They call them the "Dirty Dozen": a collection of 12 watches commissioned by the Ministry Of Defence for British soldiers during the Second World War. The timepieces were hard-wearing and accurate (well, obviously) – yet they also had more than a dash of style. The brands selected, which ranged from Omega to IWC, included one that has been largely forgotten since it wound up in 1972: Vertex.
Founded over a century ago by Claude Lyons in London’s jewellery heartland, Hatton Garden, Vertex quickly grew to become one of the most successful watch companies in Great Britain.
During the Second World War the British Military selected Vertex, along with eleven other leading watchmakers, to supply the army with a new watch built to an exacting bespoke design. The specifications were precisely what you would expect of a military watch - waterproof, luminous, regulated to chronometer level and rugged. On top of that, the dial needed to be black with arabic numerals to maximise legibility.
This select group have became known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’
Now, it's back, courtesy of the founder's great-grandson. Don Cochrane is reviving the company with the Swiss-engineered M100, an upscale, modern version of the 1944 "Dirty Dozen" model.