If you think about it, Blighty, Britannia or England — otherwise known as the United Kingdom, a name that dates back to the 1707 Acts of Union that declared the kingdoms of England and Scotland united into one entity known as Great Britain — is renowned for three things.
The first is the unwavering stiff upper lip, no matter what the seemingly unsurmountable odds, heroically displayed during the horrors of Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring’s Blitz on London. The second is the genuinely astonishing genetic ability to create many of history’s hottest women from Jane Birkin to Jane Seymour to Jacqueline Bisset to Jean Shrimpton to Kiera Knightley to Kate Moss, the latter who, despite her unremitting penchant of sybaritism, is still, well really, really hot; in a charmingly sexy, disastrous way. The third is of course the most revered, documented and rich history with military timepieces.
1940s — The Dozen
The most famous of England’s military watches include the Dirty Dozen, the Mark 11 Pilot’s Watch, the legendary Rolex MilSub and the W10 Army watch. The Dirty Dozen refers to the 12 contractors that supplied the British Army with functional, highly robust, legible and luminous tool watches that were distributed to its troops during the Second World War.
These brands were — in no particular order — Vertex, Timor, Lemania, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cyma, Buren, Eterna, Record, Grana, IWC, Longines and Omega. Collectively they forged the genetic blueprint of what a military watch should be. A stealthy and strong brushed steel case, a matt black dial featuring large luminous Arabic numerals, completed by additional luminous indexes around the cardinal points of the dial. And a hacking seconds hand at 6 o’clock. And, for the large part, long easy-to-read baton-shaped hands.