The Dirty Dozen is a collection of 12 watches commissioned by the MoD and worn by soldiers during the Second World War and mainly worn (but not exclusively) by British soldiers at that.
During the Second World War, the MoD found that no civilian timepiece could meet the extreme demands of the modern combat they faced. They charged 12 companies to build a watch, fit for the realities of the brutal war that soldiers faced in the trenches. Necessities included;
- Reliable and very durable
They had to be black dialed, have Arabic numerals and the hands needed to be lumed. The famous railroad minute track featured and the watch needed to be covered by shatterproof crystals. Twelve companies would fulfil this specific brief: Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex.
So I present to you a beautiful reissue by Timor, faithful to the watches of the Second World War but without the worry of managing a 70 year old watch.
The gorgeous Heritage Field watch from Timor is a small but true to watches of the time, coming in at 36.5mm in diameter and 11mm thick, it measures 45.5mm lug to lug. It’s incredibly pleasing that Timor has stayed faithful to the original size and resisted the temptation to make this watch a more modern sized 38-40mm. It weighs 94g and feels dainty on the wrist but the size is perfect to give that authentic vintage feel. The dial is covered by a domed sapphire crystal, whilst I love the addition of sapphire crystal in my watches I think that to stay true to the era and to keep the costs down an acrylic dial would have been perfect here.
The gorgeous black dial features a railroad track and has a very impressive hit of beige Superluminova 155C on all of the major indices for impressive legibility. The hands boast Timor’s signature lumed tips and is a lovely addition. The lume is extremely impressive and I can almost imagine soldiers glancing down at their wrists during night hours as they struggle to sleep from the terrors of war.
The dial features a sub dial at the 6 o’clock position, and when compared to the original watch from the 1940s it’s a perfect recreation. It has a beautiful sunburst effect and the seconds hand sweeps around it very smoothly. It needs to be said that the seconds hand will slightly differ on the final production piece and will resemble the original further.
The dial is, as you’d expect uncluttered for legibility and features the Broad Arrow insignia which showed that these were the property of Her Majesty’s Government, just above this it reads ‘Timor’ and a small ‘Swiss made’ at the very bottom of the dial. My only issue on the dial is that I feel that the minute hand is just slightly too long. If it was reduced slightly I think that this would be a perfect looking dial.
The case is made using a 316L stainless steel that has a bead-blasted finish that, unlike a polished or brushed finish will age beautifully over time. It features a large bead-blasted unsigned crown that is easy to grip and winds very nicely. The case back on the model I have is completely blank but when the Kickstarter campaign goes live backers will have the opportunity to influence what will be laser etched into the case back. The watch also features a surprising but pleasing 50m of water resistance, enough to get wet but not enough to make me comfortable showering with it on.
The watch will be offered with the choice of two movements, a manual modified SW216 and the one that I have an automatic modified SW260. A 31 jewelled movement that has a 38 hour power reserve and beats at 28,800 beats per hour and the movement hacks. The movements have been specially modified for Timor and the modifying done to them has taken the date position away from the crown. I don’t particularly like phantom date positions so to have this removed whilst seemingly insignificant is quite pleasing. In the short time that I’ve had this watch I’ve had absolutely no issues with time keeping, it’s been keeping excellent time.
The watch comes with a modern black seatbelt NATO at 18mm which, although blank for me will have a bead-blasted finish to match the case and will feature the Timor logo on the underside of the buckle. The real winner here for me was the vintage inspired AF0210 webbing strap which was the predecessor of the modern NATO strap and was worn by soldiers. It really gave the watch an authentic vintage feel, it made me feel as though I was actually taking off a watch from that era.
This year is the 75th anniversary of Timor’s legendary W.W.W watches shipping to British troops and this seems like a perfect time to release a faithful recreation of those watches. So if you love the vintage look and feel but want the modern quality provided here then I strongly recommend you check out the Kickstarter campaign here.
Ulises Valenzuela says
Glad to see more and more brands reissuing vintage models in period-correct sizes. Amazing pictures!
Michael McAllister says
Thanks so much for the kind words. Absolutely, it’s great to see.
adrian ellis says
You’re about the only person who seems to have had hands on with this watch,
Great pics and opinions would you say the watch feels too small? They seem to have increased the bezel size and reduce the dial even though the dial size is the same as the original (I think) it looks smaller on wrist?
What did you think? What size wrist do you have?
Also the Saphire seems to have taken all the charm away from what the original had, would you say that was the case?
Its difficult to see all the details from pictures but it doesn’t seem to have the charm that the original had?
Michael McAllister says
Initially when I opened the box I was shocked at how small it looked. But once I got it on the wrist I didn’t feel that it was too small at all. A really nicely sized reissue imo. I have 7 inch wrists and thought it worked well on my wrist.
I felt that it still had charm, but totally agree, they should have used plexiglass or acrylic instead of the sapphire. This would have helped keep the price down and added charm for sure.
Thanks for the kind words man
adrian ellis says
Ok that’s good to know I have a 7inch wrist too.
You can’t see any distortion from the domed saphire it just looks like a flat saphire?
However the animation shows it to have the domed edge is that apparent in hand or do you think this is just a pre production and the final piece will be different?
Do you have any other hands on with heritage field watches you could recommend?
Michael McAllister says
I think the one I had was flat sapphire from memory. But the guy from Timor did say to me that there would be changes in the final piece, so that could be one of them.
This is my only experience with a heritage field watch, but I think that it is an excellent piece and excellently and quite faithfully reproduced.
Brian Carpenter says
Thanks so much for the hands on review. Like someone already said you are the only reviewer that has had hands on with the watch. I backed this watch on Kickstarter and got right in at the beginning and picked up the super early bird and am so happy. I to have 7in. wrist and I really like my watches to be in the 36-37mm range so this one is perfect. Of course I chose the manual wind because that is in keeping with the original, and I just like to be able to wind my watch everyday.
I talked to Benjamin Briggs about having some more hands on reviews and he says his plans are to send out some of the first production models for review so they will be reviewing the watches as they will be shipping out to backers/customers instead of prototypes which I think is cool. He said he already had several reviewers lined up so looking forward to that. It is kind of a long wait for delivery but I am glad that he worked in more time for such delays, of course as we all know with the covid-19 issue around the world that extra production time now seems practical.