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A stunning World War 1 era sterling silver "Land & Water" trench style wristwatch by Zenith, retailed by Birch & Gaydon of Fenchurch Street in London around 1918. It is in truly amazing condition at 105 years old with a sharp black and white enamel dial showing no chips or hairline cracks and original hands in an early dust proof two-piece case with monoblock back and screw off bezel measuring just over 35mm in diameter. I just love the look and function of that large onion style crown which is still in remarkably sharp condition, making it easier to wind the watch with gloves on back in the day. Originally this watch would have had simple wire style lugs which have at some point in its history been removed and skillfully replaced with these amazing fixed lugs with screw pins holding the 18mm wide strap in place. These lugs are beautifully done, match the wear, patina and style of the case so perfectly it is actually hard to imagine they are not original. The original radioactive radium luminous from the dial and hands was also at some point removed and the hands then again filled with non-radioactive material which has aged nicely and only adds to the vintage feel. Inside we find a superb high-grade 15 jewel Zenith movement freshly serviced here at Meticulous and keeping great time with the inner case all correctly signed with matching hallmarks to the age of the movement. A truly beautiful high-grade timepiece from the WW1 era retailed in London by Birch & Gaydon for the famous house of Zenith.
David Boettcher of vintagewatchstraps.com has written a superb article detailing many aspects on the history of Birch & Gaydon and there relationship with Zenith along with many fascinating details specifically about the Land & Water series of timepieces. A fascinating read you can find here.
Style: Military, Early wristwatch
Case: Solid sterling silver case measuring 35mm in diameter excluding the original crown with screw off bezel creating a dust proof seal inside the back of the case. These were advertised back in the day as "moisture proof" as well, but in truth they have no gaskets in the seals of the case so really should just be considered dust proof. Inside the case is fully signed and hallmarked including a ZWC sponsors mark and 0.925 for sterling silver.
Dial: Stunning factory original black enamel dial with white hour numbers, sub-seconds dial and signature which reads Birch & Gaydon Ltd, Fenchurch Street, London, Land & Water, Swiss Made. No hairline cracks or chips. In remarkable near mint condition.
Movement: Superb quality Zenith in-house designed and manufactured manually wound 15 jewel movement with fancy micro-regulator on the balance and blue over-coil Breguet style hairspring. Beautiful cosmetic and mechanical condition, freshly serviced here at Meticulous and keeping great time. It comes with our full 1 year mechanical warranty. The 2.2 million range serial number dates the movement to approximately 1918, matching the hallmarks of the case.