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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This watch seemed to take an inordinate amount of research time. It is a Swiss WWI trench watch with the rare design of an integrated shrapnel guard where usually the guard is held in place by the strap, and not, like on this piece where it is integrated into the bezel.

Patria is a Latin word cognate with the Greek πατρίς (patris), both of which derive from the word for “father”, or “fatherland”​

I loved the fact that the manufacturer name 'PATRIA' translated to 'father' or 'fatherland' how apt for a timepiece made specifically for the 'great' war of WWI.

So we have a: Silver, 1917 PATRIA - (Omega) with Integral Shrapnel Guard.

The second piece of research was who really owned the PATRIA name? , Many believe that it was a trade name used by Omega. But on investigation, that seemed incorrect, as PATRIA had its own Swiss manufacturing facility in Biel, near Omega factory, actually in same street!
So who owned who? Well, PATRIA, company was formed by Mr. Louis Brandt in 1848. Then in 1903 César Brandt renamed the company to "Louis Brandt & Frère – OMEGA Watch Co" and that was the exact time when the name OMEGA officially appears as the official company name in the commercial registers (although after 1864 and the inception of the legendary 19''' calibre named "OMEGA", the company did produce & market pocket watches that featured the name OMEGA as well as the Greek Omega symbol – the last letter of the Greek alphabet – on the dial).

So, it seems to me Omega Watch Co. was a product of PATRIA and not vice versa as previously thought by me. For certain this watch does not have an Omega movements, its a PATRIA movement.

Next, I asked for help from curator at Omega museum, who advised below

Quote:
"Some of the sparse records indicate that similar watches (like your Patria) were of "UK National Production" while others are of "US National Production". The markings (engravings) are one thing, but they do not always indicate the country of production.

We have a similar watch in our museum (# 3754) that was produced in a very similar cushion-shaped case around 1917.

Also signed "Fahys Sterling - Patent Pending", it is considered an "American National Production" watch."
In this case (the Patria watch in question) it is probably an "American National Production". This simply means that "Louis Brandt & Frère" (under the brand "Patria") exported (sold) only the movement to our agent(s) in the respective country (in this case the USA) and the case was produced by a local company (Fahys in this case).

This practice (that has also been employed by OMEGA much later) is has resulted in many different models that – while they are absolutely original – are referred to as "National Production" watches.

(In the US you have a very famous – and quite legendary in regards to the OMEGA Speedmaster history – case manufacturing company that has produced the cases for many OMEGA watches & models in the past: the Star Watch Case Co of Michigan.)"
UNquote.


So now we have:
An early cushion shaped PATRIA 1917 WWI ‘Trench’ wristwatch, with very rare integral shrapnel guard. 15 Jewel.

The Movement: is a 15 jewel Swiss made by Patria. Underneath the Sterling shrapnel guard is a thick glass crystal to protect the hands and dial with blue steel cathedral hands.

The Case: Excellent condition. Signed, Fahys, ‘Sterling’ and ‘Patent Pending’, with a rare integral shrapnel guard. Engraving on the back reads ”From L.O.O.M. No. 8”, and engraved on the side is the recipients name 'J.C. Zobrest'.

Researching the Loom, I find a fraternity, the Loyal Order of Moose, and the man J. C. Zobrest, was likely a soldier in WW1. More research brings me here:

No replies from Order of The Moose. But I tracked Lodge#8 to Buffalo N.Y.
Searching J.C. Zobrest of Buffalo, New York

I find a magazine dated March 1956 Printed by the New York Central Railway.
In it it mentions J.C.Zobrest retiring (1956) and was Assistant Foreman - Gardenville NY after working 29 yrs 4 months

If we presume he retired at 60 in 1956, and watch is 1917 that is 39 years. If we take 39yrs from 60, means he entered WWI at 21 yrs of age.

Here is a link to the Canada Southern Railway with his name page 19
http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/headlight/images/headlight-0356.pdf

My mentor and friend Mme Robert comments as follows:
"Your watch Patria is probably a gift from LOOM 8 to J.C. Zobrest. And I don’t believe this watch was in 1917 on the wrist of J.C. Zobrest during the WWI, the watch looks to good and you know sterling silver is not hard like steel."

I suspect Mme Robert is correct, but it is nice to think that maybe he did wear this timepiece in WWI - For certain it was BOTH made for that and called appropriately 'fatherland'

Some Pictures:




The Inscription:



Lovely 'PATRIA' movement - 15J 2adj:


Fahys Sterling Case, notice "patent pending" making this a very early case.


Based on Order of the Moose inscription plus name Zobrest and below Fahys advert, I am sure this 'movement' was an 'American National Production' rather than 'UK'. But that is still not 100% certain. It could have been cased in UK!!!


Here is the original Fahys advert from Sept 26th 1917 - it mentions 'patent pending':



On the wrist:


Finally
The 1917 cushion shaped in Omega Museum.



NOTE: Research Continues.

Acknowledgements:
Mark - trenchwatchrestorations - watch, pictures and support.
Petros Protopapas - MUSEUM MANAGER, Ω OMEGA SA
Mme Cinette Robert - Mentor and friend
 

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GREAT write up as usual Adam ! ! !

I've had about 8 of these Fahys "Armored Cases" over the years now, a superb case design and one of my all time favorites.

All eight of them had a "patent pending" stamp on the inside of the case backs, never an actual patent date.

This goes for the cushion design and the round design, never a patent date stamp.

The cushion design is a 3 piece case while the round design is a 4 piece case.

The Fahys advertisement states that they are only available in Sterling Silver, several months later they changed their mind and began making them in OreSilver as well (basically a Nickel alloy)

OreSilver on the left and Sterling Silver on the right. Both are the bigger size 0s and both have a "Patent Pending" stamp.



Fahys Integrated Guard Cases also had two different grille designs, both grille designs were available on the round and cushion cases.







 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Stan
That is very interesting about all being patent pending, I never noticed that before, I thought mine was an earlier piece due to that.
I love mine, and its history.
Thanks again
Regards
Adam
 

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This is just a theory but it is possible that production had halted on these Fahys cases before the patent was actually granted.

Sometimes it took well over a year for patents to be granted.

Production begun in most cases (no pun intended) soon as the patent application paperwork was filed with the United States Patent Office.

So, if these cases first came to market in September of 1917 the Great War only had 14 months left to go until the Armistice was signed in November of 1918.

Production was ceased on many cases & dials immediately when the fighting stopped.

I've seen at least another dozen of these cases that I did not own at shows, the bay and on forums and all of them had a "patent pending" stamp.

If one exists with a patent date stamp I'd LOVE to see it ! ! !
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, that a fair comment, but if Patent Pending we should find the original application, which I suspect is 1917 or maybe even 1916.
Then once applied it should have gone through.
It's very interesting.
I will do a bit more research I think.
Regards
Adam
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I want to add some points
First a typo correction:
The Year of introduction of the 19" Calibre 'OMEGA' was 1894 NOT 1864 -

For more information on Omega History - information contained on the website of the OMEGA Museum under omegamuseum.com
Recommend reading through the first section called "The First 100 Years" under: FIRST 100 YEARS | omegamuseum.com

Regards
Adam
 

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I do not believe that "patent applications" are search-able in the United States Patent Office database prior to 1976.

Pre-1976 you can only search for Patent Issue Date, Patent Number and current US Classification, NO Patent Applications.

If you look through every single patent with the name "FAHYS" it does not come up, I tried that a couple of years ago.
 

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Adam,
This is incredible Horology! I have and have seen many cases that look very similar to this one but never in an Omega!
I love the original adverts and it is so interesting to see the original "Strap" in them like Stan has so brilliantly brought back
To life... I have one of his and it is simply fantastic to have on the wrist!
It was so nice to talk watches with you while you were in NY and the pieces I got to see of yours just blew me away!!!
Thanks for the great posting!!!
G
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Adam,
This is incredible Horology! I have and have seen many cases that look very similar to this one but never in an Omega!
I love the original adverts and it is so interesting to see the original "Strap" in them like Stan has so brilliantly brought back
To life... I have one of his and it is simply fantastic to have on the wrist!
It was so nice to talk watches with you while you were in NY and the pieces I got to see of yours just blew me away!!!
Thanks for the great posting!!!
G
Gregg
Pleasure was mine - you had some OUTstanding pieces.
This Patria is fantastic, - nearly as cool as the Perpetual I opened and showed you - Montre a Secousses!!

You take care Gregg - and as always - Thanks
A
 

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Adam
great research job and absolutely lovely watch, congrats!
I have a question to the restorers and collectors of these sterling trench watches
Should the cases be polished or left with the 90 year old patina (tarnish) on them?
I absolutely love the look and the history of these watches, especially after I just finished a book on WWI called 5 Lieutenants. It seems that many of our soldiers during WWI were very idealistic in their reasons for enlisting and wanting to be sent to the front lines. They really believed that they were fighting a war to end all wars
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, appreciated.
To answer your question. In my opinion if possible they should be left, or very gently HAND polished.

If case is junked, then restore with minimum amount of polishing and if possible 100% by hand. I have 4 timepieces from this master watchmaker and restorer, all painstakingly hand polished.
Even the leather straps are hand made.
Restoration at its best.

Regards
 
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