On the 6th of June this year, it will have been exactly 80 years since D-Day took place on the beaches of Normandy. By that day’s end, 156,000 Allied troops successfully stormed the French beaches during Operation Overlord. To commemorate this historic day, Praesidus releases the special C-47 A-11 D-Day. This version of the brand’s A-11 field watch features a dial made from two “Hamburger” doors of the C-47 airplanes that were part of D-Day. I had a chance to go hands-on with one of these special timepieces that reminds us of the day that eventually led to the end of World War II.

Over the past few years, I’ve gone hands-on with several Praesidus watches. The brand has quickly made a name for itself with good-quality timepieces inspired by specific military stories from the past. My favorite releases have been the DD-45 I reviewed earlier this year and the Rec Spec MACV-SOG that debuted in September 2023.

Praesidus D-Day C-47

The story of the Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day

For this new release, the brand was inspired by the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Two years ago, in commemoration of the 78th anniversary, Praesidus released the A-11 “Marston Mat” that Sky reviewed. The dial of that watch was made out of a D-Day Marston Mat found near Utah Beach, Normandy. For the 80th anniversary, the brand came up with another special dial. The folks at Praesidus got their hands on two “Hamburger” doors that came from two D-Day veteran C-47 Skytrains.

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day

These planes were used during WWII as transport vehicles, cargo carriers, paratrooper drops, towing gliders, and cargo parachute drops. During the invasion in June 1944, the C-47 and its specialized paratroop variant, the C-53 Skytrooper, dropped 50,000 paratroopers above the Normandy beaches. Praesidus cut the aluminum doors into dials and kept the original wear and tear they picked up during their missions. The result is a series of watches with an intriguing presence and a unique story.

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day dial close-up

Cutting doors into dials for the A-11

Praesidus created three different versions of the C47 A-11 D-Day. The first two feature an aluminum dial with markers and indexes printed on the raw material. As a result, you can see the scratches on the dial, reminding you of the backstory. The Aluminum Patina version has a vintage-inspired lume for the sword-style hands and indexes.

The Aluminum Gray version features a dark gray lume for the numerals and a vintage-inspired lume for the hands and hour markers. The third variant uses the same aluminum for the dial, but it is painted olive green with white indexes and markings. To ensure this version also shows the wear and tear of the material, the paint is thinned down significantly.

The result is a trio of watches that are nothing short of impressive. It is fascinating that these dials are made from the “Hamburger” doors of plans that flew during D-Day. These doors were located in front of the propellers. They got their nickname because if the propellers were turning when you opened the door, you’d get minced up like hamburger meat.

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day lume shot

I had a chance to take the Aluminum Patina version for a spin to find out more. As it turned out, the realization you are wearing a piece of significant history on your wrist is impactful.

The specs of the Praesidus C47 A-11 D-Day

These watches each have a 38mm sandblasted stainless steel case. Including the double-domed sapphire crystal, it measures 12.5mm thick and offers a 100m water resistance rating. The C47 A-11 D-Day also has a 20mm lug spacing and comes with a brown leather strap with quick-release pins.

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day case back

Praesidus equips the watches with the Miyota caliber 9039. This automatic movement operates at 28,800vph, has 24 jewels, and provides a 42-hour power reserve. As it is a time-only watch, operating it is super easy with the screw-down crown. Furthermore, the steel case back has a special engraving highlighting the purpose of this limited edition. Each watch also has its specific LE number engraved there.

Praesdus will produce 500 pieces of each version of this C-47 A-11 D-Day. That is a significant number of watches, but considering their reason for being, I don’t doubt they will sell quickly to history buffs and military enthusiasts.

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day pocket shot

Wearing the Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day

As soon as you strap the watch on your wrist, the dial immediately stands out, making you feel you have a special timepiece. While raw aluminum dials are not necessarily my favorite in terms of color and texture, the context of these dials completely changes that perspective. Because of where they come from, these dials are more than just an aesthetic part of the watch. They are the storyteller, so I felt I had an important piece of history on my wrist.

While the Olive Green dial variant might be my favorite in terms of color and presence, the Aluminum Patina version tells the story more directly. That’s why it would be my pick out of the three, and I was happy to have the chance to take that version for a spin. On the brown leather strap, the watch is a joy to wear. The modest 38mm diameter is great for a variety of wrist sizes. I can wear it easily, and it has plenty of visual impact, especially in sunlight where the dial comes to life

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day on wrist

Final thoughts on the Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day

Overall, putting the Praesidus A-11 on my wrist feels familiar and nice. It’s a great modern version of a military field watch that is a joy to wear. But with a story like this, the impact is multiplied drastically. It linked me directly to that special day when the Allied forces landed on the beach of Normandy. It was the beginning of the end of the war that eventually also led to the liberation of my home country, the Netherlands.

Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day

These three special Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day 80th-anniversary editions are so much more than just a trio of new watches. They are also true storytellers reminding us of the pivotal operation that took place on June 6th, 1944. That is why these watches deserve all the attention they get. As mentioned, Praesidus will produce 500 pieces of each of the three variants. The first 250 orders will get the “Invasion Strap” NATO as a bonus along with the standard brown leather strap. The watches will go on sale on June 6th for US$550, and you can get yours on this special C-47 A-11 D-Day page. Be quick as I have a feeling these will sell out quickly.

The additional Praesidus Utah Beach A-11

But that is not where the story ends. Together with the C-47 A-11 D-Day, Praesidus also releases the Utah Beach A-11. It’s another version of the A-11 with an incredibly interesting dial. After seeing the images for these watches, I am even more impressed with the efforts that Praesidus put into creating two special editions for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. For the Utah Beach watches, Praesidus collaborated with the mayor of Sainte-Maire-Du-Mont and the neighboring Utah Beach museum. They collected sand from Utah Beach on the 79th anniversary of D-Day (2023) and used it for the dials of these watches.

Each of the fascinating dials of these Utah Beach A-11 models consists of three parts. The lower part is sand from Utah Beach. The two other parts are laid on top and represent the Normandy coast, where all five D-Day Beaches were situated. The colored part is the sea, while the visible sand represents the actual beaches where 150,000 soldiers landed on June 6th, 1944. The five beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword) are also marked directly onto the dial, giving a very specific look to the three available versions.

Three different versions of the Utah Beach A-11

The first is a “Khaki” version with the sea in green and cutout numerals showing the sand beneath. The lower half shows the uncovered sand with the hour numerals in green hovering above it. The second is the “Ocean Blue” version, with a blue part for the sea and blue numerals on the lower part. Lastly, there is the “Midnight” version with a black upper part and black numerals on the lower half.

All three models have a 38mm stainless steel case with polished and brushed parts and a knurled bezel. Powering them is the same Miyota 9039 that Praesidus uses in the C-47 A-11 D-Day models. The movement is hidden behind a special commemorative case back that reminds the owner of the special occasion these watches were made for. I love the creativity of these three variations of the Utah Beach A-11, and the execution is wonderful. Praesidus has truly outdone itself with these special editions, which will also go on sale on June 6th on the official Praesidus website for US$495.

Final thoughts on the Praesidus 80th Anniversary D-Day special editions

Overall, I think Praesidus did an amazing job with these watches. They tell the story of D-Day creatively and respectfully, so I don’t doubt that all available watches will sell quickly. And with timepieces that pay their respects so gracefully, I think Praesidus deserves that. These two releases prove once more that Praesidus has become the brand for military-inspired watches that tell important historical stories. That is a great achievement.

Sign up for early access on the dedicated Praesidus C-47 A-11 D-Day page to get a chance to buy one of the special watches. For an overview of the entire Praesidus collection, visit the brand’s homepage. Let us know your thoughts on these new releases in the comments section. Which of these two 80th-anniversary models is your favorite?

Watch specifications

C-47 A-11 D-Day
Aluminum Patina, Aluminum Gray, or Olive Green, cut from the "Hamburger" doors of two C-47 airplanes
Case Material
Sandblasted stainless steel
Case Dimensions
38mm (diameter) × 12.5mm (thickness)
Double-domed sapphire
Case Back
Stainless steel with special D-Day 80th-anniversary engraving, screw-in
Miyota 9039: automatic with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve, 24 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100 meters)
Brown leather (20mm width) with pin buckle; first 250 orders get an additional black and white NATO strap
Time (hours, minutes, seconds)
Special Note(s)
Limited to 500 pieces of every dial variant