View Full Version : Looking for background information on WWI trench watches

09-10-2008, 13:25
I recently purchased what I think is a genuine WWI Cyma "trench" watch. It looks right - patina on the face, appropriate wear on the surfaces, genuine looking hands, but I haven't had it opened yet to look at the movement. Frankly, I need to find someone I feel confident about in Iowa.

So, with that as background, I was hoping someone could point me to some good reference material which could tell me more about the watches of the era, types, movements, who(m) got what types and why, differences between swiss vs US manufacture, and of course a picture or two would be helpful.

I do have a couple of general guides to vintage watches, but theres no more than 4 - 8 pages devoted to the WWI military watch, so I was hoping to find something with a little more substance.

Any help you can give a Newbie would be greatly appreciated!

Laurent(in France)
09-10-2008, 13:59
Try here : http://www.vintagemilitarywatches.com/

Don Aldo
09-10-2008, 17:45
Try here : http://www.vintagemilitarywatches.com/

Take that site with a grain of salt (a great big rock of salt for that matter) because if memory serves me correctly it's run by a fellow who used to operate under the handle 'harrhay' and he was very much renowned for selling faked vintage military timepieces on Ebay - his offerings were a running joke amongst collectors for a few years.

That said the information provided on that site seems alright but I wouldn't recommend forking over any of your hard earned money to the owner of that site in any shape or form, regardless of whatever consultation service he may offer.

Really though, the best thing to do if you want to research movements from that era is to look up what comes up on Ebay and to get yourself an old copy of a 'Bestfit' guide to watch movements. From a purely horological standpoint, you'll find that the movements were generally well made and genrerally not well cased (as compared to the more water resistant screwback cases which would be introduced on a mass produced level decades later).

The most notable WWI issue wristwatches were probably the ones made for the US signal corps by various Swiss makers. I'd recommend you check out this site if military timepieces issued before the mid-20th century are your area interest:


09-10-2008, 21:28
thanks for the feedback so far.

While I admit that my German/Irish heritage makes me frugal (well ok cheap), I will spend moeny if it is worthwhile.

However, I get v e r y leery of websites that make me pay up front, before showing any of the material within (unless of course it's an adult site and then we can probably be confident of what is in there :nono: ).

In any event, I'll try to break out the digital and take a few pics. It'll only be the front and back as I am too green, unskilled, chicken to open the back. I'll have a professional do it.