Field watches are a relatively under-represented category in the watchmaking world. Divers and city watches may be more popular, but field watches are literally part of our history. They have a special place in the market, echoing our collective memory of a past that was as devastating as it was constructive for European nations and the world in general. Today, we’re taking a step back in time, Timor Heritage Field WWW on the wrist.
About Timor Watch Company
In the world of micro-brands, reviving an old watch brand is a grail. There are plenty of dead brands, not least because of the ravages of the quartz crisis in the 80s, but also because companies don’t last forever. Such is the case of Timor, whose roots go back to 1923. Founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds by Mr. Bernheim and Mr. Luthy, the brand’s mission was to manufacture quality watches built to withstand the trials of everyday life. The founders placed particular emphasis on quality control, with each piece being scrupulously inspected before leaving the factory. Quickly exported across Europe, Timor watches built up a fine reputation in the 30s, particularly in France, Germany and Great Britain. The brand also designed a watch for the visually impaired, with an articulated glass opening onto a dial littered with Braille numerals.
In the early days of the Second World War, theBritish Army had purchased watches from several brands to equip its troops fighting abroad. These pieces, which followed ATP (Army Trade Pattern) were mostly modified consumer watches; Timor was one of the few brands to design a completely new model for the occasion. During the war, a new, stricter specification was introduced, known as W.W.W., which 12 companies produced, creating the legend of the Dirty Dozen. Timor was obviously one of them. In 2019, the company was re-registered in the UK to revive this iconic model.
No need to look far, this Heritage Field WWW says it all in its name: it is a reissue of the Timor that was part of the Dirty Dozen. It retains its original diameter of 36.5mmthen its 18mm lugs. Regardless of the type of movement housed inside, the thickness remains the same: 11mm. It incorporates all the codes of the period, from the bead-blasted case to limit the appearance of micro-scratches to its unmarked crown. The engravings on the caseback have been stylized, while retaining the WWW acronym standing for “Wrist-Watch-Waterproof”. With a water resistance of 5ATM you might say, it’s not that waterproof, but for the time, it was significant. Overall, it’s such a simple design and finish that the result could only live up to our expectations.
The dial is also a pure Dirty Dozen product. It follows all the guidelines of the time: black background, twelve Arabic numerals, offset seconds at 6 o’clock and logo. “broad arrow” logo at noon to echo the English crown. There are also luminescent markings in leaps of 5, as on the hands, thanks to the application of SuperLumiNova beige with a green rendering at night. This was not the case with the other watches produced by the other 11 manufacturers, but the small seconds counter back features a vinyl texture. The whole is topped with a slightly domed sapphire crystal. It’s hard to find any weak points, given that the design has been tried and tested and is so firmly rooted in history. Once again, everything is well done and in perfect harmony with the case.
Given the watch’s origins, imagining anything other than a Swiss movement inside would have been blasphemous. And given that the brand wanted to offer a timepiece at less than 1,000 euros, only a few motorists would fit the bill. It’s obviously for Sellita that the scales tipped. Given the presence of a small seconds hand, the brand logically set its sights on the SW260 caliber (or the hand-wound SW216). Like the famous SW200, this automatic movement oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and features a 41-hour power reserve (or 45 hours for the hand-wound version) and all modern conveniences (stop-seconds, ball-bearing winding, quick-correcting date and shock absorber). The standard version offers a precision of -12/+12 seconds day. Once again, the brand ticks the right box.
The original specifications stipulated that the watch had to be fitted with a strap, with brands opting for fabric or pigskin. Nowadays, it’s logical for a field watch to be mounted on a bracelet. NATO strapstrap, an option chosen by the brand. Fortunately, Timor has not opted for a simple nylon strap, often associated with the lower end of the market. seat-belt nylon. In addition to its sturdier properties, this choice provides greater softness and shine, as well as a more attractive finish, given the finer thread and stitching. The buckle, on the other hand, has a decidedly more modern look, with a rectangular pin and cuts that are also more delicate to make on nylon. It measures 18mm wide with a straight, logical cut and a sandblasted finish on the buckle as well as on the belt loops.
This is often where we see the attention a brand pays to its creations. While the watch is delivered in chic rectangular matte black caseall protected in a cardboard box, which comes with a number of welcome extras. First, a small user manual also presenting the history of the brand and the watch, as well as a matte black envelope with a Japanese drawstring closure featuring a certificate of authenticity as well as a commemorative steel coin. With a small hole, it would have made a great key-ring! It’s very complete and, above all, well executed.
Our opinion on this Timor watch
First of all, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: yes, the Hamilton Khaki Field is almost unbeatable in the military watch segment. Sure, it’s a reissue of the 1969 “Hack”, the U.S. Army’s endowment watch, but it’s no Dirty Dozen. This story is reserved exclusively for a small group of which Timor is one. Longines, IWC, Omega and Jaeger-LeCoultre have forgotten this bit of history, and the other brands are mostly dead. Yet this is what prompted our coup de coeur on discovering this watch, in particular its compliance with the specifications of the time. Then came theexcellent work of the brand which seals the package. Our humble opinion: for €950, it’s a nice option that deserves consideration.
Timor Heritage Field WWW Automatic Watch / Features
- Case : 316L stainless steel / Sandblasted finish
- Width : 36.5mm
- Length : 45.5mm
- Thickness : 11mm
- Lug spacing : 18mm
- Photoluminescence : Yes / SuperLumiNova
- Glass type : Domed sapphire crystal
- Case back : Full
- Movement: Automatic / Sellita caliber SW260 (or SW216)
- Power reserve : 38 hours
- Bracelet : NATO in nylon
- Buckle : Buckle
- Water resistance : 5 ATM / 50 meters
- Warranty : 2 years