Internet Horology Club 185
German Watch

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August 09, 2004, 22:12
Tom Seymour
German Watch
A friend of mine asked if I could get some information on this watch. We know it is German, and not high grade. It is the design on the back of the case that is generating some interest. It is something that was added by an amatuer. See the picture of the soldering job on the inside of the case.

Does this artwork belong to a specific event or group? Any information on this watch would be appreciated.

August 09, 2004, 22:13
Tom Seymour
The dial.

August 09, 2004, 22:15
Tom Seymour
The movement.

August 09, 2004, 22:15
Tom Seymour
Inside the case.

August 09, 2004, 22:23
Dave Freeman
That's a German Iron Cross, the insignia used in both WWI & WWII by Germany

Dave Freeman
IHC Member 321
August 09, 2004, 22:29
Jerry Treiman
I would venture that the medallion in the back is original, but was set in the bezel somewhat like a crystal might be. It probably came out and was crudely re-soldered in place. This two-piece construction is fairly common on the backs of many Swiss watches.
August 09, 2004, 23:26
Glyn Meredith
I agree with Jerry. The last one I saw was a curious mixture of a rather poor case with a good-quality silver German insert. In trying to get a good look at the back of the case, I managed to pop out the insert - much to my embarassment. It was a devil of a job to get it to stay back in.

I'm not surpised if someone tried to solder the two pieces together. The watch I handled had a kind of groove in the case, similar to a bezel. As we know, some crystals will pop into a bezel nice and tight, while others need some glue to keep them in place. On the watch I handled, the insert, being .800 silver, had rather worn down, so it wouldn't stay in place securely.

This insert is in commemoration of serving in the German Army during (and before the end of) WWI.
August 10, 2004, 00:05
Tom Seymour
Dave, Jerry and Glyn,
Thank you for the responses. I have not seen the two part case backs before. That was new to me. I will pass on the meaning of the insert. Can you offer a translation of the saying around the edge. I can guess Russia, England and US, but the first part I do not know.

Also, I was noticing the dots on the dial. Would these raised dots be for telling the time by popping off the crystal and feeling the time? Sort of like a blind man's watch. Any thoughts on that?

August 10, 2004, 00:12
Jerry Treiman
The raised dots look like radium paint for time-telling in the dark. As I understand it this paint has two components - the radium and another substance that glows in response to the radioactivity. The second substance loses its potency over a matter of years, the radium does not (at least not within human years).
August 10, 2004, 01:26
Lindell V. Riddle

I'd want to lose the crude "dial-dots" for more than one reason.

So... can anyone translate what is on the case-back?

August 10, 2004, 02:44
Jack Goldstein
A soldering iron can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands!
Try and tell today's youths that the Iron Cross was a German symbol used in two world wars. They think it is a symbol for "Jesse James" motorcycle custom "West Coast Choppers"! As seen regularly on A&E. I've asked them why they want that thing tattooed on them , girls too, and they reply "because Jesse James and his motorcycles are COOL". As well as Wal-Mart sells t-shirts and hats and whatever else with the iron cross and "West Coast Choppers" printed all over them.
Sorry for interrupting.
August 10, 2004, 07:58
John Arrowood
Frankreich is possibly France. I think the US didn't get into WWI until 1916 or so. It seems strange to me that the enemieswho won the war would appear on an official German medal.
August 10, 2004, 09:40
Glyn Meredith
Hi all,

Let me add a little more: "Feldzug geg. (gegen)" means "War/campaign against ..." ... France, Russia, England (more correctly, the United Kingdom), and others.

U.S.W. is not an allusion to the USA, but means etc. The WII = Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prussian Emperor.

Oak leaves were a commmon addition to the Iron Cross, denoting a higher grade than the basic Maltese cross medal.

This watch insert should not be mistaken for a medal. It is a patriotic symbol similar to those found on beer mugs and pipes, etc. (or usw) Wink
August 10, 2004, 12:08
Tom Seymour
Thanks all for the responses. It has been very interesting, and I have learned a few things. I will pass on the information.

August 10, 2004, 14:01
David Fahrenholz
As Glyn has mentioned the watch back describes the "Campaign against France, Russia, England". It is a presentation watch given in commemoration of service to the Kaiser. The relief was added to a fairly good grade of watch. If the bumps are indeed Radium which look suspicious to me it would very unusual for a watch of that period to have them placed in that manner. The dial could be of a later vintage.

David Fahrenholz
August 10, 2004, 20:08
Tom Huber
Hi, I'll give it a try with my rusty deutsch.
Feldzug= campaign. Geg is an abreviation for Gegend which is translated as region. So, my best translation is that this watch commemorates
"Campaign regions of France, Russia, England and the US, c 1914.

Used to be fairly fluent in gute alte Deutsch, but thru lack of daily use, some of it has been buried in the far reaches of my brain. What I need is another trip back to Deutschland to snap the language back.

August 10, 2004, 22:34
Glyn Meredith
David: Thanks for posting that. I wasn't sure if it was a presentation watch, one sold as a patriotic item for soldiers of the Kaiser, or an amateur put-together with the relief soldered in.

Do you have any thoughts on the soldering? I assume that the relief insert fell out at some stage and the soldering was an amateur attempt to fix the problem.

Tom: Entschuldigen Sie mich, aber... Sorry to diagree with you. "Feldzug gegen ..." is a colocation (linguistic term) i.e the words frequently appear together. "gegen" can mean "about, approximately" but here it means "against".
August 11, 2004, 10:54
Russ Snyder

Glyn is correct in his translation of the inscriptions on the front.

"GEG." is an abbreviation for "gegend" meaning "against".

"U.S.W." is an abbreviation for "und so weiter" meaning "and so forth" (equivalent, but not identical, to the Latin "etc." meaning "and others", literally "et cetera")

August 11, 2004, 11:55
Glyn Meredith
Sorry to split hairs, Russ ... that's "gegen" not "gegend"

It's late here ... bis Morgen meine Freunde.
August 11, 2004, 17:41
Greg Crockett
This watch is one of a series of German made dollar watches from the early part of World War One, 1914 - 1918. These are found with several die stamped backs soldered onto the same cheap type of watch. One way I have dated these is by some of the die stamped backs which depict German troops with spike helmets. The spike helmet was replaced by the steel combat helmet in 1916 for front line troops. Another way to date them is by knowledge of the history of “The Great War. In the early days of WWI, on all sides of the conflict, the war was considered to be a mere “campaign.” Everyone thought it would be over by Christmas. After the horrible losses of the endless trench war set in, the mood of the people on all sides of the conflict changed to a more resolved and somber one. For this reason, such items as your watch are most often associated with the first year or two of WWI. As we can see, the year 1914 is stamped into the Iron Cross on the back of your watch, this would be the year it was made.

Best regards,
August 11, 2004, 19:09
John Arrowood
Interesting side note: the watch movement is stamped in English "Made in Germany". I wonder if any of these movements were exported to English speaking countries before 1914.
August 11, 2004, 21:46
Tom Huber
HiGuys, I knew my Deutsch was rusty, so I went back to my trusty old Worterbuch (dictionary). According to my dictionary, Gegend is region and gegen is against. Not that it really matters. I was guessing that the abbreviation of geg was for gegend, but it makes sense that it could be for gegen. Who really knows but the guy who initally stamped the back for the watch.

Auf wiedersehn,