Hebdomas Sterling Silver WWI 8 Day Trench Wristwatch with Shrapnel Guard, Switzerland ca 1914
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Exceptionally Rare Museum Quality **Hebdomas Sterling Silver WWI 8 Day Trench Wristwatch with Shrapnel Guard, Switzerland ca 1914**
This World War I Officer's Trench Wrist Watch is a rare example of an Hebdomas 8 day wristwatch produced for military use That is, without fancy skeleton dial and visible balance wheel. As is the case for other Hebdomas watches, the winding spring/spring barrel are situated behind the watch movement and take up the watchs full diameter, allowing it to run eight days on a single winding.
Very few Hebdomas Trench Wristwatches were manufactured, and even less have survived to the present day. The sober elegance of this extraordinary watch finally is crowned by the beauty of the flawless oven baked porcelain dial, hinged back 0.925 sterling silver case as well as original new old stock stitched seam leather bracelet from the same time period as the watch.
Dimensions: 35 mm excluding the winding crown x 4 0 mm lug to lug
Case Signed: Hebdomas
Hallmark: Fully signed with Swiss 0.925 Sterling Silver marks
Hebdomas was founded in 1888 by Iréné Aubry in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The firm established both its notoriety and market position by uniquely producing 8 day time-keepers; that is, watches that could run for a full eight days on a single winding.
The brand name itself was inspired by the word Hebdomandaire, an ancient Greek festival which occurred on the seventh day of each month in celebration of the God Apollos birth.
From the onset, Hebdomas enjoyed considerable commercial success. Justified by the above average production costs inherent to an eight day movement, their watches were expensive and sold exclusively by leading prestigious watch shops.
Their very distinctive look with visible balance wheel and eccentric hands offered Hebdomas enormous recognition value, a design which the firm would maintain for its wristwatches as well, with the exception of a very small number of rare traditional looking wristwatches, especially for use in the trenches of WWI.
In fact, already Hebdomas visible balance wheel wristwatch models are very rare. Most examples of vintage Hebdomas watches seen in collections today are pocket watches, because the Company only briefly marketed wristwatches from 1913 until the very early 1920s Let alone the military model which indeed is very very rarely to be seen.
Interestingly, while Hebdomas manufactured its pocket watches in-house, they chose to entrust their wristwatch production to Anton Schilds famous Grenchen, Switzerland firm A. Schild. At the time, Schild already had established himself as a leading pioneer in wristwatch movement production. Ironically, it also was A. Schild who hardly more than a decade later would develop and manufacture a product which spelled the 8 day watchs demise: The John Harwood automatic wristwatch!