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French World War I Artilleryman Checks His Wristwatch


One of my first and main interests in horology is to find out who made the first wristwatch and when. It’s strange that even five or six years ago no one I talked to could answer that. I am glad to say in the past few years the interest in early wristwatches has been more researched and collected.


In my quest to learn, I come across and buy many strange items—really anything that helps date and prove who and when the first wristwatches happened.


Here is an interesting model made by Atlas of France of a “‘French WW I Artilleryman Checking his Wrist Watch.” Because these were very carefully researched and made models, it shows again that World War I soldiers wore so-called “Trench watches.” It’s a cute piece with great detail.

Editions of Atlas of France. French WWI Artilleryman checking his wristwatch.

Sample sales brochure to market these pieces.

The French company Editions Atlas made this model. The company also produced a vast range of collectible items. The figure here is part of a premier collection of French military history it offered in limited production by subscription only. The figure came with a booklet that had historical facts about it—similar to what Del Prado did with some of its figures in offering an Osprey booklet with the figure. Editions Atlas also made collections of The Great War/WW I (this figure is from that collection), Napoleons Marshals/generals, and an extensive range of the STARLUX Napoleonic in metal. I believe the time period these collections were offered is around 2005 to 2008.  The French collector sources tell me these are licensed and produced through “King & Country.”  The quality and detail are excellent—all metal cast, original factory paint, 54 mm in size. On the underside of the base is a description of the figure and timeline of the period. They originally came in a bubble pack with the booklet enclosed.  Displayed with the images see a sales brochure of how they were marketed.

Comment posted by JackW on Vintage Watch Forum: “I think you have missed something. Your figure is not just artillery, but is a member of the ‘horse artillery’. He’s wearing riding britches, and spurs. Here is a short video of those guys in action (click here). Note the uniforms.”


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