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1945. Spring is slow to arrive. The once shining cities of Europe, centers of the arts, politics, math and science have become epicenters of war. Destruction reigns. For the fighting men of the Allied forces, an end to years of bitter fighting seems close at hand — the Axis forces have been forced from France and North Africa, receding to areas of occupied Europe and Germany — but the war is not done.
A soldier looks down at his wrist. He's a captain, his company of men poised, waiting for his command. The watch on his wrist, solid, stalwart and accurate is his lifeline to the operation. He depends on it, the lives of his men depend on it, the fate of the front depends on it, the war depends on it.
By World War II, wristwatches had become essential parts of military equipment. For the millions of Allied troops scattered across Europe, North Africa and the Pacific, accurate and durable watches served as lifelines to the fast-paced multi-level battlefield.
While the British Ministry of Defense had previously looked to the English manufacture, Smiths, the growing need for watches was too great for the small entity. Thus, a coalition of manufactures was ordained to produce military-grade wristwatches under a specific design and function. Twelve Swiss companies fulfilled the contracts: Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor, and Vertex. They became known as the Dirty Dozen.
While all the manufactures were confined to basic parameters — a black dial with luminous Arabic numerals, luminous hour and minute hands, a railroad minute track, and shatterproof crystal — each company produced varying numbers and slightly different executions, owing to their varied capabilities. Larger facilities, like Omega, were able to tens of thousands of the W.W.W. timekeepers; smaller ones, like Grana, are said to have only been able to manufacture a few thousand.
Cyma was one of the more robust producers of the W.W.W., with production estimates nearing 20,000 individual pieces. But with so many of them produced, it meant that many more Cymas saw action than the less prevalent JLC, IWC and Eterna models. Additionally, Cyma W.W.W.s were produced in sturdy steel cases where makers like Record and Buren often resorted to chrome-plated brass cases. While this difference had little effect on the soldiers of WWII, the steel-bodied W.W.W.s have certainly enjoyed a more lasting survival than their brass counterparts.
This particular Cyma has bested time, having weathered the decades very well. With a sharp and unpolished case, clean tropical dial and pristine, well-patinated Radium lume, this example puts many others to shame. Bearing all the correct (and matching) markings, this lovely piece of military history is an absolute stunner.
Steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Calibre 234 Manually-wound Movement. Circa 1945.
Includes one 18mm nylon NATO-style strap.
*Pictured crystal has been replaced with a new acrylic replacement.*
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options