THE WATCH THAT
WON THE WAR
WON THE WAR
World War II tremendously accelerated the development of all kinds of mechanical equipment, including planes, boats, telecommunications and navigation devices, and also watches. Each military force, whether based on land, in the air or at sea, needed timepieces. Watches were essential to navigate a plane, coordinate troops and attacks, time artillery shelling and so on.
Time is an essential part of all military operations and America was in need of a watch capable of flawless precision under the conditions of battle, the A-11 field watch came to fruition.
While previous to the A-11 designation some issued watches were made with white dials, this changed after 1942 to the black dial version that is better known, coming with white numbers, and white hands which were so easy to look at even during the darkest nights.
Needing to survive rough conditions on the battlefield, the A-11 military spec required these pieces to be produced to rigorous standards: dust and waterproof casing, extreme temperature resistance, and a robust movements with accuracy requirements of +/- 30 seconds per day and a 30 – 56 hour power reserve. Military watches produced today are still held to this same high standard of production.
Another A-11 specification that addressed the extremely high standards for precision and accuracy was a 15- jewel movement. Besides living up to the standards, it also provided reliability and durability. The 15-jewel movement continues moving at any range of temperatures and is able to survive unrelenting environments.
The A-11 standard required a hacking feature. This feature is a complication that allows the user to stop the second hand, have it sweep across the dial to the 12 o'clock position, and re-engage the other hands to synchronize the time with other watches up to the last second. It was used when military units were required to storm German trenches in perfect sync or when paratroopers had to time their intervals the same way while jumping over Normandy on D-day, "Hack!" was the command from an officer to his men before they stepped into battle.
When World War Two-era watches are mentioned, many thinksimmediately of high-quality German-made B-Uhren andchronographs. But it was a comparatively small, unobtrusive, mass-produced American watch, made to get the job done, the so-called"A-11", which has a claim to fame of having made a crucialcontribution to the Allied victory in that war. Indeed, that watch wasaccurately given the honour as ...
The watch that won the war.
The A-11 was not so much a specific watch model but a production standard used by a number of watch companies such as Elgin, Bulova, Waltham, and Hamilton who produced the first versions between 1940- 1949 and provided them to the USAAF, Royal Canadian Air Force, The Royal Airforce, and Soviet Air Force.
Photo courtesy of Doug Barber, WWII Foundation
Photo courtesy of Doug Barber, WWII Foundation
October 14, 1943
"As early as 8 am, the heavily loaded Fortresses and Liberators begin to take flight from 37 airfields. For an hour, in the tightest of formations, they circle around Hull forming 10 perfect boxes of 48 aircrafts each. 9:15 am. Next, the Spitfires take off to escort them to the Frisian Islands. 10:40 am. Thirty Thunderbolt squadrons (20 from IX Air Force and 10 from VII AF) rally the armada to take their posts, while the Spitfires turn around. 11:15 am. Ten groups of Lightning set off to protect the big four-engined aircrafts in their final approach to the objective."
Lt. Pierre Clostermann, Spitfire pilot. It was crucial for the leadership to be synchronized during important missions.
Not anymore a ticking piece of history, the iconic A-11 watch is now re-created to resonate in modern times the values of shared sacrifice and patriotic bravery.
The A-11 was the right watch at the right time, simple, it never demanded a lot of attention, this watch was made to get the job done like the men who wore it. Storming the beach of Normandy, capturing Iwo Jima, climbing Monte Cassino or jumping over the Netherlands, the A-11 was the companion of heroes.
When you have a job to get done, you should also have the right tools – and part of a necessary tool arsenal for life is a wristwatch.
At Praesidus we recognized the very special role of the A-11 and we recreated it, maybe you remember the original A11, maybe you even had one, or your father, now you can own it and perpetuate the memory of the many braves who wore it before you.
All our watches are proudly assembled at Selco in Tulsa, OK, United States of America.
All of our models feature a mechanical movement. This means that your watch will be powered by you: by wearing it or by winding it via the crown (handwound/manual-wind).
As quartz watches were not invented and widely distributed until well after WWII in 1969, we aimed at keeping the essential mechanical aspect of the A-11.
There are no batteries, but hundreds of miniature components working together. By nature, it's several magnitudes more expensive to manufacture compared to a typical battery-operated, massproduced, quartz watch.
We choose to use the Seiko caliber NH35A for all of our models: it is well-engineered, well-designed, and wellpriced. Also, due to its relatively lower beat rate (6 beats per second), it will last longer without servicing.
Every watches comes with an engraving on the back of the case. Although, you can make the watch inherently personal. In order to make it the perfect gift, for yourself or someone else, we leave enough space for your own engraved message. Don't forget to add one during checkout.
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Watch lume has been a consistent and appreciated performer in military applications since WWII. Available in two colorways, the A-11 dials comes in either matte black or matte ivory dials both with green and light brown lumes to ensure total visibility
Sitting on a sturdy surgical grade steel caseback, the A-11 watch is covered with a beautiful double dome glass (round on both the inside and the outside of the watch) with an anti-reflective coating for clear visibility, your watch will look good whenever you check the time. No matter from which angle. It is also authentic since it was the same glass used for the WWII watches.
Who would’ve thought that a tiny mechanical instrument had been a mighty hero who’d saved a thousand lives?
Every tale of military heroism deserves to be celebrated. So, if you have a compelling story from historical moments that is worth telling, let us know and we will help you share it to the world.Contact Us