Truly a uniqe piece of timkeeping history:
Some of the first american soldiers to join the fight in Eruope in the late spring of 1917 were those of the Army Corps of Engineers. These brave souls were charged with the daunting task of keeping the army moving no matter what the cost. Engineers not only built railways, bridges, and kept newly developed communication going: they also fought valiantly alongside marines and army regulars. An incredible feat for the brave souls who only months before were hardly farmiliar with the mechanized warfare happening in France.
Engineers handled important infrastructure critical to the war effort and were outfitted with the best possible equipment in horology at the time. These watches were hand made in Switzerland under contract from the ordinance department as an accurate and dependable timing instument. Zenith, like a few other high end Swiss manufacturers did not dissapoint with these incredible timpieces.
The watch is outfitted with a large Arabic dial with boxcar numerals that in its original condition (depending on batch order) would have been outfitted with radium: a revolutionary substance that was effective at illuminating objects in the dark during the time period.
Please Note: The radium on the watch was safely removed and sanitized. Modern Illuminating substances that are much more safe were used on the watch hands.
The case on the watch is .900 silver to ensure they would not rust or degrade. Most important, the movement inside the case needed to be precise and the watch was ourfitted with a 17 jewel Prima movement.
The tell-tale sign of an Engineers watch is the bold letters on the back of the case: an easy identifier for these time pieces. From research over the past decade its safe to assume this watch was used in some capacity during the war as these bristling pieces of technology were rushed forward to serve their purpose.
We've only encountered one other COE watch in a condition like this before and when the opporitunity arose to acquire this one we did not hesitate. As these watches were over-engineered they tend to hold up very well through the ages. It does have small signs of wear on the case that are appropriate for what it has been through, the dial is near immaculate, the mineral glass crystal is likely a replacement from a time long ago. Overall these are truly reliable timekeepers even after 104 years of life.
Lastly, as this watch was once before inteded to assist in conflict over seas a century ago: We've called upon its service once again: 10% of the sale of this watch will be donated to Unicefs relief fund for children in Ukraine.
"Phantom" 1918 Zenith Army Corps of Engineers Watch
Case: Zenith .900 Solid Silver Case
Production Run: Unknown
Condition: Watch has been restored to full running condition +/- 1-2 minutes.
Hands: Skeleton Style
Movement: Gilt finish, 17 Jewels
Featured Strap: 20mm DBWC tanned finish aviator strap