By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water
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  1. #1
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    For my 2000th post... thought it would be nice to show off a rescued watch with added history!

    A few months ago, I purchased this wreck of a watch....








    The watch was 'ticking'... so i had hope... but as you can see, the case was quite bad... the lugs had been replaced with wider (18mm) wire lugs, which had also broken. The dial/lume was also in quite a bad state - Which had to be carefully cleaned before sending to my watch guy! The crown was pretty much non existent...

    But... as I say... I had hope!


    As can just be made in one of the pics, the case has an inscription on the back.... this is the seller pic... and what got more interested in the watch!



    HURLINGHAM CLUB
    HANDICAP EXTRA DOUBLES
    1924
    WON BY
    R. LEETHAM-JONES
    &
    G.A. PRYCE-CUXSON

    For those of you that dont know, the Hurlingham Club was and is an exclusive Gentlemans club, famous for Croquet, Polo, Shooting, Tennis.... the history of which can be seen on their site:

    The History of Hurlingham | The Hurlingham Club

    The Handicap Extra Doubles was a Croquet competition.


    I have tried contacting the Hurlingham Club for their records. However, them were unable to help!


    As for the winners, I have been able to find out some interesting facts.

    Robert Leetham-Jones:

    Born 1878 into a wealthy family (father Henry, mother Elizabeth) with 4 Brothers and 4 Sister. The 1981 also shows the family had 5 Servants.

    He took (and passed) the Bar exam aged 24 in 1902 and in 1906 was proposed as a candidate to the Royal Astrological Society. He served during the great war and is listed and mentioned in a few articles - mentioned as: Special Reserve of Officers, Royal Garrison Artillery & Royal Navy Volunteer Reserves.

    In 1907 he won a CA silver Medal - for the first time a player reaches the final of an open Cup.

    By 1915, he was also the Editor of the Croquet Association Gazette until 1937. During which time he wrote: Croquet - Twelve Hints to Long-Bisquers, 1929. The 2nd endition was renamed to: Croquet - Twelve Hint to Beginners - as seen here

    His playing record can be seen here:

    Full record for Robert Leetham-Jones


    RLJ died in 1952.

    (I would like to thank Dave Kibble, Chris Williams, Roger Wood and Neil Chalmer of the Croquet Association for their help in providing information)


    Information on George Austin Pryce Cuxon, born 1856/57 was harder to find. There are plenty of articles which mention him, as he was Secretary of The Engineering Institute, which also sees his name mentioned in Engineering reference books!

    It was quite sad to find his only son (2nd Lt Basil Pryce Cuxon) was killed in action on the 15th July 1915 aged 23.

    There seems to be no real reference to him playing Croquet, so I assume the 'Handicap Doubles' may refer to a 'pro' (Jones) playing with a 'ameteur' (Cuxon).

    Cuxon was also quite old in comparision and died 2 years after winning the competition in 1926.


    As for information on the watch... I was lucky to get some information from Zenith... who say themselves, they dont normally provide this information!

    "We do not usually provide information on watches without seeing them.

    But as an exception, I have looked in our files.


    It seems that this watch was originally equipped with a 13 NSI caliber
    and was manufactured on 24 December 1917."



    Which is slightly odd, as it would appear the watch may have been used before it was either given as a prize, or inscibed by either man as a memory. Which makes me think, It may have been used by RLJ during the war.


    The watch was clearly advertised as a watch for someone in the services. Thanks to David of 'vintagewatchstraps.com' as he provided one of the last peices - an Advert for the watch:




    I could not find any vintage advertisements on the web, luckily, David had a copy of May 1918's "Nash's and Pall Mall Magazine", which shows the watch.... which claims to be "By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services".... the price of the watch also seems very high for this period (compared to other vintage ads from this period)

    The watch itself is of a very interesting design. Similar to the Borgel cased watches, it has a 1 peice case with the movement/bezel unscrewed from the top. But, unlike the Borgel, which has a threaded carry ring which is attached to the bezel, meaning the movement, dial, bezel all unscrew in 1 peice, the Zenith has a screw bezel not carry ring! This means the bezel unscrews without the movement/dial rotating as you unscrew. The Stem is also 2-part like the borgel, but it is not spring loaded. The 'male' section within the stem tube (on the case) clicks firmly between in and out. And, as on a standard watch - 'in' winds, 'out' sets! No pin set here!!!


    So... after some months, some research, some money spent out and some great work by my watch guy.... its back!





    From fully closed to open, you can see how the bezel is rotating, but the dial/movement stays still.






    With the movement out, you can clearly see it is just the bezel that is threaded - the carry ring around the movement is smooth:






    The movements itself is fully signed and a real gem!





    The case is also fully hallmarked!





    And on the wrist its ticking sweetly!






    As can be seen... the watch has seen a transformation from when it arrived!

    Case - Old 'wide' and broken lugs removed - origial 12mm lugs reinstated (in the same holes)

    Movement - Serviced

    Dial/Hands - Cleaned, relumed, new second hand.

    Crown - New. This is the only part that stands out for me, but my watch guy could only get this type to fit - odd stem arrangement! And funny enough, I have seen one more sold with this type of crown.

    Im really happy with the watch.... Im unsure of numbers produced, but there dont seem to be many around! Plus with its history/inscription... is!




    If you have made it to the end... thanks for reading! Heres to another 2000 posts!


    Marc
    joeuk, DaveWinkler, Mirius and 9 others like this.
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  2. #2
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Congrats on the watch it is a beauty and a great save. Excellent horology and historical research Love it.

    Congrats on the 2000 posts

    Congrats on making me insanely jealous. No wonder you've been quiet lately.
    Last edited by trim; May 28th, 2012 at 23:04.

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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Congrats your watch guy does some great work on the dials, and that hairspring just pops out on the movement.

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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    Congrats on the watch it is a beauty and a great save. Excellent horology and historical research Love it..
    Why thank you!!

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    Congrats on making me insanely jealous.
    Eeeexxxcellent....

    Quote Originally Posted by joeuk View Post
    Congrats your watch guy does some great work on the dials, and that hairspring just pops out on the movement.
    Cheers Joe! I hope it does not pop out.........
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

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    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Well - awesome piece of restoration and research. What a great watch! And a great read - thank you.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  7. #6
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Hi Marc!

    Congrats on the 2000th - and on a at last really nice trenchwatch!
    Great story and great research, it´s always a fun to read a presentation like that.
    Best regards, Mike

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    Member Preston's Avatar
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Wow, absolutely fantastic. Incredible save indeed!
    Peace,
    Preston
    Omega, Tissot, Panerai, G-Shock, Timex, Swiss Army watch fan

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    Member ancient_mariner's Avatar
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Excellent work!

  10. #9
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Preston View Post
    Wow, absolutely fantastic. Incredible save indeed!
    Peace,
    Preston
    Cheers Preston!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrick View Post
    Well - awesome piece of restoration and research. What a great watch! And a great read - thank you.
    More than welcome.... its was far easier than trying to do a SOTC thread.....

    Quote Originally Posted by mike184 View Post
    Hi Marc!

    Congrats on the 2000th - and on a at last really nice trenchwatch!
    Great story and great research, it´s always a fun to read a presentation like that.
    I was really hoping to find a pic of Robert, and thought I had come close by finding some early croquet pics on the C.A website.... but no joy!

    Cheers
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  11. #10
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: By far the best watch for men in the Naval, Military, or Air Services - Zenith Land & Water

    Just had something pointed out to me!

    The advert describes the watch as having 'unbreakable glass' which may mean the yellow celluloid crystal may have been original - it certainly looked old enough!

    Anyone seen a watch from 1917 with this type of crystal... its been replaced with one of those modern glass ones now.......

    Marc
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

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