Monochrome Watches
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The MICROMILSPEC x TMBN Telemark Bataljon Is Proper “Mil-Spec” Watchmaking

An inside look at a real military-issued watch created for the Norwegian Elite Forces.

| By Robin Nooy | 8 min read |

Not too long ago we featured a Norwegian brand called MICROMILSPEC for the very first time. It was the first encounter with a company that before then used to fly under the radar, literally, as its watches have never been commercially available so far. Instead, MICROMILSPEC produces commissioned pieces only, in strong collaboration with military outfits and first responders from all corners of the world. Not to be used in battle or service, but worn as a symbol of pride, honour and brotherhood. Continuing on our initial story, we have now been granted an inside look at the piece created for the Telemark Bataljon, an elite team of the Norwegian armed forces.

To get one thing out of the way first, as some of you have rightfully pointed out to us, the watches created by MICROMILSPEC are not truly battle-ready military-issued watches. Instead, they are commissioned by the people of battalions, brigades, and platoons from around the globe. People that are in active combat, or perhaps formerly have been, and that want a watch to commemorate their time serving to protect others, the brotherhood amongst their fellow service men and -women. MICROMILSPEC fully acknowledges the fact military personal will likely wear something entirely different in combat, most likely something quartz-powered and with a boatload of additional functions included (think Suunto Core, G-Shock, etc.). But as we learn in a later stage, some of the watches created by MICROMILSPEC are unexpectedly used in training and combat situations abroad nonetheless!

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Now that’s been said, let’s dive a little deeper into the world of MICROMILSPEC and one project in particular. Every project by MICROMILSPEC starts with an outline from the commissioning unit and roughly goes through the same steps. It’s much more than just stamping a logo on a dial, or adjusting a colour to a unit’s uniform for instance. MICROMILSPEC offers a full-service design to create a watch from scratch. Everything from materials, colours, dial design, textures, details, handset, indications, bracelet types, and more can be customized. MICROMILSPEC does all the design work in its own 3D design studio and follows with producing a watch using specific suppliers and partners down to the exact specifications as stipulated by the commissioning unit. Want it coated in black PVD? No problem! Want your unit’s logo applied to the dial in a specific material? No problem! Want a carbon fibre case? No problem!

Talking to MICROMILSPEC early on led us to ask if it was at all possible to go in-depth on one of the watches just to learn more and get a sense of things. And even though a MICROMILSPEC watch is not commercially available, and sending a watch halfway around the world can be troublesome at times, we found an even better way to uncover more about the entire process. And that’s by meeting one of the MICROMILSPEC men in Switzerland, followed by a conversation with the initiator of the Telemark Bataljon watch, Mr Ole Christian Emaus.

Mr Ole Christian Emaus, could you explain to us what lead to commissioning a watch and why you turned to MICROMILSPEC?

It helps to first explain the Telemark Bataljon is a very proud military unit. It is the unit almost all ambitious young men and women who join the Norwegian army hope to one day be able to work in. Joining the Telemark Bataljon is a real dream for most. We are a mechanized infantry battalion with several sub-units of about 500 men and women, all very proud to do what we are doing.

When I joined as a commanding officer I wanted to create something that could signify that feeling of pride in something to be used both in training, combat or civilian life. The idea was to search for something that really fits with our battalion, our beliefs, and what we do in protecting our country and allies. We considered several things, before learning of MICROMILSPEC and inviting them over to talk about doing a project together.

What was important to you, and your colleagues at the Telemark Bataljon?

First off, it was important to us that whoever we ended up working with knew exactly who we are, what we do and what we were looking for. We needed to have complete trust in such a partner and vice versa. Our work is very important to us, and we have a very strong sense of brotherhood amongst the serving men and women, as well as our veterans. And in the end, MICROMILSPEC was the obvious choice.

Once that was out of the way, we really wanted to create a product, a watch in this case, that captured the very essence of the Telemark Bataljon. It needed to be something that each and every one of us could identify and connect with. This is something the MICROMILSPEC people understood very clearly and have executed perfectly for us! It really is a homage to our unit, our work and what we stand for.

Can you talk us through your side of the design process? How did you experience it?

It started with having a full day of discussions on sight. Our base has a main hall where you can see what we represent, with our history on display and the work we do. We deliberately took the time to show MICROMILSPEC everything and explain everything before moving to the design of the watch itself.

What followed was an intensive back and forth between the designers and a selected group of our unit to finalize the design. We did not want to use an existing design and just have it stamped with our TMBN signature logo, but it needed to be a full experience, a design from the ground up within what MICROMILSPEC can do.

In the end, we are extremely happy with what has been achieved. The watch really represents our values and ties in elements from our whole battalion but also sub-units. The treads of our tanks are represented in the bracelet, our Viking ship Logo is visible on the dial, our motto on the inner flange, the imprint of the dial is inspired by our military boots, and so on.

How important is this watch to you and the members and veterans of the Telemark Bataljon?

It is extremely important to me, and all the others. People wear it 24/7, in their personal lives, in training, and a lot of them even take it with them on training and combat mission. So despite the fact that some people might say this is not a real military-issued watch, which is true in the end, they do see a lot of active field use. And they hold up really well I should add!

What’s the reaction to the design of the watch, and the final product itself?

It should come as no surprise people really love it. We signed off on the design MICROMILSPEC created and from there it has been absolutely great. People really identify themselves with the watch as they see elements of what they do, who they are and what the TMBN family represents. It is a true symbol for us, just as any of our emblems and insignia.


So what is the end result of all of this work? Simple; the MICROMILSPEC TMBN watch! And what that is, is a watch fully catered to the wishes and demands of the people of the Telemark Bataljon. A watch that fully captures the spirit of the people of the Telemark Bataljon are, and which represents the unit’s values and mantra (literally).

It starts with the hexagonal stainless steel case which measures 42mm in width and 44.5mm in length, including the angled lug section. The height is quite reasonable at 11.3mm and on the wrist, it looks and feels slimmer thanks to the construction. The case is topped with a bidirectional rotating Zulu-time bezel so you can keep track of a second-time zone. The screw-down crown is neatly nestled into a pair of guards. The solid caseback is decorated with the emblem of the Telemark Bataljon.

The dial has been created with great care and designed with elements important to the men and women of the Telemark Bataljon. It starts with a decorated matte black dial, that has a texture referring to overlapping shields used as a battle formation by Vikings. An emerald green brass ring carries the hour and minute indices to give more depth to the dial. The applied numerals at 3/6/9/12 o’clock are luminous, just as the hour indices and the central hour, minute and seconds hands.

Inside the case of the MICROMILSPEC TMBN watch, we find the automatic ETA 2824-2. This workhorse movement runs at a rate of 28,800vph and uses 25 jewels. The power reserve is 42 hours when fully wound. The movement is hidden from view by the solid caseback as said and protected from water to a depth of 100 meters.

The MICROMILSPEC TMBN Watch is worn on an integrated stainless steel bracelet with H-shaped links and a brushed and polished finish and secured to the wrist with a folding clasp. MICROMILSPEC supplies additional leather, rubber and NATO-style straps with the watch. Even though the watch is priced at 8,900 Norwegian Krone, which equates to about EUR 850, this is basically irrelevant as it is not commercially available.

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