A lot of watchmaking is aspirational. Since the 1700s, watchmakers have wanted to create simulacrum of the items that explorers, engineers, and soldiers carried into their daily scrum for dandies on the boulevard who ascribed a sense of romance – correctly or not – to their professions. That’s why watch collectors love war watches. They basically allow folks who may have never been to war to feel like they own something that could exist in the thick of things or, more valuable still, items that actually saw fighting.
So when Butch went back to get his father’s war watch, it was because that cold hunk of metal meant something to him. It meant his father had fought for his freedom and then Christopher Walken did that thing that he did with the watch and then gave Butch his birthright, it was the passing of a physical object that signified something far more valuable than a case and some gears. It’s the way things have been for centuries.
That’s why the Desert Wolf by Blancier is pretty cool. It’s a war watch designed for “desert environments” that honors our fighting men and women in the Middle East. The dial shows a map of the world and “of course” an American flag along with the Afghanistan’s coordinates. It has a double-sided non-reflecting sapphire crystal and has a bead plasted PVD coated steel case. As an added bonus they are donating $10 to the Fisher Houe, a charity for soldiers.
Is the dial a bit jingoistic? Yes. Is the watch generally cool? Absolutely. Is it worth $395? Sure.
It contains a Miyota movement with date and 12 hour chronograph and it has a signed back and buckle. The buttons are at the top of the watch, in what is called a “bullhead” configuration, and it has a 45mm water resistant to 100 meters.
To be clear, the Blancier Desert Wolf is not a unique watch to Blancier. It is built around standard case that has been used in the past by “>Lum-Tec and, I suspect, other manufacturers. However, the folks at Blancier customized the dial and caseback and make a mean bespoke watch if this isn’t your style.
The Blancier Desert Wolf is a bullhead chrono that, in the end, has a great provenance, is made by a great small manufacturer in Germany, and is cheap enough to warrant a second look. Is it perfect? No, some might find it goofy or garish but my wife, who likes big watches, along everyone who has seen it on her wrist think it’s quite cool and quite rugged. It’s a great beater watch and pays homage to soldiers. Who could hate that?
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