Omega - A WWII British Military Issued Dirty Dozen Wristwatch - c.1944 - Caliber 30T2 -
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A Nice Example of an Omega "Dirty Dozen" British Military, Soldiers Watch Issued in c.1944 With Original Radium Dial and Hands. With Provenance from the original owner from whom we acquired this watch!
For military collectors, the “Dirty Dozen” watches need no introduction. Civilian watches proved rather useless against the rigors of war conditions in the 1940s and so the MoD needed a watch that met their stringent requirements.
Twelve Swiss watchmakers were eventually chosen to produce the WWW (which stands for Watch. Wristlet. Waterproof.) a simple steel two-hander with white numerals on a black dial and a small seconds counter at six o’clock.
More than 140,000 watches in total were made and distributed to British soldiers in varying numbers from each manufacturer and the 12 variations became collectively known as the “Dirty Dozen”.
This is the Omega version of the Dirty Dozen, of which approximately 25000 were produced – the surviving numbers are unknown but they seem to dwindle each year making them more and more collectible as time goes by.
This particular watch has its own tale to tell, as do they all, however, we are lucky enough to be provided with a few insights relating to the intrepid adventures of this watch and its previous owner, who has kindly outlined some of their joint capers...
Used during my service in The Life Guards, Armoured at Windsor and the Far East during the 1960s.
The Life Guards are the senior regiment in the British Army and split between Armoured and the Ceremonial part of the regiment based in London.
The watch was used by me during a two-and-a-half-year tour of the Far East 1966-8 including Malaya, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Sarawak/Borneo.
The Hong Kong posting was to deter the Mao Tse-Tung Red Guard invasion.
Sarawak was active service during the three-year Confrontation with Indonesia which was called the Secret War and recognised as the most successful lasting outcome of any action since WW2. The strategy was containment and not to escalate as happened in Vietnam at the same time.
The watch was used in Sarawak in both armoured, river, and jungle activity for which the owner received two medals.
-The watch was worn when shaking the hand of Earl Mountbatten of Burma who was Colonel of The Household Cavalry at the time during a visit to Malaysia in 1967.
-It was also worn at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party in 2014 attended by The Queen and Prince Philip which was for The Household Cavalry following a ceremony at Horse Guards Parade.
What’s On Offer
This "WWW" marked wristwatch is in original condition with its radium dial, stepped subdial, Arabic numerals which have suffered some slight deterioration, and lumed hour plots. The original syringe hands are in good shape, also with slight deterioration on the lume but nothing of much concern. I imagine we would all be showing signs of wear after so many years and a World War!
The steel case and crown look well with no notable marks or blemishes and this watch is paired with a nice black leather strap which wears very comfortably on the wrist. The military engravings are clear on the caseback and complete a really nice piece that would make a great addition to any collection and certainly would make any military enthusiast happy.
This is a charmingly honest example of the Omega Dirty Dozen with a colourful history that we rarely have any insight into. We often remark that these watches would have lots of stories to tell if they could speak, what a treat then, that the previous owner could share such wonderful provenance with us.
Case: Stainless Steel
Bracelet: Black Leather Strap
Movement Type: Mechanical
Waterproof: When New
Power reserve: 44hrs
Model Reference: WWW
Date of issue: c.1944
Guarantee: 12 Months by VWS
Lug width: 18mm
Lug height: (lug to lug) 45mm
Wrist size: Adjustable