I’ve always liked the field-watch design of the Vertex M100, and if the following the Dirty Dozen gets every time it pops up at auction is anything to go by, it’s not just me. It’s clean, militaristic and historically fit for purpose, recapturing what made that singular wartime design so iconic.
In fact, I’ve never really thought it needed much changing and didn’t really have much truck with the blacked-out DLC version. I thought I’d feel the same about the bronze. I do not. In fact, if I had to choose between the new, bronze-clad take on the M100 or the true-to-form steel, I’m not sure where I’d come down.
Designed to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, this new version is a pretty savvy way for Vertex to showcase its heritage. Bronze watches are in vogue, so a genuine reason to use the metal is pretty perfect.
That said, not all bronze is created equal, and the one Vertex uses is designed not to pit, meaning that if it gains too much patina for your taste you can buff it back to clean. That’s good to know, as it’s a thin line between antiqued and downright dirty. The part that’s most in danger of grime, the caseback against your wrist, is actually in steel so don’t worry too much about sweating in it.
Otherwise, this is exactly the same watch as the standard M100. It has the same 40mm size, the same Swiss ETA 7001 movement and the same dial layout with its moulded superluminova Arabic numerals as the original. It sits just as nicely on the wrist, fitting under a sleeve but still feeling slightly larger than its 40mms might suggest.
Sure, the original 1940s watch would have had no luck with bronze when steel’s harder and more practical, but that’s what makes this a commemorative (as opposed to archivally authentic) limited edition.
What’s more authentic though is the choice of straps it comes with. The first is vintage leather, thick, chunky and designed to age as gracefully as respectably treated bronze. It’s the type of strap we’re seeing more and more of as retro throwbacks become the horological mainstay.
What you see it on here though is the coolest strap of the three, a proper Zulu Alpha military green number complete with a commemorative union flag 75 logo. It’s incredibly comfortable and, once you get used to it, easy to slip off.
Then, to complete the set, there’s a creamy tan-coloured number that’s as close to the original strap the 1945 Vertex would have been on as makes no difference. It’s soft, stamped with a serial number and unusual – though it feels a little too delicate for daily wear.
The Bronze 75 comes with two pairs of quick-release spring bars so you can cycle through the three, though I found myself settling completely on that Zulu Alpha.
The presentation of the M100 is as cool as ever in a nice, watertight pelican case, this time with a bronze plaque on the front. At the very least, you know the watch won’t be damaged in delivery; the case is practically bomb-proof.
I’m not saying I prefer bronze to steel in general. But in this instance, with the additional straps and the commemorative message behind it, I’m genuinely tempted by the Bronze 75. I doubt it’ll be as timeless as the standard M100, just as I doubt bronze will be flavour of the month for much longer. That doesn’t change that fact that even now, I don’t want to take it off my wrist.
Price & Specs:
Model: Vertex M100 Bronze 75
Case/Dial: 40mm diameter x 11mm thickness, bronze CuSn8 case and bezel, stainless steel case back, black matt dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre 10 1/2 ETA 7001, manual wind, 17 jewels
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 45h
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
Strap: Vintage brown leather with 2 spring bars and quick-release CuSn8 18mm tongue buckle; Zulu Alpha ZA Vertex 75 strap; A.F.0210. strap (replica of strap used in WW2)
Price/availability: £2,700, limited to 150 pieces
More details at Vertex Watches.