WT Author is one of those brands that I’ve been pleasantly surprised to run across. They have been creating watches unlike what we had seen prior (at least in the modern era of watches), and they have an overarching plan (and timeline) for how their total collection will play out. We saw it start off with the WT Author 1905, then move on to the 1914, and most recently, the 1929. While we had been able to provide hands-on impressions of the latter two models, that first had been limited to just the pictures we had seen, and viewing it through the lens of the design cues that carried forward onto the subsequent models. As fortune would have it, we were able to work with WT Author to have a WT Author 1905 sent over, so let’s travel back in time and have a look at what it offers.
The WT Author 1905 is the watch that started it all for the brand. As we noted in our original writeup over two years ago, this almost was a watch that did not make it. Their initial crowd-funding effort did not pan out (only about 2/3rds funded), but they decided to solider on, and bring their trench watch-inspired watch to fruition. In hindsight, that was a good move, as they have continued on to create additional models, evolving the product line across eras of time as the protagonist in their story (which shows up in the packaging materials) travels through time as well.
The first thing I checked out on the WT Author 1905 when I opened the packaging were the sides of the 46mm steel case. Why is that? Well, as I noted in my original writeup, it reminded me of an Art Deco take on a motorcycle engine cylinder, at least in the photos. I still have that association now, but will admit that in person, it is a bit harder to come by. Make no mistake – I do still rather like the grooves and ridges on the side. Its just much easier to see that engine cylinder in the macro photos than when you have the watch on the wrist (though they are much more pronounced than on the subsequent models).
Speaking of on the wrist, the WT Author 1905 has what I consider to be their signature style of strap, an over long two piece riveted directly onto the wire lugs of the case. In this case, it’s made from buffalo hide (guessing not many of you have that as a strap material in your collection), and the one we were sent has a wonderful, glossy and crackly finish to it. Very much the look and feel of a well-broken in pair of gloves, and the scent of this strap is good stuff, Maynard. The one thing I am not as much a fan of, as with the other ones I’ve seen from the brand, is the length. It simply feels too big. Now, I realize that in the era of true trench watches, they were getting strapped on over the top of coats and the like, but we’re not doing that today. Ultimately, I think shortening up the buckle side a tad would help out immensely. Or, as these straps are handmade, perhaps offer some customization to the customer’s wrist (for a small upcharge, given that you cannot build inventory this way) to get a better fit. I found the WT Author 1905 did fit my wrist just fine – I just had a bit more strap wrapping around and taking up wrist bulk than I might otherwise prefer.
We’ve covered the case sides and the strap, so let’s jump on to the dial of the WT Author 1905. While there are four variations available, we requested the blue dial be sent over, as we had not yet seen the color from the brand. For my own personal tastes, this was a perfect fit to the watch. It’s a muted navy, which works well with the steel and buffalo leather tones, and sets up the crisp white indices quite nicely. With those indices, we have seen those “u” shaped ones before, but I finally noticed something this time around. When the hour hand is exactly on the hour, it fits that indice perfectly, almost like a car pulling into a stall. It’s a nice touch, and makes one almost wish for a jump-hour complication so it could stay in place the full hour. Regardless, it is those little design decisions that speak to a focus on the details, and are a welcome gift to the owner of the WT Author 1905. Just a shame that there’s no lume on those indices, but that is due to the era it’s mimicking.
On the topic of details, let’s talk finishes, because those play into the details as well. As there is no lume on the dial, we can get away with things like the polished handset on the WT Author 1905. This of course matches the finish of the case itself. Also polished, but finished in a reddish tone, you have the seconds hand, which is then picked up by the WT Author logo at the 12 o’clock position. Finally, that same reddish hue appears on the crown on of the WT Author 1905. In short, it all works together. Some may not care for the red crown, given it’s size (and the size makes sense for the era and duty this design mimics), but I like it, as it stands out.
The red also carries over to the caseback, where it makes an appearance in the form of enamel inlays on the caseback of the WT Author 1905. According to the brand, this is really mimicking the look of a poker chip, and has become another signature of the brand on subsequent models. That caseback is protecting a Ronda 513S Swiss Quartz movement, which is not period-correct, of course, but certainly gets the job done. All in all, I am glad that I finally got to spend time with the approximately $500 WT Author 1905 (depending on the conversion rates from £350). Though it’s the oldest of the lineup from WT Author, I think it is by far my favorite of the three models. They have done some rather interesting things, and I cannot wait to see what the next model holds in store for us (hopefully some lume, and maybe a mechanical movement of some sort). Let us know in the comments what you think of their lineup so far. wtauthor.com
- Brand & Model: WT Author 1905
- Price: $500
- Who we think it might be for: If you like what the brand has been producing, might get back to the roots of the brand
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yeah, this is a fun change of pace
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Aside from lume, some customization of the strap would be appreciated, especially since it cannot be easily changed out
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The attention to design details
Tech Specs from WT Author
- First edition ‘No. 1905’
- Built in Britain
- Limited to only 125 bespoke 46mm stainless steel pieces (600 total, 4 colors)
- Swiss Made Ronda 513S Quartz Movement
- Signature red crown with embossed W. T. Author trademark
- Custom “casino-chip” numbered enamel screw down caseback
- Handmade brown raw leather strap fitted with a stainless steel roller buckle
- Sapphire coated mineral lens with a 2-year limited product warranty
- Limited edition signed A5 cyan screen print and Chapter 1 of 13 photography book
- Free worldwide shipping