Tales From The ‘Gram: Buren ‘Dirty Dozen’ Watch

Ryan Yip Tales from the 'Gram, Watches Leave a Comment

The Buren ‘Dirty Dozen’ watch (photo credit: @garethmunden)

To be completely honest, before the interview with Gareth (@garethmunden), the ‘Dirty Dozen’ watches were just mere images in my head, all I knew were that they were 12 watches for the British soldiers. Of course, I learn and grow through writing reviews and articles, and it has come to my attention that the ‘Dirty Dozen’ is one of the most collectibles within the watch community.

Watch I.D.

Model: WWW Dirty Dozen
Diameter: 36.5 mm
Calibre: Calibre 462
Winding: manual
Material: Stainless steel

Words from the collector…

As an award-winning photographer and cinematographer, Gareth’s unique perspective is clearly reflected in the choice of this watch. However, not only is the watch special on its own, the story between him and the watch is one of a kind too. Mr. Munden bought this watch as a present for himself when he was in Los Angeles for work, before flying back to London. “I ended up in a hospital for a week … it wasn’t until I was well again that I put it on, so in a way it was something to look forward to.” Something that non-watch lovers would not understand is the satisfaction watches can give you, from putting it on to wearing it, the whole process in their unique ways grants you a sense of contentment. In Gareth’s case, even when he was experiencing immense pain from a burst appendix, it did not stop him from thinking and missing the timepiece that was quietly sitting in his suitcase, waiting for him.

Yes they do. [Watches] kind of bring us joy. [The watch] reminded me that I’m strong. It’s one watch that I could just stare at for hours.

Gareth Munden (@garethmunden)

The British army had always been equipped with the best of the best, it was a widely known fact. As you can see, the arrow is an insignia for the British army and is imprinted on every timepiece that was issued to them. While Swiss watchmakers were making watches for both the Germans and the Allied Force, The British Ministry of Defence thought these normal civilian market orders were not enough for the needs of the soldiers and decided to place custom orders, with a shockproof and waterproof design. The watch is sitting at 36.5mm and if you think about it, a small watch with a sturdy design? Sounds kind of juxtaposing, doesn’t it? But keep in mind, it is a watch for enduring numerous shocks and scratches, a watch for those who were already carrying over 25kg of equipment on them all the time.

The Buren ‘Dirty Dozen’ watch (photo credit: @garethmunden)

Looking at the design, the Buren ‘Dirty Dozen’, compared to the rest of the 11 watches (from IWC, Longines, CYMA, etc.), doesn’t stand out as they all share an almost similar design, but it doesn’t matter. Vintage watches like these aren’t all for the look, as I mentioned before, this a time machine, a window into the past. When Gareth said that he can stare at the watch for hours, I felt that completely, it lets you physically feel a part of history that was so significant to mankind, and it is not every day we can find a watch like this.

“[The burst appendix] was rough, but it made me a better person in some ways and I’m now back to full health!”, Gareth added. Just like the Buren ‘Dirty Dozen’, a battle-scarred watch turned vintage collectibles, Gareth and this watch do share a genuine connection, don’t they? And it is collectors like Gareth that makes the watch community a better place.

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