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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys ! ! !

There has been speculation for many years when it comes to the BEHEMOTH size 12s American Trench Watches...........................where any of them actually made ? ? ?

We can now put all speculation to rest................................they do in FACT exist ! ! ! !

But, it's not an Elgin, Waltham or Illinois that has been located, it's a CROWN.

Sold under the name "Crown Watch Company" but was actually made by the New York Standard Watch Company in New Jersey.

The New York Standard Watch Company was owned by the Keystone Watch Case Company who also owned the Philadelphia Watch Case Company and the case maker Bates & Bacon (B&B).

Yes, this will get a bit confusing, I had to re-read all of my research several times to get a grip on all of this.

During the Great War era Keystone was was constantly being sued by the United States government and other watch case manufacturers.

A lot of these suits had to do with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, illegal monopolies and such.

Keystone was sued over the use of the name "Crown Watch Company", because this company really did not exist it was simply a shell name under the Keystone umbrella.

Maybe Keystone did this in an attempt to avoid further prosecution under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 ? ? ?

Anyway, movements that were stamped with the Crown Watch Company name during the Great War era were cased in cases made by the Philadelphia Watch Case Company.

I have been able to locate 4 advertisements stating that the BEHEMOTH size 12s trench watches did exist but I have never actually held one in my hand................. that is until yesterday.

All four of these adverts were for the Illinois Watch Case Company, none were from any company owned by Keystone like Philadelphia.

Below are the four 12s trench watch advertisements.









Take a look at the advert just above, the square case at the bottom right of the advert.

About a year ago I did in fact see one of these Illinois size 12s square trench watch cases but at the time I did not know what it was so I unfortunately took a pass.

Still beating myself up over this one to this very day, I should have pulled the trigger and bought that watch ! ! ! ! ! ! !

If you study the above four adverts you will notice something very strange.......................none of the adverts state that Illinois makes a GIANT size 6s trench watch case!

But, in fact they did make them, I've had no less than 10 of the size 6s cases made by the Illinois Watch Case Company.

I've had them in gold fill, solid nickel, sterling silver, semi-hermetic and with swivel lugs.

To the best of my knowledge the only companies that made GIANT size 6s trench watch cases were Bates & Bacon and Philadelphia (both owned by Keystone) and the Illinois Watch Case Company.

Size 6s cases that were made under the Philadelphia name were only made in "silverode" and cases made under the Bates & Bacon name were only made in gold fill using the case grade name "Royal".

The Illinois size 6s cases were made in gold fill, solid nickel and sterling silver.

The size 6s trench watch cases made by Philadelphia and Bates & Bacon were identical to each other in design and size because BOTH were owned by Keystone!

Which gets my to my point, up until now it was generally accepted that the GIANT size 6s trench watches were the biggest ones made because no BEHEMOTH size 12s examples have been found and documented.



Now, all four of these cases were made by companies owned by Keystone, the case designs are the same.

Starting from the far left: Philadelphia "silverode" size 3/0s, Philadelphia "silverode size 0s, Bates & Bacon 10k gold filled "Royal" size 6s and finally the Philadelphia 10k gold filled size 12s trench watch case on the far right.

In my opinion this picture is EPIC ! ! ! !

Four different sizes of the same trench watch case design ! ! ! !

Just so you can get a grasp on how big this size 12s trench watch is I photographed it next to a size 3/0s Elgin Trench Watch.



The size 3/0s measures 35mm lug to lug, 31.5mm without the crown with a 16mm lug diameter.

The BEHEMOTH size 12s Crown Trench Watch measures 53mm lug to lug, 47mm without the crown with a 16mm lug diameter.

And now here is a GIANT size 6s next to the BEHEMOTH size 12s trench watch.



The size 6s measures 42mm lug to lug, 38mm without the crown with a 16mm lug diameter.

The 6s looks tiny next to the 12s ! ! !

A few shots of the 12s Crown by itself, this case is semi-hermetic!








And now for some WRIST SHOTS ! ! !






Unfortunately this size 12s Crown Trench Watch is broken and in need of MANY new parts.

One of the pallet jewels is cracked and the roller jewel is also cracked.

It needs a special stem which I do not have too.

Finding these parts is going to be next to impossible, finding parts for movements that were made by the New York Standard Watch Company is VERY DIFFICULT ! ! ! !

Plus, you can't do a simple movement swap out or I would ! ! !

This size 12s Crown movement is different than a size 12s movement made by companies like Elgin, Illinois and Waltham.

Even though they are all size 12s they are NOT the exact same size, the plates have different shapes.

It's kind of like a size 3/0s Elgin when compared to a size 3/0s Hampden, both are a size 3/0s but you can't put an Elgin size 3/0s into a silverine Dueber size 3/0s case, it simply will not fit!

I will shelf this BEHEMOTH size 12s trench watch project for the time being until something can be figured out or a donor movement can be found.

But, we now know for a FACT that these BEHEMOTH size 12s American Trench Watches do exist and that is the most important thing ! ! ! !
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
About a year ago I bought a different Crown Trench Watch that you guys might remember.

It was a size 3/0s in a semi-hermetic gold filled case with an offset crown made by the Philadlephia Watch Case Company.

The dial and movement design on this 3/0s Crown is identical to this BEHEMOTH size 12s Crown Trench Watch.

The only difference being is the 3/0s is an OF movement while the 12s is a HC movement.











 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm sure that somebody is going to ask about the lip washers on the case screws of the size 12s trench watch pictured above.

It is very possible that this movement had some kind of a dust ring that helped it fit into the case perfectly which is missing.

The movement is NOT loose inside of the case, it does NOT shake around at all.

I've never seen these lip washers before on a watch movement so your guess is probably going to be as good as the next guy.
 

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I was perplexed about the two different cases... My fault for skipping the read to get to the AMAZING pictures! Stan, this one is HUGE!!! Is it the biggest vintage you've ever worked on?

Really great comparison pictures and absolutely brilliant write up.

My fingers are crossed that you'll come across those spare parts you're looking for.

As always, thank you for sharing buddy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Jeff ! ! !

Yes, this is by far the LARGEST trench watch that I have ever worked on, I've NEVER seen a bigger one.

The parts might be found someday but it will be VERY difficult as so few are know to exist.

I'll keep my eyes open and I hope that everybody else will too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I just got my hands on a 1919 Keystone Watch Case Company Material Catalog, will arrive in a day or two.

It covers the Crown, Howard, New York Standard & Keystone movements & cases.

Yes, Keystone the case manufacturer also had their own brand of movements that they manufactured, I have a few Keystone movements.
 

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This is AMAZING stuff Stan!

For all you guys who may not know Stan, he is a big guy!
Think Football build!

To see the average watch from this time period on his wrist
is like seeing a ladies watch on my wrist.

This photo shows just how big this watch is... it even looks big on Stan's wrist!!!



Ben... this would be amazing if your parts worked for Stan...
I would LOVE to see this badboy up and running:thumbup1:

I love how this movement is a bigger version of the other "crown"
with the same shapes of the bridges, etc. My fear was that it
was a pocket watch movement put into a different case, but all
in all it looks like it is a wristwatch movement, just larger.

I wonder if this was for pilots, due to the large, easy to read size?

Hummm?

G
 

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Yes, Keystone the case manufacturer also had their own brand of movements that they manufactured, I have a few Keystone movements.
IIRC, Keystone made all the 'E. Howard Watch Company' movements, after buying the rights to the name from 'E. Howard and Company'. They were high-end watches, the Keystone Howards!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is AMAZING stuff Stan!

For all you guys who may not know Stan, he is a big guy!
Think Football build!

To see the average watch from this time period on his wrist
is like seeing a ladies watch on my wrist.

This photo shows just how big this watch is... it even looks big on Stan's wrist!!!



Ben... this would be amazing if your parts worked for Stan...
I would LOVE to see this badboy up and running:thumbup1:

I love how this movement is a bigger version of the other "crown"
with the same shapes of the bridges, etc. My fear was that it
was a pocket watch movement put into a different case, but all
in all it looks like it is a wristwatch movement, just larger.

I wonder if this was for pilots, due to the large, easy to read size?

Hummm?

G
Just checked the tracking number for the Keystone Catalog, it will be arriving tomorrow.

Only cost me $14.00, hopefully if might have some answers about this Crown Trench Watch !

I'll let you guys know soon as it arrives..........................................
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, the Crown Material Catalog was not much help.

I was hoping for some possible case information and dial info but it is just movement info.

But, the special stem that this movement takes is listed, at least now I know what it looks like!

It seems that all of their 15 jewel movements looked identical to each other, the only difference being OF or HC.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The donor 12s Crown movement arrived today !

This was INSANELY hard to find as it is an obscure American brand.

The pallet fork on the donor had two good stones so this was a simple swap out due to it being the exact same grade.

I'll be working on installing a roller jewel later on today.

It seems that the stem is in fact in this movement but it has been cracked off.

The hopes of finding a replacement are slim to none as this is a VERY specific part.

YEARS could go by and I might not find one intact.

So, it's time to see just how advanced my skills have become these days!

Going to attempt a soldiering marriage of two different stems, this is pretty much a shot in the dark but you never know until you try!

Going to shape/file them in the form of two "L's" probably unless somebody comes up with a better idea...............................

I can just wind the barrel (mainspring) with a screwdriver for the time being though.

All the parts that were needed are now here so this one might, just might have a heartbeat in a few days.

Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
And then there was a pulse ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !


And not only a pulse but a STRONG one ! ! !

The new roller jewel has been installed, HOLY COW was that a HARD job ! ! ! !

Took me 2 hours to get that jewel properly set in place.

And with the complete new pallet fork with two good jewels this honey is up and RUNNING ! ! ! ! ! !

I still have to address the special stem issue but MASSIVE progress has now been made.

Can't do any more work on it for now, my hands have the shakes at the moment from all of this excitement.....................





These numbers look good but it still needs some adjustments.

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I simply could not wait any longer to get this honey on my wrist so I put it back together!

The crown is non-functional, I set the hands manually and I wound the mainspring manually.

Good enough for the time being until I can address the stem issue !








And the WRIST SHOT ! ! ! !




The largest American GENUINE wrist watch made during the Great War ! ! ! ! ! !
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've got the timing hovering at +36 seconds right now (dial up) and +20 seconds (crown down), this is pretty good.

I might make another adjustment but I'm going to see where it is after 6 hours then 12 hours of running before I do anything else.


Now onto the stem issue, still trying to think of the best way to handle that problem...................

I have a better chance of winning the Power Ball Lottery than finding a correct stem for this watch that is in tact, UBER RARE part.

Last night I used super glue gel to temporarily connect the original stem that is cracked in half (the threaded side with the crown threading is missing) and another stem.

I needed to see exactly how long an entire stem would need to be in order for this watch to wind and set, also needed to check for any clearance problems.

I have my total length needed now, it's 17.70mm from stem tip to the end of the threading where the crown is attached.

I am really thinking at this point that a simple soldering job will not do when it comes to marrying these two stems together.

They will have to be laser welded together!

I know a guy who is a master laser welder, his name is Pavel.

I'll pay him a visit tomorrow and see what he thinks.......................................
 
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