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WW1 IWC in Borgel hermetic case, cal.64


A stunning example of the original tool watch; a Borgel cased IWC.

Patented by Francois Borgel, this type of waterproof case was first developed towards the end of the 19th century, originally in pocket watch form. With the arrival of wrist watches at the start of the 20th century, Borgel developed a version for the wrist, with the design proving very popular with troops in the First World War, thanks to the great increase in weather proofing compared to traditional hinged cases.

The construction is simple yet effective. The movement sits within a brass retaining ring, covered by a bezel holding the crystal, with the ring featuring a screw thread. This attaches into the main case, with the stem designed such that it can be pulled out against a spring to allow the case to screw together. In this example, the bezel is a tight fit on the front of the watch and the thread exhibits minimal wear, providing a close seal when snugged up.

Borgel supplied cases to many purveyors of watches, but this particular example houses an IWC cal.64 movement, in exceptional condition. The movement is marked as being supplied to Stauffer, Son and Co, who were IWC's UK agent at the turn of the century. It is marked IWC on the main plate and Peerless on the bridge. The gilt finished movement has been freshly serviced and oiled, and is keeping time to within 30 seconds a day, with excellent power reserve. Not bad for a 101 year old watch.

The case is silver, and carries the C.N makers mark, for Charles Nicolet, who along with Francis Claude, was a partner in Stauffer, Son and Co at the time. The case carries a London assay mark, datng it to 1916, which tallies with the IWC movement number. The case back is engraved with what appears to be a later inital and date (a testament that to the watches quality that somone saw fit to mark it when it was already 40 years old).

Supplied on an period correct strap from David Boettcher, this is a stunning example of a true, high grade trench watch from one of the great Swiss manufacturers.

David Boettche's site, (click) provides a great in-depth history of both Borgel and Stauffer, Son and Co.

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