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Praesidus Watch Co. A-11 C-47 Watch Review

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

With a dial made from a piece of avionic wartime history, this Praesidus field watch is as evocative as they get. This year marks the 80th anniversary of that glorious day in Normandy, marking the end of  WWII. While that might feel relegated to the history books, with the situation in Eastern Europe today, it bears remembering. The Mil-spec-focused brand Praesidus offers a physically imbued talisman by Introducing the Praesidus Watch Co. A-11 C-47. And with it, we are served a timely reminder of our not-too-distant past.

With this release, Praesidus Watch Co. has created three versions. A Utah Sand version with a dial that includes, yes, sand from the storied Utah Beach. I am looking closer at the second version, the dark green C-47, having unboxed it today. The third has a patinated metal dial. All are made from aviation-grade aluminium from a vintage C-47 door. With a design based on their successful A-11 Marston watch series, the A-11 C-47 is evocative of an American Mil-spec service watch. This new series brings a literal piece of history to your wrist. And it sits within a tough 38mm field watch of the short-lugged variety with a warbird-sourced dial.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

Praesidus is a brand with an expanding portfolio of vintage-inspired wristwear that is different. Akshay and his team have a purist view, which involves small case sizes, often sans a dial logo, to keep things clean-cut. And it works. The inspiration has been the vintage A-11 Military Specification Watch, a readable, rugged tool. The A-11 was produced in over 150,000 pieces to equip the US Military during WW2. It laid the foundation for what we today define as a “field” watch. With large white indexes printed on a black dial, it is about readability at all costs. I had a chat with Akshay about the story behind this series of D-Day watches, and he told us:

“Praesidus is proud to continue its tradition of commemorating D-Day with unique timepieces. We started the brand a few years ago and can now tell a much better story. Building upon the initial Marston Mat watch, we’ve created two more interesting and detailed editions. And they now draw on experience from what we’ve learned in the last two years”.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

As this is a new iteration of an established D-Day series, we ask Akshay about what’s new with the new releases. He tells us more: “These new watches incorporate authentic elements like Utah Beach sand and a C-47 Skytrain part (an actual door). All this while remaining accessible at a better price point than previous models. We’ve sourced parts from a C-47 D-DAY veteran and worked on a Sand dial that includes actual sand.”  This says much about Praesidus’ commitment to an authentic take on vintage. And even as we’re surely nearing Peak Vintage, a pure sense of purpose always works.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

The C-47 D-Day watch I’m wearing can be viewed through different lenses. This includes the crisp basics of a good field watch. I’ll admit this term is being bandied about for anything with a slight military vibe and a clean aesthetic, but size means a lot. With this short-lugged design of 45mm, the feeling is just right. On the wrist, it feels vintage without new-age resizing, keeping its ethos clean. And I enjoy the evocative Mil-spec aesthetic.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

However, I admit to having an ever-changing relationship with NATO straps here, but that might change. The Praesidus team has picked the right combo for this thick-weave nylon job. And by adding matching sand-blasted hardware, it feels the biz. The main olive green colour perfectly fits the chameleon-like green dial. Meanwhile, the silvery three-stripe almost perfectly matches the dial markings. Adding to the allure, you will see clear striations in the metal if you look at the image above. The metal sourced from a war-flown C-47 airplane is war-worn, but the charming traces have been untouched.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

For some reason, to my eyes, the matte, silken surface of the case also feels quite modern. Matched with the tonal perfection, I enjoy the layered NATO fit. That is, until I try the C-47 on a vintage leather strap I have fitted to another Praesidus review watch. Yes, it is indeed a strap monster, and there is no denying the slimmer fit on leather.

There is still a deep vintage vibe at play, but the comfort of the distressed strap dresses it up while making the most of its slim case. The crown is reassuringly big, as befits a good field watch, and a screw-down design ensures a tough 100m depth rating. Strip away the thought-provoking details, leaving you with a very good everyday watch.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

While the other three versions of the Praesidus A-11 C-47 have rich beige or black printed dial details, the C-47 has crisp white markings. Their silvery tone washes away the often pastiche feel of a vintage design. The combo of the rather modern sand-blasted steel dials up quite the timeless vibe. I would also applaud Praesidus for omitting all text from the dial. We’ve all seen how much a font or logo can make or break a design. But here, the watch speaks for itself.

Praesidus Watch A-11 C-47

I’ll conclude with the Praesidus A-11 C-47 being a good stand-alone piece without knowing the history behind the D-Day inspiration. But this is about Akshay’s thought process behind the series. And underneath that deep green lacquer lies a piece of wartime history. A lacquer that lets scratches and striations from an actual C-47 door shine through. And you can’t help being touched by the sentiments of our troubled past 80 years ago, to tell the truth.

Today’s situation in Eastern Europe reminds us of how fragile our seemingly calm world order can be. Inside the matte, comfortable case resides the well-known Miyota 9039. It is part of Miyota’s premium range and a solid movement. You will also find it specced in watches far more expensive than the $545 (approx. £429) A-11 C-47 from Praesidus Watch Co., presenting rather good value for money.

Price and Specs:

Model: Praesidus Watch Co. C-47
Ref: A-11 C-47
Case: 38mm (45mm lug-to-lug) diameter x 13mm thickness (with crystal)
Dial: Green
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Miyota calibre 9039, non-hacking automatic, 24 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Tri-coloured NATO fabric with matte blasted steel pin buckle
Price: $545 (approximately £429)

More details at Praesidus.

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About the author

Thor Svaboe

As the sole Norwegian who doesn’t like snow or climbing mountains, Thor has honed his florid writing skills at Time + Tide, and is now an editor at Fratello Watches. This Viking would fearlessly go into battle under the banner of independent watchmaking, and his End Game watch would be the piece unique Greubel Forsey Hand Made 1.