One of the most intense bidding wars of my life was getting my hands on this piece...
This watch... well from the engraving on the back you can understand why this one is so very important. This watch is an original survivor that looks like it went through the entire duration of the big one back in the day.
I've explained it quite extensively on this website: At the onset of the first world war, technology was advancing at a rate too fast to keep up with. Watches weren't worn on the wrist, it was standard to carry them in the pocket. Precision attacks were not commonplace as they are now, things were a lot slower and a lot more manual. Wristwatches were new and had a lot of push back in the fashionable world. So when soldiers started to realize the need for them, watch manufacturers couldnt make them fast enough nor had the supply to keep up.
Enter this strange and extrodinary time piece.
The watch is powered by a 16 jewel Lady Waltham movement. Thats right, a Lady Waltham. I've read extensively on these lady walthams being placed in early wristwatches. Was Lady Waltham a war lady? Why was something at the time of being regaded as so lady like being equipped in a combat watch?
At this time in horological history, there was no blueprint for a standard issue wristwatch. Watch manufacuters were stuffing anything they could in these small watches just to meet demand. Since wristwatches were solely worn by women at the time, this is all that was available to be placed into the watch. The other very strange part about the movement is that its 16 jewels. Ususally a 7,11,15, or 17 jewel movement would be in a watch. So with a quick lookup of the serial we can see why only 500 of these movements were made, its just plain weird, and ultimately one of a kind.
We know its an original from the case. Standard issue was a case that was painte with a black paint at the time and luminous hands, check on both accounts for this one. However what sets this one into a whole other atmosphere is the inscription on the back. "Good Luck From The Boys at Home"... I think the part that has me bewildered is home is in all caps. One can only imagine the hell this thing saw, and by the grace of some higher power made it through the whole thing in one piece. America didnt enter the war until late 1917, so it appears this one was worn by a soldier elsewhere in the world. Given records are poor, theres no way to track it down from the intitials, but with all of the signs it has on it this is definately a war watch.
This watch has been restored in "as is" condition. The movment has been restored to full operational condiditon and it keeps remarkably good time. Aside from that, everything else has been left just the way it is. The only non-original part is the crown. I'm still searching for an original replacement and will outfit it if I find it, but this is what was on it when it arrived.
This is about as close as you can get to having a front row seat 100 years ago, its incredible to wear, and well the engraving says it all.
1913 Waltham Trench Watch
Diameter: 1 and 1/4 inch
Case: Fahys Watch Case Co Sterling Silver Case
Production Run: 500
Condition: All orginal
Hands: Luminescant Spade Style
Movement: Nickel Finish
Wire Lug Width for Strap: 10mm