In the same way people possess a deep fount of passion for race cars or anything built with a hyper-specific purpose, military watches ignite a passion in watch collectors that is hard to accurately explain to those not afflicted by it. For many, it comes down to the capacity for what ifs these watches contain: What if it was used in combat? What if a soldier wore it at a specific, historically relevant battle? What if that soldier hadn’t had an accurate timepiece on his wrist? Hell, the watch may have never even made it to the barracks. It’s a mystique that can’t really be replicated. And when it comes to World War II, the passion and intrigue fans of militaria and history buffs have is infinite.
In this edition of our series Under the Radar, Craft+Tailored’s very own watch market weathervane, Tyler Vanes, takes a good look at a bona fide piece of military history: A 1940s Vertex Military Watch powered by a cal 59 movement. This watch is from the so-called “Dirty Dozen” of watches that were commissioned by the Ministry of Defense in its effort to issue battle-ready wristwatches to British troops fighting in World War II. These watches are more than just undervalued, they’re an attainable and direct link to the brave British soldiers that fought the Nazis in World War II (though some of these watches were produced in the years shortly after the war ended). This particular example wears its age proudly and has certainly seen plenty of wrist time, but does not appear that this watch has suffered any real abuse. This Vertex’s matte black dial is exceptionally well-preserved and shows bright printing and text and its radium lume plots have aged to a dark golden color and displays no degradation when inspected under U.V. light. While the watch’s hands are original, they have been restored with radium and have been color-matched to work in harmony with the watch’s patina. Get Tyler’s take and a detailed walk-thru of this functional piece of WWII-era history at the link below.
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