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The Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day and Sand Dial, Tribute to the 80th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings

A limited edition field watch with a warplane aluminium dial honours the 80th anniversary of D-Day… And there’s also a pretty special sandy watch.

| By Erik Slaven | 4 min read |

Praesidus has become well known for affordable World War II-inspired collections. Recent examples include the A-11 Marston Mat Limited Edition (with actual D-Day Marston Mat dials) and The Type A-11 DD-45 (based on World War II Dirty Dozen combat watches). A new pair of limited-edition models pay homage to D-DAY for the 80th anniversary and use actual artefacts for the dials like the aforementioned A-11 Marston Mat piece. We have the C-47 D-DAY A-11 on hand, but will also talk about the Type 44 Sand Dial model as they both honour the courage and sacrifices of our World War II allies.

Although D-Day is a general term for the day a combat operation starts (with an undetermined date or under top secrecy), it’s become synonymous with the landing at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Almost 200,000 naval troops were involved with 156,000 successfully storming the beaches. By June 30, 1944, over 850,000 troops had landed on Normandy shores and France and Europe were ultimately liberated from Germany’s invasion. 

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Thousands of paratroopers had landed behind enemy lines as well, many jumping from Douglas C-47 Skytrains. Developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner, the large transporters were major contributors to the allies’ success in Normandy. Combining actual aluminium from a C-47 door with the A-11 “field watch” aesthetic (produced for US military troops during World War II) brings real history to the C-47 D-DAY A-11 model.  

The C-47 A-11 D-Day

The A-11 spec was used for over 150,000 watches during the war and became the foundation for “field” watches with bold white Arabic numerals over a black dial. This watch is based on an earlier Praesidus Normandy model, the A-11 Tom Rice. Aluminium from the “hamburger” doors of a wartime C-47, located just in front of the propellors, was used for the C-47 D-DAY A-11 dials with original patina left intact. “Hamburger” refers to the fact that you’ll “become hamburger” if you open the door while the prop is turning. The dials come in three variants – raw aluminium, olive green or aluminium grey with thinned paint to reveal the underlying patina. The indices, oversized Arabic numerals and hands are painted with Super-LumiNova for maximum nighttime legibility. 

The stainless steel case is a bit larger and more contemporary than original wartime pieces, but still relatively small at 38mm in diameter for a vintage look on the wrist. It has a screw-down crown and the solid case back features a special 80th-anniversary engraving, while water resistance is rated at 100 metres. A double-domed sapphire crystal is used with the overall aesthetic of old acrylic, but it’s of course more robust. An “Invasion Strap” NATO band and brown leather strap come standard with quick-release levers on the latter. 

Powering the C-47 D-DAY A-11 is a Miyota 9039 automatic with 24 jewels, a beat rate of 28,800vph (4Hz) and a 42-hour power reserve. This is a time-only movement with central hours, minutes and hacking seconds. Accuracy is rated at -10/+30 seconds per day. The C-47 D-DAY A-11 is limited to 500 pieces and retails for USD 550. 

Type 44 Sand Dial

A second D-DAY watch focuses on the Normandy beaches with actual sand used within the dials. Working with the Utah Beach Landing Museum, sand from Utah Beach is covered by a thin layer of glass, while an additional layer provides a solid representation of the Normandy coastline. The Arabic numerals go from prints on glass to cutouts in the solid upper section to show the sand texture beneath. This solid portion comes in three colours – matte green, black or blue. Super-LumiNova is used on the hands and printed indices, and the seconds hand doesn’t have a counterweight, mimicking an original 1944 A-11 Waltham watch (used as a design reference) that has a broken/missing counterweight.  

The stainless steel case is again 38mm in diameter with a slightly bowl-shaped case back and 80th-anniversary engraving. An acrylic crystal is used this time, along with a Miyota automatic. Depending on the dial colour, it comes with a green NATO band or black or dark blue tropical strap. Like the C-47 D-DAY A-11, this model is limited to 500 pieces and retails for USD 495.

Both watches will be available from June 6th and can be purchased together as an 80th anniversary set in a special collector’s edition box for USD 1,000. For more information and to place an order, please visit

2 responses

  1. What could be classier than cashing in on D-Day. What kind of tool would where these watches?

  2. Praesidus is pretty much all about cashing in on WWII and they have no shortage of buyers. To each, their own.


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