The Enduring Legacy of Military Watches
Watches have been an important tool for military forces for centuries. These specially designed and issued models eventually made their way into the civilian market. Today, military-inspired timepieces continue to be some of the most popular among collectors, particularly those with military roots. For this reason, attention to detail is key. Watchmakers understand that military watch connoisseurs are among some of the most discerning, particularly when it comes to both the functionality and design of these timepieces.
One of the most famous collections of military timepieces is the Dirty Dozen. During WWII, the British Ministry of Defense commissioned these watches with a very specific set of qualifications. One of the most notable and memorable is the designation, “watch, wrist, waterproof.” Each Dirty Dozen model has the engraving “W.W.W.” on its caseback to reflect this specification. This iconic group of military watches has been a source of inspiration for countless watchmakers over the years, including brands like IWC. In 2019, a new brand called Serica emerged. They’re drawing from these models and the industry’s military heritage and launching their first watch: the W.W.W. William Brown Edition.
A Brief Look into Serica Watches
Serica is the brainchild of four watch industry veterans and friends, Jerome Burgert, Gabriel Vachette, David Gagnebin, and Matt Hranek, who you may remember from his book, A Man and His Watch. Their story is short and sweet, and this is entirely intentional. In an industry of intense marketing campaigns, they believed in focusing on the product and letting it speak for itself. The brand’s first offering is a watch based on the legendary Dirty Dozen models. While the name certainly pays tribute, the philosophy behind the brand and the design of the watch is a bit more refined. Serica has taken the classic military field watch and transformed it into a more versatile option for everyday wear.
The WMB Edition
The W.W.W. William Brown Edition gets its name from both the Dirty Dozen and Hranek’s blog, the WM Brown Project. The watch features what Serica believes to be ideal proportions, measuring 37.7mm wide and 11.85mm thick. This is slightly larger than most Dirty Dozen models, which measured 35mm. However, it’s more closely aligned with Longines W.W.W. watch – a fan favorite measuring 38mm. Case and point, the team at Serica did their research when it comes to the variety within the Dirty Dozen. They’ve pulled the best characteristics from the best models.
Aside from the size, there are several other notable features. The WB Edition showcases a railroad style minute track, much like its Dirty Dozen predecessors. In addition, you’ll find a retro, off-white lume printed every five minutes along the track. This gives the appearance of painted application. The model features a nice balance of brushed and polished surfaces between the case and bezel respectively. They top off the WB Edition with drilled lugs, a domed mineral glass crystal, screw down crown, and solid caseback.
Serica also offers a number of options for the model. You can choose between two dial colors: classic black or white. In addition, the watch is available with either Broad Arrow hands – another nod to the Dirty Dozen – or Alpha hands. Lastly, each model comes equipped with two strap options, either camel or black leather and blue or beige nylon NATO. As if this weren’t enough, there are even more straps available on Serica’s website.
Inside, the WB Edition comes equipped with two different movements based on availability, either an ETA 2801-2 or Sellita SW210-1. Both variations are quite comparable manually wound movements with roughly 42-hour power reserves. Serica will have delivered their first 500 watches by the end of 2019 with more expected in 2020.