Introducing the OW Watch (Ollech & Wajs) P-101 and P-104

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In one of the more unlikely and pleasantly surprising watch industry resurrections to come along in recent memory, mainstay Swiss brand Ollech & Wajs, known for producing military watches of all kinds for much of the second half of the 20th century, has been retooled and reformed, and is back with two new designs that call to mind the brand’s own long history. Let’s take a closer look at the watches and what, exactly, has been going on with Ollech & Wajs.


OW Watch P-101 and P-104

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black
  • Dimensions: 39.5mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters
  • Crown: Screw down
  • Movement: ETA 2824-2 with custom rotor and adjusted in-house
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather or nylon
  • Price: CHF 956-1056
  • Expected Release: Now available to order

Ollech & Wajs was a key supplier of watches to the US military through the Vietnam years, famously striking a deal with Breitling to use Navitimer stock to craft their own pieces for sale at US military bases around the globe. While the company never officially stopped operating, the quartz years were rough, and OW went through both major production changes (at one point ending the manufacture of everything but their Aviation line) and some corporate restructuring (they operated as A.I. Wajs in the ’90s). In 2017, the brand was entrusted to its longtime French distributor when brand founder Albert J. Wajs ceded control of the company to him. This is the modern OW Watch functioning today.

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The P-101 and P-104 are both heavily aviation inspired. The P-101 is an homage to the F-101 fighter jet, the first service aircraft to break the 1,000-miles-per-hour mark. The watch has a simple, legible layout, with a date at 6:00 and a twelve-hour bezel that will be useful for tracking a second time zone. The stainless steel case is brushed all around, the right choice for a tool watch like this. Another detail that shouldn’t go unnoticed is the oversized crown and lack of crown guards, design elements that would have been important for the pilots who would have needed to operate a watch like this on a regular basis.

The physical characteristics of the P-104 are exactly the same as the P-101, but the design details have been drawn from the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. Here, the twelve-hour bezel is replaced with a slide rule that can calculate differential speed, distance, and range, among other things. The dial has a little bit more of a ’70s vibe, with orange hour markers at 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00, and an unusual checkered minute hand decoration.

Both watches use an ETA 2824-2 movement fitted with a custom rotor and adjusted in-house, a reliable and accurate choice. Refreshingly, OW is unusually transparent about where manufacturing originates for each component. They proudly announce the watches as “Swiss made,” and indeed claim 90% or more of Swiss origin, with design, assembly, testing, and packaging taking place in Switzerland, but freely admit that straps and packaging originate in the UK and that the dials and hands originate elsewhere in the world. The case is stamped, machined, and brushed in Délémont and Haute Sorne in the Swiss Jura. In reality, what OW is doing is probably not too far out of step with what many brands of its size are doing in terms of manufacturing, but making it plain for all to see is less common, and I think they deserve credit for laying it all out for their customers. It reflects a certain pride in their own process.

The P-101 and P-104 are both available to order on the OW website right now, with delivery set to begin this summer. OW Watch

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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