Longines - WWW - Dirty Dozen - c.1945 - World War II British Army Issued Watch
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Longines WWW Ministry of Defence Issued WWII Soldier's Watch c.1945. One of the 'Dirty Dozen'. Nicknamed the "Greenlander". With Stunning and Original Pumpkin Patina
As the Western Battlefront showed signs of turning in the allies' favour in 1944, the Ministry of Defence decided to step up British efforts to outfit and supply the troops, battered by 5 years of attrition. 13 Swiss suppliers were contacted, one was found to already by supplying the enemy (Enicar), and so 12 were chosen to supply the British Army: Omega, Cyma, Buren, Longines, Lemania, Grana, Jaeger LeCoultre, Eterna, Record, Timor, Vertex and IWC. All 12 brands have gained a great following and the present example we have on offer is one of the most desirable variants of the famous “Dirty Dozen”. The Longines is loved by many a watch collector due to its striking stepped case which is a signature of many vintage Longines watches and at 38mm, the case represents a contemporary size even by today’s standards which further enhances the wonderful appeal of this watch.
Around 8000 of the circa 150,000 watches exported to Britain were from Longines and arrived in the UK in the second half of 1945, classified for “General Service” but issued to special units including radio operators and artillery staff members. The use of the Broad Arrow on the dial for Government goods goes back all the way to Sir Philip Sidney, Joint Master of the Ordnance in 1585 whose family used the Broad Arrow in its coat of arms. The caliber 12.68Z from Longines proved to be a very well respected movement from the brand and can be seen in a variety of watches in the ’40s and 50’s such as coin edge cased, sector dial, time-only pieces, and eye-catching Calatrava cased wristwatches from the esteemed brand which further cements the status of the movement seen here in the Longines “Dirty Dozen”.
What’s on offer:
Featuring handsome Cathedral hands, manual wind Caliber 12.68Z, screw-on case back and shatterproof plexiglass, this Longines is a real holy grail piece for any military or vintage watch collector - they are becoming rarer by the day and you have to concede this is an exceptional example.
This watch is in extraordinary condition and boasts a beautifully rich pumpkin patina to the original Radium lume. The Arabic numerals are particularly sharp and punch out from the black dial as does the arrowhead and Longines signature. The stepped sub-dial and minute marker dial all remain perfectly intact and crisp.
The lugs are sharp and the case is unpolished which further enhances the allure of this example and finishes off a true collector’s piece. Looking at the case edges and lugs, it's hard to believe that this was a watch issued to a soldier in 1945.
Besides being a collector's piece, it also wears really well, is super comfortable and due to its meaty casing, gives the illusion of a larger watch making it a great everyday wearer with a rich history, yet a contemporary edge. A real gem, which we would give a 10 out of 10 for the condition had it still its matching caseback/lug numbers like others we very occasionally find and try to buy!
Case: Stainless Steel
Case back: Screw-on
Crystal: Shatter-proof plexiglass
Bracelet: Adjustable NATO strap
Winding: Manually wound
Movement Type: Mechanical
Waterproof: When new!
Condition: Excellent unpolished condition with crisp case edges. The watch has some signs of wear in accordance with its age 9.5/10
Model Reference: WWW
Date of issue: 1944/45
Supplied with a 12-month Vintage Watch Specialist guarantee
Lug width: 18mm
Wrist size: Adjustable