The William Wood Fire Exit shows dedication to evacuation The William Wood Fire Exit shows dedication to evacuation

The William Wood Fire Exit shows dedication to evacuation

Buffy Acacia

I don’t throw around the word genius lightly, but the new William Wood Fire Exit Watch is perfect. Having followed their development steadily over my last four years of writing about watches, I’m ready to admit that the firefighting theme had begun to feel a little repetitive. Seeing how popular playful watches with emojis and such have been in the last year or two, the brand put its own utterly unique spin on it by characterising the fire exit man.

William Wood Fire Exit Watch Days

Have you ever glanced at an emergency fire exit sign and wondered what kind of life the little featureless man lives? Me neither. But, William Wood did exactly that in the most creative way possible. The entire Fire Exit Watch is suitably fire exit themed, but it’s the personification of the character which really makes me smile. The centre of the dial has an open wheel which indicates the day of the week, except now each day is represented by an activity. Starting with Monday, we can see the fire exit man running late for work. On a Tuesday, he’s working at a desk. Wednesday, he’s riding on public transport, nonchalantly standing. Thursday shows him hitting the gym, and on Friday he’s jumping for joy. Saturday is for partying, complete with a little party hat, and Sunday has him sleeping off the previous night’s damage. It’s a cycle most of us can relate to, and it’d give the watch so much personality even if it wasn’t so intensely themed.

William Wood Fire Exit Watch Wristshot

I’ll admit that it took me a moment to process what was happening on this watch dial, but once I got over the shock I couldn’t help but love it. The shade of green is supposedly the same Pantone colour that’s standard for fire exit signs, but the highly-luminous bezel is a lot more vibrant. Even the seconds hand is legible with its metallic coat of apple green, which is surprising because green-on-green sounds like it should camouflage perfectly. The arrow-shaped indices at 3, 6, and 9 aren’t just fun nods to the signs, but they also make compelling designs as hour markers. The whole thing is truly marvellous when glowing in the dark too, almost looking radioactive. Flipping the watch over, there’s yet another animation of our now-beloved fire exit man. Below an etching of a fire exit sign flooded with luminous paint, there’s a window into the movement’s automatic winding rotor. Instead of decoration with the brand’s logo, there are three poses for the man—standing, walking, and sprinting.

William Wood Fire Exit Watch Caseback

The watch case itself is stainless steel with a gunmetal grey coating, and it’s water resistant to 100 metres for when those sprinklers go off. The diameter of 41mm hits a nice beefy stride, but can still be worn by smaller wrists thanks to a 46mm lug-to-lug length. The thickness of 13.8mm is also pretty moderate considering its design, and the customised automatic movement. That calibre happens to be the Sellita SW220, sporting both weekday and date complications. It has a power reserve of around 38 hours, running at a smooth 4Hz beat rate.

And finally, the watch comes with a green rubber strap made from upcycled fire hose, and quick-release spring bars, though a host of other options is available, too. The best thing about it is the steel pin buckle has some more green paint on it, and a large exit sign arrow to finish it off.

Although I’m not sure it’s a watch I would wear myself, I’m infinitely grateful that it exists, and I hope it’s a commercial success for William Wood. Creativity like this deserves to be rewarded, especially when it still manages to balance enjoyable aesthetics.

William Wood Fire Exit Watch pricing and availability

The William Wood Fire Exit Watch is now available for pre-order, with delivery estimated in September 2024. Price: A$2,945, £1,495

Brand William Wood
Model Fire Exit Watch
Case Dimensions 41mm (D) x 13.8mm (T) x 46mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel with gunmetal grey coating
Water Resistance 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Green with luminous exit sign indices
Lug Width 20mm
Bracelet Upcycled fire hose rubber strap, steel pin buckle
Movement Sellita SW220, automatic
Power Reserve 38 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date
Availability Available for pre-order, delivery in September 2024
Price A$2,945