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.