During the great war, Birch & Gaydon created three trench watch offerings, with the most expensive being the ‘Land & Water’. It is said to have taken its name from the British newspaper of the same name to report of WW1 progress.
Birch & Gaydon were one of the very top London jewellers and only sold the best quality items. Birch & Gaydon were the principal retailer of Zenith watches in England.
The Land & Water is a well-known and desirable trench watch, being one of the earliest named and mass-produced examples. It also benefits from very good quality manufacture and a top Zenith movement.
This example has a more conventional case design, with a screw back and bezel. These examples are typically smaller than the earlier type with screw in movement.
Here we have a 1928 example of a rare 9ct gold Birch & Gaydon ‘Land & Water’ military style watch. It has 30mm 9ct gold case, with coin edge screw bezel and case back, with a rare black dial with the original aged radium luminous paint.
It has a neat original crown with coin edge surround, with fixed wire lugs securing the watch to the military style bund strap. The screw back opens and on the inside is signed with hallmarking from Glasgow assay office, with the date letter ‘f’, dating the watch to 1928. The case has the signing for Zenith Watch co.
Inside is a high grade 17 jewel calibre from Zenith. It has a jewelled centre wheel, with an advanced regulation system. The movement is running well, but the service history in unknown. It’s keeping time to within +30 seconds a day.
The mix of the gold case, with the black dial is particularly appealing and uncommon on trench style watches. Gold is softer than silver and less useful in the field. Black dials also reflect less light. Commonly, these examples would have been purchased by officers due to the ostentatious nature of design and the fact that they were double the price.
This is a very collectable and well-designed watch, which is very wearable on a bund strap, despite its slightly smaller proportion.
Full condition report below. Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.
The dial is enamel and is original. It is in good condition with only some slight hairline fractures stemming from the centre, and no visible chips. The black tone is quite even for the age. The original radium lume is on the hour markers, with some losses with age.
The cathedral style hands are original and have the original luminous in-fill with some losses. They have corrosion associated with age.
The acrylic crystal is a modern replacement in good condition.
The crown is original with coin edge finish and is in good condition.
The case is formed of 3 pieces, with a screw on bezel, solid centre piece with fixed wire lugs, and a screw on case back. The screw on bezel is in good condition with a neat coin edge finish. The finish is good with some light surface scratching and it screws in place as it should. The centre piece of the case is good with only light surface scratching. The wire lugs are good and strong. The thread for the front and rear are good.
The case back is a screw back, with coin edge surround, formed of 9ct gold. It is in average condition, with light surface scratching and some deeper scratches around the coin edge finish from poor opening attempts. It screws down tightly as it should.
The watch comes on a new, vintage style leather military bund strap.
The movement is a 17 jewel calibre from Zenith, and is of a high grade. As well as its high jewel count and jewelled centre wheel, it has a cap jewel on the escape wheel. It also has a patented and more advanced regulation system.
The movement is running well, but the service history in unknown. It’s keeping time to +22 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 320 degrees and a beat error of 2.9m/s.
Case width: 29.5mm
Case width with crown: 31mm
Case length: 29.5mm
Case length lug to lug: 35mm
Case Depth: 9.75mm
Lug width: 12mm
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