabeth ! had one but as far as I knew it was really the first World War that saw the beginning of them.

As usual when asked a question I go and research it, and it seems it was the Boer war that precipitated the advent of the wristwatch as a man's watch, then a few years later WWI cemented that with the wily Mr Wilsdorf realising that was the place to invest money, though most of the trench watches I see for sale are not by Rolex.

They seem to be by a number of manufacturers, with different movements, different escapements but similar cases and virtually identical dials.

It makes me wonder how that comes about. Anybody here that collects them can talk me through it?

This is the sort of dial I mean

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-W...D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557
 

MartyR

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I think you'll get much better answers in the Wrist Watch forum, NTK. Would you like me to move your thread there?
 

novicetimekeeper

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ah, well spotted. I was fooled by the European bit as they are all Swiss (well the odd French)

Thanks for that
 

Hawk53

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novicetimekeeper

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That's interesting but seems to be all about an argument over whether the US had watches worn on the wrist before Europe, but given Queen Elizabeth I had one given to her by the Earl of Dudley in 1571 it all seems a bit of an odd argument.

I'm really more interested in the standardisation of case and dial styles around a whole host of different movements and escapements.

I suppose it isn't really that different to what happened to longcase clocks or pocket watches but it seems such a distinctive dial the one that is in the link.
 

novicetimekeeper

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This one, for instance, has a low grade movement as far as I can seem a pin set cylinder, but with identical face and hands I've seen lever and a variety of jewelling, cocks and bridges, movement and internal case decoration. Is it that the retailer was fitting the movements chosen by the customer with faces and hands and into the cases? A lot of them have George Stockall as the sponsors mark but he was a haulier rather than a jeweller/watchmaker wasn't he? trenchwatch1 movement.JPG
 

Hawk53

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Nick, there were a lot of "case makers" that switched over to wristwatches or "wristlets" back in the early days. Most of them didn't make wrist watches, they just produced cases for jewelers and watch company's based on their specs.


You asked........
"Is it that the retailer was fitting the movements chosen by the customer with faces and hands and into the cases?"

Yes in many cases with the exception of actual watch company's.
 

DavidBoettcher

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Adam Harris

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That's interesting but seems to be all about an argument over whether the US had watches worn on the wrist before Europe, but given Queen Elizabeth I had one given to her by the Earl of Dudley in 1571 it all seems a bit of an odd argument.

I'm really more interested in the standardisation of case and dial styles around a whole host of different movements and escapements.

I suppose it isn't really that different to what happened to longcase clocks or pocket watches but it seems such a distinctive dial the one that is in the link.
Hi Nick
One has to distinguish between three points in answering a question like "who wore the first wristwatches" The three clearly defined categories are
1) Ladies
2) men in Europe
3) men in america.

We know Breguet made a ladies wristwatch in 1810 while Patek Philippe in 1868, there are even earlier examoles for ladies.
The earliest known photo (that I discovered) of an Officer (man) wearing a watch on their wrist is 1879 (I have posted that photo on the forum)
For certain by Boer war (1899-1902) British Military officers were wearing watches on their wrist.

The earliest 'true' wristwatch with lugs, seems to have been manufactured by Omega in 1904.
The wristwatch became more popular in WWI.
In america we have examples of men wearing a wristwatch in 1913, but again it became more accepted during their entrance to WWI in 1917.

I hope that helps
adam
 

novicetimekeeper

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yes, that all seems fair, though I never asked who wore the first one.

As I said, my interest was in the standardisation of the dials and cases.

My first one turned up today, it was more radioactive than I anticipated through the glass, it's a very good gamma source!
 
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