Trench and field watches played a vitally important role beginning with the first and second World Wars. Pilots, infantry officers, artillerymen, and many other military service roles relied on accurate timepieces to help them coordinate precise attacks and maneuvers.  Considering the technological advances that we now have the luxury of, there is less of a functional reliance on having a good field watch.  Still, many are inspired to go back to the designs of the 1940’s and 50’s to bring people closer to the days of hand-wound movements and that classic field watch style.

Photo courtesy of WWII Records

Origin Watch Company, based in Tennessee, is one of the companies embracing this part of watchmaking history with their Vintage Field Watch editions.  After nearly two years from their initial release (1st Edition), OWC have released their improved 2nd Edition, which I was fortunate to acquire for review.  At $495, the 2nd Edition is priced nicely compared to some competitors who either offer a quartz movement for the same price or ask double the price for a mechanical movement of their own.

The watch is offered in either a white, black, or grey dial.  Straps are vintage calf leather with contrast stitching along the edges and the OWC logo embossed in the buckle.  It is shipped in a nice wooden box that features the Origin Watch Co. name engraved on the top.

The case is constructed of 316L stainless steel and measures 42mm in diameter, 14mm in height, 50mm lug to lug, with 22mm lugs for their curved-end leather strap.  The case design has a minimalist look to it with simple, clean edges and a very nice brushed middle section to contrast the polished top and bottom bezels.  A 7mm crown with the OWC logo allows for adjusting the hands and winding the movement.  I would like to see the crown a little bit larger as I had a slightly difficult time getting comfortable with the amount of grip it provided.

The domed sapphire crystal on the front is coated with an anti-reflective finish and provides a great view of the watch face with the following advertised features:

·        38mm brass finished with luminous numerals that glow blue in the dark

·        Luminous hour and minute hands that glow blue in the dark

·        Military time indicators / 24-hour register

·        Contrast colored sunken-in sub-dial with a turning design and polished edges at 9 o’clock, with sweep style seconds hand

I feel that they nailed it on the watch face as far as style and function.  The watch I reviewed featured the black dial and it was flawless – particularly when considering the price.  The company logo and “vintage field” markings are simple but add a lot to the presentation.  The subdial has an incredible texture behind the sweeping second-hand to add some contrast to the otherwise flat finish on the dial.  The watch has a great lume and it is very easy to read in low light or dark settings.  OWC says they paid a lot of attention to detail here and it shows.

The flat sapphire crystal on the back exposes the hand-wound TY3600 caliber movement with an approximately 40-hour power reserve.  While this movement isn’t terribly complicated or expensive, the see-through case back is a nice touch and it simply looks awesome.  I’m glad they went this route instead of a stainless steel case back.  As indicated on the back, the watch has a 100 meter water resistance, which is what I would expect out of a field watch in this price range and that works for me.

There is something fun about hearing the loud ticking of this watch.  It accomplishes one of OWC’s stated goals and what I look for in a field watch – something that takes me back in time each time I manually wind the watch.  I am excited to see what else Origin Watch Company produces as they have indicated they are working on trench, railroad, pilot, and marine themed watches.  This is a company to watch out for as they continue building and growing.

*Unless noted otherwise, all photos courtesy of the author

Update: Military and first responders are eligible for a 10% discount using code “BRAVE” when checking out at the OWC store.