Army of one
Judging by the wildly successful Call of Duty computer games, it appears that children today love nothing more than ultra-realistic military shoot 'em ups. For old-timers like myself, playing these games online and getting annihilated by 12-year-olds from Korea is now, sadly, par for the course. But in the misery of defeat one often wonders how these snotty-nosed super-soldiers would fair if they were parachuted deep behind enemy lines for real with only a small length of rope, a pocket book on wild flowers, a compass and a 'spork'.
Virtual soldiering might be impossible and the real thing a little too dangerous but those of us with a disposable income rather than an allowance can always look the part with a rugged and manly military watch. The Nixon Corporal (left) is every budding soldier's dream watch, and not just because of the name. The case is a muscular and oversized 48mm and made of reassuringly tough stainless steel. The dial is deliberately simple in design, with oversized numerals at the usual intervals of the 12, three, six and nine o'clock positions. The prominent three-hand Japanese movement is easy to read even in poor light. To complete the military feel, the strap is made of canvas with a leather backing for comfort. Corporal by name this Nixon is corporal by nature, in that just like the soldiers who make up the bulk of armed forces everywhere, this watch is simple, tough and does the job. Priced at a very affordable HK$1,450, the Nixon Corporal is available in three very apt colours: matte black, all black and, best of all, matte gunmetal.
If the Nixon is the watch of choice for the infantry then the Bell & Ross BR S Heritage (top right) would definitely be a favourite among the officer class. Sporting a more eccentric design and colour scheme, the BR S Heritage retains Bell & Ross' square case and military-inspired dial based on the cockpit instruments found in fighter jets. Priced at a little over HK$20,000, the Bell & Ross BR S Heritage is actually a smaller, sleeker version of the iconic BR 01, with the case size reduced to a stealthy 39mm but still made of ultra-strong matte-black ceramic. The dial has three oversized numerals at the 12, three and nine o'clock positions, coated in photoluminescence for ease of reading in and there is a small seconds hand at the six o'clock position. The strap is natural tan leather and the watch is water resistant to 50 metres. The heritage aspect of the watch comes from the sand-coloured numerals and indices and is meant to evoke military watches from the past.
Last but not least is the Bremont ALT1-WT (top left), the SAS of the watch world. A supremely intricate and complicated watch, to be launched this summer, the ALT1-WT is a 'civilian' version of the Bremont C-17 Globemaster specialist military watch. It's packed with features including an extremely hard stainless-steel case that is almost 10 times stronger than normal steel casings, a rotating bezel with 24 time zones, a certified chronometer and specially treated anti-reflection crystal sapphire glass covering the dial. Available in three dial variations, blue, black and white, the Bremont ALT1-WT will be priced at HK$48,000 and comes with a handmade leather wallet as well as two straps: a hand-stitched black leather strap and an extra Nato military nylon strap in case you ever need to take the watch out in the field.