This coming Saturday, America and the world will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, honor the memories of the many victims who died that day, and pay special respect to the heroism of the police, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders who bravely rushed toward danger for the sake of others, many at the cost of their own lives. The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is a charitable organization founded in honor of one of those heroes, FDNY firefighter Stephen Siller, who sacrificed his life at the World Trade Center on 9/11; its mission is to support injured veterans, Gold Star families, and families of fallen first responders by providing mortgage-free homes. For this 20th anniversary year, the Foundation has worked with two very different watch brands on special projects to raise funds for its charitable efforts.
One of the watchmakers is Switzerland’s Luminox, a brand long known for building tough, rugged multipurpose tool watches favored by law enforcement and military professionals, including the U.S. Navy SEALs. Its recently launched Luminox 3500 Never Forget Series features an all-black color palette — Luminox calls it “the darkest of all Luminox watches” — with the hour numerals “9” and “11” on the dial standing out in white Super-LumiNova in daylight and glowing blue from tritium tubes at night. The use of tritium, a gas that can glow brightly in the dark for up to 25 years, is a Luminox brand hallmark.
The hefty 45-mm case is made of Carbonox, a proprietary alloy that is lightweight yet tough and durable, and features a unidirectional bezel with an engraved dive scale. The crystal over the dial is made of hardened mineral glass, and the screwed crown is double-sealed to aid in the watch’s 200-meter water resistance. The caseback, made of 316L stainless steel, hosts an engraving of the Twin Towers and the words “Never Forget,” along with the watch’s limited-edition number, out of 911 made. Behind it is a Swiss quartz movement. The watch is available now, retailing for $495, with five percent of total proceeds to be donated to the Tunnel to Towers fund.
Tunnel to Towers has also partnered with British luxury timepiece brand William Wood Watches, founded in 2016 by Jonny Garrett and named for his grandfather, a 25-year veteran of Britain’s Fire Service. The watches (I review one here) are notable for their use of upcycled firefighting materials, such as melted-down 1920s brass helmets for the crowns and used fire hoses for the straps. The Triumph model, introduced earlier this year, is William Wood’s first chronograph, whose dial takes inspiration from a fire engine cab’s dashboard, complete with subdials resembling water pressure pump gauges. The central chronograph seconds hand echoes the look of a vintage fire bell chime and the chrono pushers are made of antique brass to match the crown.
A one-of-a-kind version of the Triumph Heat Edition, customized with unique elements paying special tribute to the 9/11 anniversary, went up for auction on William Wood’s website on September 6. Its steel case features a sapphire exhibition caseback inspired by a fire alarm, here emblazoned with the image of the World Trade Center towers and the inscription “09/11 20 Years.” Inside the watch is a Swiss-made automatic movement, the Sellita SW510, with a 48-hour power reserve. The timepiece comes in an Italian leather presentation case designed to resemble a fire alarm call box and is accompanied by a Thank You letter signed by Garret and Tunnel to Towers founder Frank Siller. The winning bidder for the unique piece will also receive a personal, private tour of the 9/11 Museum in New York City hosted by a retired FDNY firefighter.
The timepiece comes in an Italian leather presentation case designed to resemble a fire alarm call box and is accompanied by a Thank You letter signed by Garret and Tunnel to Towers founder Frank Siller as well as a pair of William Wood cuff links. The winning bidder for the unique piece will also receive a personal, private tour of the 9/11 Museum in New York City hosted by a retired FDNY firefighter as well as backstage passes to a special concert hosted by Tunnel to Towers in New York City on September 24. As Garret puts it, “It’s not just a watch; it’s an experience.”
Bidding started at $4,999 and currently stands at over $18,000 as of this article’s posting. You can place a bid on the unique piece on the William Wood website. The auction closes on Monday, September 13.