Praesidus Watches is a small niche watchmaker that is a really interesting fusion of the art of watchmaking and historical timepieces.  Their first product was a historic recreation of the A-11 movement watch ordered in the hundreds of thousands to put on the wrists of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines of the US armed forces during WWII.  When you watch documentaries of US forces in that conflict using original footage you are almost certain to see someone wearing a US issue A-11 on their wrist.

The original watches were made as inexpensively as possible while trying to retain the essential qualities of combat watches in those days.  It could only lose 30 seconds a month and it had to be a synchronous movement. This meant that when the crown was pulled out to stop the watch it also stopped the second hand so that everyone could sync or “hack” their watches to the exact same time, or as close to the exact same time as possible.  Back then, ships, airbases, and army units in the field would all have a single large chronometer in a wooden box that was carefully protected and wound daily to assure the proper time was kept according to Greenwich Mean Time or GMT.  You couldn’t have an infantry division and an artillery regiment on time that differed by a single minute when you were talking about timed barrages and infantry assaults.  In the difference of that single minute, a lot of lives could be lost.

As the war went on, the A-11 was improved several times according to the wishes expressed by the servicemen wearing them in the field.  The face was changed from white to black to improve the contrast between the face and letters and reduce its visibility of the face in the light or dark. Non-reflective coatings were applied to the glass face for the same reason.  The navy wanted a luminous dial along with a dust and waterproof case. and the companies making these watches kept pace.

This watch was at Midway, Bastogne, the Battle of the Atlantic and of course at the biggest show of all, the D-Day invasion of Normandy.