A few weeks ago, we took at look at the modern Timor W.W.W. Dirty Dozen and how it compares to the original from 1945. I had mentioned that Timor was not the only one of the 12 brands to still be in existence today (I mean, Omega, IWC, and Longines were part of the twelve,) however it is one of the few smaller brands to still be around. The other one being Vertex. Unlike Timor, which went dormant for a few years and recreated perfect copies of the original W.W.W. watch, Vertex, which officially ceased to exist for more than 40 years, took a slightly different path by modernizing its old collections. Today, then, we’re going to take a look at the history of Vertex, its modern collections, and what makes worthy of your attention.
Brief History of Vertex
The brand was founded in 1926 by Claude Lyons, a businessman who had been in the watch industry for many years and founded the Dreadnaught Watch Company in 1912. Although the latter was producing watches for the military, Lyons created Vertex specifically to provide timepieces for the military. A bit like Hans Wilsdorf’s Rolex, the Dreadnaught Watch Company and Vertex were encasing Swiss-made movements in the United Kingdom. Vertex is now most famous for having made one of the Dirty Dozen that were distributed in 1945, however the brand also tried its hand at making military chronographs then divers in the 1960s without great success. The brand was officially closed in 1972 by Lyon’s son-in-law but brought back to life in 2015 by Don Cochrane, Lyon’s great grandson.
The Vertex M100: the Modernized W.W.W.
In 2016, one year after Cochrane revived the brand, Vertex released the M100, a contemporary interpretation of the W.W.W. model from 1945. At first, the M100 was only made available to members of the military in order to perpetuate the tradition set in the 1940s. Now, however, they are available to the general public. The M100 comes in two variants, the M100A with a stainless steel case and the M100AC with a DLC coated case. Retailing for roughly $2,700, they are luxury watches made in Switzerland which come with modern the dimensions of 40 x 48.5 x 12.2mm. They are powered by a Top Grade Sellita SW260-1 caliber, have a water resistance of 100 meters, and what seems like extreme legibility thanks to three dimensional Arabic numerals made of X1 SuperLuminova. Although they aren’t cheap, they are well-made and remain solid tool watches.
The M60 Aqualion: the Diver
What seems to have plunged the first iteration of Vertex into financial trouble in the 1960s has now become part of the brand’s current catalog. The Aqualion is the brand’s capable diver which comes in three variants: the M60 Aqualion ND (no date and Arabic numerals at the cardinal points,) the M60 Aqualion D (with a date,) and the M60C Aqualion DC (date and DLC case.) The first two models retail for roughly $3,100 and the third one for $3,180. They measure 40 x 49 x 14mm and are powered by a COSC Sellita SW300-1, boasts 600 meters of water resistance, legible dials, and best of all, they are ISO 6425 certified, meaning they are proper professional divers. Like the M100, the Aqualion has powerful lume as the Arabic numerals are also made of molded X1 SuperLuminova, as are the other applied hour markers.
The MP45: The Mono-pusher Chronograph
The third model currently present in Vertex’s catalog is the MP45 Mono-pusher Chronograph. After making the W.W.W. in 1945, Vertex attempted to produce a mono-pusher ordnance timing chronograph which never saw production due to post World War II rationing. So it’s interesting to see that Vertex brought back the concept 70 years later. The MP45 comes in six variants and retails for about $3,460. What makes each variant different are the dial colors and color accents each comes with, including white on black, cream on black (the heritage models) and black on white for something a little different. Furthermore, each model comes with an automatic or manual-wound caliber (the Sellita SW510 MP.) Dimensions wise, the MP45 measures 40 mm in diameter and 14mm thick for the manual-wound version and 16mm for the automatic. Like the M100 and M60 Aqualion, the MP45 Mono-pusher Chronograph comes with 3D blocks of lume for the Arabic numerals.
It makes sense, and it’s pretty neat, that Vertex decided to first release a modern version of the W.W.W. before taking on the daring task of reviving a prototype mono-pusher chronograph that never saw the light of day. However, the best part about Vertex is that it has remained in the same family since its inception in 1926, now at the helm of the founder’s great grandson. Instead of recreating a 1:1 copy of the original Dirty Dozen—which is what Timor did—Vertex adapted a winning dial design and format to today’s wrists. But if you don’t have $2,700 lying around, which is interestingly how much you would have to pay for a vintage Dirty Dozen in good condition, then you can take a look at Timor and the W.W.W. which looks like the OG and retails for about $900. Which one would you choose?Featured image: www.wristwatchreview.co.uk