During World War II, the British Ministry of Defense was looking for a watch that could be issued to soldiers. Seeing as how this watch would inevitably find its way onto the battlefield, it had to be a watch that could withstand the rigors of war. What the ministry found, however, was that there wasn’t a civilian watch on the market that was up to snuff. In order to get the watch they were looking for, they invited makers to build a watch that met their strict specifications. Twelve watch manufacturers accepted the challenge, creating what came to be known as “The Dirty Dozen.” The companies included Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Vertex, and Timor. The watches were all delivered in 1945, and came with either a pigskin or canvas strap. Fast forward to today, and Timor is renewing the military Dirty Dozen watches.
The specs for the original watches included being waterproof, luminous, regulated to a chronometer level, and having a case that could stand up to rough conditions. The dial also had to be black with Arabic numerals and sub seconds. The watches were given the “W.W.W.” designation, which stands for “Watch. Wrist. Waterproof.” Timor’s reiteration of the W.W.W. follows in that same tradition. The watch’s case is made from high-grade steel with a bead-blasted finish, which will age with time. Inside that case, you’ll find one of two Swiss movements. The first is a hand-wound calibre that matches the original. The second is a high-grade automatic calibre. Both are made by Sellita specifically for Timor. Meeting the requirement of luminosity, the pips and all major indices are lumed, and the hands are also luminous. The sapphire crystal is scratch resistant—something you’re bound to come across when diving into fox holes or crawling through trenches. While the originals featured pigskin or canvas, Timor’s new Dirty Dozen watches come with a modern seatbelt NATO strap. If you’re more of a traditionalist, you can also choose to get the vintage inspired AF0210, which came about because of WWII soldiers’ practices of wearing their watches using AF0210 webbing. The 36.5mm watch is water resistant up to 50 meters. If you’re interested in getting one of these historic timepieces, head over to Timor’s web site and sign up for their newsletter.