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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Collectors,


How badly is the dial "damaged" through repainting ? Do you think it will make the watch less collectionable ? The numbers look very rough , is it normal for the watches of this time ? What is your reaction to a dial such as this one ?

All comments welcome !

Thank you

Alexander
 

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Hi, Alexander - the numbers do look rough but this is typical of watches of that vintage because of the degrading of the painted radium used for luminescence in that era. I personally would not touch them - not only to avoid irradiation, but also because it would detract from the 'vintageness' of the watch, which is what vintage collectors want. It is only original once! But it is a personal choice, particularly if your main intent is to wear it frequently. The state of the dial (not sure about the hands - one at least may have been redone) would not put me off at all if the watch was otherwise one in which I was interested.

Cheers,

Chris
 

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Well, that one was obviously once equipped with a white dial but someone thought they'd turn it into a black dial. If only they had made a better job of painting around the numbers.....

On the whole, I can understand dial restorations but dial adaptations are not exactly to my taste!

Hartmut Richter
 

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Alexander, is the dial enamel? If yes, then the grubby and sloppy lume could be cleaned off and you could have a crisper look. Of course, that would rattle fans of wabi as Chris observes..
 

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Well, that one was obviously once equipped with a white dial but someone thought they'd turn it into a black dial. If only they had made a better job of painting around the numbers.....

On the whole, I can understand dial restorations but dial adaptations are not exactly to my taste!

Hartmut Richter
Hartmut, I am not at all sure that the white edge to the numerals signifies a change in dial colour. The shapes are exact. The appearance of an outline is due, I think, to the manner in which the radium was painted on to the white numerals - rather sloppily as Lou points out, although that could in part be due to the deterioration of the radium over the last 90 years or so. N'est-ce pas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the advice.
More info:

The person who sold me the watch assured me that:
1. The dial is original and enamel : Why does Hartmut think that it has been re-painted ? Black dials were standard on the trench watches ?

2 The numbers may have been touched up - no certainty.

Does anyone have a book on the trench Zenith watches to compare it ? Does it have any collection value ?

(it has a nice mechanism with a small swan regulation and Brequet spring)
 

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Trench watches are often reproduced. I am not saying your watch is, just simply stating a fact. Collectors find watches of both world wars to be collectible and this creates an unhealthy supply. We have only seen the dial. Please be sure you have the entire watch checked and verified. We'd also love to see some movement shots. ;-)
Thanks for posting!
Dan
 

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it may be an original dial, whether it has been repainted or not.

I'm also inclined to think it has been repainted at least once in its lifetime.

For instance the lettering 'swiss made' is rather too big IMO and I even doubt that watches of that period would mention it at all.

And yes the numbers are a bit rough, as well as the contrast of black and white details.

So I would have to say, yes, the dial has been damaged through repainting. And yes of course this makes it a little less collectible. My reaction is in short that the dial has been repainted a bit coarsely.

Maybe you can have it restored again. It will be difficult to restore it to its original looks, because one can't tell any more what it exactly looked like originally. Still it should be possible to have it restored to a better standard.

How badly is the dial "damaged" through repainting ? Do you think it will make the watch less collectionable ? The numbers look very rough , is it normal for the watches of this time ? What is your reaction to a dial such as this one ?
 

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Alex, here is a pic (hopefully it up loads) of a Heuer WW1 trench watch i restored. When i got it it didnt have a crystal or the minute hand. It did have the hour hand though. I could kind of try to match up the hands at least. I looked through tons of boxes of hands for watches in those little glass tubes forever. They were NOS 70 years ago but none looked right because of patina. Another problem is the minute hand does not use a tube. Its pressed on the minute wheel pivot. So i dug through more boxes of 40s era watches and found a set of hands from i think an Elgin sqare case model. I thought i hit pay dirt but neither would fit. So i broached the hour hand out no problem. The minute hand, that was a different story. if you look closely at the center of the minute hand, i had to make a .012MM x .012 MM brass tube and press it into the hand and then it would attach. Since the dial had such nice original patina and the lume was lost on some of the numbers, i lucked out with lume missing from the minute hand. It was finished with an original glass dome crystal i had to drive 3 hours to get. Watch Watch accessory Analog watch Fashion accessory Pocket watch
 

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here is the movement ! Does the quality of the movement change your views (i.e. would you say it is worth the "crap" dial) ?
I wouldn't go as far as to call the dial 'cr*p'.

Considering the quality of Zenith movements in general, I'd say it may definitely make the deal worthwhile.

Because if the movement and case are good, you can always have the dial restored and own a great watch.

Or one could be contented with the dial 'as is' as well, knowing that on the inside the watch has a heart of gold.

The movement pic you have shown is a bit too small but it looks clean.

In any case it is quite a rare watch.

Many old watches are now lost because they didn't have incabloc shock-protection in those days.

So be careful with it :)
 

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Re: Zenith dial 1915s HERE IS a CLOSE UP

Black dials standard on WWI trench watches?? I would say that that's the first one I have seen in my lifetime! They were common to near standard on WWII watches, particularly pilot watches, but this one here..... :-s

The movement is from towards the end of WWI, going by the serial number, if not even from a little after that time. It looks in good condition. From what I have seen, the dial is clean enough and may be original once you "fill in" the missing radium in your imagination, however, I still maintain that the number edges are a little rough and based on my experience (cf. above), I would still say that someone is trying to make a decent trench watch look a little excessively realistic. Ask Zenith, maybe they will be able to tell you whether the made pre-1920 military watches with black dials.

Hartmut Richter
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Re: Zenith dial 1915s / No black dials in 1915s ?

Hartmut is convinced that there were no black dials on trench watches in 1915s . I find it hard to believe because have seen so many watches of this peropd with black dials. What do the rest of you think. If you look closely at the dial you can make out the words "Special" - surely the re painter would not have bothered to write it in ?

Please let me know !
 

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Re: Zenith dial 1915s / No black dials in 1915s ?

Well, another point is that the dial underneath the radium lume is obviously white. Why? Wouldn't it be so much easier to just paint the whole dial black and then apply the lume on top of that? Especially if you are dealing with mass production in difficult times (WWI). The word "Special" is admittedly a point in favour of the dial being original but there are still quite a few against. One question: is the black colour perfectly even or can you see brush strokes or similar on it?

Hartmut Richter
 

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Re: Zenith dial 1915s / No black dials in 1915s ?

Hartmut is convinced that there were no black dials on trench watches in 1915s . I find it hard to believe because have seen so many watches of this peropd with black dials. What do the rest of you think. If you look closely at the dial you can make out the words "Special" - surely the re painter would not have bothered to write it in ?

Please let me know !
As I said before, watches from both wars are counterfeited often. I too have seen very few watches, if any, from the first world war that had a black dial. We are trying to help in some small way, but please understand that we are not experts in all things. That is why in my original post I said you should have it verified. And by that, I mean independently. You could have a very nice find there, but you won't get that from a bunch of people on the internet looking at small pictures. That is why our policy is not to get into valuations. We have not exactly engaged in that, but I feel we are getting close.

It is a nice looking watch either way. Find someone local who can look at it and give you piece of mind. And I really do appreciate you sharing the photos! :-!

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Re: Zenith dial 1915s / No black dials in 1915s ?

Thank you, Dan. The problem is that in Paris the folk are useless. Of course, I am not eliciting a valuation debate just trying to learn from you wise watch wizards. Vintage watches are a fascinating world but a damn difficult one to be an expert in. Thanks for all the amazing suggestions !

As I said before, watches from both wars are counterfeited often. I too have seen very few watches, if any, from the first world war that had a black dial. We are trying to help in some small way, but please understand that we are not experts in all things. That is why in my original post I said you should have it verified. And by that, I mean independently. You could have a very nice find there, but you won't get that from a bunch of people on the internet looking at small pictures. That is why our policy is not to get into valuations. We have not exactly engaged in that, but I feel we are getting close.

It is a nice looking watch either way. Find someone local who can look at it and give you piece of mind. And I really do appreciate you sharing the photos! :-!

Dan
 
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