William Wood Watches is a relative newcomer, founded in 2016 by the grandson of William Wood, a firefighter of over 25 years with the British Fire Service. It’s one thing to have a themed collection, but something else to devote an entire portfolio to a particular subject. Firefighting is not only a visible theme in every William Wood watch, upcycled firefighting materials are used in their creation like repurposed hoses and melted antique brass helmets. The brand has previously focused on more complex collections like sporty chronographs and collaborations with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), but now we have a trio of smaller field watches, which is a new direction.
Until now William Wood watches have been contemporary in size with 41mm in diameter, but the new Fearless Collection shaves a millimetre for a 40mm case (lug-to-lug 45mm). It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a noticeable difference. It’s a bit hefty at 13.8mm in height but remains very wearable and thinner than prior models. The 316L stainless steel is finished with IP Stealth Black plating and each model is separated by dial accent colours. There are two areas where upcycled firefighting equipment is found, starting with the crown that has a brass insert from a melted-down antique firefighting helmet, and the other being the strap (more on that later).
A sapphire crystal protects the dial and the fun continues when you flip the watch over. The case back is certainly unique with an embossed, modern-day firefighter’s helmet with a tinted visor to match the respective dial colours. A portion of the movement shows through the visor for a slick take on an exhibition case back. These are limited editions, so each back is numbered from 1 to 250. Water resistance is rated at 100 metres.
Although these are field watches with a relatively simple aesthetic, firefighting is still front and centre. The familiar antique brass helmet logo sits at 12 o’clock and the double-line index above represents a Crew Manager’s collar. The lollipop seconds hand also resembles the chime from a fire engine bell. The dial itself has a charcoal-inspired textured black finish that contrasts well with the applied rose gold (coloured) Arabic numerals. The numerals, indexes and all hands have Super-LumiNova for excellent night viewing. A framed date window sits at 3 o’clock with a white background. Accent colours separate the three models, starting with an angled flange with printed numerals for seconds. Colour options are orange, yellow or red, and extend to the seconds hands, date frame and AUTOMATIC printed at 6 o’clock.
Powering the new Fearless Collection is the Seiko NH35 automatic, which they also offer in the Valiant, alongside an ETA 2824-2. This workhorse movement by Seiko is used by a lot of brands and comes with 24 jewels, beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) with a 41-hour power reserve. It’s hand-windable and includes central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and the date. Accuracy is rated at -20/+40 seconds per day but is well within those parameters in practice.
The William Wood Fearless Collection comes with a red Italian leather watch roll that can hold three watches, which is perfect for travelling. Each colour variant is limited to 250 pieces and all come with a three-year warranty. The 20mm straps are made from rare black fire hoses with stitching that matches the respective dial colours, all finished with feature quick-release push pins. The collection is a departure from the fancier, more detailed models of the past, but still finds a solid balance of no-nonsense field watch and a familiar firefighter theme. After all, field watches don’t have to be boring and William Wood proves it here. The retail price is GBP 895, which can be broken into three payments of GBP 299 via their website. It seems a bit high for a piece with a Seiko NH35 movement, but the design elements and attention to detail are certainly above the norm.
For more information and to make a purchase, please visit WilliamWoodWatches.com.