WWI Trench Watches

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by LordVonHarley, Sep 23, 2009.

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  1. I inherited my Grandfathers silver trench watch when my Gran died. I never knew my Grandfather as he popped his clogs in the 1970’s just before I was born. We have no idea when or where he picked it up but I have been told he got it during the Second World War (Might have been in Africa).
    I have always been fascinated by it and today I’m wearing it for the first time. I have had to replace the glass, new strap and have it serviced – the watch maker was surprised on how well it runs after not being used for over 30 years. It keeps almost perfect time!
    Does any one else wear or collect these pieces of history?
  2. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    What makes it a 'trench watch'? My grandfather had a 'half-hunter' wrist watch which he wore all through WW1, and afterwards. It has a circular cover over the glass whith a hole in the middle so that one can just see the time but most of the glass is protected. Nobody has told me it's a 'trench watch' though.
  3. A trench watch is generally an early wristwatch, sometimes with a pierced metal cover instead of or over the fragile glass. Some had oversized faces or numerals. They were adopted by troops in the trenches, as easier to use than a pocket watch (You dont have to stop, get it out of a pocket, look at it, then put it back. Difficult while being machine gunned)

    Hope this helps. Its a precis of a description in a back issue of the British Horological Institutes magazine
  4. There's always a few on greedBay. Generally, unless they are a famous maker, they go for around £100-£200. Fully serviced they can fetch more.

    Watch collectors can be a funny bunch though so don't be suprised when one tells you it's worthless junk and that they'd be happy to take it off your hands for a fiver ! :D

  5. I'm no expert, before I had it serviced it was alway refered to as Grand dads silver watch. I think the term "Trench Watch" refers to half hunters made just before WW1 and 1919. I intend to find out more about watches, but just now I'm enjoying wearing an old watch :D
  6. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Book Reviewer Good Egg (charities)

    Your resident arrse watch expert is of course MDN. Darn!!!!
  7. This could turn messy rather quickly! :D
  8. Mine is only worth £150 (damaged face, replacement glass etc) but some of the ones with face covers can go for £800 plus on ebay!

    I'll be keeping an eye out in junk shops! :D