The Dirty Dozen. During the 40s, towards the tail-end of World War II, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) made custom orders from 12 manufacturers in Switzerland for military spec watches to equip its soldiers.
The watches needed to have a black dial with Arabic numerals, to be waterproof and luminous, regulated to a chronometer level and composed of a rugged stainless steel case. Furthermore, they had to have fixed bars, have a broad arrow on the dial, signifying that it was the property of the government and also on the caseback which included other government serial numbers. Nicknamed the ‘Dirty Dozen’ by collectors, they were officially set out by the MoD as W.W.Ws, standing for ‘Watch, Wristlet, Waterproof’. The result was a group of 12 watches, that embodied the very idea of ‘purpose-built’, and it doesn’t get any more utilitarian than this.
Amongst the brands that produced for the MoD was Omega. With production estimated at around 25,000 pieces, it is by no means one of the rarer Dirty Dozen pieces. That being said, the Omega brand name is strong and collectable and this W.W.W. is a high-quality watch. As a result, the Omegas have tended to be much more desirable than some of the other brands and its not hard to see why.