IWC Borgel (1916)

£ 895

This is an 18 carat gold Borgel-cased International Watch Company watch dating to around 1916, making it exactly 100 years old. The Borgel company produced a special type of case without a case back - instead the movement is fitted into a threaded carrier ring, which screws into the case. This affords much improved protection against the elements and especially against water getting into the case and damaging the movmement.

The watch was made by the famous Swiss manufacturer IWC, it’s powered by their excellent calibre 64 movement which was probably the finest machine-made movement manufactured at this time. The construction and finishing are superb - the steel work in particular has all the sharp edges broken and polished to the highest standards. The time keeping in turn is excellent, certainly better than any other watch I’ve worked on from this period.

The hallmark on the case dates the watch to 1915/16 (“U”), right at the height of the first world war. All early watches from this period tend to be referred to as “trench watches” irrespective of any military provenance. However in this case there is an intriguing engraving on the back of the case, which des point to probable ownership by a soldier: The engraving reads “NB In memory of his Godfather Col. Abbot Robinson”, so one can assume that Col. Abbot Robinson was the original owner of this watch.

There is a small amount of information available about Col. A. H. Robinson - he was an officer in the Leicester Yeomanry and acted as commanding officer for a year from 1915 - 16. Certainly this would be an interesting starting point for further research into the watch’s history (the referenced I could find are here:

The watch has been fully serviced and adjusted, it’s running very well and keeping good time (within about 10 seconds per day, which is superb for a watch this old). The case has been cleaned, but as with all out vintage watches we have left it unpolished, the case has the usual marks of wear. I have left the existing strap with the watch - it’s certainly still serviceable and to my mind looks better with the watch than a modern strap would. The watch comes with our standard 12 month guarantee.

Please see vintage watch care advice here.


Case diameter: 32mm
Case material: 18 carat gold
Strap width: 12mm
Time keeping: grade A

We aim to dispatch all watch orders within 2-3 working days, where this isn't possible, we will try to inform you via email.

When your order is dispatched your tracking details will be updated.

Please allow extra processing time for watches with a customised engraving or strap, during busy sales periods this can sometimes take an extra 5-10 working days.

If you are in a hurry for your watch, please email us.

Shipping guide for watches:

UK: FREE DPD shipping, 1-2 working days
United States & Canada: FREE Fedex shipping, 1-3 working days
The EU: FREE DHL Express shipping, 1-3 working days

Click here to see the full shipping guide for watches

Shipping guide for straps (unless purchased with a watch): 

Free Royal Mail 1st Class / International tracked shipping, 2-14 working days depending on location. You can see a more accurate timescale when you input your address at the checkout.

Shipping guide for t-shirts

All t-shirts on our website are now printed and shipped by an external supplier inside the UK. This means that if you place an order for both a watch and a t-shirt, they will be shipped separately.

Our supplier uses a Royal Mail tracked service for all shipments and this usually takes a little longer than our watches. You can see an estimated timescale when you input your address at the checkout.


Please note, during busy sale periods dispatch may take a little longer (this is quite rare). These delivery times are a guide based on the carriers terms of service, products may, in some unusual cases take longer to arrive. If this happens, please get in touch. 

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