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posted
Hi guys,

I have been looking at getting a pretty old wrist watch. Apparently it is a military watch called a "Buren Krieg". Alas I am a little rusty on my history, but I am assuming it is a military watch where there was a German colony (help me out here if you can).

I have yet to get pictures of the back or movement, but from what I can see it looks to be a pretty old style wrist watch.

If any of you could help me out with the history or have seen one like it, it would help me a great deal.

thanks in advance

 
Posts: 10 | Location: New York City, New York U.S.A. | Registered: October 11, 2004
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Hi Stuart, and welcome to the IHC Military Timepiece Forum.

From 1898 to 1932 the Swiss Buren Watch Co. was owned by H. Williamson, an English Co. In Swiss Timepiece Makers by Kathleen Prithcard, I do not see “Kreig,”which in German means war, listed as a Buren trade name.

There was no German colony that I am aware of the name Buren. While it’s possible that Buren made this for the German market while British owned, I would guess that from 1914 through 1918 Buren would not have been selling anything to Germany.

The type of wristwatch pictured was in use in the teens and twenties, and it looks like the real thing. That being said, some people have been soldering lugs to cheap little pendent watches from that period in order to sell them for a premium as early wristwatches. Thus, one must be careful.

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 2008 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
BTW, I think the crown is a latter replacement. Back then I would expect a rounded "onion" crown.
 
Posts: 2008 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
Hi Stuart and Greg,
I have maybe 50 or so of those early wire lug watches and maybe 100+ loose movements of that era, but I've never seen one with the crown at the '12' position other than for pendant watches. At the risk of appearing 'dumb', is this watch for a 'special purpose' or could it be a pendant movement in a wristwatch case?
Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Thanks for your reply Greg,

Here is a translation of the description for the watch (original is in german).

BUREN WAR clock: The without a doubt aeltesete genuine wrist-watch (ca.1880, same period as Kaiser`s William ll order f.d. Kaiserl. Mariene & Cartie`s ladies style clocks.

From the researh I have briefly done on this watch I would have to agree with your conclusion. I recently received a scan of the back and it has not markings that would officially make it a "military issue".

Not sure why it is labelled as military or "war".

Thanks again

Stuart
 
Posts: 10 | Location: New York City, New York U.S.A. | Registered: October 11, 2004
posted
Here is the back,

unfortunately the strap is still in place, but it doesn't appear to have any pre WWI military markings.

As for John's question, maybe it is a later conversion. Is this likely from the images you can see?

Thanks

Stuart

 
Posts: 10 | Location: New York City, New York U.S.A. | Registered: October 11, 2004
posted
Hi Stuart,
If the watch is as old as the seller suggests, (1880!)it would have been stem wind / pin set, or maybe key wind/set, not 'stem wind/set' as this one appears to be, and I've never personally seen a 'key set' wristwatch!

Taking the 'Buren' dates Greg gave into account, the seller seems to be suggesting it was made almost 20 years before the company existed!
I've never seen a wristwatch with a crown at '12' ever though, that's what's puzzling me with it, hence my query as to 'special uses', as you'd end up with a cricked neck trying to read it too often!
The stem is also sticking out too far!

I have a few enamel dial watches of that era which are all white, but mine predominantly have the early 'Red 12' which collectors prefer and look for, and they too date from around very early 1900's.
I'll check the hallmarks on some, but I think mostly very early 1900 to around 1920, and the earlier types are all stem wind/pin set.

To be fair, I've never seen any wristwatches of that era with military markings, and don't know enough about military issue watches of any period to state one way or the other whether they would have, but broad luminous filled hands and Arabic numerals seem to figure highly with 'military' styles of that period, much more so than the spade and poker (very English looking) hands on this one.

The case may be silver, I would ask the seller if there are any hallmarks in the case back, if so, there's likely to be at least a unique assay /silver grade stamp which can help to date the case approximately and identify it's origin!

My personal feeling is the seller is attempting to cash in on the lucrative 'military' watch market by shoving a pendant movement into a 1900's wristwatch case!

Then again, I could be totally wrong and be munching egg from my face for some time to come! Big Grin Big Grin

Best regards
John
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
The position of the 12 on this watch is not unique. Using, for comparison, the positions of the crown, 12, and strap lugs of a modern wristwatch, early wristwatches do turn-up with the 12 in what we now would consider the three o’clock position- like the watch shown.

For that matter, some early Waltham, Elgin and other watches were cased with both the crown and 12 at the two o’clock position. A common example of this type is the “Tip Top” of the post WWI era.

During the early evolution of the wristwatch, some people were not exactly sure where the 12 should go. This-12-position-confusion, with a relatively new product, is credited by some collectors as being the reason for the “red 12.”

I would agree that the seller of the subject watch is attempting to cash in on the current military watch enthusiasm. The seller is also attempting to link his watch to the extraordinarily rare first-issue Kriegsmarine wristwatch - tedious hyperbole at best.

Suggestion: Hold out for a better wire-lug wristwatch. The subject watch is not even cute.

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 2008 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
Thanks guys.

Another one to ponder about.

Curious subject though on the evolution of the wrist watch. Konrad has a section in his beautiful book of German military peices, but alas I couldn't find any military issues that looked like this current subject.

Thanks again for all your help
 
Posts: 10 | Location: New York City, New York U.S.A. | Registered: October 11, 2004
Life Achievement
Military Expert
Picture of Greg Crockett
posted
Konrad and I exchanged a few email regarding the subject of WWI wristwatches. At that time, Konrad knew of no wristwatches issued by the German military authorities. In contrast, England did issued a few "wristlets" (w/broad arrow on the back) and, late in the war, the U.S. issued a small number as well.

Best regards,

Greg
 
Posts: 2008 | Location: East Lansing, Michigan USA | Registered: November 24, 2002
posted
Hi Greg,
I wasn't aware of any confusion surrounding the 'Red 12' or its position, I've always understood it to be a stylistic trend associated with the period on European watches.

As well as watches with the usual 'Red 12' I also have examples with a 'Blue 12', or blue numerals and 'Red 12' combinations.

I've posted a photo below of a random selection of mine, hope you find them interesting.
They're best described as in 'not so good, bad and downright ugly' condition it has to be said, and all waiting serious TLC.
They're a mix of Sterling silver, Nickel or Gunmetal cases and date from around 1913 to 1920. Two of them are Hallmarked Glasgow Imports, but i can't find a City assay mark that matches, but they're sometime after 1906 according to the import mark.

All of the watches are stem wind/pin set except one (which I can't date), and all except the French fob have the 'Red 12' in the 'correct' place including the French Gunmetal wristwatch. I've just included the fob to compare with WW's of the period.
The large watch in the centre, is of the type generally described on Ebay UK as a WW1 'Trench Watch'. It has a paper dial and Roskopf movement in a chrome case, it's a big brute too at 40mm dia', I've no idea of the age of that one or whether it is a WW1 relic!!.

I'd forgotten I also have a Waltham and Hamilton wristwatch which are quite early, I'll post photo's and descriptions shortly.
Best regards
John

Early Wire Lug Writwatches. European.
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
To follow on from the previous posting, this watch is an early 'Demi-Hunter' wire lug watch with a solid Sterling Silver case.
It's another one bearing the Glasgow import mark current from 1906 -1966. I can't match the date mark to an assay office yet, and believe it may have been used by a now defunct provincial office.

Demi-Hunter wire lug watch
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
posted
Same watch, case cover open.

Demi Hunter, case open
 
Posts: 1282 | Location: Northern England, United Kingdom | Registered: January 07, 2006
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