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Trench watch

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I hear guys talking about "Trench Watches" so what is the draw? I have seen a couple in photos & thats all.

What are they , how do you tell real from fake, what should I look for when shopping for one, & not getting taken for a ride.

Any help & photos along with your experiences would be of great value to someone who is just thinking about sticking his toes in the trench watch (WATER)



Edited by TimFitz
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"Trench watch" has become of a bit of a catch all term to describe wire lug watches made during the period of the 1914-18 war a true trench watch made specifically for military use or for the use of serving personnel has to be a luminous dial and hands type, water, dust resistant  in some way most notably Borgel cased watches and have either an unbreakable crystal or shrapnel guard to protect it anything else is just a wire lugged watch of the period although many serving personnel would have worn these as well they would not have been up to the riggers of trench warfare.

this is a excellent site packed with information on trench watches:


Edited by wls1971
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One way of weeding out most "fake" trench watches (still very old watches but ones that most likely didn't see any action) is by ignoring watches that don't have the shrapnel guard as wls pointed out (although some could have had one and then it was broken or removed for various reasons...) and those that don't have markings on the back. Generally the authentic ones that were issued would have various extra markings.

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The term is used extensively on eBay - usually wrongly. As wls1971 quite rightly points out. It’s become a catch-all phrase for transition watches, where small pocket watches started to become wristwatches. Done to attract buyers, I guess.

Caveat emptor! B)

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Quite often women's watches from that period are also called trench watches and described as 'officers watches' as sellers think they will sell for more money if advertised that way.

This is not a hard and fast rule, but if the dial is less than 28mm or has gold decoration on it, it is probably a woman's watch, not a trench watch. Nothing wrong with collecting 1920s women's watches, I've got a couple which I have restored for my wife, with one of them being sold as an 'Officers Trench watch' which it obviously wasn't as it was a woman's watch and hallmarked 1922, but it was still a nice watch and I got it for a good price.

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