Need help identifying this watch

Thread: Need help identifying this watch

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Need help identifying this watch

    I picked this up recently in a bazaar in Stonetown on Zanzibar Island, and do not know what it is.

    It seems I remember reading somewhere that soldiers in 19th century Africa attached this type of watch to their saddles or tunics, thus the compass face.

    I'm asking for help in the "German watches" forum because Tanzania and Zanzibar were under German control during colonial days, so chances are it originated in Germany or thereabouts.

    Can anyone tell me anything about it?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    Interesting!! It could be possible to look inside?. A look to the movement should be very illustrative

    Saluds from Mexico

  3. #3
    Member Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    Thanks for posting. It says Swiss made on the dial. I'd need to see the movement to comment on its approximate age.
    The dial looks to be porcelain which usually means 1920 or earlier.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

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  5. #4
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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    Actually the dial looks like it may have been scanned & sort of crudely printed with something like an ink-jet printer (the numerals III & IIII have clear parallel scan/print lines). The dial may itself be a decal or have a lacquer overcoat.

    The detailed picture shows this clearly:



    I don't know what to make of the crude printing on the dial which seems to read "centre seconds chronograph" since the watch does not appear to be a chronograph.

  6. #5
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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    Not wanting to be critical or anything, but the hands look to be very crudely made. You may be right about the dial. You would ecpect the dial to be in a not too good condition after so many years, considering the climate. This also applies to the hands. But it still is a very interesting watch. Why not a Chronograph? Look on the movement (and post some pics!). My granddad had a similar watch, he fought in the Austro-Hungarian army during WW1. Watch lost now.

  7. #6
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    I would guess that it is an early movement with indirect centre seconds to be better able to time something (even without zero reset or hack feature). Hence the term "chronograph" - even without that feature in the modern sense. I'd agree that it was probably made for military purposes (WWI or some conflict around that time).

    Hartmut Richter

  8. #7
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    Be warned that spurious phrases like "centre seconds chronograph" and "specially examined" were routinely applied to low-grade pocket watches, both Swiss and American, from the late 19th to early 20th century. The dial looks like printed card which would tend to support this theory.

    On the other hand, the case and leather straps seem like very specialized items, and the slightly too long stem would be consistent with a one-button chronograph.

    Only a movement shot will resolve the question.

  9. #8

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    Re: Need help identifying this watch

    I'm not a "watch guy", and have no skills for working with them. I can't see an obvious way of opening the watch, and am reluctant to turn it over to anyone locally who may or may not have the skills to be working on something so foreign.

    I do agree it most likely wasn't an expensive watch, probably having been made to survive a rough lifestyle. (If it is indeed a soldier's watch)

    I live in a rural area, and all our old watchmakers have passed on. I'll look around.

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