Zenith gold watch

Jun 29, 2020. 16:14 UTC
ZENITH Gold Watch
United States of America

wrist watch

Acquired from

For sale

Width: 1" Height: 1-1/2"


This watch was given to my maternal grandfather as a gift by German Marshal Liman von Sanders before WW1. My grand father was his communication officer during the war in Turkey.

Answered within about 2 hours
Jun 29, 17:53 UTC
By David

Fair Market Value

$1,000 - $1,250 USD

Insurance Value

$2,250 USD
What does this mean?

Hello Deniz,
Thank you for sending in your family heirloom pocket watch to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today.
Gent’s, manually wound, 14k yellow gold, Presentation gift (without engraving), wristwatch, S/N 3474834, “8.75 lignes F” movement, made by Fabrique des Montres Zenith SA, Le Locle, Switzerland circa 1925-1935. {Zenith lists this calibre wristwatch as being first manufactured in 1921 and the last was made in 1955}
This watch was given to my maternal grandfather as a gift by German Marshal Liman von Sanders (1855-1929) before WW1. My grandfather was his communication officer during the war in Turkey.
{As family stories go it may be that the watch was presented to your grandfather post WW I. There is no official presentation mark engraved into the watch case. The Central Powers during the years of WW I as of 1914 were Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey. It would seem reasonable to me that the Field Marshal gave this as a gift to you grandfather following that War rather than before it. }
Case: Approximately 25 mm x 37.5 mm rectangular, two leaf, 14k yellow gold, wristwatch with straight lugs, gold thin fluted winding crown and flip open back cover with the case no. 408540. The inside of the cover is marked with the ‘squirrel’. The Swiss hallmark for 14k gold, the latter written as 0.585 (%). There one finds the key shaped, Poinçon de Maître or certification of the gold quality by an outside company. The no. 2 is seen clearly within the key and represents the well-known Swiss watchmaking firm of “F. Baumgartner, SA”. The watch is accompanied by a black leather strap and since I cannot see the buckle I would imagine this was a replacement of the original.
Dial: Silvered rectilinear dial with applied gold Arabic hours at the quarters except @6 where there is a subsidiary seconds dial and applied gold dots at the balance of the hours, gilt feuille hands which are too short for the dial and have been replaced at some point in time. The upper dial is signed in print, Zenith.
Movement: This is the Zenith calibre 8 3/4'''F, a manually wound, split three quarter plate, 20 mm x 26.3 mm, rectilinear movement with subsidiary seconds, bimetallic screw-type balance wheel made with 15 jewels (later in its history it contained 17 jewels) vibrating at 18000 beats/hour with a power reserve on a single winding of 38 hours. (This movement was made by Zenith from 1921-1955) Serial number on the movement is 347834. (Unfortunately, Zenith did not follow a strictly chronological system of serial numbers, so that it is not terribly helpful in dating.
Condition: Case – Excellent with no major damage or defects. Dial – The silvered dial has generally darkened evenly over most of the painted surface by oxidation caused by exposure to the air. It remains in very good condition to this day. The hands are apparent replacements since they are not long enough. Movement – The movement remains gilt colored and clean, original to this case and most likely in functional condition still.
Overall the watch is considered in Very Good to excellent condition for age.
Zenith was founded in 1865, in Le Locle, Switzerland by George Favre-Jacot. They used interchangeable parts in their factory based manufacturing of watches. The name Zenith was registered in 1897 when the new pocket watch was named Zenith and the company name was changed to ‘Fabrique des Montres Zenith, SA.’ following the retirement of the founder, in 1911.
Starting with a gold medal at the Paris Exposition of 1900, the next dozen years saw this company awarded first prizes or gold medals in Nuremberg, Moscow, Paris, chronometer contests throughout Europe and become the official railroad watch (pocket watch) in Italy.
There was immediate success in the market place and the company became well known throughout Europe for precision and reliability. In addition they won numerous awards in competitions against other watch manufacturers in Switzerland. Prior to the midpoint of the 20th century the company became well known for their development of chronometers and chronographs.
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/46037200_a-rare-gentleman-s-9ct-solid-gold-zenith-birch-and-gaydon (SOLD IN 2016 FOR 800 GB Pounds)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/44078509_a-rare-gentleman-s-14k-solid-gold-zenith-hermetic-wrist (SOLD IN 2016 FOR 800 GB Pounds)
https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/71496001_military-interest-first-world-war-zenith-trench-watch (Zenith WW I trench watch failed to sell and did not make it to 100 GB Pounds in 2019)
The general configuration of wristwatches for men in the years around WW I tend to be round and not rectangular. I believe this family watch most likely dates from the c. 1925-1935 era, despite the oral family lore passed down over close to a century. That does not make it any more or less valuable since there is nothing but oral history connecting this watch to the German General Marshall Liman von Sanders (17 February 1855 – 22 August 1929) and your grandfather. The General did survive until 1929. The fighting in Turkey (Battle of Gallipoli) took place during the years of 1915/1916 and no Swiss watch firm was making watches of this construction that early, the early watches followed the pocket watch and were round not rectangular.
My impression of this wonderful family heirloom is that id dates from the Art Deco years when rectilinear cased watches was more popular and that places it into the mid to later years of the Art Deco (c. 1920-1940). I think if you offered this gold watch at auction it would achieve a fair market value in the range, $1000-$1250. Retail prices would most likely be higher by a factor of two. I hope that helps to explain some of the properties inherent in dealing with a watch that dates back to a place in the world that was historical in many ways, and some of the factors that enter into making an accurate determination.
Thank you for choosing mearto.com for this appraisal.
My best,

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