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Ollech & Wajs M-52B AF Pays Tribute to B52 Aircraft and Heritage Wristwatch

Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF

Ollech & Wajs (OW) are paying tribute to two historic pieces of engineering with their new M-52B AF wristwatch. The first, which you might glean instantly from the dial, is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, one of the longest serving combat aircraft in history. The second is a vintage OW from around 1966 called the B-905 ‘US Airforce’, produced for US Airmen serving in the Vietnam War. M-52B AF is being produced in an initial limited edition of 56 pieces followed by yearly, non-numbered, limited production runs.

Boeing B-52

Boeing B-52

While the M-52B AF is an homage to the B-905 ‘US Airforce’ it’s by no means a heritage recreation and there are plenty of modernisations and fresh design elements. Starting with the steel case, the M-52B AF measures 39.5mm in diameter with a 12.5mm thickness and has curving lugs that follow the arc of the case. Sitting on top is a 60-minute rotating bezel that features a special chamfered edge, giving it a profile that emulates the nose cone of the B-52.

Ollech and Wajs Ref.B 905 and M-52B AF

Ollech and Wajs Ref.B 905 and M-52B AF

We should probably dwell briefly on the importance of the B-52 aircraft since the case design is informed by it and the dial is emblazoned with its silhouette. Developed by Boeing in the late 1940s and making its maiden flight in 1954 (2024 is its 70th anniversary), it is one of the best subsonic, jet-powered strategic bombers ever designed, with 72 aircraft still listed as being in service as of 2022. Its comparatively high subsonic speed and low operating costs means it has maintained a longevity that surpasses many of its modern rivals. It also became a symbol of the Cold War, developed as it was to be capable of delivering a nuclear payload, as witnessed in Dr Strangelove. In real life it has never dropped anything except conventional munitions.

Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF
Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF

On the Ollech & Wajs M-52B AF you can see the plane in silhouette in white against the black dial. The entire display features a monochrome, black and white colourway that is strongly reminiscent of those other famous military watches, the Dirty Dozen. Flanking the wings of the plane are inscriptions commemorating the watch and OW’s history, based in Zurich and founded in 1956. Below the watch’s tail is a date function with red numerals, a nod to the B-905 ‘US Airforce’ which also had red numerals.

Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF

Beneath the dial and protected by a solid steel caseback is the automatic Soprod P024 movement. A Swiss made calibre with a 4 hz frequency and 38-hour power reserve. It’s a solidly reliable movement and widespread enough that any service centre worth their salt should be able to look after it. All that remains to cover is the bracelet and strap options, which consist of a black nylon RAF strap that comes as standard and an optional M-Heritage mesh bracelet in addition.

Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF Strap
Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF Bracelet

As for pricing, the M-52B AF is CHF 1,256 with the optional M-Heritage bracelet costing CHF 126, bringing the price to CHF 1,382 (approx. £1,160/£1,275). Plus, as noted, it’s being produced in an initial limited edition of 56 pieces with numbered crowns. Following this limited edition, there will be a non-numbered limited production every year.

Ollech and Wajs M-52B AF

Looking at this watch, I find it impossible not to also think of the Bell & Ross BR 03 Gyrocompass, another watch with a plane silhouette, albeit one the goes a step further by turning the plane into the hour hand. Of the two, I think I greatly prefer the Ollech & Wajs M-52B AF. The heritage and history of the piece is much more interesting to me and the cool military aesthetic inspired by the Vietnam War is much more appealing than the almost toy-like Gyrocompass.

Price and Specs:

Model: Ollech & Wajs M-52B AF
Case: 39.5mm diameter x 12.5mm thickness, stainless steel
Dial: Black dial with white silhouette of the Boeing B-52
Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
Movement: Soprod calibre P024, automatic, 25 jewels, bespoke OQ Zurich 1956 rotor, assembled for OW and adjusted in 3 positions
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Black nylon RAF strap with optional stainless steel mesh bracelet
Price: CHF 1,256 (strap) or CHF 1,382 (bracelet & strap) (approx. £1,160/£1,275)

More details at Ollech & Wajs.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.