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Timor W.W.W.

The Modern Field Watch for Urban Explorers

There are families of watches that we can’t seem to get enough of.  I say “families” and not “types” or “collections” because I refer to specific groups of watches created during a certain time period and following the exact same specs sheet. Think first aviation watches, the A.T.P.’s from World War II—those which saw battle—and the Dirty Dozen—which didn’t. Part of the attraction and fascination we have for the Dirty Dozen comes from their specificity in addition to their unique design. (We wouldn’t care for them if they were created in a vacuum for a bunch of rich collectors.) The Dirty Dozen were created for soldiers and had to meet very specific design and functional requirements. Don’t get excited though, I won’t be writing about the history of the Dirty Dozen because many have done so before and better than I ever could. 

Instead, we’ll look at this Timor WWW mainly from a modern perspective, although I won’t ignore its heritage. 

Timor, as a brand, has been around since 1923 and went through different phases during which it focused on making different genres of timepieces. From everyday watches and hard-core military timepieces to futuristic quartz-powered machines and minimalist models and back to the military. (They even made pocket watches in the 2000’s which they sold en masse to the East Asian market, a move which seems to have kept the brand afloat.) But now Timor is a brand we talk about for having brought back the A.T.P. (Army Trade Pattern) and W.W.W. (Wrist, Watch, Waterproof) to the independent watch enthusiast market. Today I’m pleased to be telling you about the W.W.W. which I borrowed for a couple of weeks. (And sadly returned.)


Immediately, the W.W.W. felt unique on the wrist. Its reasonable—and historically accurate—dimensions, coupled with a quality construction and superb finish, makes it feel substantial. The case measures 36.5mm in diameter, 45.5mm lug-to-lug, 11mm thick, and comes with an 18mm lug width. Although I couldn’t figure out the height of the original models, it seems that all other dimensions are the same. This is actually rare, it seems, for a brand to revive a historical model and preserve the original dimensions. Brands tend to enlarge re-issues in order to fit what they believe are modern dimensions we are all looking for. But no, Timor didn’t. Where the cases of the old and new differ, however, is in the finish. From what I can tell, the OGs were made of stainless steel. The recreation does too, however it comes with an added sandblasted finish which looks tactical. (A bit like what we see military watches started to look like in the 1970s/80s.) 

Where the new and old further differ are in the movements Timor uses, the crystal, and the lume. The 1945 models were equipped with the allegedly in-house caliber 6060 while the modern ones are equipped with Swiss made Sellita’s, either the SW260 (automatic) which comes with 38 hours of power reserve, or the SW216 (manual wind), which comes with 42 hours of power reserve. (Both calibers beat at 28,800 BPH or 4Hz.) As you could imagine, the original models had plexiglass crystals while the modern ones have sapphire, and Timor—in a perpetual effort of creating a watch as close to the original as possible—opted for a domed crystal for additional vintage goodness. Lastly, the old had radium lume and the new has Beige SuperLuminova.

The Timor W.W.W. from the 1940s was a field watch and as such came with little water resistance. The modern version is still a field watch and therefore only comes with 50 meters of water resistance, which is plenty for this model's intended use. (No combat, no Navy SEAL training, just typing on a keyboard, buying groceries, and the eventual hike on the weekend.) In many ways, then, Timor did a superb job creating a very faithful recreation of the original model which is quite rare to see these days.


The design of the Timor W.W.W. is interesting to me as it was set in stone in the 1940s and it hasn’t changed since. Yes, that is the part where I will delve a tiny bit into the history of this family of watches. Back then—in 1945 to be exact—the British Ministry of Defense (M.O.D.) commissioned a dozen brands to manufacture field watches that would be used by its soldiers (and that of other European countries) and which had to meet specific design requirements. In a nutshell: they had to be the most legible watches thus far created. Hence the particular dial layout of the Timor W.W.W. and of the 11 other models that were made by other brands. A deep, matte black dial and white painted Arabic numerals (complete with a typeface that makes them easy to read from a distance,) a railroad minute track and lumed hands and plots for the hour markers. 


The ultra legibility of the Timor W.W.W. stems from the combination of the Arabic numerals mentioned above with pencil-style hands. I don’t believe any modern industrial designer could come up with a combo that would be more legible. (But I could be wrong because I don’t design watches, I only write about them.) How easy it is to read the time was a crucial requirement from the M.O.D. in order to precisely time military operations. Today, a W.W.W. watch could help us time a precise schedule for an urban exploration during a vacation or how precisely boring a business meeting is. Regardless of how one might put a W.W.W. to use, the time is easy to read and that’s the leitmotiv of this model. Furthermore, tucking away the running seconds hand to a small register at the 6 further helps keeping the dial clean.

The case, for its part, is as simple as they come. As we know, the entire case is sandblasted which confers the W.W.W. a distinct utilitarian aspect. The fixed bezel has a two-step construction and integrates well with the slab-sided profile of the case sides. The lugs are long and thin and turn down dramatically, giving them the appearance of claws. The small crown sits flush against the case and is well-proportioned given the smaller case diameter. Following the purpose-driven nature of the W.W.W. and its heritage, text on the dial was kept to a minimum: the brand name and the Broad Arrow symbol—denoting its historical connection with the British Crown—under the 12. 

Fun fact: Timor went as far as adding the radial texture on the running seconds sub-register which was present on the original model.

The Heart of the Matter

The subtitle for this article—“The Modern Vintage Field Watch for Urban Adventurers”—might have sounded odd to you. And I would understand why. The idea behind it is to indicate that nobody needs a W.W.W. watch today, whether it be on modern battlefields (where soldiers wear G-Shocks or connected smartwatches) or for the daily lives of us simple mortals. However, this doesn’t mean a W.W.W. cannot find a comfortable spot in anyone’s watch box, quite the contrary. Because thanks to its inherent heritage and design, the W.W.W. is an ultra-legible tool-watch which is what many of us have been looking for, for a very long time. It’s also small and easy to wear, and pretty much well built. In a sense, the Timor W.W.W. fulfill the most basic functions of classic timekeeping: being simple, legible, and durable. 

The other side that makes the W.W.W. special, at least in my eyes, is the fact that Timor is one of the twelve original brands that made the W.W.W. Not all of them survived the Quartz Revolution, and for those that did, surviving was not something they all did elegantly. Timor, actually, went through a weird phase making minimalist watches and pocket watches—I mean, what was up with that?—however someone had the clever idea of bringing the brand back to its roots, at least those which had spread further than most. Timor made many, many models before the A.T.P. and the W.W.W., however it is these models which the brand is the most known for 80 years later. What’s more is that the W.W.W. is perhaps the most faithful re-creations of the W.W.W. watches. 

So what is at the heart of the matter then? Simply put—and again—, is that Timor’s W.W.W., which you can buy right now for about $1,025, is the most legitimate modern recreation of the original Dirty Dozen W.W.W. watches. From an historical perspective, that’s as close as any watch can get.


For someone who loves tool watches, it took me a while to get interested in period-accurate recreations of military watches. I’ve been into diver watches for longer than I can remember, and into vintage watches for what seems like a very long time, and now my horological compass is leaning towards smaller, meaner, and cooler field watches. How perfect, then, was the timing of my borrowing of the Timor W.W.W. so that I could (hopefully) speak about it in an intelligent way. I have a confession to make: the price tag is something that surprised me at first, because for some reason I thought that a re-creation of an old watch of this type should cost half of what it actually does. However, I immediately understood why the W.W.W. retails for $1,025 given its spotless design, robust construction, and the high-end parts it is made of. 

You can learn more about Timor and the modern W.W.W. by visiting the brand’s website here.

Thanks for reading.


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