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The lost watch of D-Day. The Praesidus A-11 "Tom Rice" Edition

A week ago, while sitting at my desk, I received a text from Brent Robillard, the owner of Calibre321. I write about horological history for Calibre321, and his text regarded a watch from the good folks at Praesidus. The watch is inspired by one of the most significant battles of the Second World War, which is right up my alley regarding horological history. The watch in question is the Praesidus A-11 "Tom Rice" Edition.

Inspired by the A-11 wristwatches developed by the US Military during WWII, this watch is a tribute and homage to the many who fought for freedom, specifically Tom Rice and the men who, alongside him, stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6th, 1944. What does Tom Rice have to do with this? While jumping from the C-47 carrying him and many other troops to land on the beach, his static line malfunctions and won't detach from his chute, slamming him against the aircraft's fuselage. In the process, he loses the watch on his wrist. In true heroic fashion, managing to separate himself, Tom would parachute down to the beach and fight in the most brutal battle, survive and continue to fight until the end of the war in 1945.

The A-11 "Tom Rice" Edition is a favourite in my collection because of its history and tie-in to a great man, but also because it's a badass field watch. Featuring a mix of finishing with a brushed stainless steel case and polished lugs, the A-11 has a bit of flash while retaining its tool watch aesthetic. Offered in 38mm or 42mm (mine is the 38mm), the A-11 is comfortable, legible, and an excellent watch for daily wear. You can dress it up with a new strap for a formal-casual look or rock it with jeans and a t-shirt; both look fantastic.

The Seiko NH35, a reliable choice for a watch of this calibre, brings this vintage-inspired beauty to life. My only "complaint" since this watch doesn't feature a date is a ghost position in the crown, but it doesn't affect my love for it or change my thoughts.

Not only a comfortable, durable and gorgeous watch, but a physical representation of a horological icon worn by many who served to protect during WWII. Whether you're a history buff or appreciate an excellent, well-crafted field watch, the A-11 "Tom Rice" Edition is a choice that any collector at any level would understand.

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