Men’s 1914 Elgin WWI Trench Watch

Men’s 1914 Elgin WWI Trench Watch

Item: W2436

Watch's origin: American

Number of jewels: 7

Case: Illinois Watch Case Co.

Manufacturer: Elgin

Type of Watch:  Wrist

Type: Open-Face

Lug Width: 12mm

Dimension: 37mm lug-to-lug by 33mm wide

Composition: Nickel

Other Attributes:   Military
 Wire Lug

Price: $1,495.00

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Elgin took a rather risky move at the turn of the 20th century: Acting on a breeze of fashion change in Europe, they began to manufacture "wristlets" or wristwatches for the public. These converted pocket watches could be worn on the wrist by a chain or ribbon, allowing the wearer to check the time without fumbling at the breast or in a pocket for a pendant. Women were the first to wear a wristwatch: Victorian men thought a watch tied with a ribbon to the wrist was too effeminate. However, after seeing a number of comrades shot as they fumbled with their pocket watches, legends has it that a German Army officer tied his pocket watch to his wrist with a piece of cloth so that he could quickly glance at it. Later, he was said to have had wire lugs soldered to the case and thus the men's wristwatch "craze" was born.

Elgin National Watch Company was wise enough to be one of the first American watch houses to embrace the idea of a "wristlet" or wrist watch for men. They began devoting much energy toward manufacturing watches and timers for the U.S. military during WWI. As a result, they achieved a marketing edge over other American houses such as South Bend and Hamilton, who considered such timepieces a fad.

This WWI era wristwatch is an excellent example of the earliest form of the wristwatch. Everything about the watch is handsome and correct, from its wonderful metal dial and blued hands to its immaculate wire-lug case.

Its solid nickel case, measuring 37mm lug-to-lug by 33mm wide, is in strikingly handsome condition, with a hinged lid that snaps to reveal its factory original Elgin movement. Featuring a jeweled balance and solid nickel plates, it's a sturdy and historic engine for a classic case design — the forerunner of the modern wristwatch movement.

We've taken the liberty of cleaning, oiling, and timing the watch so that it can be worn confidently. We've also fitted the watch with a correctly re-created cordovan strap and matching buckle, sized to your measurements.