It goes without saying that one of the great things about the micro-brand watch space is the originality that’s frequently on display. While it’s true that there has been a glut of vintage inspired divers and the like, sometimes looking remarkably similar, there are still brands that really seek to do things differently. We saw an example of that earlier in the week with the Vero Workhorse chronograph, a truly odd and out of left field design not only for Vero, but for the sports watch genre in general. Here we have another example of something that could only exist in the micro-brand space, the William Wood Triumph Bronze Jubilee.
If you’re familiar with William Wood, it’s worth taking a minute to get some background on the brand itself before diving into the watch, because they inhabit a niche that I would imagine most collectors might even realize is a niche. William Wood is a London based brand whose theme and mission could be described as paying tribute to firefighters (the brand’s name is taken from the founders’ grandfather, a 25 year veteran of the British Fire Service who passed away in 2009). There are tributes to firefighters throughout a William Wood watch, including the fire helmet logo, casebacks featuring brass melted down from vintage helmets, and, most notably, their unique rubber straps, which are upcycled from used fire hose material. According to William Wood, all of the straps are made from fire hoses with at least 10 years of service in actual fire fighting situations.
This new Triumph Bronze Jubilee has been released to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and features a purple color palette that is associated with the occasion of a royal jubilee year. The deep purple of the dial, bezel, and strap combined with the bronze case make this an appropriately festive watch. It’s a chronograph, with pushers set into the right flank of the case, and a traditional 3:00/9:00 subdial layout with a date placed at the 6:00 position, and flipping it over reveals a sapphire caseback with another William Wood hallmark: text reading “IN CASE OF FIRE BREAK GLASS.” The case measures 41mm in diameter and is 15.5mm thick, making for a watch that’s certainly on the chunky side, but that’s just the nature of the beast with chronographs powered by off the shelf movements (this one runs on a Sellita SW 510). A purple watch with a bronze case and a strap made from a fire hose is never going to be a discrete choice, even in a sub 40mm size, so I think we can forgive William Wood for going big here.
The real highlight of this watch, and what makes it special in the larger William Wood collection, is that purple fire hose strap. According to the brand, it took a total of 5 years to source the rare purple fire hose. While William Wood offers this watch on straps made from blue, yellow, red, and green fire hose material, it’s hard to imagine going with anything other than purple here considering its rarity and the tone of the dial.
Obviously, a watch like this isn’t going to be for everybody, but it’s also possible that it’s for a person or two that never even knew they wanted a firefighter themed watch on a fire hose strap until they realized that was a possibility. It’s that ability to discover new and interesting things that make this hobby endlessly exciting and interesting. A watch like this exists happily as the very opposite of a mass market product – you get the sense that fans of William Wood are deeply enthusiastic about their watches, even if they are (relatively) small in number.
The Triumph Bronze Jubilee is available for pre-order now at a price just over $3,500. William Wood