Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Wearing a piece of history: The Praesidus watches you need to know

Rewind the clock with these vintage recreations

Praesidus Watch DD-45
Praesidus

The United States of America has a history stuffed full of heroes. From George Washington to Audie Murphy and General George S. Patton to Pat Tillman, this country wouldn’t be what it is today without the sacrifice and service of countless men and women across two and a half centuries. But for every story of bravery and sacrifice, there are a dozen lost tales of true heroism and steadfast determination from veterans seemingly forgotten by the masses. Praesidus Watches endeavors to change that for as many as possible through epic storytelling watches.

Driven by the desire to tell stories of military courage and grit and aided by their superior watchmaking, Praesidus has solidified itself as one of the premier unique “storywatch” producers in the world. Why do we call them storywatches? Because every single one of these timepieces holds a story you won’t be able to wait to tell when someone notices it. There are dozens of options and tales of heroic exploits to choose from, but these are our favorites and will serve as a buying guide for you. Choose the story that speaks to you, and wear the watch that represents the tale you can’t wait to regale others with.

The Rec Spec

Rec Spec
Praesidus

There are very few units from the Vietnam War that were more badass than the MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam—Studies and Observations Group). These guys went behind enemy lines to find intel for the soldiers who were to follow. Basically, anywhere the U.S. was in the country, these guys were there first.

The Rec Spec (Reconnaissance Spec) came about when the unit needed to source gear from outside the supply lines, opting to pick up a Seiko dress watch. It became surprisingly effective as a field watch, and the rest is history. These Seikos are no longer made, so this is the only way (unless you were lucky enough to get one handed down from your badass grandfather) to sport this particular historical piece.

The Jungle Field

Jungle Field
Praesidus

Speaking of Vietnam, this was a jungle war that required some of the best military gear. In 1967, the United States Military issued the GG-W-11 for the first time to all of its pilots. It was created specifically for active combat in Vietnam, being accurate, legible, and durable. The original designs went out of service from the military in the late 1980s and were produced by Hamilton and Marathon. This recreation is going to be one of the best pilot watches you own. And you will have a cool history lesson to give anyone who compliments it.

A-11 Type 44

A-11 Type 44
Praesidus

June 6, 1944, became a day that no American would ever forget. The combined land, air, and sea arms of the entire Allied Forces came together for the largest amphibious invasion in the history of military operations. Operation OVERLORD delivered five naval divisions to the Beaches of Normandy and, later became known as D-Day.

With an operation of that magnitude, coordination is vital. That is where the A-11 came into play. Before the invasion, command instructed everyone to stop their watch at 2100 hours by pulling out the crowns. Once that happened, he gave the order and all watches were synched together at 2100. This allowed the invasion to be timed perfectly. 80 years later, Praesidus’ recreation of the most iconic military watch that enabled the most iconic military moment will be one of your most prized possessions.

The A-2 Bud & Diz

A-2 Bud & Diz
Praesidus

Thanks to Top Gun, we are today fans of fighter pilots, the epitome of coolness and calm under pressure. The real thing is a little more engaging than Tom Cruise. Bud Anderson and Diz Laird were some of the real-life heroes who ruled the sky during World War II. Anderson is one of the most decorated fighter pilots of all time, designated as an ace (taking out five enemy aircraft) three times over. Laird is the only ace in history to shoot down both Japanese and German fighters. He also flew in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

With that history, Praesidus spoke to them about the best pilot watch and leaned heavily on the A-17 Mil Spec pilot watch. It debuted in 1951 and became their favorite. The A-2 Bud & Diz editions are the pinnacle of pilot excellence, just like the pilots who inspired them.

Tom Rice

Tom Rice
Praesidus

Just like the importance of the heroes of the sky during the Allied Forces’ victory was the tenacity of the ground forces. And none of those ground forces were more tenacious and set on Allied victory than the paratroopers. These were the elite of the time and Tom Rice was one of their bravest. Joining after the events of Pearl Harbor and fighting on D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, and Hitler’s Eagles Nest, he was involved in virtually every major event of WWII.

It was when leading 18 men to the Beaches of Normandy that he had a brush with death and lost his beloved A-11. The watch he bought before shipping out to England played a big enough role for him that he collaborated with Praesidus decades later to create this one-of-a-kind homage. You can now wear the same watch a true American hero wore to defeat the Axis Powers.

Vince Speranza

Vince Speranza
Praesidus

Speaking of paratroopers, Vince Speranza may have gotten a late start to the war as he had his first engagement in 1944 at the Battle of the Bulge. But what he lost in time, he made up for in grit and importance as he manned a gun for the 101st Airborne to stop the Germans in their last stand. He then went on to take down Hitler’s vacation home and, most often, located at Eagle’s Nest and even liberated a concentration camp. A total of 144 days in battle on some of the most important moments at the end of the war cemented him in the WWII victory.

Speranza then moved on to create this watch commemorating his time. Another A-11 variation, the back of the casing is adorned with his name and nickname, “The Machine Gunner of Bastogne,” along with either a flat or 3D bullet to honor his role in the defeat of Hitler and the Nazis.

D-Day 80th Anniversary

D-Day Anniversary
Praesidus

When it comes to important dates, D-Day is the one most people think of with WWII. And Praesidus pulled out all the stops with their 80th anniversary celebration. There are two editions: the C-47 Skytrain and the Utah Beach. The Skytrain is built from a C-47 that actually flew the D-Day mission, while the Utah Beach holds sand from the actual beach our brave men stormed at the end of the war.

Watches are a dime a dozen. There are hundreds of special and limited editions with stories to tell and messages to send. However, Praesidus has dedicated itself to telling the story of the Greatest Generation. Here are the most important options they offer and the stories they tell.

Topics
Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
G-SHOCK’s latest G-LIDE watches are a smaller take on surfing timepieces
It is more than a woman's watch
GShock G-lide on surf board

The Euro was introduced. Eminem dropped the Slim Shady LP. Keanu Reeves first appeared as Neo. Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France. 1999 was a big year in a lot of ways. But for the surfing community, it got the first of a line of watches that would transform the sport from the wrist out. G-SHOCK introduced the G-LIDE, GL-100, with a low-temperature resistance that made it perfect for those early morning waves while the rest of the world missed out in their beds.

Since the end of the millennium, G-SHOCK has gone back to the line to add more features over and over again. That included solar power, sunset and sunrise times, and a tough square case perfect for standing up to the wipeouts. But, what made the G-LIDE perfect for surfers was the addition of the moon phase data and the tide data. All of this was packed into a slimmer package that appeared in the newest model last year in the GLX-S5600. But now, G-SHOCK is adding to the line again with two new women's versions.

Read more
These are the Japanese watch brands you should know
Should you add a timepiece from one of these Japanese watch brands to your collection?
Citizen watch in ground beans

The watch industry is an international business that brings some of the best pieces from all around the world. While some of the most prolific brands, like Swatch and Rolex, come from countries like Switzerland, there are a few brands that you may or may not be aware of that come from the Asian continent. Some of the best-known watch brands in the world, and some stellar statement understated pieces, come from Japan and truly set the mark for timepieces. 

While some brands might not get as much attention as others, these Japanese watch brands are known for style, quality, and longevity. With Japanese ingenuity behind each of their creations, there’s no doubt why these brands have the amount of praise around them and why some have lasted as long as they have. With the latest watch tech and statement designs, these Japanese brands are worth their price and have earned a spot in your timepiece collection. 
Citizen

Read more
The colorful Swatch watches you should get before the Paris Olympics 2024
Swatch debuts 4 new watches for the 2024 Paris Olympics
Swatch Blue Heelflip

Swatch, our beloved budget-friendly watchmaker who is somewhat like a rambunctious younger brother that you keep around for his funny antics, has just debuted four new timepieces. In the run-up to the Paris Summer Olympics, every brand has been coming up with its own products to sell, and Swatch may have come up with the best one. Three of the new watches take inspiration from a specific sport while the fourth is part of the Flik Flak range that is made for children.
Swatch Green Backside Wave

Inspired by the Olympic sport of surfing, the Swatch Green Backside Wave will have you saying "cowabunga dude!" This model has a 41mm case with a thickness of 9.85mm, meaning it can easily fit under your shirt sleeves and won't cause a nuisance on your wrist. Keeping it environmentally friendly, Swatch has constructed the case from dark green bio-sourced resin with a domed crystal made of bio-sourced plastic. Additionally, it has 30 meters of water resistance so you can still sport it in the rain, and is powered by an ETA quartz movement. As for surf aesthetics, this Swatch has a silicone strap with a green gradient design with pink underneath and features a surfboard printed on the loop.
Swatch Blue Heelflip

Read more