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Talis - A Silver George Stockwell Cased WW1 Trench Watch - c.1917


A Rare Talis WW1 Silver Trench Watch with Military Markings, Dated to c.1917, in Remarkable Antique Condition With Historical Rellevance. 

The Talis Watch Brand dates back to 1917 and was a renowned maker of high quality, shock resistant automatic watches from its base in La Chaux-au-Fonds, Switzerland. Talis continued to produce high-quality watches from Switzerland until the 1970’s when the Quartz revolution resulted in the demise of the brand.

The Trench watch (wristlet) was a type of watch that came into use by the military during World War I, as pocket watches were not practical in combat. It was a transitional design between pocket watches and wristwatches, incorporating features of both. A wristwatch provides a convenient and practical way to check the time compared to a pocket watch. British military men on manoeuvres first used leather wristlets to wear small pocket watches on their wrists from circa 1885. By the time of the Great War, wristwatches had evolved from the leather wristlets carrying a fob watch that was first worn by soldiers on the North-West frontier in 1885 into purpose-made wristwatches.

What’s On Offer 

This silver cased trench watch was probably originally issued to a soldier in the signal batallions, gunners, or another rank where time was considered imperative. We have come to this conclusion as the watch boasts the military “pheon” or broad arrow on the caseback (along with 29861H), which denotes it as MoD property - other officers were not issued with watches and like the rest of their kit, they purchased their own which would not have such markings. The military marking on this watch renders it rather rare and therefore very collectable. The inside caseback is hallmarked with 925 (silver) and GS - George Stockwell who were carriers and shipping agents that also handled customs clearance on behalf of their customers. From June 1907, they also acted as assay agents, facilitating the import into Britain of foreign gold and silver items, which were then required to be assayed and hallmarked in a UK assay office before being released for sale.

This watch is in nice condition given its antique status, and is actually running although it would benefit from a service and as such is sold as seen without warranty. It's a charming looking watch with a white enamel dial that has survived well with some faint hairline cracks indicative of its age. The bold Arabic numerals still boast their original lume which has aged to a beautiful caramel colour along with the lume in the cathedral hands. You will note that 12 o'clock is outlined in red - this is to aid soldiers to establish the correct orientation of the watch easily. A small seconds dial at 6 o'clock completes the picture and the dial is protected by robust plexiglass. The silver case in nice shape and at 33.5mm wide is quite substantial in size for such a timepiece, it also wears larger due to the ultra-slim bezel. A rather lovely and historically significant watch which would make a fine addition to any collection.  

Additional information

Made from

Case: Silver 

Dial: White

Crystal: Plexiglass

Bracelet: Leather 

Technical specifications

Winding: Manual 

Movement Type: Mechanical



Waterproof: n/a

Power reserve:

Purchase details

Condition: Good 

Model Reference: Military Issued

Date of issue: c.1917

Warranty: None - Sold As Is!


Width (without crown): 33.5mm

Lug width: 11.8mm

Lug height: (lug to lug)36.8mm

Wrist size: Adjustable