Anyone that has been involved in the watchmaking industry for any length of time will tell you that hunting down your perfect watch takes a lot of determination and patience. One should never expect to find a glorious treasure in plain sight. And while passions and interest have been stoked by sensational tales of frankly unbelievable barn finds in the US and further afield, these “time capsule” discoveries will become rarer and rarer as the informed horological community expands and general awareness of the value of certain “named” brands grows.
But when you actually do it, when you find the watch for which you’ve searched far and wide, long and hard, high and low, and you get the chance to put it on your wrist for the first time (or, in the case of Praesidus and the brand’s recently acquired “original and correct” A-11, marvel at with a museum-level of respect), the sensation can be almost spiritual.
For a long time, it seemed as if “the perfect A-11” would elude the Praesidus, but, as it would seem, persistence often pays.
One of the difficulties in sourcing watches from this era is the way watches were treated by their owners and regarded by their repairers. In the early days of the Praesidus A-11, watches were still tools. They were little more than functionality objects bought more for the way they worked rather than the way they looked. As such, it would have been common for most watch wearers in those days to buy one watch upon starting their first job and wear it to death (its or theirs, whichever came first).
Furthermore, it was common in “the olden days” to fix watches any which way with whatever was lying around the workshop at the time. Our modern system of record keeping, meticulously kept paperwork, and ensuring exactly the right spare parts are sourced from reliable sources was an alien world that would not come into existence until the era of luxury through which we are currently living dawned.
The result was that many watches from that period had been worn and/or repaired in either a slapdash manner or fitted with incorrect (or at least “unofficial” spare parts). Finding an original and correct Praesidus A-11 was as likely as finding a needle in a haystack, but the team trawled every auction site, flea market, and pawn shop they could find until one turned up and now it serves at the “model zero” of the current catalog.
So why did the Praesidus team put so much effort into finding an original? Authenticity, that’s why. It was of paramount importance to the team that the modern iteration of the Praesidus drew directly from the brand that preceded it and gave birth to the classic A-11. By locating an original A-11, the research and development department of Praesidus was able to reverse engineer the old watch and create a new model of near-identical relative proportions (if a little bigger in the instances of some references).
Now, owners of the newest addition to the Praesidus lineage can be sure that it has been imbued with a genuine spirit and that, along with its almost unchanged design and impressive legacy, will continue to be a reliable go-to daily watch for years to come.