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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 5 months working at the NAWCC museum, I am fairly confident in expressing who manufactured and when the first wristwatches materialized, both in Europe and America, which followed some 6 yrs after Europe.

That transition from pocket watch to wristwatch was neither quick nor simple. We see here an 1918 Elgin with offset crown at 1.00 (actually 1.30, to be exact). Now as I have explained this watch uses a 'Lepine' style movement [Open face (pocket watch) - crown at 12], which is surely rarer but not an exception. What is exceptional and very rare is the crown mounted at 1.30!
Of course this makes a lot of sense, when it comes to reading the time, the 12 o clock is just offset a small amount, add a 'red 12' and its not so difficult to read on the wrist, but to tool up for this non standard wristwatch case must have been ridiculously high to use just up a stock of Lepine movements.
Hence we see more often the 'Lepine' movements installed in what evolved as a standard wristwatch case with crown and '12' at 3 o clock.

We can find many adverts for these strange adaptions with crown and '12' at 3 o clock, but none with the crown at 1.30 - why? It cost so much to manufacture this non standard case, surely the manufacturer would want to promote them? Or maybe they were 'one-off' drawing board prototypes that failed to catch the manufacturers attention and were immediately doomed to the scrap yard, who knows? In horology we close one mystery and open up two more.

Anyway here first is is my first procurement a very, very rare 1918 Elgin with the crown and 12 at 1.30.
You can see the red 12 makes it favorable to read the time.






I loved this watch, but to appreciate horology, I had to have the set. Therefore recently Imanaged to acquire this rare Elgin dated 1918.
The serial numbers on this timepiece is 21,542,820. Some 452,000 higher (later) then my other offset crown model at 1.30 (S/N: 21,091,010). Telling us 2 things. Firstly Elgin made and sold a hell of a lot of watches in 1918 - 'Trench' or 'pocket' I do not know, but a lot of timepieces and secondly and more importantly by the later period they had abandoned crown and 12 at 1.30, and decided to throw these Lepine movements into standard wrist watch cases with crown and 12 at 3 o clock - nearly impossible to read.
That said, here is mine and I love it. 1918 Elgin- crown and 12 at 3 o'clock








Look at that outstanding 100% original crown, and those lugs!




And The wrist shots:




And here I have a very rare picture of Elgin's offset crown and 12 at 3. Dated 1918.
Note the serial number 21,381,113, now ONLY some 290,000 later than my original with crown/12 at 1.30. Now in 1918 Elgin were manufacturing some 1 million watches a year, so we can 'guestimate' they moved from '1.30 offset' to '3 o'clock offset' within 3 months!



And Vacheron and Constantine - relaunch of their 1919 model - some 64 made, priced at $36,000, it can ONLY go UP:


Note, Vacheron also made in 1919 a few with offset to 'left, at 10.30! ANYONE seen that!


Finally my two Elgin's side by side.






Acknowledgements
Stan Anthony Czubernat - Elgin 1918 - crown at 1.30. Early Elgin advert crown and 12 at 3 o clock.
Mark - trenchwatchrestorations - Elgin 1918 - crown at 3.
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping.
Find out what we’re all about • Calendar of Events • Give a Gift • Join Us!
p: 717.684.8261 • f: 717.684.0878 • Welcome to NAWCC
NAWCC, Inc. • 514 Poplar St. • Columbia PA 17512-2130
 

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After 5 months working at the NAWCC museum, I am fairly confident in expressing who manufactured and when the first wristwatches materialized, both in Europe and America, which followed some 6 yrs after Europe.

That transition from pocket watch to wristwatch was neither quick nor simple. We see here an 1918 Elgin with offset crown at 1.00 (actually 1.30, to be exact). Now as I have explained this watch uses a 'Lepine' style movement [Open face (pocket watch) - crown at 12], which is surely rarer but not an exception. What is exceptional and very rare is the crown mounted at 1.30!
Of course this makes a lot of sense, when it comes to reading the time, the 12 o clock is just offset a small amount, add a 'red 12' and its not so difficult to read on the wrist, but to tool up for this non standard wristwatch case must have been ridiculously high to use just up a stock of Lepine movements.
Hence we see more often the 'Lepine' movements installed in what evolved as a standard wristwatch case with crown and '12' at 3 o clock.

We can find many adverts for these strange adaptions with crown and '12' at 3 o clock, but none with the crown at 1.30 - why? It cost so much to manufacture this non standard case, surely the manufacturer would want to promote them? Or maybe they were 'one-off' drawing board prototypes that failed to catch the manufacturers attention and were immediately doomed to the scrap yard, who knows? In horology we close one mystery and open up two more.

Anyway here first is is my first procurement a very, very rare 1918 Elgin with the crown and 12 at 1.30.
You can see the red 12 makes it favorable to read the time.






I loved this watch, but to appreciate horology, I had to have the set. Therefore recently Imanaged to acquire this rare Elgin dated 1918.
The serial numbers on this timepiece is 21,542,820. Some 452,000 higher (later) then my other offset crown model at 1.30 (S/N: 21,091,010). Telling us 2 things. Firstly Elgin made and sold a hell of a lot of watches in 1918 - 'Trench' or 'pocket' I do not know, but a lot of timepieces and secondly and more importantly by the later period they had abandoned crown and 12 at 1.30, and decided to throw these Lepine movements into standard wrist watch cases with crown and 12 at 3 o clock - nearly impossible to read.
That said, here is mine and I love it. 1918 Elgin- crown and 12 at 3 o'clock








Look at that outstanding 100% original crown, and those lugs!




And The wrist shots:




And here I have a very rare picture of Elgin's offset crown and 12 at 3. Dated 1918.
Note the serial number 21,381,113, now ONLY some 290,000 later than my original with crown/12 at 1.30. Now in 1918 Elgin were manufacturing some 1 million watches a year, so we can 'guestimate' they moved from '1.30 offset' to '3 o'clock offset' within 3 months!



And Vacheron and Constantine - relaunch of their 1919 model - some 64 made, priced at $36,000, it can ONLY go UP:


Note, Vacheron also made in 1919 a few with offset to 'left, at 10.30! ANYONE seen that!


Finally my two Elgin's side by side.






Acknowledgements
Stan Anthony Czubernat - Elgin 1918 - crown at 1.30. Early Elgin advert crown and 12 at 3 o clock.
Mark - trenchwatchrestorations - Elgin 1918 - crown at 3.
NAWCC seeks to encourage and stimulate interest in the art and science of timekeeping.
Find out what we’re all about • Calendar of Events • Give a Gift • Join Us!
p: 717.684.8261 • f: 717.684.0878 • Welcome to NAWCC
NAWCC, Inc. • 514 Poplar St. • Columbia PA 17512-2130

What WONDERFUL watches Adam!!!

I have always been a huge fan of the orrset crowns and your examples are top of the line stuff!!!
I always wondered the rational of putting the crown in these positions before settling on the "common"
current setting.

That VC is also a GEM and one of my favorite designs os all time.

I have a very rare treat to show you when I get it all together
in the future.

Congrats Adam... Super Horology as always, great to have you here!
G
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Wow Adam! That is amazing!!!

Great write up and the VC is absolutely amazing!
Thanks Jeff.
Yes very interesting pieces and with crown at 1.30 even more so.
Did you note that Vacheron & Constantine actually made in 1919 two models, one with crown at 1.30 and a second at 10.30. How rare must that be, and why? To wait90+ yrs to make an anniversary edition of 64 pcs!!

@ Barry, thanks, appreciated.

@ Greg
Thankyou.
I too have some amazing pieces to show you, AND I just booked a flight to NY from Friday 14th December till Thursday 20th - Going to see Leonard Cohen - es mi segundo aficion!

A
 

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SUPERB Adam, simply SUPERB ! ! !

These were WITHOUT a doubt a BONAFIDE style ! ! !

Here is picture proof in an ad I found from 1917 showing the movement/dial offset by 90 degrees to the right.

This is the ONLY known ad that shows an Elgin "White Star Dial" Trench Watch ! ! ! ! Quite Special ! ! ! !

These were NOT called "Pershings" until 1919 and even then all of them were NOT "Pershings", there was also the "Foch" and the "Kitchener"

They were "named" for the case styles.

The very FIRST "named" Elgin wrist watches ! ! !

If the watch is worn on the INSIDE of the wrist when you look at the watch there is NO struggle to tell the time.

It was very common to wear your watch on the inside of the wrist in this time period.

The second Elgin ad from 1919 clearly shows the watch being worn on the inside of the wrist (even though it is not an offset watch).

I believe that this style was simply a fact of necessity due to the fact of VERY high demand for the war effort.

Open Face style movements were readily available so they just started using them to fill demand even though they were rather unconventional.









 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Stan
all you say is correct.
Watches were FIRST worn on inside of wrist.
Hence Omegas 1st wrist watch had a crown on left hand side to be worn on the right INSIDE wrist. In those days people thought that a watch was worn on the 'hand shaking' wrist. Hence ceown on left.
That is NEW horology I just discovered.

BUT
Why NO adverts for crown and 12 at 1.30 - that seems to be the 'rarest of the rare.' No?

Watch this space another rarity coming!
 

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Can't say that I have ever seen an ad showing an offset crown at the "1:30" position.

That would truly be amazing ! ! !

I hope one does not show up on "the bay" because you and me would be in a death match bidding war to see who owns it ! ! ! ! !
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Can't say that I have ever seen an ad showing an offset crown at the "1:30" position.

That would truly be amazing ! ! !

I hope one does not show up on "the bay" because you and me would be in a death match bidding war to see who owns it ! ! ! ! !
That I think is so true.
I searched through, thousands of pages of articles and books in museum. No adverts (except that Vacheron) for a crown and 12 at 1.30.
Yet we can see it exists in Elgin, Waltham, and I have another on the way!!!!!
 

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@ Greg
Thankyou.
I too have some amazing pieces to show you, AND I just booked a flight to NY from Friday 14th December till Thursday 20th - Going to see Leonard Cohen - es mi segundo aficion!

A
Please give me a call when you get into town...we HAVE to get together!!!

That I think is so true.
I searched through, thousands of pages of articles and books in museum. No adverts (except that Vacheron) for a crown and 12 at 1.30.
Yet we can see it exists in Elgin, Waltham, and I have another on the way!!!!!
Without giving way too much, I have 3 solid gold offset examples that look almost identical to the VC.
They are Waltham and Illinois... I just recently got them and Fred says there may only be 3-4 of them in existance.
When I can, I will post... doing some research on them.

G
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Please give me a call when you get into town...we HAVE to get together!!!



Without giving way too much, I have 3 solid gold offset examples that look almost identical to the VC.
They are Waltham and Illinois... I just recently got them and Fred says there may only be 3-4 of them in existance.
When I can, I will post... doing some research on them.

G
Wow, WOw WOW! I can not wait.
I too have another from 1917 waiting to post
1917! That is so0000 early, and its outstanding but not 'oro' like yours bow, bow, bow
 
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