When is a watch more than the sum of its parts? That’s the question posed and answered by Tockr’s D-Day collection of timepieces, which each contain a piece of Allied WWII history. The dial is cut from a piece of an American C-47 paratrooper transport plane named, “That’s All, Brother,” which led the airborne invasion of Normandy. The D-Day invasion was the hard-fought turning point of WWII and arguably the most important military victory in history, fending off the serious global threat posed by fascist dictators.
The Tockr D-Day Alfred Pepper Bronze edition mixes modern design with an unmistakably nostalgic feel to create a tribute fitting of the material used. Named after surviving D-Day C-47 pilot Alfred Pepper, the watch is a tribute to American war veterans.
The D-Day has a pilot’s watch aura without being a direct homage to any true WWII pilot watches — American watches of the day were much, much smaller compared to the large B-Uhr watches worn by German pilots. The popular A-11 series produced by Elgin, Waltham and Bulova were 34-36mm in diameter, compared to pieces from Laco, A. Lange and Sohne and International Watch Co. that were up to 55mm. The D-Day, curiously enough, wears more like a modern counterpart to the B-Uhr at 42mm — a vintage American military look reimagined, if you will. The rounded cushion bronze case is finely brushed and an oversized crown really completes the simple but striking design.
Bronze was a great choice for the Alfred Pepper edition (D-Day also comes in a stainless steel option). As it slowly develops a grey patina, the living alloy will match up beautifully with the antique green paint and worn parts of the dial. Tockr also went the riskier route with a solid bronze caseback. Most bronze watches use a stainless caseback to eliminate bronze contact with the skin. After a couple of days wearing, I can report minimal skin staining with this particular aluminum bronze mix. (Any marks that do appear are easily wiped off). But if this is a major concern, you could fit your watch with a bund strap to place some leather between your skin and the watch.
Tockr has made clever use of the trend to “up-cycle” historic materials. Pieces from “That’s All, Brother” needed to be removed to make the aircraft flight ready for the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy invasion. Instead of hitting the scrap bin, Tockr secured enough of the material for the limited D-Day run, offering dials that are stamped with original markings, heavily worn, or lightly worn. Customers can choose between the three levels of wear that give each piece its own personality.
The treatment feels less like a gimmick and more like a sincere tribute. The polished golden hands are large enough to be extremely legible, but still fit with the simple styling. There is one delightful quirk to be found on an otherwise subtle design: The seconds hand is tipped with an orange llikeness of the C-47 bomber that delightfully flies around the dial perimeter to mark the passing seconds. Ample lume lights up the dial’s numerals, hands and indices.
All D-Day comes with a gorgeous custom box made by Hix Straps in Oklahoma. Two excellent quick-release straps – one leather and one fabric – come with each watch. The brown leather is particularly reminiscent of a WWII bomber jacket. It’s a lovely complement to the watch and feels much better than your average stock strap.
Movement: Automatic Swiss manufactured automatic movement, caliber ETA 2834-A6, 25 jewels, 28’800 A/h,4Hz
Power Reserve: 40-42 hours
Water Resistance: 5ATM (50M)
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds and Date
Case: Cushion-shaped in Bronze with anti-glare sapphire crystal
Finish: All brushed
Case Back: Plain with Customized Engraving.
Dial: Cut from an original portion of aeronautical aluminum that was rescued from That’s All, Brother during its extensive restoration, Luminescent printed numerals.
Strap: nterchangeable Olive vintage strap of premium calf leather + brown calf strap leather
Clasp: Pin buckle clasp in Bronze
There are few ways for microbrands to stand out in an increasingly crowded market with limited movement selection. The use of different dial materials is one way to differentiate but is tricky business. The D-Day’s use of real material from an important WWII aircraft feels like a legitimate emotional link to the past. Some may sneer at the price tag of $2,700, but considering the importance of the material used for the dial and the highly limited 75 pieces per style, I believe it’s a fair proposition and worthy of any collection.
Learn more about the D-Day at Tockr’s website.