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Ah, the Dirty Dozen. Diehard collectors of these watches know the story, but it bears repeating. These watches - stamped W.W.W. for "Watch Wristlet Waterproof"- had to meet strict standards mandated by the British Ministry of Defense during the last half of 1945. The specs were these: black dial; Arabic numerals; luminous hands (radium); 15 jewel movement; and waterproof.
Twelve companies met these standards, and manufactured the watches that would be dubbed the "Dirty Dozen" and fascinate collectors for decades. They were: Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, JLC, Lemania, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor, Vertex, and Longines. Of these, only Longines produced a watch with shock-protection.
Collectors have given the Longines Reference 23088 the nickname "Greenlander" due to its purported involvement in the 1952-54 British North Greenland Expedition. This was recently proven to be false. But even though the "Greenlander" never made it to Greenland, many Longines did in fact make it on other expeditions in extreme cold weather conditions. So when you consider that these watches were meant to go to war, this fact doesn't take away anything from the watch's lineage. Whether worn in combat or on an expedition in the farthest reaches of the Arctic, the "Greenlander" was meant to withstand it all.
At 38mm and all stainless, it's a good size to suit modern tastes. This particular example is in excellent condition, with only slight signs of wear to speak to the conflicts its seen. The case back is stamped with the model number "23088" and "144," the case number. Already rare, this watch's lovely condition makes it very desirable.
Stainless steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding crown). Longines manual-wind cal.12.687 movement. Circa 1945.
Overall Condition: The watch is in excellent condition overall, showing only signs of light use and wear in keeping with its age, particularly on the front of the case and the lugs. Black dial is crisp and shows light, even signs of patination to the luminous elements. The hands likewise show matching even patina. Stainless steel case back is likewise in excellent condition and shows signs of light use and factory brushed finishing; unsigned crown.
Comes with 18mm leather Nato-style strap and two 18mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle