William Wood Watches has been on quite the journey since first launching on Kickstarter just five short years ago. Since then, the company has evolved from a crowdfunded based watchmaking adventure to a self-sustaining brand with a clear philosophy at heart. Dedicated to firefighting, the occupation of the founder’s grandfather, each watch contains elements made from vintage firefighting equipment. This quite original concept has been used through all collections and has now resulted in perhaps the best-possible partnership imaginable. This is the William Wood Watches x FDNY Foundation “The Bravest Watch”.
The Fire Department of New York (FDNY for short) is probably the most famous firefighting regiment in the world and featured in countless movies and TV shows. While all that Hollywood drama is perfectly fine, we must not forget the actual dangers the men and women of firefighting units around the world face to protect and save others. We all vividly remember the devastating images following the collapse of the Twin Towers, so yes, these men and women are real heroes.
The partnership between William Wood Watches and the FDNY uses the Valiant Red Watch as a base and subtly changes it to a limited edition dedicated to the FDNY. From the outside, there’s not much that gives it away at first, so we still have a 41mm wide steel case with a unidirectional rotating bezel and a super-domed sapphire crystal on top. It’s round the back where the biggest (and only) reference to the FDNY can be found. The blue and red FDNY logo is printed on the transparent caseback, along with “Limited Edition”. The screw-down crown has a brass insert made from a repurposed 1920s firefighting helmet.
The dial is still the matte black sandwich construction we’ve seen before. The cut-outs for the indices are backlit by the Super-LumiNova base dial underneath. Around the outer edge is a checkered minute track, printed in white. Time is indicated by sword-shaped hour and minute hands with Super-LumiNova, with a seconds hand that has a bell-shaped counterweight (a nod to the bell used on old firefighting engines).
While the Valiant is usually fitted with either a Seiko NH35 or ETA 2824-2, “The Bravest Watch” is available with the Seiko movement only. This automatic movement is an unbranded 4R35 supplied to a third-party manufacturer (i.e. William Wood Watches). This reliable movement runs at a frequency of 21,600vph and provides 41 hours of power reserve. The NH35 indicates central hours, minutes and seconds, as well as the date at 3 o’clock.
As with pretty much all mechanical watches by William Wood, the FDNY collaboration piece is worn on a rubber strap with a genuine firehose insert. Each firehose used to make these straps has seen active service for a minimum of ten years. William Wood offers this in a range of colours, including straps made with upcycled retired firemen jackets. It is strictly limited to 250 pieces and costs USD 1,000 with 15% of all proceeds donated to the FDNY Foundation. It can be pre-ordered directly from William Wood Watches with delivery scheduled for September 2022.