Ollech & Wajs OW M-110 ASZach Blass
You may not be familiar with the Zurich-based watch brand Ollech & Wajs, but it is one worth diving into. Born in 1956, Ollech & Wajs sought to manufacture high-quality watches for professionals from the outset. Less than a decade later, they were the first watch manufacture to produce a watch with a 1,000-metre depth rating, and among the first to produce a 200-metre water-resistant chronograph. In 1965, they became the most widely used ‘unissued’ watch brand by military personnel in the Vietnam conflict, delivering up to 10,000 pieces a year through a network of Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, direct mail, and via classified advertisements in US military publications. Notably, over the years, their watches were worn by scientist Wernher Von Braun, NASA Group 6 astronaut Dr Anthony Llewellyn, and Cream bassist Jack Bruce. So, it is clear that they have strong ties within the realm of military and professional watches, and the new Ollech & Wajs OW M-110 AS pays tribute to this heritage in its own unique way.
The 39.5mm stainless steel case, 12.5mm thick and 45.7mm lug-to-lug, has a utility driven finish with a completely brushed case. Aside from a few accents of bright green found on the dial, hands, and bezel, the 300-metre water-resistant diver has a largely monochromatic feel with its matte grey dial that blends into the case and steel compass bezel. The watch pays further tribute to its military heritage with minute markers highlighted in green at the cardinal directions – indicating periods of radio silence. Between the squared off lugs, however, is where the story of this watch really begins.
Measuring at 20mm in width, the strap is made from reclaimed, military grade, double twill hemp canvas procured directly from the Swiss Army’s surplus supply. It is a robust material that was originally intended for a variety of military applications, with this procured surplus batch manufactured in the ’50s, around the same time Ollech & Wajs was founded. For those concerned with the material’s age, Ollech & Wajs explains that the Armée suisse twill was built to last 100 years in the field. It may be over 60 years later, but it seems clear this strap will last quite some time before you need to swap it out. Should the time arise for a new strap, when you hand down the watch to the next generation perhaps, its 20mm lug width will be very accommodating.
Inside, beneath a solid caseback, is an automatic Soprod Newton Precision P092 movement that notably includes a full balance bridge for better resistance against shock and 44 hours of power reserve. It may not be the most glamorous calibre in finish, but Ollech & Wajs is not concerned with superficial aesthetics. Regulated within seven seconds per day, the calibre allows the watch to have robust performance while also keeping costs down. At US$1,630, Ollech & Wajs are able to deliver all the benchmark specifications expected with the added appeal of its Armée suisse twill. I also appreciate the fact that, while vintage-inspired, its overall look does not feel dated. Colour wise, and with the shape of its hands and indices, the dial actually feels rather modern, so it is not yet another heritage piece stuck in the past.
Ollech & Wajs OW M-110 AS pricing and availability:
The Ollech & Wajs OW M-110 AS is available now here while supplies last. Price: A$2,557, US$1,630, CHF 1,456
|Brand||Ollech & Wajs|
|Model||OW M-110 AS|
|Case Dimensions||39.56mm (D) x 12.5mm (T) x 45.7mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||300 metres (screw-down crown)|
|Strap||Double twill hemp canvas, upcycled Swiss Army material, steel buckle|
|Movement||Soprod Newton PO92, automatic, custom rotor|
|Power Reserve||44 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Availability||Now, until stocks of Swiss Army strap last|
|Price||A$2,557, US$1,630, CHF 1,456|