1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

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Literustyfan
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1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#1 Post by Literustyfan » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:54 am

Just finished up with a "sympathetic restoration" on this absolutely incredible 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch featuring a sterling silver Fahys "Armored" case.

Sympathetic means that only mechanical repairs were done.

Yes, Fahys put gold filled crown on their sterling silver cases.

The case has a beautiful aged finish that has turned black over the past 100 years.

VERY little cosmetic work was done to this historic piece.

The crystal was missing so it was replaced and that is about it, everything else is 100% original to the watch.

Finding one of these that still has the original factory Khaki strap and D&G strap clasp is extremely difficult!

The 11 jewel movement features a solid gold train, I also installed a brand new mainspring.

The original owner (Santo Lanzarotta, born April 23, 1890) did a bit of customization on this watch, he added a modified Knights of Columbus pin to the center of the integrated crystal guard.

Looks pretty cool so I left it as is to honor this WWI combat veteran.

Enjoy the pics!

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http://www.LRFAntiqueWatches.com

Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of The Great War"

Author of "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

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Literustyfan
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#2 Post by Literustyfan » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:04 am

I bought the watch from the original owner's granddaughter eight days ago who lives in the fire ravaged Santa Rosa, California.

I tried to contact the seller Janette to see if she is okay but I have not heard back from her yet, hope she got out!


Here is a bit more information about the original owner of this piece directly from his granddaughter.


Here's a small bit about Santo Lanzarotta, my saint of a grandfather.
He was born April 23, 1890 ( 30 years after the Italian revolution) in a town outside
Palermo, Sicily. His father was a farmer. His parents had 11 children, 8 of whom survived childhood. All eventually came to the US.
In 1906, my grandfather's passage was paid by two of his older brothers, who were already in New York, so the 16 year old arrived via Ellis Island.

My grandfather had a third grade education and spoke no English. He would tell us that he learned English by "reading the funny papers".

I don't know the circumstances around him signing up as a US Army foot soldier, but he did and he walked, marched all over Western Europe. After the war, my Grandfather held a grudge against the French because, he said, of the way they treated servicemen during war. He refused to step foot in France the rest of his life. After the war, he returned to Sicily to retrieve his sister and mother and bring them to the US. His father had died. He was a US citizen then, perhaps because of his military service.

My grandfather was the most decent, moral, loving man I've ever known. He died in 1978, when I was in my 20's , so I got to know him well. I never heard him criticize or say a mean word about anyone.

He and my grandmother, Grace (14 years his junior - and Italian) had five children. My mother, Angela being the middle child. They were raised in Steubenville Ohio and were fairly well off even during the depression. My grandfather had a trucking company there with his bothers.

Then something (?) happened and there was a rift with his brothers ( perhaps their desire for illegal dealings?) and my Grandfather picked up his family (the early 1940's) and moved across the country to Southern California. He lived a modest life after that.

He dearly loved this country- dearly- and always appreciated the blessings of his life.
His priorities and devotion were to God ( Catholic of course), family ( he had 18 grandchildren) and country. He fiercely insisted that everyone in the family get a college education. All 5 of his children did, and the vast majority of his grandchildren received graduate degrees also - Masters Degrees and even one PHD.

I am proud to tell his story.
http://www.LRFAntiqueWatches.com

Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of The Great War"

Author of "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

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GJH
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#3 Post by GJH » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:10 am

What an AMAZING FIND STAN!!!

You see these every once in awhile, but to see one with the original black on it is a true treat.
The solid gold crown is a special thing and the history is wonderful.

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In Fred's new book, There will be a never before seen Fahys case that I can show later.

Cool Stuff, Stan!!
G
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Still, Just living in Rick's world...

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Clyde
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#4 Post by Clyde » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:45 pm

Awesome find -- what amazing history! Love threads like this.

stryfox
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#5 Post by stryfox » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:41 pm

Thanks for sharing, I would have left the pin on there too. Good call.
Very cool piece.

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Literustyfan
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#6 Post by Literustyfan » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:21 am

My favorite part of all of this is finding out the back story to these watches!

I love learning about the original owners of watches from 100 years ago.
http://www.LRFAntiqueWatches.com

Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of The Great War"

Author of "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

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Literustyfan
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#7 Post by Literustyfan » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:23 am

Greg,

A never before seen Fahys case ? ? ? ?

You are killing me man!

Give us a hint or something!!!

LOL!
http://www.LRFAntiqueWatches.com

Author of "Elgin Trench Watches of The Great War"

Author of "Waltham Trench Watches of the Great War"

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GJH
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Re: 1917 WWI Illinois Trench Watch w/ Integrated Crystal Guard, ALL ORIGINAL!

#8 Post by GJH » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:17 am

Ok... it is a cushion shaped Sterling case by Fahys
The front has a coin edge and very interesting engraving on the corners.
Of the 1000's of cases I have seen, this one is the only one I have
ever seen like this.
It has a beautiful Illinois Porcelain dial and 3/0 movement and is totally original.
Stay tuned for Fred's book.
G
Moderator Illinois Watch Forum
Still, Just living in Rick's world...

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