Review: Praesidus A-11 Watch

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Specifications

  • Case – Stainless steel
  • Diameter without the crown – 38 mm
  • Lug to lug – 45 mm
  • Thickness – 13.3 mm with the crystal
  • Weight – 50 grams without the strap
  • Movement – Seiko NH35 Automatic
  • Lume – light brown/aged lume (green glow) on the dial and hands
  • Crystal – Domed sapphire crystal
  • Water-resistance – 50 meter/5 ATM
  • Lug width – 20mm
  • Price – $295 in their own webshop.

What are A-11 watches?

At the beginning of WWII, it was decided that wristwatches had to be issued to the allied forces that could withstand the harsh conditions of the battlefield.

These new wristwatches had to meet several requirements:

  • A hand-wound movement
  • A minimum of 15 jewels
  • A hacking movement
  • Central seconds (instead of sub-seconds)
  • A highly legible dial with numeral hour markers
  • A highly legible hour and minute hand
  • A minute track with increments of ten minutes

Case

The Praesidus A-11 has a beautiful stainless steel case. The majority of the case is matte/sandblasted, except for the tops of the lugs and the crown.

Praesidus A-11 Case

Since A-11 watches were 32 mm in size at the time, these homages are larger than their original size. Nowadays, a 32 mm watch would be considered very small.

The lugs are drilled so you can swap out straps easily, just like the originals.

Case back

It has a coin edge style case back which says: Praesidus Type A-11. Assembled in the USA with imported parts. Automatic movement.

A part of the case back has been intentionally left blank. As part of the order process, you can choose to include an inscription, which will be engraved in the blank section of the case back.

Praesidus A-11 Case Back

Movement

It has the Seiko NH35 automatic movement.

It meets two of the original requirements since it has a hacking feature and 24 jewels. However, it’s an automatic movement and the original A-11 watches were required to use hand-wound movements.

I’m a big fan of the NH35 movement. I’ve never had any problems with it, and it’s very reliable. I’ve owned several watches with this movement, including the Dan Henry 1970 and the Nezumi Baleine.

Dial

It has a matte black/charcoal dial with white arabic hour markers, a white minute track, and luminous light brown hour marker dots.

It’s very legible, and it also has a neat trick up its sleeve. The dial appears blue under certain lighting conditions. Whether this is due to the lacquer on the dial or a reflection caused by the double-domed crystal is a mystery.

Praesidus A-11 Dial

Lume

Lume isn’t one of the requirements that the original A-11 watches had to meet, but of course, it does help with the legibility. Some of them did have lume and some didn’t.

The Praesidus A-11 does have lume and it’s outstanding. The hour hand, the minute hand, the white Arabic hour markers, and the light brown dots all emit a bright green glow.

Praesidus A-11 Lume
As you can see, the lume is excellent.

The only thing that doesn’t have any lume is the second hand. So, this watch can’t be used for night missions since synchronizing watches in the dark would be impossible.

Crystal

As mentioned, it has a double-domed crystal which creates a vintage vibe. During the ordering process, I decided to order the watch with a sapphire crystal. This upgrade cost $50 extra, but I believe that it was well worth it. However, looking at the website, it seems that this option is no longer available.

Currently, Praesidus only offers a K1 crystal for the watches available in their webshop. A K1 crystal is a mineral crystal that has been treated, making it extra durable. It’s a little like Hardlex, for example.

Strap

The included strap is thick and sturdy. You’ll definitely need to break it in.

It’s also quite long. Without the buckle, the short part measures 80 mm and the longer part measures 143 mm.

Praesidus A-11 Canvas Strap
The A-11 re-edition comes with a good-quality canvas strap with quick-release spring bars.

The strap feels like it’s very high quality and it has quick-release spring bars so that you can easily change straps. If however your wrists are smaller or you’d prefer a softer band, you may want to change it.

Packaging

The watch comes packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with minimal branding. Simple, but efficient.

Normally, a watch comes with a warranty but Praesidus does something special. The A-11 comes with a warranty dog tag with a QR code, which is a wonderful extra touch with a military-inspired watch.

Praesidus A-11 Warranty Dog Tag
This unique warranty dog tag is a nice touch.

By scanning the QR code, you’ll land on the Praesidus website.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely. The Praesidus A-11 has surprised me in a very positive way.

If I’m being honest, I expected a lot more marketing and a lot less watch. However, it has a very solid stainless steel case with a sapphire (or K1) crystal and a reliable automatic movement. On top of that, the dial is extremely legible and the lume is excellent.

I can only come up with two minor negative points:

  • The second hand doesn’t have any lume.
  • It has an automatic movement, so it doesn’t meet the original requirements for A-11 watches.

So, you can’t keep track of the seconds if it’s dark. On top of that, the automatic movement might turn you off if you wanted a 100% correct reissue.

However, the idea was to create tributes to the legendary A-11 watches rather than replicas that are identical to the originals.

The Praesidus A-11 re-edition is excellent for anyone seeking a military type watch that offers ruggedness, legibility, and a traditional design with a modern look.

Where to buy it?

You can buy it directly from their own website.

During checkout, please use the code THANKYOU10 to receive a 10% discount.


What do you think of the Praesidus A-11 watch? Let me know in the comments below.

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Comments
  • Martin Lee
    Reply

    Not a bad job on a `40s hommage.
    The 38mm is a decent case size too..like one of the options on the Hamilton Khaki Field range.
    I`m not so keen on the hands choice though – the cathedraal style hour hand is too early a style for the watch I think.
    I don`t have the cash to buy one though..my Hamilton Khaki is in for a service and new mainspring !

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