Praesidus is a new microbrand that produces accessibly-priced vintage-style military wristwatches.
At launch, Praesius is bringing back the A-11, a World War II-era government-issued military watch. Like Type-20, Dirty Dozen, and Flieger watches, the designation “A-11” actually refers to the general specifications required to create the watches — not a specific make and model. The original A-11s were created by Elgin, Waltham, Hamilton, and Bulova for the Allied Forces in the 1940s.
Praesidus has created their modern version of the A-11, based on the old mil-spec from the TM 9-1575 War Department Technical Manual for Wrist Watches, Pocket Watches, Stop Watches, And Clocks. The specification stipulates that the movement must be hand-wound with a minimum of 15-jewels, it must have hacking seconds (ability to stop the seconds hand to precisely set it), must have center seconds (as opposed to small seconds), the dial has to be highly legible with numeral hour markers (not indices), the outer minute track must have 10-minute graduations, and the hour and minute hands must be highly legible. Additionally, variances allow for bezels that could come as flat or coin-edge, cases that were water-resistant or dust resistant, and dials with or without lume.
Based on these historic specs, Praesidus has created affordable stainless steel A-11 timepieces in either 38 mm x or 42 mm sandblasted case with polished lugs (the originals were smaller as was common during the time period). Both sizes have a thickness of 12.5 mm. The 38 mm can fit a 20 mm strap and the 42 mm version can fit a 22 mm strap.
While the original A-11 specification called for a hand-wound watch, these modern A-11s are equipped with Seiko caliber NH35 movements, which are automatic. The Japanese/Malaysian made movement beats at 3Hz, has 24 jewels, a 41-hour power reserve, and offer hours, minutes, center seconds, and a date (although the date functionality is not in this implementation). These can be wound by hand and the rotor winds the watch in either direction.
The crystal protecting each watch is domed and is made of either K1 sapphire hardened mineral crystal or sapphire, the latter costing $50 extra. The caseback is stainless steel and has a snapback construction. There’s an engraving on the back of each, and there’s room leftover to add your own custom engraving which can be done at checkout. Water-resistance is 50 meters.
Each of the Praesidus A11 wristwatches is assembled in the U.S. by Selco in Tulsa, OK. And for every watch sold through an affiliate link from a partner veteran organization, 5% of the price will be donated to that veteran organization. The A-11 comes with your choice of a dark brown nylon, olive canvas, or brown leather strap. The cloth straps come with a buckle that has a polished steel finish and the leather comes with a sandblasted steel buckle. There are two dial options: matte ivory cream (off-white) or matte black.