Praesidus is one of the go-to names if you are looking for a vintage-inspired military watch. In a relatively short time, the brand has created a reputation for recreating some of the best military watches accompanied by great stories. Now Praesidus is ready to launch another new series of watches. The Praesidus DD-45 is inspired by some of the most famous military watches that ever existed. But this release is not just one watch. Praesidus will offer three different versions, allowing customers to pick their preferred aged aesthetic. Let’s find out more!

When it comes to military-inspired watches, the first name that pops up for me is Praesidus. That’s not because of any actual military history, though. Rather, the American brand has shown a knack for paying tribute to great historical timepieces with amazing stories. An example is the Praesidus Rec Spec MACV-SOG series that I reviewed last September. It was a great remake of a series of watches with an exceptional story. With the new DD-45, the brand tells the tale of the famous set of WWII-era “Dirty Dozen” watches. As Thomas explained in an article about them, the story started when the British Ministry of Defence commissioned a watch for its forces in 1945.

Praesidus DD-45 Patina

The story of the Dirty Dozen

As most of you will know, 12 watch manufacturers answered the request for a dedicated field watch meant for specialists like radio operators and artillerymen. The brief that they had to answer was pretty straightforward. They needed to be “waterproof,” “shockproof,” and chronometer-regulated wristwatches with maximal legibility. This translated to a black dial with white Arabic numerals and a white railroad minute track with luminous markers that wearers could read in the dark. Additionally, the watches needed to come with a “shatterproof” crystal. An interesting request was for the watches to have small seconds at 6 o’clock. The sub-dial there gives the watch extra character but also impacts readability. In any case, the watches were labeled W.W.W. for “Wrist Watch Waterproof.”

Praesidus DD-45 Patina

The new Praesidus DD-45 up close

Praesidus now introduces its take on the Dirty Dozen style. As the brand explains, though, the goal was not to update the design of the original watches and bring it to modern times. Instead, the brand chose to do something different. Praesidus created three versions of its DD-45, making two look properly aged. So, whereas many brands modernize the Dirty Dozen watches, Praesidus chose to age two of the three models.

Praesidus DD-45 Patina wrist shot

The result is a series of three watches with different dials — a “factory finish” dial, a fully “tropical” dial, and a heavily aged dial with patina lume. It’s an interesting concept. While we are used to seeing vintage-inspired watches with faux lume, the actual choice of your preferred aging is a fun new concept. We had a chance to go hands-on with the Patina version of the DD-45. It is the most interesting as Praesidus developed a dial that looks properly aged and has the charm of one of the original Dirty Dozen watches.

The DD-45 is made with great attention to detail

The three Praesidus DD-45 models all have a 38mm stainless steel case that measures 11.8mm thick, 45mm long, and 20mm between the lugs. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters and has a double-domed sapphire crystal with an antireflective coating. At first glance, the finishing immediately stands out. Praesidus has gone to great lengths to create something special with this case, from the circular-brushed lugs to the half-polished, half-brushed bezel.

Praesidus DD-45 Patina

The same goes for the dial. The “Patina” version of the watch comes with a dial that took two years to develop. The goal over that time was to recreate true patina on the indices and hands. The results are impressive. At first glance, you know you are dealing with aged parts. They look impressive and are set against the nicely textured black dial. The raised indices sit on top of the white railroad minute track, and even their metal bases are individually aged, not just the lume. This makes every dial unique. Initially, Praesidus will produce 100 pieces with this dial.

The Landeron L24 movement

Inside the case, Praesidus uses the Landeron L24 movement. This automatic caliber is a clone of the famous ETA 2824. It operates at 28,800vph, has 25 jewels, and provides a 40-hour power reserve. The movement is hidden behind the closed case back that features an engraving referring to the W.W.W. label of the Dirty Dozen watches.

Each of the three versions has the option of a brown leather strap with a pin buckle, a Bonklip bracelet, or a green woven Perlon strap. We had the Patina version on the brown leather strap, which complements the look perfectly. The quality of the strap is really good and ensures that wearing the watch is a comfortable experience. We also had a chance to see and wear earlier prototypes of the Bonklip bracelet, and I thought that was also an amazing option. I would happily have both options and mix it up. Thanks to the quick-change system, that is easy to do.

Praesidus DD-45 Patina on wrist

Wearing the vintage-inspired DD-45

The first thing that stood out when I put the watch on my wrist was how good it looked. The 38mm case is perfect for my wrist, and combined with the vintage looks, it makes for a great-looking watch that will undoubtedly win people over quickly. The strap also looks aged and suits the watch well. But once on the wrist, it does feel like a new strap. Fortunately, it broke in rather quickly, and from that moment on, it was smooth sailing.

Once on the wrist, the watch looks amazing and wears like a charm. I like the style of the Dirty Dozen watches a lot, but specifically on this one, the dial has room to breathe. Thanks to its 38mm size, the elements fall into place nicely, and the overall feel is neatly balanced. I loved wearing this watch when we had it in the office. I was impressed by how well the aging (or fauxtina, as some call it) was done. Sure, you are aware that it’s not natural. But if you want that vintage charm combined with a modern-day execution, this is your perfect option. As I’m sure you have noticed, the pre-production model pictured here does not have properly aged hands, but the final production models will. In Praesidus’s images, the hands look a lot better. The color of the lume on them matches the indices, and the vintage feel of the hands is striking.

The watch is nothing short of impressive

Operating the watch was easy, and the branded screw-down crown felt solid and well constructed. As such, it will be perfectly fit to perform the task of setting the time. Overall, I had a ton of fun wearing this watch. Praesidus has quickly made a name for itself and keeps impressing me with every release.

Which of the three models would I prefer? The Patina version is my favorite, with the Tropical version as a close second. I know some people are not fans of too much vintage mimicking, but I am not one of them. If you are, though, the third Factory Fresh option could be perfect for you. It’s a clever move by Praesidus that shows it is easy to offer a version for everyone. However, the attention to detail that went into making these three options sets the brand apart from its peers. The first 100 pieces of the DD-45 will go on sale on March 14th, with a price of US875 for the watch on either the leather or Perlon strap. On the Bonklip bracelet, it will cost US$925.

Final thoughts on the Praesidus DD-45

The new DD-45 is another winner from Praesidus. In the short time we had the watch in the office, I fell in love with the style, the execution, and the overall comfort. I could easily see myself wearing this watch regularly with various outfits. On top of that, this watch is a true strap monster. It will look good on a lot of different straps. Praesidus keeps knocking it out of the park with every release, and this is no exception.

The price of this watch is slightly higher than previous releases. But if you look at the case finishing and patina details, you understand why that price is still very reasonable. While Praesidus has stated this is not a modernized version of the classic Dirty Dozen watches, to me, it is. This would be my pick if I had to choose a modern Dirty Dozen-inspired watch. It balances the vintage spirit perfectly with modern details. And that is worth a huge compliment as there are many brands out there that do the same thing. None of them, however, do it as Praesidus has with the DD-45.

Sign up for early access on the dedicated Praesidus DD-45 page to get a chance to buy one of the 100 first watches. For an overview of the entire Praesidus collection, visit the brand’s homepage. Let us know your thoughts on this new release in the comments section. Do you like the “Patina” model’s aged look or a crisp new “Factory Fresh” version?

Watch specifications

DD-45 Patina
Black textured dial with aged indices and hands
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
38mm (diameter) × 45mm (lug-to-lug) × 11.8mm (thickness)
Double-domed sapphire with antireflective coating
Case Back
Stainless steel, screw-in
Landeron L24: automatic with hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 40-hour power reserve, 25 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100m)
Choice of brown leather strap (20mm width) with buckle, green woven Perlon strap with buckle, or Bonklip bracelet
Time only (hours, minutes, small seconds)
US$875 (leather or Perlon strap) / US$925 (Bonklip bracelet)
Special Note(s)
Praesidus will release a first batch of 100 pieces