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Eterna WWW - A Dirty Dozen Wristwatch - c.1944 - British Army-Issued Military Watch***NOW SOLD***

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***NOW SOLD***

An Honest and Original Example of an Eterna WWW 'Dirty Dozen' British Army-Issued Watch with Original Military Engravings, Issued circa.1944. 

During the Second World War, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) needed watches that could withstand the treacherous conditions of the battlefield and at the time, civilian watches weren't up to the task. 

Due to the rigours of military life, very strict specifications were set by the MoD and they invited Swiss manufacturers who could build a watch to their specific requirements, to do so. 

In the end, there were 12 manufacturers that produced the W.W.W. (Wrist, Watch, Waterproof) watches for the British Army. The manufacturers were Record, Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Lemania, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Longines, IWC, Omega, Vertex, and Timor. Over the ensuing decades, the 12 watches became collectively known as the Dirty Dozen earning this nickname from the 1964 war film.

A lot of these watches were destroyed in the 1970s due to the presence of radioactive Radium-226, in the luminescent material, hence the number of surviving watches dwindled. This, teamed with the obvious historical significance of the watches, has made them increasingly more collectable. Eterna manufactured only around 5000 of these military watches and how many survived we may never know, making this quite a rare watch.

What's on offer 

What a superb example of the Eterna Dirty Dozen, even if we do say so ourselves! Besides being in fantastic shape, given its age and likely history, it really does boast a beautiful dial with perfectly crisp Arabic numerals, a fully legible Eterna signature unwritten with the synonymous military arrow (pheon), and the small seconds recessed subdial. The jewel in the crown of this example though has to be its lume which has remarkably survived all these years and has aged beautifully evenly from the hour plots to the sword hands. The case also looks well with only fairly minor signs of wear, unbelievable really considering its vintage! The caseback is engraved with its original military markings: WWW P 2305 3110633.

This watch is made even more desirable by the fact we hold a receipt and paid cheque of its original sale (after being decommissioned) from a military surplus store back in 1961 - we acquired this watch from that purchaser who obviously took great care of it! So a nice little bit of provenance, which really underlines the age and historical relevance of this watch. 

Running well and keeping good time, we have inspected the watch since its last fairly recent service by our master military watchmaker, the revered John Senior, it is sold with confidence and our in-house 12-month warranty. 

Additional information

Made from

Case: Stainless steel 

Dial: Black

Crystal: Plexiglass

Bracelet: NATO military-style

Technical specifications

Winding: Manually wound

Movement Type: Mechanical

Calibre: 520

Jewels: 15j

Power reserve: 42h

Waterproof: When new!

Purchase details

Condition: Excellent

Model Reference: WWW

Date of issue: c.1944

Guarantee: 12 Months by VWS


Width: 36.5mm

Lug width: 18mm

Wrist size: Adjustable