The Military Edition - Second Edition
Vortic’s only Limited Edition, the Military Edition is a set of 50 wristwatches built from very special antique American pocket watches. The pocket watches inside these wristwatches were originally manufactured for the U.S. Army Air Corps and flown on the B-17s and B-24s (the bomber aircraft) in World War II. It’s the ultimate military watch and has the most provenance of any product we’ve ever made.
Available only on Veterans Day, we will donate $500 from each watch to the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative that trains disabled military vets how to become professional watchmakers. The average unemployment rate for disabled war veterans is 82%, and the funds we donate will put a dent in that figure!
Check out the National News Story here for more details on the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative:
If you've stared at pictures of the Military Edition as long as we have, you'll notice the small difference in the Second Edition. Check out that RED case-tube! We decided to add a bit more color to the Military Edition using this second iteration and added that small red ring inspired by the red accents on the wings and tail of the B-bombers in World War II.
Check out our First Edition unboxing video to see everything included with the watch, especially the two additional straps. The only strap change this year is that we added red stitching to the black strap. Trust us, it works.
Legal Disclaimer: All product and company names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within Vortic's products and services are the property of their respective intellectual property rights holders, if any. Those intellectual property rights holders, other than Vortic, LLC, are not affiliated with Vortic, LLC, our products, or our website. They do not sponsor or endorse our materials.
- Manufacturer: Vortic Watch Company
- Model Year: 2020 Military Edition
- Warranty: Full 2-Year Warranty
- Case Dimensions: 49mm
- Case Finish: Machined Titanium with Black PVD
- Crown/Hardware: Machined Titanium with Black PVD
- Water Resistance: 5 ATM
- Front Crystal: Domed German Glass
- Back Crystal: Gorilla Glass
- Case Back: Machined Titanium with Black PVD
- Hands: Original Antiques
- Strap #1: Military Canvas with Leather Backing
- Strap #2: Black Horween Leather with Red Stitching
- Strap #3: Bomber Jacket Leather with Stitching
- Original Manufacturer: Hamilton Watch Co
- Original Serial Number: Varies
- Manufacture Year: Varies 1938 to 1950
- Function: Hour, Minute, and Hacking Sweeping Seconds
- Jewels: 22 Jewels
- Size: 16size
- Power Reserve: ~36 Hours
A few years ago a gentleman brought us a pocket watch. It was a family heirloom and he wanted us to turn it into a wristwatch, as we've done for so many others. This pocket watch was different though. We don't see many with black dials, and we'd never seen one with a 24-hour dial.
After consulting some of our historical advisors we realized this one was special. Built for the United States Army Air Corps beginning in World War II, this timepiece has been called "The Watch That Won The War."
Today though, there's not much use for a pocket watch, so regardless of its story, these pieces of history are lost, forgotten, and basically thrown away by their owners... until now. We built the Military Edition not just to save these pocket watches, but to celebrate the extraordinary provenance inside each one.
The Pocket Watches
The AN5740-1 was commissioned by the United States Government at the beginning of World War II and built for the Army Air Corps. There were strict requirements for this timepiece because the brave soldiers in the skies needed to know the accurate time.
Three of the Great American Watch Companies were up to the task. Elgin from Illinois, Waltham from Massachusetts, and Hamilton from Pennsylvania all built mechanisms that met these specifications. To make the mark, all three companies decided to retrofit their most valuable and accurate Railroad Grade movements.
The dials were all standardized to be black with simple, white 24-hour markings. Each had a set of white hands, and a long sweeping second hand with a hacking feature that allowed the timepieces to be used not just as pocket watches but as stopwatches.
Time In The Skies
Called the Master Navigational Watch, these pocket watches were used by the Navigator on Bomber aircraft like the B-17, B-24, and B-29. Each dial was marked with "GCT," known at the time as Greenwich Civil Time because that was the standard European timezone. Now called UTC or Coordinated Universal Time, it relates to the time at 0 degrees Longitude which is the location of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.
When determining your location by using the stars, if your watch is off by about four seconds, you could be as much as one nautical mile off course. For that reason, these pocket watches needed to be extremely accurate and were even mounted inside gimbal systems to protect them from the aircraft vibrations.
RESTORATION OF THE ORIGINAL ANTIQUES
Most of the movements we find were manufactured between 1938 and 1950. They were likely used in war-time but were discarded or forgotten shortly afterward. This means the original mechanical, manually wound mechanisms have not been properly serviced or cared-for in recent years.
Vortic's team of expert watchmakers meticulously restores each movement to near factory conditions using only original parts. Thankfully, because these were built as tools for the U.S. Military, extra parts were built for field servicing. We even have access to the original field service manuals from the, now defunct, watch companies!
We do the best we can to restore and regulate each one, but "perfect" timekeeping similar to a modern wristwatch is not achievable. Each watch will be adjusted to keep excellent time on a day to day basis, but there will be variations from watch to watch.
THE WRISTWATCH ENGINEERING SYSTEM
Vortic is an engineering and manufacturing company with expertise in converting antique American pocket watch movements into wristwatches. The American Artisan Series and Railroad Edition are engineering systems designed to protect and preserve pieces of American history.
The Military Edition is a special example of this technology and has been over-built to house these extremely rare and valuable military mechanisms. Every metal component has been precision cut from blocks of titanium or bronze inside Vortic's Colorado facility before a military-grade Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) black coating is applied (if it's needed for that part).
Only the best materials were sourced for this project due to the priceless nature of the timepieces being converted. The case is 49mm in diameter which is on the larger side of average, but we've sloped the lugs around your wrist and kept the crown at 12 o'clock to achieve a comfortable fit. Since all components are titanium, the watch is surprisingly light for its size.
THE GLASS CRYSTALS
For the front crystal of the Military Edition, we decided to do something different than our other watches. The custom domed glass is handcrafted for us by White's Crystals in San Francisco. Mr. White recommended a special German-engineered glass for this project with similar properties to Sapphire.
The domed glass creates a beautiful side profile that makes this watch stand out from all others. It also makes more room inside the watch for the very tall pinion holding the hands.
On the back, we used Corning Gorilla Glass just like our other watches. The scratch-resistant crystal has a clarity rating of nearly 100 meaning it's completely transparent and perfect for showing off the piece of American military history inside.
THE HAND CRAFTED STRAPS
A watch this special can't have any normal wrist-band, and it shouldn't come with just one. That's why we partnered with Greg Stevens Design in Salt Lake City. Greg typically makes just one strap at a time for individual consumers, but we were able to convince him to collaborate with us on this project and craft three custom straps to accompany every Military Edition watch.
The first is hand-cut from vintage military canvas duffle bags. The army green canvas strap gives even more meaning to the name Military Edition. The second strap is our dress uniform strap. Built from extra-thick, black Horween leather, it's hand-stitched in white to match the watch's hands and numerals. The third and final strap is the fun one. The leather is called "Bomber Jacket" because it looks and feels like a vintage, well worn, airmen coat.
THE VETERANS WATCHMAKER INITIATIVE
We've partnered with the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative to provide jobs to U.S. Military personnel when they come home. $500 from the sale of each Military Edition watch will directly benefit their mission to educate and certify the next generation of American watchmakers.
With the rise in popularity of vintage and mechanical wristwatches, there's an ever-growing need for skilled watchmakers to restore and service these timepieces. Every watch company from Vortic to Rolex is actively seeking trained workers and the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative is filling those skill-gaps.
The current program can only train about 20 students at a time, but there are hundreds on the waiting list. By purchasing the Military Edition you will be directly impacting the Past, Present, and future of American watchmaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
The 50 watches in the Second Edition of the Military Edition are $5,995.
The 15 watches in the 2020 Special Edition are $7,995.
The Second Edition of the Military Edition will be offered for sale on Veterans Day (November 11th, 2020) at 8:00 am Mountain Time. Sign up for our VIP Early Access list, and you will receive an email a few hours ahead of everyone else, giving you exclusive access to pre-order the watch. The First Edition sold out in under 8 hours!
Last year we shipped the Military Edition watches in April and May. The production process took almost 6 months. This year though, we're already almost done manufacturing all the components, so we can be much faster. We expect to ship some watches in December, and the bulk of the watches in January/February. We will build them in serial number order, so get your order in quickly if you want it sooner.
The Military Edition is 49mm in diameter and 58mm lug to lug. The strap is 24mm, tapered to 22mm. The straps have been sized to fit any wrist between 6.5 and 8.5 inches (one size fits all).
The Military Edition will be exclusively available on Veterans Day each year. We do not know how many antique pocket watches we can find in the future, so subsequent sets may have fewer pieces available and will likely sell at a higher price.
Yes. Active Duty Military and all U.S. Military Veterans can receive 10% off any purchase on www.vorticwatches.com by using discount code "Military." You will be contacted after purchase for proof of service.
Just like all watches in Vortic's American Artisan Series, everything inside the watch is an original, restored antique. All internal components, including the dial (face), hands, and movement (gears and springs that tell time), are from a pocket watch built a long time ago. We restore those antique movements using only original parts and then build a custom engineering system around it. Everything you can touch, on the outside of the watch, is modern. This includes the case, glass, leather straps, crown, etc.
GCT, during World War II, meant Greenwich Civil Time, the standard European timezone. Now called UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time, it relates to the time at 0 degrees Longitude - the location of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England. It was the standard timezone for all Allied forces during the war.
We take care to restore and regulate each one, but "perfect" timekeeping, similar to a modern wristwatch, is not achievable. Each watch will be adjusted to keep excellent time on a day-to-day basis, but there will be variations from watch to watch. We attempt to regulate timekeeping within 30 seconds per day when averaged across all positions. For day to day use, you should not notice any fault in timekeeping.
The watch industry does not use the term "waterproof." We always say "water-resistant" because every single watch is different, and all customer environments are different. The Military Edition is rated to 5atm of water resistance, meaning it is perfect for day to day use, but not intended for use while showering or swimming.
All Vortic watches come with a 2-year warranty. The bottom line is, if anything ever goes wrong, even after you have the watch for 2 years, we will take care of you. We pride ourselves in our customer service, and we can fix just about anything!
Check out the link below for the unboxing of the First Edition! The Second and Special have some slight changes but those will be a surprise.
All product and company names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within Vortic's products and services are the property of their respective intellectual property rights holders, if any. Those intellectual property rights holders, other than Vortic, LLC, are not affiliated with Vortic, LLC, our products, or our website. They do not sponsor or endorse our materials.