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British watchmaker William Wood Watches is relaunching its Valiant Collection as the Bronze Special Edition 2021. Limited to 200 pieces, the bronze diver borrows from the firefighting theme, with which William Wood Watches is also closely associated. Everything important about my first firefighter watch in this review!
What you need to know about William Wood Watches
Jonny Garrett’s great role model is his grandfather. William Wood served the British Fire Service on Pilgrim Street in Newcastle for 25 years. He is perhaps one of those people who might be called real heroes. He received various awards for his extraordinary services such as rescuing five young children from a burning house.
William Wood died in 2009, and in his honor his grandson Jonny Garrett named the watch company he founded a few years ago William Wood Watches. But it is not merely a name that is engraved on the watches. The design of William Wood Watches also deals heavily with the theme of firefighters. In the watch world, this is completely unique. The automatic watches in the upper premium segment are REAL firefighter watches. This is also due to the original idea of the bracelets. They are made of former fire hoses. Hoses that were in use, saved lives and now recycled make a second career as a fashion accessory! Garrett’s idea created a lot of praise and recognition across the industry.
The legacy of William Wood’s firefighting missions lives on… These watches look exciting! Because oft hat the William Wood Bronze Edition finds its way to my home on my desk.
What makes the William Wood Bronze Edition so interesting
The Valiant Collection consists of high quality automatic diver watches. According to William Wood Watches, it has been one of the most successful collections in the British manufacturer’s model range since its introduction. A special edition was needed. For about two years now, the watch industry has rediscovered bronze as material for cases. Timepieces made of bronze are distinguished by their characteristic patina, which develops over time and looks always different depending on environmental influences. Add to that a certain vintage vibe that’s hipper than ever anyway. Bronze watches look different. Fresher and more interesting than comparable timepieces made of stainless steel. So it’s obvious that the new special edition from the Valiant Collection has become a bronze watch.
In addition to the bronze design, which is quickly associated with historical firefighters, the British manufacturer supplies very special bracelets. They are made of fire hoses donated by William Wood’s home fire department and thus establish a very special connection to the company’s namesake. William Wood Watches has produced a total of 200 pieces of its Bronze Edition. Now, shortly after the market launch, all timepieces are out of stock so far. So it’s lucky that William Wood Watches has provided me with another copy of its bronze diver. Now it is time to test it.
The William Wood Bronze Edition lies on my desk in a large and elongated package. The golden inscription William Wood Watches LONDON with the golden fire helmet reveals the content. Inside the box is the watch along with two fire hose bracelets, one red and one yellow. There is also a small booklet that tells the interesting story of the company’s founder, Jonny Garrett, along with the instructions.
In its bronze edition, the Valiant is a classy looking dive watch. The deep blue tone matches the warm color of the case. With a heavily domed watch glass, a classic diver’s bezel and a reduced dial, the William Wood Bronze Edition is a solid diver’s watch at first glance. At second glance, however, things look different. A checkerboard pattern on the dial, the stylized firefighter helmet and the special bracelets reveal that this is no ordinary automatic diver. The design offers some easter eggs, which I’ll get into as I go along. Somehow, I can’t quite put it into words yet, but the design of the William Wood Bronze Edition has a certain British charm that I really like.
The William Wood Bronze Edition on the wrist
I stand in front of the mirror and put the watch on with its two straps and matching outfits. With a diameter of 41 millimeters, the diver from William Wood Watches has a pleasant size that also fits a narrower wrist. The classic design has a noble appearance. Thus, the William Wood Bronze Edition is particularly suitable for everyday business as well as for special occasions and festivities. However, everyone should be aware that with a red bracelet you stand out. The signal color red contributes significantly to the fact that you get the feeling that this is a true fire watch.
To that comes the bronze case. William Wood Watches’ Valiant seems to be a very special watch – at first sight. But what does it look like in detail?
The case – comoletely made of bronze
What is the most beautiful bronze case in the world worth, if it is not well crafted? This is crucial. The quality of this case is impeccable. Moreover, it is important to emphasize that this is a case made of pure bronze, not an alloy. Usually, bronze watches are made of a stainless steel core, which is then given a thin bronze alloy. Here it is different. The material, which consists of a copper and tin mixture, is even harder and thus more robust than the common stainless steel. This should be especially interesting for you if you want to take the watch with you on dives. Sharp objects under water can hardly harm the William Wood Bronze Edition.
With a diameter of 41 millimeters, the case has a height of 16 millimeters. This is also due to the strongly curved watch glass with blue tint. It is made of particularly hard and resistant sapphire. The sapphire crystal is double domed, as known from the old diving watches of the early 20th century. William Wood Watches has also provided it with an anti-reflective coating. My tip: Pay special attention to this when buying your diving watch! Light reflections under water can thus not affect the readability of the time and the bezel.
Surprises of the case back
The bronze case is water resistant up to a pressure of 10 bar. A diving depth of 100 meters is thus feasible. That’s solid and should be enough for most of you. Of course, you don’t need to worry in the pool or under the shower.
The crown, which is not exactly flat, is also made of bronze. The iconic firefighter helmet is emblazoned on the surface. For better operability, the crown is fluted. What I find really interesting, however, is the following aspect. The inside of the crown contains a piece of an old brass firefighter’s helmet that was made in the 1920s. It’s one of those details that you just have to love and remember fondly when wearing the William Wood Bronze Edition in everyday life. It is made in London’s famous Hatton Garden jewelry district, as well as all other components of the timepiece.
Finally, we come to the caseback. It tells the wearer the production number of his William Wood Bronze Edition. So, I own number 34/200. But what I like most is the generous viewing window that allows me to see the automatic movement when I take the watch off.
The movement of the William Wood Bronze Edition
I am looking at a Japanese Seiko NH35 automatic movement with a 24 jewel bearing that is used in countless and various watches around the world. The reason is not surprising. After all, the movement is said to have good accuracy, longevity and robustness. According to William Wood Watches, you need to turn the crown about 55 times until the caliber is fully wound. Once wound, it has a power reserve of 41 hours.
Many allusions and Eastereggs on the dial.
The dial combines many interesting design features that can be traced back to the fire service. This is also true for the characteristic checkerboard pattern. It is known from the paint of British fire engines, on which it can be seen best in the side view. But that’s not all. The dial of the William Wood Bronze Edition has many other Eastereggs, which are only gradually revealed when you take a closer look at the design. For example, the indices allude to the rank insignia of the firefighters. You could tell who held which rank by the markings in the uniform collar. If you now look at the 12 o’clock marking, you can see two thick stripes. With these two stripes, a firefighter can be identified as a crew manager.
The indices and the rose gold hands ensure a good readability of the dial. This is especially noticeable in the dark. For low light conditions, the indices and hands are filled with Swiss SuperLuminova. My test in the dark was more than satisfying, as you can see from the pictures. The luminous material is strongly applied.
Otherwise, the dial cannot be criticized further. It is exceptionally well made. I like the colors. The strong blue of the dial and the tint of the watch glass along with the bronze tone of the case! That’s something to commend.
Fire hoses as bracelet
Finally, a highlight is the bracelet. When I first thought of fire hoses, I must admit I was slightly surprised and a bit skeptical. However, when wearing it for the first time, it feels very comfortable. Even after a few days, nothing can be criticized about the bracelet that is recycled from donated fire hoses.
I would like to positively highlight the lush color selection. In addition to scarlet red, there are also yellow, green and blue. The latter two shades in particular are rather moderate and thus just right for those who might find the signal colors a bit too daring.
The rose gold buckle matches the color of the case and the hands.
My conclusion about the William Wood Bronze Edition
I have tested a few watches so far and have seen and photographed many more. But I have never seen a fire watch. Leaving all the details about firefighters aside, the William Wood Bronze Edition is a very well crafted and chic diver’s watch in the trendy bronze look.
However, the longer you look at the design, the more interesting the whole firefighting theme becomes. The watch tells a story with its design! The story of the profession of William Wood, firefighter and namesake of the brand. It’s fascinating how William Wood Watches knows how to use this theme to bring a unique watch with great recognition value to the market!
Finally, the trappings are also just right. The successful box includes an international warranty of 3 years. In addition, there is a return policy of 30 days. The price of the William Wood Bronze Edition is 795 Pounds. However, the run on the watch must have been huge. Although William Wood Watches dates the delivery date of its bronze diver to August 2021, the 200 pieces are now already officially sold out. But you can breathe a sigh of relief. William Wood Watches has promised another delivery for August, then without limited engraving. So you have again the chance to buy your fire watch!