Review: Praesidus A-11 Spec 2.0 Ameriquartz

There’s something undeniably cool about field, pilot, and military watches. Whether it’s a classic original, a faithful reissue, or a modern reinterpretation, I’m drawn to these timepieces. They captivate me with their clear, functional dials, robust construction, and rich history (or clever design nods to that history).

In this review, we’re setting our sights on the Praesidus Spec 2.0 Ameriquartz, a modern reinterpretation of one of the most important watches of this type – the A-11.

Let’s cue “Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer” by the Song Spinners, and dive into it, shall we?

„…we’re on a mighty mission”: some background

The A-11 was introduced in 1943 as a navigation watch for the US Army Air Force (USAAF).

Designed to meet the needs of the Weems system of navigation, it featured a sweep second movement with a hacking function and a dial with clear Arabic numerals and markers for 10-minute intervals.

The A-11 didn’t remain a USAAF-only watch for long – other branches of the US military quickly adopted it in addition to those they already used. And so, the A-11 made its way to the US Army ground forces, the Navy and the US Marine Corps.

After all, which branch of the military wouldn’t benefit from a watch that allows superior, to-the-second coordination of operations?

As part of the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, the USA also supplied Britain and the USSR with everything needed for the war effort, including watches.

Therefore, the A-11 has seen service in the RAF as the 6B/234 (some watches were made with dials and handsets that resembled the standard RAF/Fleet Air Arm 6B/159 and HS8-spec watches), as well as in the Soviet air force.

From the air to the ground and sea, the A-11 served on just about every World War II front. It’s no wonder why it’s called the watch that won World War II.


Praesidus, a US-based brand, started their rise to fame with recreating the A-11 watch for Tom Rice, a WW2 veteran of the 101st Airborne, who wore his A-11 during the D-Day landings and the infamous Operation Market Garden.

While initially focused on various reinterpretations of the A-11 design, Praesidus has since expanded into recreating iconic American and British military watches from WW2 and the Cold War era – the MacV-SOG Seiko 5, the RAF chronograph, and now the legendary W.W.W. British service watch.

For what it’s worth, there’s also a good cause behind their watches – 5% of the sale of each watch goes to charities supporting veterans of the US armed forces.

The final assembly takes place at their facility in Pennsylvania.

The A-11 Spec 2 – first impressions

This particular A-11 model from Praesidus reinterprets the style found mostly in Bulova-made A-11s – a bowl-like case with a smooth bezel, 10-minute markers extended to between the digits, sword hands, and a seconds hand with an elongated counterweight.

It’s a clean, practical and even somewhat elegant milwatch aesthetic. A bit Spartan in appearance, sure, but then again, that’s what the A-11 was all about.

In the beginning, I initially thought it resembled an A-type German B-Watch, mostly due to the matte sandblasted case and the shape of the hands.

Many A-11s were chrome-plated, but not all – some were even made in silver. They often had a matte finish, but – yeah, you guessed it – not all of them.

The dial and hands

The Praesidus Spec 2 clearly takes inspiration from the Bulova A-11, particularly with its distinctive ‘railroad’ minute track. This is my favorite detail among all the A-11 dial styles.

The railroad minute track allows for some contrasting finishing that might not be visible at first glance – as opposed to the fine-grain black matte part, the area outside the track is done in a more coarse finish.

That simple trick makes the 10-minute numerals pop, even despite the distortion created by the high-dome crystal. It’s both a clever and aesthetically pleasing feature.

The Arabic numerals also match the Bulova version quite well in terms of style. Tall and legible, but not too thick.

Bulova made a few models as tributes to the A-11 – but the dial of the Praesidus Spec 2 captures the essence of the A-11 more than all of Bulova’s reinterpretations combined. Good job!

The sandblasted hands are highly legible. The finishing reminds me of what Longines did in the Spirit – and while of course Longines’ take is a few tiers above in execution, the sandblasted hands of the Praesidus do their job all the same.

The hour numerals and the hands are coated with green-glowing Super-LumiNova. This watch could be improved by adding more lume to the hands – the dial has about the right amount.

The lume here doesn’t have a particularly strong or long-lasting glow, but with relatively thin hands and font of the numerals, that’s to be expected.

Let me put it this way: on a night drive, the A-11 Spec 2 does what it should – tells the time at a quick glance.

The movement

Powering the A-11 Spec 2 is the Ameriquartz cal. 6130, a quartz movement designed and assembled in the USA by Fine Timepiece Solutions (FTS) in Fountain Hills, Arizona. This is a fantastic choice for several reasons.

Unlike many disposable quartz movements, FTS designed the Ameriquartz line to be serviceable. This is a significant advantage compared to some offerings from Seiko, Miyota, or even ETA.

What I also love is that FTS put some stellar work into the stepper motor. When I worked in watch retail, I noticed plenty of Ronda and ETA quartz movements plagued by exactly the same thing that Timex is known for – the seconds hand just won’t hit the markers precisely.

I’m happy to say that FTS did it better, and the 6130 hits every marker dead-on. A big shout-out to FTS for achieving this level of precision – hopefully, other manufacturers will follow suit! ETA, I’m looking at you.

The A-11 Spec 2 boasts a remarkable battery life of 40 months (3 years and 4 months) according to the manual.

The original A-11 featured American-made movements from Bulova, Elgin, and Waltham. Praesidus brings this tradition back with the Spec 2 by housing an American-made Ameriquartz movement.

This commitment to heritage, combined with the excellent performance of the 6130, deserves a round of applause (and perhaps a toast with some good ol’ Kentucky bourbon).

The case and crystal

The Praesidus Spec 2 offers two case sizes: a historically accurate 32mm and a more modern 40mm. While the quartz movement might seem suited to the larger size (like the reviewed model), the choice ultimately depends on your preference.

The case back features both styles of opening notches found on original A-11s – Oyster-style reeding and a Taubert/Spillman-type polygonal. As far as I know, it was either one or the other in the original A-11, but I appreciate the Oyster-style reeding as an additional decoration.

What’s worth noting is that the specimen reviewed is from an earlier production run of the Spec 2, which features an all-sandblasted main bloc and lugs. The finishing has been updated on newer specimens to feature polished lug tops, just like the automatic version, the A-11 Service Watch.

To be honest, whichever version you receive, you can’t go wrong with either.

The all-sandblasted case is a great match for the matte hands, and just oozes practicality. The newer version with polished lugs will make the watch a bit more fitting for smart casual attires, while not really detracting from the A-11’s character.

The A-11 Spec 2 comes with a high-dome K1 mineral crystal with sapphire coating and ARC on the underside. This coating provides significantly better scratch resistance than standard mineral crystal or Seiko Hardlex but doesn’t quite match the toughness of solid sapphire.

While strong impacts might leave light scratches due to the bonding between the K1 base and the coating, the K1 does offer slightly better shatter resistance compared to sapphire.

My favorite thing about this crystal is the exceptional ARC. Seriously. Compared to all of my watches with a black dial, this one has – hands down – the best ARC.

No matter if you’re a watch photography enthusiast or you just appreciate having great legibility from most angles, this one will definitely meet your needs.

The strap

The Original Canvas strap is a perfect complement to the A-11’s heritage. It features a handsome drab olive canvas top and a comfortable green leather lining, finished with a polished pin buckle reminiscent of a WW2-era design, but it has an ordinary spring bar in it.

It takes a while to break in the strap, but once it does, it becomes very comfortable.

However, what you should definitely know is that it’s very, very long. Definitely too long on my wrist. If you have a “bear paw” with a circumference over 8 inches, you should probably opt for this strap version.

Due to the widely spaced stitching-reinforced adjustment holes, if you have a smaller wrist like I do (just below 7 inches), you’re probably better off going for the leather strap version.

Anyhow, if you don’t like the stock strap, whether aesthetically or in terms of comfort, the A-11 Spec 2 has drilled lugs, which makes changing the strap a breeze. In addition, Praesidus’ straps all have quick release systems, making the A-11 Spec 2 a strap monster.

Due to the bowl-like shape of the case, the A-11 Spec 2 has a compact lug-to-lug measurement of 47mm, while still providing plenty of strap space.

I paired the watch with two leather straps from Finwatchstraps, which are very thick at the lug end, making them best suited to watches with really long lugs. In spite of its seemingly compact lugs, this Praesidus can handle them with ease.

If you needed any further proof that the A-11 Spec 2 is a strap monster, you just got it.

Wearing experiences

Since the case is bowl-shaped and the lugs have a down-sweeping appearance, it feels smaller on the wrist than the 40mm diameter and 47mm lug-to-lug would suggest, while still looking its size. And because it’s quartz, it’s a light watch.

Even on larger wrists, the curve of the lugs will still stay in line with the strap, so the bear-pawed WIS out there need not worry it’ll look out of place. And for the average-wristed folks like me, it definitely won’t look too large. It’s light, well-proportioned and comfortable, as it should be.


The A-11 Spec 2 comes – as all Praesidus watches do – in a cardboard box inspired by boxes found in field ration kits. This no-frills packaging perfectly complements the watch’s utilitarian nature.

Inside, apart from the watch, you’ll find a very brief and clear instructions manual, and just about the most interesting warranty card out there – a steel dog-tag engraved with a QR code.

So, what’s the verdict?

I think the Praesidus A-11 Spec 2 Ameriquartz makes a great daily beater – a sturdy, versatile tool watch built to conquer everyday adventures.

From rugged ripstop jackets to classic leather, it seamlessly complements a wide range of styles. Honestly, I wouldn’t wear it with a dressy blazer, but it wasn’t designed to go with one.

Technically, the A-11 Spec 2 delivers everything a daily beater pilot/field watch should. Considering the FTS Ameriquartz movement inside, it offers great value at 215 USD.

In my opinion, the most direct competition would be quartz pilot watches from Zeppelin or Junkers/Iron Annie (PointTec brands), but I’d choose the Praesidus over any of those in a heartbeat.

Technical specifications

  • Model: A-11 Spec 2.0 Ameriquartz
  • Case material: 316L stainless steel, sandblasted
  • Case diameter: 40mm
  • Lug to lug: 47mm
  • Lug width: 20 mm
  • Thickness: 12.7 mm
  • Water resistance: 5 ATM/50m
  • Crystal: high-dome K1 mineral with sapphire coating, ARC on the underside
  • Movement: quartz FTS Ameriquartz cal.6130, 40 months battery life
  • Lume: Super-LumiNova

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