Everything Old is New Again

For years, I’ve been keenly interested in World War II history, and I’ve been a watch collector for as long as I can remember. Call me old-fashioned, but there has always been an appeal when man and machine come together in a practical yet fashionable manner. And let’s face it, as men; we only have so many ways to express ourselves with our accessories.

The new Praesidus A-11 Spec 2 checks all of the correct boxes regarding self-expression. And it’s not just me; Men’s Journal picked a Praesidus A-11 as one of its best field watches of 2022.

The new Praesidus A-11 Spec 2 in white. Image by the author.

Fine American Watchmaking

The A-11 is commonly referred to as “the watch that won the war,” and it is faithfully reproduced here by Praesidus. They are doing everything in their power to re-unite the original 1940s American Watch Industry with this new modern revival. The watches are even assembled by Praesidus in Pennsylvania. 

The piece you see above is done in a more updated 40mm size, but the original issue 32mm size is also available and is about as close as you can get to having an authentic government-issued World War II A-11 as you can get. I prefer the modern interpretation over the original because it comes with a highly accurate Ameriquartz 6130 movement (manufactured by Fine Timepiece Solution in Arizona) that is all metal, jeweled, and fully serviceable. They are comparable to high-end ETA quartz movements but are made right here in the good ole United States.

The A-ll Spec 2 is photographed here on an authentic World War II-era pilot’s training guide. Image by the author.

Check out the patina on that thick, fragrant leather band. Right out of the box, it offers you a comfortable fit. The case is surgical-grade stainless steel featuring a glass-smooth matte finish on all areas except the top of the lugs and the top of the crown. My favorite feature, however (and I tried to do this justice in the photographs), is the double-domed K1 mineral crystal with sapphire and anti-reflective coating. The distortion you see when you move the watch around is stunning and adds to the authenticity of the piece.

The A-11 Spec 2 is even better than the original because it features a water resistance rating of 50 meters and Swiss Super Luminova on the hands. It is also more rugged than the mechanical timepieces of the day. Sure, you won’t want to take this watch diving, but that’s not what it is for. And take note of what is not there…branding (of any sort). Just like the original, this A-11 features a sterile dial, just the way Uncle Sam intended it to be.

The 32mm variant with the black face and OD (olive drab) green canvas strap is seen here on the author’s 7½” wrist. You can see hints of distortion at the edges and the anti-reflective coating doing its job nicely in the Florida sun. Photo by the author.

In the photo above, on my furry wrist is the OG (original gangster) 32mm version of the Preasidus A-11 Spec 2. Actually, this is the A-11 Spec 2.C, with the “C” standing for combat. It is inspired by a rare A-11 dial featuring the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) “railroad track” style.

Since canvas can chafe when worn directly against the skin. Praesidus has lined the bands with a nylon material to make them more comfortable. Photo by the author.

If you ever want to change things up, the watch features a quick-release watch band. In my humble opinion, these are the greatest things since sliced bread, and using them means you can keep your old spring bar removal tool in the drawer and not have to worry about scratching up watch cases.