LRF Antique Watches - Specializing in Elgin Trench Watches & Waltham Trench Watches
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WW1 Trench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal Guards

The popular name for this optional equipment on trench watches is "Shrapnel Guard" but the actual correct name is "Crystal Guard" or "Watch Protector". I have done an incredible amount of research on this topic and I have not found a single reference to them being called "Shrapnel Guards" when they first came to market in late 1914. Can you really imagine this small piece of tin actually stopping a piece of flying shrapnel while in battle trying to cross "no man's land"? If a piece of red hot shrapnel hit your trench watch I tend to think that you were going to have bigger problems to worry about like your hand no longer being attached to your arm. Simply stated, the name "Crystal Guard" says it all. These were designed to protect the watch crystal and watch face from cracking and other light damage when in the field. A wide variety of design patients were filed for this optional equipment, I found no less than 40. Back in 1917 at their peak of popularity the snap on "Crystal Guards" could be bought for only about 35 cents each depending on the style, after the Great War ended they could be had for only 20 cents each. Prices for these guards have gone up drastically in recent times! Just for the guard (not including the watch) be prepared to spend about $80.00 - $150.00 for an average design snap on or strap on model. For the more elaborate and rare designs be prepared to dig a bit deeper in your pocket for about $100.00 up to $3000.00. In 1917 Joseph Fahys & Company came out with their "Armored Case" design that was a giant leap forward in technology. Instead of the crystal guard being strapped onto the case or snapped on OVER the case the guard was actually part of the trench watch case itself. These were called "Integrated Crystal Guard Cases", the guard would be snapped directly onto an outer ring around the bezel or if the case was semi-hermetic the guard would be screwed into place. Today the "Integrated Crystal Guard Cases" are highly sought after by collectors. Prices for these prized "Integrated Guard" trench watches that have been fully restored sell for $1,000.00+ depending on the manufacturer, movement and dial. Over the past several years some questionable folks have decided to start manufacturing fake copies of the snap on and strap on versions of the crystal guards. These fake versions are selling for about $35.00 and they are just horrible! I would say that 9 out of 10 "real" crystal guards  had a "makers mark" or a "patient applied for mark" underneath the guard. If you can't tell the difference ask an expert before making a purchase that you will regret soon as you open the package. Ask the seller to take a picture of the backside of the guard and look for a marker's mark! 
Trench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal Guards
Trench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal Guards
Trench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal Guards
Trench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal GuardsTrench Watch Shrapnel Guards & Trench Watch Crystal Guards
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